Five Things We Loved This Week
Our literary round-up of the last seven days.
1. The Booker is back and it has gone global
How many countries are represented on the list? 12. How many languages? 9. How many debuts? 2 (Finnish author Aki Ollikainen’s White Hunger and Congolese author Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s Tram 83). How many previously banned books? 1 (The Four Books, by Chinese author Yan Lianke). Nobel Prize winning authors? 2 (Orhan Pamuk and Kenzaburo Oe). Excited? Yes. Very. Who are we most excited to see on the list? Literary phenomenon Elena Ferrante’s The Story of The Lost Child and Robert Seethaler’s A Whole Life, of course.
2. Presidential book introductions
“Who would you like to write the introduction to your book?” must be a question asked often in publishers or literary agent’s offices. But how often do people answer “The 44th president of the United States of America, that’s who!” – Sadly, we don’t have any figures, feel free to write in. Anyway, it turns out Barack Obama is a big fan of Peanuts - not the salty snack, the cartoon strip - and he has happily obliged Canongate with an introduction to the 25th volume of the Complete Peanuts. Yes, he is that brilliant.
3. Ladies, control yourself! (And spare a thought for the window cleaner)
Sometimes items of clothing gain a kind of celebrity of their own: Elvis’ spangled white jumpsuit, Madonna’s conical bra, Michael Jackson’s glove and… the billowy white shirt worn by Colin Firth in the BBC Adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. As part of their exhibition on Shakespeare, Jane Austen and the cult of celebrity, The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington will be displaying the very shirt Firth wore during 'that indelible scene’ (as it is being called) in a glass cabinet. Apparently the library has stockpiled bottles of Windowlene as they expect overwhelmed fans to leave lipstick-kisses on the glass.
4. Tom Stoppard does Dickens
The affable and rather wonderful Tom Stoppard, writer of plays Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Professional Foul, as well as the film Shakespeare in Love, is working with Bennett Miller, the director of Foxcatcher and Capote, to create a version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in Hollywood. Fantastic. We love when fantastic authors team up with skilful directors to work on brilliant adaptations. Who would be your author/director/adaptation dream team?
5. Want to Potter-more?
July can’t come fast enough for the Harry Potter fans among us, but as exciting as the announcement of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I and II was, there is more exciting news coming from the Wizarding World of Pottermore: J.K. Rowling has released a four-part study, History of Magic in North America, on the Pottermore website. Expect: skinwalkers, Salem witch trials and various spooky and ethereal entities from the other side of the Atlantic.
1867: a year of devastating famine in Finland. Marja, a farmer's wife from the north, sets off on foot through the snow with her two young children. Their goal: St Petersburg, where people say there is bread. Others are also heading south, just as desperate to survive. Ruuni, a boy she meets, seems trustworthy. But can anyone really help?
In the ninety-ninth district of a sprawling labour camp, the Author, Musician, Scholar, Theologian and Technician - and hundreds just like them - are undergoing Re-education, to restore their revolutionary zeal and credentials. In charge of this process is the Child, who delights in draconian rules, monitoring behaviour and confiscating books.
Exceptional debut Congolese novel uses jazz rhythm to evoke the frenzied exploitation of land and people in contemporary Africa.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts I & II: (Special Rehearsal Edition) The Official Script Book of the Original West End Production (Hardback)
The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later. Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne, a new play by Jack Thorne.