Jun 17, 2021
Blue plaques left unchanged, but charity website details Blyton’s ‘old-fashioned xenophobia’ and Kipling’s ‘imperialist sentiments’
English Heritage has acknowledged the “racism, xenophobia and lack of literary merit” in Enid Blyton’s writing, and the “racist and imperialist sentiments” of Rudyard Kipling, as part of its ongoing efforts to better reflect today’s values in its blue plaques.
While English Heritage’s blue plaques commemorating both authors remain unchanged, the charity’s online information about both now goes into detail about the problematic aspects of their writing and views. Continue reading...
Jun 17, 2021
Author of Fire and Fury’s final book on the Trump years, Landslide, will cover the president’s ‘tumultuous last months at the helm of the country’
Michael Wolff is set to write his third book about Donald Trump, focusing on the final days of his presidency in the provocatively titled Landslide.
Wolff shook Trump’s White House when he published the runaway bestseller Fire and Fury in 2018. An explosive exposé of the first stage of Trump’s presidency, it sold 1.7m copies around the world during its first three weeks on sale, and prompted the former US president to tweet, back when he was allowed access to Twitter: “Michael Wolff is a total loser who made up stories in order to sell this really boring and untruthful book.” Continue reading...
Jun 17, 2021
Friends of the National Libraries launch ‘once in a generation’ effort to raise £15m to buy the Honresfield library, packed with works by Brontë sisters, Jane Austen and Walter Scott
From the British Library to the Brontë Parsonage Museum, a consortium of libraries and museums have come together in an “unprecedented” effort to raise £15m and save an “astonishingly important” set of literary manuscripts for the nation.
The plans were formed after the announcement last month that the “lost” Honresfield library was to be put up for auction at Sotheby’s this summer. Almost entirely inaccessible since 1939, the library was put together by Victorian industrialists William and Alfred Law at the turn of the 20th century, and is a literary treasure trove that had experts dancing with excitement – and warning that action needed to be taken to prevent it being sold piecemeal to private collectors. Continue reading...
Jun 16, 2021
The novelist describes helping two writers who went on to insult her online, and condemns era of ‘angels jostling to out-angel one another’
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has written a detailed essay about the conduct of young people on social media “who are choking on sanctimony and lacking in compassion”, who she says are part of a generation “so terrified of having the wrong opinions that they have robbed themselves of the opportunity to think and to learn and to grow”.
Titled It Is Obscene, the essay was published by the Nigerian novelist and feminist on her website on Tuesday night. It attracted so much attention that her website temporarily crashed. Continue reading...
Jun 14, 2021
A killer guards her real identity, racial tension at a New York publishing house, and a pilot is presented with a dreadful ultimatum
Nancy Tucker Continue reading...
Hutchinson, £12.99, pp400
Jun 10, 2021
Philip Pullman and Kate Mosse among writers warning that changes being considered could flood UK with cheap foreign editions and threaten livelihoods
Bestselling writers including Philip Pullman and Kate Mosse are warning of a “potentially devastating” change to the UK’s copyright laws that could damage authors’ livelihoods by flooding the UK market with cheap foreign editions.
The Intellectual Property Office launched a consultation this week into the UK’s approach to copyright in the wake of Brexit. One option under consideration would see a change to the “copyright exhaustion” rule, which governs when the control of a rights holder over the distribution of their property expires. For example, if a customer buys a book, then the owner of the book’s copyright would not then be able to prevent the customer selling that book to another person in the same territory. Continue reading...
Jun 08, 2021
Romance writer was criticised for episode in new novel when one of her child characters compares hiding in an attic to the life of the Holocaust diarist
Bestselling romance author Elin Hilderbrand has asked her publisher to remove a reference to Anne Frank from her latest novel after criticism, apologising to readers for including what she described as an “offensive and tasteless” passage in the book.
Hilderbrand, whose books are generally set around Nantucket Island, has just published her latest novel, Golden Girl, in which author and mother-of-three Vivian is killed in a car accident, and watches her family’s life from the “Beyond” for one last summer. Continue reading...
Jun 08, 2021
Author, who was arrested last year in Harare while protesting against corruption, is hailed by judges as a ‘voice of hope we all need to hear’
Tsitsi Dangarembga, the Booker-shortlisted Zimbabwean writer who was arrested last year in Harare while protesting against corruption, has been awarded the PEN Pinter prize, praised for her “ability to capture and communicate vital truths even amidst times of upheaval”.
The prize is given by free speech campaigners English PEN in memory of the Nobel laureate Harold Pinter. It goes to a writer of “outstanding literary merit” who, as Pinter put it in his Nobel speech, shows a “fierce intellectual determination ... to define the real truth of our lives and our societies”. Previous winners include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Margaret Atwood and Linton Kwesi Johnson. Continue reading...
Jun 07, 2021
Poor is in line for the Felix Dennis first collection award, while the contenders for best collection are praised for their ‘limitless’ ambition
Caleb Femi, the former young people’s laureate for London, has been shortlisted for one of the prestigious Forward prizes for poetry for his first collection Poor, an exploration of growing up Black in Peckham.
