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Archive by tag: Richard LeaReturn
May 27, 2021

Beloved children’s author who inspired millions of children died at summer home in Massachusetts, say family

Eric Carle, the children’s author and illustrator whose classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar and other works gave millions of children some of their earliest literary memories, has died at age 91.

Carle’s family said he died of kidney failure on Sunday at his summer studio in Northampton, Massachusetts, with family members at his side.

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Apr 02, 2021

From the first rhythms and birdsong to Whitney Houston and Arvo Pärt – how music has evolved over 165m years

Music has been a lifeline during this year of Covid, but we haven’t all dabbled in drumming or taken up the trombone. Instead we’ve sparked up Spotify, soundtracking our constricted lives with a mood-changing playlist of uplifting beats or chill-out classical. This surge in listening has been little comfort to professional musicians, struggling while live venues are shuttered. Lockdown has boosted streaming by 22%, but with digital distributors keeping the lion’s share of the proceeds, some artists have found themselves delivering takeaways and stacking shelves.

As Michael Spitzer points out, this shift towards isolated listening is only the latest stage in a transition from active participation in music to our passive consumption of it that has been going on for thousands of years.

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Nov 20, 2020

From her Everest scoop to her journey as a trans woman, the author’s authoritative voice and questioning mind found an eager audience

Jan Morris, the historian and travel writer who evoked time and place with the flair of a novelist, has died aged 94.

As a journalist Morris broke monumental news, including Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s ascent of Everest, and the French involvement in the Israeli attack on Egypt in the Suez war. As a bestselling author of more than 30 books, she was equally lauded for histories including Pax Britannica, her monumental account of the British Empire, and for her colourful accounts of places from Venice to Oxford, Hong Kong to Trieste. But she was also well-known as a transgender pioneer, with Conundrum, her account of the journey from man to woman, an international sensation when it was published in 1974.

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Oct 15, 2020

This Is Not Propaganda ranges across the world in its study of disinformation, and reveals how the author’s parents struggled as Soviet dissidents

Peter Pomerantsev has won the 2020 Gordon Burn prize with This Is Not Propaganda, a study of fake news that tells “true stories with artistry”.

Speaking after he won the £5,000 award, Pomerantsev paid tribute to his parents, whose lives as Soviet dissidents are threaded through the book, and urged everyone to speak with their own parents.

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Oct 05, 2020

The Zimbabwean novelist, shortlisted for this year’s Booker prize for This Mournable Body, is accused of intending to incite public violence in Harare

Authors including Kazuo Ishiguro, Carol Ann Duffy and Philippe Sands have called for charges against the Booker prize-shortlisted writer Tsitsi Dangarembga to be dropped ahead of her latest appearance in a Zimbabwe court this week, saying that any other conclusion would be “an outrage”.

The Zimbabwean novelist was arrested during anti-corruption protests in Harare and charged last month with intention to incite public violence. She was freed on bail and required to appear before the court on 18 September. The hearing has been delayed twice, after prosecutors failed to appear on both occasions, with a new date set for 7 October.

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Jun 11, 2020

The heritage site where author wrote all her novels says it could be forced to close for ever because all of its operational budget comes from visitors

The house where Jane Austen completed all six of her novels and lived for the last eight years of her life, is at risk of closing before the end of the year due to the financial pressures of lockdown and is launching an appeal to secure its future.

Lizzie Dunford, director of Jane Austen’s House Museum, in Chawton, Hampshire, said it receives no regular public funding and is dependent on visitors and supporters. When the doors were closed on 20 March due to the coronavirus pandemic, the museum, which employs 16 staff and has 50 volunteers, lost all its income.

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Apr 30, 2020

This 1960s classic about a mouse who wants to learn the balalaika and tour central Europe seems entirely different to today’s rainbow picture books

The figures loom out of pitch black, heavy boots kicking up in thick smudges, hands roughly smeared above their heads as they dance to the music of the balalaika, which is only a suggestion on the page, scratched into the thick paint of John Burningham’s illustration. This 1964 picture book, about how a mouse called Trubloff comes to travel with Gypsies, listen to their music and learn to play the balalaika, is a well-known classic. But the heart of the story lies unspoken on the page: the fiery Gypsy music that inspires Trubloff to leave his family and that will eventually save them all.

Trubloff is one of a family of mice who live behind the panelling of the Parlour Bar, an inn in “part of a little village in central Europe where the winters were cold and snowy”. He comes to fall in love with the music played by the wandering Gypsies but when old Nabakoff, the craftsman mouse, makes him a balalaika of his own, Trubloff is disappointed to find that “playing the balalaika was not easy”. A kindly old Gypsy says he would have offered the young mouse lessons if they weren’t leaving that night – so Trubloff stows away and his travels across the frozen fields begin.

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Apr 20, 2020

In 2009, the UN climate summit in Copenhagen ended in failure when governments around the world failed to reach an agreement on how to tackle the climate crisis. Then along came Christiana Figueres, the Costa Rican diplomat who spearheaded international talks and brought the world together to reach the historic Paris Agreement, where, just six years after “Brokenhagen”, 195 countries came to a consensus.

Now she has teamed up with her former strategy adviser, the environmental economist Tom Rivett-Carnac, to examine what the next 30 years will bring in their book, The Future We Choose. Richard sat down with Christiana and Tom in an interview recorded before the coronavirus outbreak.

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Apr 14, 2020

As a historical consultant on the BBC’s award-winning Horrible Histories, Greg Jenner’s enthusiasm for the past has made him a familiar figure on radio and television, with appearances on chatshows, documentaries, and as presenter of the You’re Dead to Me podcast. His latest book, Dead Famous is a joyous romp through the history of celebrity, from Edmund Kean to Gertrude Stein, from Grace Darling to WG Grace. But is a celebrity anything more than someone who is famous for being famous?

And we share what some of you have been reading during the coronavirus outbreak and talk to Adam Douglas, rare bookseller at Peter Harrington, about how some of the greatest philosophical and literary works have been created in isolation.

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Apr 07, 2020

When writing his book The Rules of Contagion: Why Things Spread - and Why They Stop, mathematician Adam Kucharski had no idea that it would come out during a pandemic. He speaks to Claire about the concept of “contagion” and the ways ideas, viruses, violence and misinformation spread in a population.

And Claire and Richard share some of your emails with tips for books to read in lockdown, and look over the International Booker prize shortlist.

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