Mar 22, 2022
The author of The Last House on Needless Street is back with a new terrifying novel, while Inga Simpson and Ellery Lloyd tackle death on a global scale and in a luxury club
Catriona Ward Continue reading...
Viper, £14.99, pp352
Feb 28, 2022
Owned by the author while he was writing The Tell-Tale Heart, in which a ticking timepiece drives his narrator mad, the bequest also includes a fragment of Poe’s original coffin
The pocket watch owned by Edgar Allan Poe while he was writing his famous short story The Tell-Tale Heart, in which the murderous narrator compares the thumping of his victim’s heart to the tick of a clock, has been donated to the Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia.
Literary collector Susan Jaffe Tane gave the watch along with almost 60 other artefacts, including letters and rare first editions. Curator Chris Semtner said Poe’s timepiece was “especially important” because the author owned it while writing the story. Continue reading...
Feb 28, 2022
The publisher of The Fifth Window by poet Russell Thornton has ordered a reprint after orders flooded in following viral fame
An American TikToker has sent sales of an obscure Canadian poetry collection soaring, after she had a dream that led her to track down the title.
TikToker Ohmarni, whose real name is Marni Webb, posted a video about a “rare book that I dreamt about” on 31 December. In her dream Webb, who claims to be psychic, was asked by a man “is the fifth window open?” Googling this led her to Canadian poet Russell Thornton’s collection The Fifth Window, published in 2000 – but it was hard to get hold of, and only available when requested from university libraries. Continue reading...
Feb 28, 2022
The author was among more than 1,000 signatories to an open letter by PEN International saying there ‘can be no free and safe Europe without a free and independent Ukraine’
Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood and Tsitsi Dangarembga are among more than 1,000 writers from around the world who have condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and expressed their solidarity with the Ukrainian people.
The open letter, released by literary and free expression organisation PEN International, is addressed to writers in Ukraine, and “urgently” calls “for an end to the bloodshed” that started last week. Continue reading...
Feb 15, 2022
As she publishes a thriller about a trolled MP, and Netflix adapts her bestseller Anatomy of a Scandal, the former journalist talks about power, privilege and her unnervingly prescient novels
Sarah Vaughan has Boris Johnson to thank, at least in part, for the genesis of her bestselling thriller Anatomy of a Scandal. The former Guardian reporter was on call on a Sunday in November 2004, the day after Johnson had been sacked from the Conservative frontbench because he’d lied about having an affair with Petronella Wyatt, and Johnson had telephoned her about the story.
“It was the fact he had no compunction in lying that struck me,” says Vaughan. “There was a lot of flummery and flannel; lots of chuntering and ‘all chaps together’-ness about it. He was writing a lot for the Telegraph so there was a definite sense that we were hacks together who wouldn’t stitch each other up – but yes, he confirmed the story was true and didn’t seem to express any remorse. It was the first time I was aware of a public figure admitting to lying and not seeming to be bothered by it.” Continue reading...
Feb 09, 2022
Covid-19 has caused a steep decline in visitors and income, but an increase in digital visits shows libraries continue to be valued, says Cipfa CEO
The number of in-person visits to public libraries plummeted by 159m last year, as the pandemic forced branches to close around the country.
Annual figures from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (Cipfa) show physical library visits fell from 214.6m to 59.7m in the year to March 2021, a drop of 72%, as Covid-19 restrictions shut branches for much of the 12-month period. The closures also led to a major decline in the number of books borrowed by readers, with 72.9m books issued by libraries last year, down 56% from 165.9m in 2020. Continue reading...
Feb 09, 2022
Galgut’s Booker winner and Tóibín’s fictionalised biography of Thomas Mann are two of eight titles selected by the judges
Damon Galgut, who won the Booker last year for his portrait of a white South African family imploding, is now in the running for rival literary award the Rathbones Folio prize.
The South African author’s The Promise is one of eight titles in the running for the £30,000 Folio, which was first awarded in 2014 after controversy over comments from the Booker’s judges in 2011. The Booker panel that year had stressed the importance of books that “zip along”, and the Folio subsequently announced its intention to “establish a clear and uncompromising standard of excellence” in the titles it rewarded. Today, the Rathbones Folio is open across genres, to all works of literature written in English, and to English-language writers from around the world, with previous winners including poet Raymond Antrobus, short story writer George Saunders, and memoirist Carmen Maria Machado. Continue reading...
Feb 08, 2022
Historian finds that one of the subjects the artist painted while he was detained by the British alongside other refugees who had fled the Nazis was Ludwig Warschauer, who later confessed to espionage
The previously unknown subject of a Kurt Schwitters painting has been identified as Ludwig Warschauer, the subject of one of MI5’s very first anti-spy operations, who was sent to Britain to spy for the Gestapo.
