Stella prize 2019: Gail Jones, Bri Lee and Chloe Hooper make ‘thrilling’ longlist


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List also includes Fiona Wright’s The World Was Whole, Jenny Ackland’s Little Gods and Enza Gandolfo’s The Bridge

“Women’s writing swaggers into the limelight again,” said the judging panel chair, Louise Swinn, in announcing the 12 longlisted books for this year’s Stella prize.

This year’s longlist includes Bri Lee’s debut work of non-fiction, Eggshell Skull; literary stalwart and acclaimed novelist Gail Jones’s “novel of ideas”, The Death of Noah Glass; Chloe Hooper’s investigation into Black Saturday, The Arsonist: A Mind on Fire; and Fiona Wright’s most recent collection of essays, The World Was Whole.

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Wellcome book prize: gender and identity dominate 2019 longlist


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Books in contention range from a transgender man’s boxing story to a memoir of recovering from psychosis and a novel about narcotic hibernation

Thomas Page McBee’s memoir about being the first transgender man to box at Madison Square Garden, Amateur, and Tara Westover’s account of her survivalist upbringing preparing for the End of Days, Educated, are both competing for the £30,000 Wellcome book prize.

Related: ‘I started dry retching’: the harrowing world of a trauma cleaner

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Dylan Thomas prize: teacher and nurse among ‘starburst’ of young talent


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Sally Rooney, Sarah Perry and Michael Donkor among those longlisted for £30,000 prize for books by writers aged 39 or under

From the critically acclaimed debut of Emma Glass, a 31-year-old still working as a nurse, to the first book by 33-year-old Michael Donkor, who currently teaches English in a London secondary school, a “starburst of young literary talent” makes up the longlist for the largest prize in the world for young authors.

Given to the best literary work in English by an author aged 39 or under, the £30,000 Swansea University International Dylan Thomas prize is named after the beloved Welsh poet, who died at the age of 39. It is intended to “invoke his memory to support the writers of today and nurture the talents of tomorrow”.

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Costa Prize-winner Bart van Es on why he had to tell his family’s Holocaust story


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The Cut Out Girl is the gripping tale of a Jewish girl who escaped the Nazis, written by her saviours’ grandson. Here, author and heroine talk about their life-affirming collaboration

I must tell you a secret,” Lien de Jong’s mother said to her gently one day. “You are going to stay somewhere else for a while.” It was August 1942 in occupied Holland and De Jong was eight years old. The family was Jewish, but not observant. She would never see her parents again; they were murdered in Auschwitz six months later. She was sent to live with a non-Jewish family, the Van Eses, the first in a series of temporary homes in the Netherlands’ wartime underground network.

Bart van Es is a Dutch-born English literature professor at Oxford University, who usually “writes scholarly books and articles on Shakespeare and Renaissance poetry”. He is also the grandson of ...

The Cut Out Girl by Bart van Es wins Costa book of the year


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Book’s subject, Lien de Jong, 85, who survived second world war ordeal, attends ceremony

The 85-year-old woman whose harrowing story is at the heart of Bart van Es’s The Cut Out Girl was in attendance to watch him win the £30,000 Costa book of the year award for the biography, which judges called “extraordinary”.

Van Es and Lien de Jong embraced on stage in front of a packed room after he was announced as winner at the awards on Tuesday night. “Without family you don’t have a story. Now I have a story … Bart has reopened the channels of family,” she said.

The Cut Out Girl beat Sally Rooney’s widely praised novel Normal People, Stuart Turton’s debut novel The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, JO Morgan’s poetry collection Assurances and Hilary McKay’s children’s book The Skylarks’ War to the award for the year’s “most enjoyable” book. ...

No more Americans? What a new sponsor could mean for the Man Booker prize


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Hedge fund’s departure as £1.6m backer of the UK’s leading fiction award has prompted feverish speculation about the prize’s future

Previous Man Booker prize winners are among those keenly awaiting the announcement of the new sponsor of the prestigious literary award, after the prize’s sponsor of almost two decades, Man Group, became the latest in a wave of companies pulling out of backing book prizes.

The hedge fund, which has sponsored the £50,000 literary award since 2002, announced on Sunday that it would end its association with the prize after 2019, which cost them £1.6m a year. On Sunday, the Booker Prize Foundation said that its trustees are already in discussions with a new sponsor “and are confident that new funding will be in place for 2020”.