Femi, a former English teacher who took on the laureate role in 2016, is one of five first-time poets in the running for the £5,000 Felix Dennis prize for best first collection. Poor combines poetry and photography as Femi sets out, in his words, to “articulate the lives and times of my community of north Peckham”. It includes a poem dedicated to the murdered schoolboy Damilola Taylor, who Femi knew. Continue reading...
Jun 03, 2021
Publishing staff, in rows over authors from Mike Pence to Woody Allen, are voicing their reluctance to work on books they deem hateful. But is this really ‘younger refuseniks’, or a much older debate?
In the 1960s, Simon & Schuster’s co-founder Max Schuster was facing a dilemma. Albert Speer, Hitler’s chief architect and armaments minister, had written a memoir providing new insights into the workings of Nazi leadership. As Michael Korda, Schuster’s editor-in-chief, recounted in his memoir Another Life, Schuster knew it would be a huge success. “There is only one problem,” he said, “and it’s this: I do not want to see Albert Speer’s name and mine on the same book.”
In the liberal industry of publishing, the tension that exists between profit and morality is nothing new, whether it’s Schuster turning down Speer (the book was finally published by Macmillan), or the UK government introducing legislation to prevent criminals making money from writing about their crimes. Continue reading...
Jun 02, 2021
Writer’s attempts to stay ‘invisible’ while marrying Suzanne Déchevaux-Dumesnil will be explored in monologues by well-known authors and actors
Sixty years ago, in 1961, Samuel Beckett slipped away to Folkestone to marry his long-time partner Suzanne Déchevaux-Dumesnil at a secret ceremony. Now the playwright and novelist’s incognito wedding at the register office in Kent has inspired an immersive multimedia event at the forthcoming Folkestone book festival, with major names Helen Oyeyemi, Rupert Thomson and Eimear McBride writing a series of monologues from the perspectives of those there at the time.
In March 1961, Beckett drove from his home in Paris to Le Touquet airport, flying from there to Lydd airport in Kent and checking in for two weeks at the Hotel Bristol on the Leas clifftop in Folkestone. He spent the evenings working on his play Happy Days in local pubs, with the Kent place names Borough Green and Sevenoaks making their way into his second draft. Continue reading...
May 31, 2021
AuthorSHARE, a royalty fund set up by two used booksellers with support from industry bodies, is calling for more retailers to participate
Unlike regular book sales or library borrowing, authors do not receive a penny from the sale of secondhand editions of their works – but a new scheme dreamed up by used booksellers is set to change this for the first time.
William Pryor, founder of Somerset-based used bookseller Bookbarn International, came up with the idea to pay authors royalties on used book sales in 2015, but needed a wider partnership to make it work. World of Books Group, which describes itself as the UK’s largest retailer of used books, then got involved to help Pryor create AuthorSHARE, a royalty fund worth £200,000 for the scheme’s first year. Continue reading...
May 28, 2021
Historic holdings including handwritten poems by Emily Brontë are set to be auctioned by Sotheby’s, but MPs are being urged to save them for the public
The Brontë Society is calling for immediate government intervention to prevent the “priceless” literary treasures of the Honresfield Library, which include a rare notebook of Emily Brontë’s poetry, from disappearing back into private hands at auction.
The Honresfield collection of more than 500 historic literary items vanished from public view in 1939, and was seen by only one or two academics over the subsequent years. The collection includes the only surviving handwritten manuscript of some of Emily Brontë’s best-known poems, complete with annotations by her sister Charlotte, as well as Brontë family letters and books, and important manuscripts by Robert Burns and Walter Scott. Continue reading...
May 27, 2021
Authors from Julia Donaldson to Cressida Cowell pay tribute to the beloved author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, who has died aged 91
The late Eric Carle has been hailed by fellow children’s writers for creating generations of readers as voracious as his best-loved creation, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Carle, who died on Sunday at the age of 91, left behind titles including his worldwide bestselling board book – about a caterpillar who eats his way through a week’s worth of food before turning into a butterfly – as well as The Very Busy Spider, The Mixed-Up Chameleon and Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me. Continue reading...
May 26, 2021
Words the most recent Greek lexicon translated as ‘to wench’ or ‘do one’s need’ have been given much earthier new readings for modern students of classics
Victorian attempts to veil the meanings of crude ancient Greek words are set to be brushed away by a new dictionary 23 years in the making. It is the first to take a fresh look at the language in almost 200 years and promises to “spare no blushes” for today’s classics students.
The late scholar John Chadwick first came up with the idea to update HG Liddell and Robert Scott’s 1889 dictionary, the Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, in 1997. An abridged version of a lexicon published in 1843, the Liddell and Scott had never been revised, and is packed with antiquated terms and modestly Victorian translations of the more colourful ancient Greek words. Despite this, it remains the most commonly used reference work for students in English schools and universities. Continue reading...
May 25, 2021
Collection of rare books and manuscripts first assembled by Charlotte Brontë’s widower has been out of public view for nearly a century
An “incredibly rare” handwritten manuscript of Emily Brontë’s poems, with pencil corrections by her sister Charlotte, is going up for auction as part of a “lost library” that has been out of public view for nearly a century.