Simon Parkin made the discovery while researching his book The Island of Extraordinary Captives, a history of Hutchinson Camp, a second world war prison camp on the Isle of Man. Opened on 13 July 1940, the camp was home to around 1,200 Germans and Austrians who had fled to Britain to escape Nazism when war broke out. Its creation was part of the British government’s policy of mass internment of the so-called “enemy aliens” they had previously welcomed to the country – with prisoners including Schwitters, the celebrated German Dadaist, along with a host of other artists. Continue reading...
Feb 07, 2022
More than 100 authors from around the world have written to the Rwandan president about the case of Innocent Bahati, who disappeared a year ago today
Margaret Atwood, Ben Okri and JM Coetzee have joined more than 100 writers from around the world in calling on the Rwandan president to intervene in the case of the poet Innocent Bahati, who disappeared one year ago today.
According to human rights organisation PEN International, Bahati was last seen at a hotel in Nyanza district, in the Southern Province of Rwanda, on 7 February 2021. The poet, who is well-known in Rwanda and had published poetry on YouTube and Facebook, as well as regularly performing at live events, failed to return to Kigali, and his phones have been switched off since. Continue reading...
Feb 04, 2022
Items including Mohawk moccasins and ‘the Victorian equivalent of a negligee’ on display at the Brontë Parsonage Museum suggest the novelist was more fashion-conscious than previously thought
A new side of Charlotte Brontë, showing the author of Jane Eyre’s unexpected penchant for colourful, fashionable, even “sensual” clothing, is revealed in a new exhibition at the Brontë Parsonage Museum.
Displaying everything from Charlotte’s bright pink wrapper, which she would have worn around the house, to the extraordinary item known as an “ugly bonnet” which was the height of fashion at the time and which she sported to protect herself from the Yorkshire weather, the exhibition opened this week at the Brontës’ home in Haworth, West Yorkshire. Continue reading...
Feb 04, 2022
The teacher-turned-poet on getting into writing later in life, the ethics of poems about former students and how her years working in schools shaped her thinking
Many writers have dreamed since childhood of being published. Not Hannah Lowe, who has just won the Costa book of the year award for her poetry collection The Kids. It was only when she was teaching English literature to sixth-formers that her interest in writing poetry was piqued.
“I started writing quite late,” says the 45-year-old poet, speaking from her kitchen in north London after a late night celebrating her win. “I was trying to enthuse my students with an anthology of 1,000 years of English poetry, and that, along with an anthology of contemporary poetry my mum bought me, Bloodaxe’s Staying Alive, just spoke to me. I started writing in secret.” Continue reading...
Feb 02, 2022
The donation from Joyce’s grandson includes a telegram from Samuel Beckett, wishing the Ulysses author a happy 49th birthday
A telegram sent by Samuel Beckett to James Joyce on his 49th birthday, 91 years ago today, has been given to the University of Reading by Joyce’s grandson and his wife.
The missive, in which the Waiting for Godot author tells his friend: “Teems of times and happy returns. Beckett”, is part of a major collection of books and documents given by Stephen James Joyce and his wife Solange to the university. The donation, which also includes a photograph of Solange and Stephen James Joyce at their wedding, with an awkward-looking Beckett, who was the best man, was announced to mark the centenary of the publication in Paris of Joyce’s seminal novel Ulysses, as well as the 140th anniversary of Joyce’s birth. Continue reading...
Feb 01, 2022
The Kids, based on the former teacher’s experiences, was described by chair Reeta Chakrabarti as ‘a book to fall in love with’, as Lowe receives £30,000 prize
Hannah Lowe, a former London teacher, has won the £30,000 Costa book of the year for The Kids, a book of sonnets drawing on her experiences teaching in an inner-city sixth form.
After what judges called “a long and passionate discussion”, Lowe’s poetry collection beat the bookies’ favourite, Claire Fuller’s novel Unsettled Ground, to the Costa award for the year’s “most enjoyable” book. The prize pits the winners of five categories – first novel, novel, biography, poetry and children’s book – against each other, with Lowe also emerging ahead of Caleb Azumah Nelson’s debut novel Open Water, John Preston’s biography of Robert Maxwell, Fall, and Manjeet Mann’s young adult verse novel The Crossing. Continue reading...
Feb 01, 2022
Swift Press has acquired Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me after its author and original publisher Picador ‘parted company’ last month following widespread criticism of the book
An independent publisher, Swift Press, has acquired Kate Clanchy’s Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me, after she and her original publisher Picador “part[ed] company” last month following controversy over the racial tropes and ableist descriptions in the Orwell prize-winning title.
Swift Press, which was set up in June 2020, said it approached Clanchy after reading that she and Picador were no longer working together. Its reissued version of the title, which details Clanchy’s experiences as a teacher, removes the words and phrases which had prompted widespread criticism from readers and contains a new afterword from Clanchy in which she writes of how she “still think[s] that my beleaguered, faulty text is worth reading”. Continue reading...