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Booker prize trustees search for new sponsor after Man Group exit


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Hedge fund firm says it plans to focus its resources instead on its diversity campaign

The Man Booker prize is searching for a new sponsor after the hedge fund company Man Group announced it was ending its 18-year relationship with Britain’s most prestigious literary award.

The Booker Prize Foundation said its trustees were already in discussion with a new sponsor, “and are confident that new funding will be in place for 2020”. It added: “In the meantime the two prizes will run as usual this year.”

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Booker prize trustees search for new sponsor after Man Group exit


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Hedge fund firm says it plans to focus its resources instead on its diversity campaign

The Man Booker prize is searching for a new sponsor after the hedge fund company Man Group announced it was ending its 18-year relationship with Britain’s most prestigious literary award.

The Booker Prize Foundation said its trustees were already in discussion with a new sponsor, “and are confident that new funding will be in place for 2020”. It added: “In the meantime the two prizes will run as usual this year.”

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Jayant Kaikini’s No Presents Please wins DSC prize for south Asian literature


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Writer sees off competition from Kamila Shamsie and Mohsin Hamid with award for his collection of Mumbai-set short stories

The poet and short story writer Jayant Kaikini has beaten internationally acclaimed writers including Kamila Shamsie and Mohsin Hamid to win the DSC prize for south Asian literature.

Kaikini’s No Presents Please, a collection of stories set in Mumbai, was originally written in the southern Indian language of Kannada and translated into English by the award-winning translator Tejaswini Niranjana. The $25,000 (£19,100) prize, which rewards the best writing about south Asian culture from writers of any ethnicity and from all over the world, will be split equally between author and translator.

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Dream Sequence by Adam Foulds review – precision of observation


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This story of an ambitious actor and his obsessed fan is brilliantly written, but lacks contemporary resonance

Adam Foulds is the real deal. He has previously won the Costa poetry award for his reimagining of the Kenyan Mau Mau uprising, The Broken Word, and been Man Booker-shortlisted for his 2009 novel about John Clare, The Quickening Maze.

This is his fourth novel and it follows two protagonists: Henry Banks, a successful and solipsistic actor with an emptiness at the centre of his being that only the next big break can fill (but never does); and Kristin, a recently divorced American who is so obsessed with Henry that she writes letters to him twice a week and soon travels to London to begin the happy-ever-after life together that her stalker’s mind has convinced her awaits. Eventually they meet and … uh-oh.

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‘A star is born’: TS Eliot prize goes to Hannah Sullivan’s debut


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Poet’s ‘absolutely exhilarating’ first collection Three Poems takes £25,000 prize

Poet Hannah Sullivan has won the prestigious and lucrative TS Eliot prize for her first collection Three Poems – just the third debut to land the award in its 25-year history, and a sign that the poetry world is hunting for a new generation of voices.

Sullivan, a 39-year-old Londoner who won the £25,000 prize on Monday night, is the third first time poet to take the prize, with all three winning in the last five years: Vietnamese-American Ocean Vuong in 2017 and Chinese-British Sarah Howe in 2015. Before then, the prize had tended to be awarded to more established poets a few collections into their careers, among them Derek Walcott, Carol Ann Duffy, Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney.

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Gwendoline Riley: ‘I don’t like being given books I haven’t asked for’


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The novelist and Geoffrey Faber Memorial prizewinner on her first reading memories and the profound effect of Mihail Sebastian’s diaries

The book I’m currently reading
One is Kapo by Aleksandar Tišma. This was hard to get hold of but having read The Use of Man and The Book of Blam, both recently put out by NYRB Classics, I had to find it. The title will tell you it’s not light reading. Also The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard. She is a new favourite. I love her prose: a bit James-y, but brisker. Kind of as if modernism never happened, and so intelligent and undeceived. Full of aphorisms, and of interesting women in pain over dreadful men.

The book that influenced my writing
I wish the writers I love would influence me more. I’m just not sure it works that way. Can I say various dictionaries and thesauruses?

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Normal People: how Sally Rooney’s novel became the literary phenomenon of the decade


This post is by Sian Cain from Books | The Guardian


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Booksellers are keeping stashes behind counters, others are having to put signs in windows to say it’s in stock … What is it about the novel that has resonated with so many people?