The collection was put together by Arthur Bell Nicholls, the widower of Charlotte, who of the six Brontë children lived the longest, dying in 1855 at the age of 38. Nicholls sold the majority of the surviving Brontë manuscripts in 1895 to the notorious bibliophile and literary forger Thomas James Wise. The collectors and brothers Alfred and William Law, who grew up 20 miles from the Brontë family home in Haworth, then acquired some of the family’s heirlooms from Wise, including the manuscript of Emily’s poems, and the family’s much-annotated copy of A History of British Birds, a book immortalised in Jane Eyre. Continue reading...
May 20, 2021
Northumbria University is investigating one of its staff for sharing a doctored image of Jeremy Corbyn reading an antisemitic text, placed over Rosen’s We’re Going on a Bear Hunt
Northumbria University is urgently investigating one of its academics after a doctored image was shared from his Twitter account showing Jeremy Corbyn reading from the notorious antisemitic forgery The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. The title had been superimposed on the Michael Rosen book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, which Corbyn was actually reading from, with Rosen describing the image as “loathsome and antisemitic”.
Rosen, the Jewish children’s author and academic, responded to a tweet sent from the account of Northumbria University English literature lecturer and author Dr Pete Newbon on Wednesday morning. The original image is of the former Labour leader reading We’re Going on a Bear Hunt to some children. The doctored image still features Corbyn, but replaces the page from the book with the cover of The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion and includes the caption: “A nasty, horrible Zionist! We can’t go over him, we can’t go under him, we’ll have to make an effigy”, drawing on Rosen’s book’s famously singsong text. Continue reading...
May 20, 2021
Novel, which weaves together the stories of Mexican migrants with those of a US family on a road trip south, was picked for the prize by a Barcelona library
Earlier this year, a library in Barcelona submitted a nomination for its favourite book of the year: Mexican author Valeria Luiselli’s Lost Children Archive. On Thursday, thanks to Biblioteca Vila De Gràcia, Luiselli was named winner of the world’s richest prize for a novel published in English, the €100,000 (£86,000) Dublin literary award.
“It’s a beautiful, relatively small library in Barcelona who nominated me,” said Luiselli. “I’m going to kiss its rocks one day, because I probably won’t be able to kiss its librarians because of Covid.” Continue reading...
May 20, 2021
Pankaj Mishra and Arundhati Roy attack Penguin Random House India for putting out book by a prime minister they say has mishandled Covid and persecuted writers
Leading Indian authors Pankaj Mishra and Arundhati Roy have spoken out against Penguin Random House India’s decision to publish and promote a book by Narendra Modi during the country’s coronavirus crisis, with Mishra accusing PRH India of “enlist[ing] in a flailing politician’s propaganda campaign”.
In a letter published in the London Review of Books blog, Mishra wrote to the chief executive of PRH India, Gaurav Shrinagesh, after the publisher announced it would be reissuing Modi’s book Exam Warriors while, in Mishra’s words, “smoke from mass funeral pyres rose across India”. India suffered a world record one-day death toll from Covid-19 on Wednesday – 4,529 – with the overall figure believed to be much higher than the official death toll of 283,248. Continue reading...
May 20, 2021
Thousands of fans gather in online games to hold memorials for the artist and writer, who had been working on the series since 1989
Kentaro Miura, creator of the long-running dark fantasy manga Berserk – one of the bestselling manga series ever written – has died at the age of 54.
His US publisher Dark Horse Comics, describing Miura as a “master artist and storyteller”, said he had suffered acute aortic dissection and died on 6 May. “He will be greatly missed. Our condolences go out to his family and loved ones.” Continue reading...
May 19, 2021
Finished before his death in December, le Carré gave his blessing to publish the novel, which follows a bookseller who becomes embroiled in a spy leak
Silverview, a final full-length novel by John le Carré, in which the late author delves into “the soul of the modern Secret Intelligence Service”, will be published this October.
Le Carré, the author of seminal thrillers including The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, died in December aged 89. Born David Cornwell, he had been working on Silverview, his 26th novel, alongside A Legacy of Spies and Agent Running in the Field. He had completed the full-length manuscript of the book when he died. Continue reading...
May 19, 2021
Shola von Reinhold wins the award for small publishing houses with their novel LOTE, but financial reward split between 10 publishers
The Scottish author Shola von Reinhold has won the Republic of Consciousness prize for small presses for their “dazzling” queer debut novel LOTE. But the £20,000 prize money will not go to von Reinhold alone: instead, in a first, it is being split between the 10 publishers on the longlist.
LOTE follows Mathilda, a black woman who becomes fixated by a forgotten black Scottish modernist poet. Released by London independent press Jacaranda as part of founder Valerie Brandes’ initiative to publish 20 black British writers in 2020, it is, said prize judge John Mitchinson, a dazzling novel that makes the reader “stand back and gasp at the wit, beauty and mischief von Reinhold has brocaded into the story”. Continue reading...