Feb 01, 2022
England footballer’s follow-up to bestselling debut You Are a Champion is aimed at children aged between 10 and 14
Marcus Rashford is writing a follow-up to his bestselling debut You Are a Champion, in which the England footballer will explore “how to celebrate and champion difference”.
Rashford’s first book, published last May and co-written by Carl Anka, was the bestselling children’s non-fiction title of last year, selling over 220,000 copies in the UK, according to its publisher. His and Anka’s follow-up, which will be called You Can Do It: How to Find Your Team and Make a Difference, will be published in July, Macmillan Children’s Books said today. Continue reading...
Jan 31, 2022
A container collapse in the mid-Atlantic earlier this month sank copies of Mason Hereford’s Turkey and the Wolf and Melissa Clark’s Dinner in One
There are two highly anticipated new cookbooks that won’t be troubling Pinch of Nom’s position at the top of the charts any time soon – after they sank to the bottom of the ocean.
New copies of Mason Hereford’s Turkey and the Wolf, which collects recipes from Hereford’s award-winning New Orleans restaurant, and Melissa Clark’s one-pot cookbook Dinner in One, were being transported on cargo ship The Madrid Bridge, which lost around 60 containers overboard in the mid-Atlantic earlier this month. Continue reading...
Jan 28, 2022
After it was destroyed by Israeli airstrikes, Samir Mansour’s beloved book store has been rebuilt and restocked, as tens of thousands of books flood in from around the world
Tens of thousands of donated books have started to arrive at the new location of a Gaza bookshop that was destroyed by Israeli air strikes last year, and owner Samir Mansour now plans to reopen its doors next month.
The two-storey Samir Mansour bookshop, which was reduced to rubble last May, had been founded by the Palestinian Mansour 22 years ago and was a beloved part of the local community. Its destruction during the 11-day conflict, which killed more than 250 people in Gaza and 13 in Israel, prompted a campaign that raised $250,000 (£187,000) to help rebuild it, plus donations of 150,000 books. The Israeli military has said that the store was not its target, claiming that the building that housed it also contained a Hamas facility for producing weapons and intelligence-gathering. Continue reading...
Jan 28, 2022
Megan Nolan, Rishi Dastidar, Alison Flood and Guardian reader gladarvor discuss the titles they’ve read over the last month. Join the conversation in the comments
In this new series we’ll be asking authors, Guardian writers and readers to sharewhat they’ve been reading recently. This month, recommendations include a damning biography of Robert Maxwell, a mind-bending mystery novel and a delicious history of spaghetti with tomato sauce. Tell us what you’ve been reading in the comments. Continue reading...
Jan 26, 2022
Campaigner has used the idea drawn from Discworld novels to register the disproportionate effect price rises have on the lower paid
Terry Pratchett’s estate has authorised Jack Monroe to use the “Vimes Boots Index” as the name of her new price index, which is intended to document the “insidiously creeping prices” of basic food products.
The author’s daughter, writer Rhianna Pratchett, said her father would have been proud to see his work used in this way by the anti-poverty campaigner. Monroe was prompted to create her index after inflation jumped to 5.4% last week, and she found herself “infuriate[d]” that the index (the consumer price index or CPI) used for this calculation “grossly underestimates the real cost of inflation as it happens to people with the least”. She laid out how the prices of “value” product ranges in supermarkets had soared over the last decade – rice in her local supermarket had increased in price from 45p for a kilogram bag last year, to £1 for 500g, a 344% increase – and how the number of value products has shrunk. She was soon working with economists, charities and analysts to compile her own index. Continue reading...
Jan 26, 2022
A Life With Footnotes, by the late author’s former assistant and friend, has been authorised by Pratchett’s estate and is due to be released in September
Rob Wilkins, Terry Pratchett’s former assistant and friend, is writing the official biography of the late Discworld author, which will move from his childhood to the “embuggerance” of the Alzheimer’s disease he was diagnosed with in 2007.
Pratchett was working on his autobiography when he died in 2015, but “following his untimely death from Alzheimer’s disease, the mantle of completing Terry Pratchett’s memoir was passed to Rob”, said publisher Transworld. Continue reading...
Jan 25, 2022
This year’s Newbery medal goes to story of the only girl who can remember the Earth after it is destroyed by a comet
Donna Barba Higuera has won the US’s top children’s book award, the Newbery medal, for her story of an Earth destroyed by a comet, and the girl who is the only one who remembers it.
Higuera’s The Last Cuentista, which blends Mexican folklore with science fiction, was named winner on Monday. The prize, which is named after John Newbery, the 18th-century English publisher who was one of the first people to publish books exclusively for children, has been running for 100 years. It has been won in the past by some of the most enduring classics of American children’s literature, from Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time to Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia and Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. Continue reading...