A good measure of a book’s success is: are booksellers tired of being asked if they have it in stock? In one south London bookshop, the owner has put a sign in the window advising that yes, they do have copies of Sally Rooney’s Normal People, the literary phenomenon of the year.

This week, Rooney, 27, became the youngest novelist ever to land the Costa awards’ best novel category. Normal People is now favourite to win the prize for overall book of the year at the end of the month. Her second novel has been a surprise – not for its quality, which was assured after her confident debut Conversations with Friends – but for the response ...

Pat Barker: ‘You could argue that time’s up: we’re at the end of patriarchy’


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The author of the Regeneration trilogy on Brexit, #MeToo – and rewriting the Iliad from a female perspective for her Costa-shortlisted novel The Silence of the Girls

Pat Barker is sitting in a Durham pub, making a back-of-an-envelope list of all the myth-related books that have been published in the last couple of years. There are 11 so far ranging across fiction and non-fiction and she is particularly taken with an Odyssey-based memoir by Daniel Mendelsohn, which points out that, for all its derring-do, the Homeric epic revolves around a bed (the one to which Odysseus returns and Penelope has kept warm, accepting him back as her husband only when he recognises it as “a living tree”).

Barker’s contribution to this growing subgenre is The Silence of the Girls, which looks at Homer’s other epic, the Iliad, from the vantage point of the enslaved Trojan queen, ...

Pieces of Me by Natalie Hart review – a woman in fragments


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Shortlisted for the Costa debut novel award, this is a memorable, cohesive story of a fractured life

Most of us show different versions of ourselves to lovers, colleagues, friends. Emma, in Hart’s Costa-shortlisted debut novel, is more fragmented than most. She is a Brit living in America, thanks to her US soldier husband, whom she met in a military compound in Iraq.

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Pretentious, impenetrable, hard work … better? Why we need difficult books


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This year’s Booker-winner Milkman has been criticised for being challenging. But are we confusing readability with literary value?

“The fascination of what’s difficult,” wrote WB Yeats, “has dried the sap out of my veins ... ” In the press coverage of this year’s Man Booker prize winner, Anna Burns’s Milkman, we’ve read a good many commentators presenting with sapless veins – but a dismaying lack of any sense that what’s difficult might be fascinating.

“Odd”, “impenetrable”, “hard work”, “challenging” and “brain-kneading” have been some of the epithets chosen. They have not been meant, I think, as compliments. The chair of the judges, Kwame Anthony Appiah, perhaps unhelpfully, humblebragged that: “I spend my time reading articles in the Journal of Philosophy, so by my standards this is not too hard.” But he added that Milkman is “challenging […] the way a walk up Snowdon is challenging. It is definitely ...

‘Scary new world’: political book sales explode as UK readers seek answers


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Year-to-date sales are up 50% according to Waterstones, with Trump exposés and Brexit dissections leading the pack

Political book sales have exploded in politics publishing this year, according to Britain’s largest bookseller, Waterstones. The company attributed the growth to writers and readers “urgently seeking to understand this scary new world”.

The UK bookshop chain, which has more than 280 branches, has sold more politics books this year than in the whole of 2015 or 2016, with year-to-date politics sales up by more than 50%. Across the UK, sales of politics books have already surpassed 2017’s final figure of 1.35m, with 1.41m books sold this year so far, according to Nielsen BookScan.

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Women Poets’ prize reveals first three winners


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Honorees include Claire Collison, whose works include a performance piece about female beauty that she performs with her mastectomy scars revealed

A breast cancer survivor who performs a monologue with her mastectomy scars exposed in order to address attitudes towards female beauty is among three recipients of the inaugural Women Poets’ prize. The award aims to celebrate the empowerment of women and reward “creatively ambitious practitioners who are making or are capable of making a significant contribution to the UK poetry landscape”.

Claire Collison, who moved to writing poetry and prose after working for 30 years as a visual artist, was awarded the prize alongside New Zealand-born Nina Mingya Powles and London-based Anita Pati.

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Michael Connelly’s crime fiction career honoured with Diamond Dagger


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The Crime Writers’ Association presents its top honour to the bestselling creator of Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller

The writer Michael Connelly has taken British crime writing’s ultimate accolade, the Crime Writers’ Association Diamond Dagger.

Awarded to writers whose careers have been marked by sustained high standards and who have made a significant contribution to the genre, the honour sees the American author join adistinguished cohort including PD James, John le Carré, Ruth Rendell and Lee Child.

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