Stav Sherez wins crime novel of the year for ‘moving the genre forward’

The Intrusions, in which the case of an abduction reveals online terrors, takes the 2018 Theakston Old Peculier prize

Stav Sherez has won the 2018 Theakston Old Peculier award for crime fiction with his novel The Intrusions.

The third outing for detectives Jack Carrigan and Geneva Miller begins when a young woman arrives at their west London police station, saying that her friend has been abducted from the seedy Bayswater hostel where they both live. Soon the investigators discover that someone has been using remote-access technology to gain control both of the women’s laptops and their lives.

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Arthur C Clarke award goes to ‘classic’ novel exploring the limits of pregnancy

Anne Charnock’s novel Dreams Before the Start of Time, which focuses on changing reproductive science, hailed as ‘rich but unshowy’ by judges

A novel set in a world where infertility has been eradicated and artificial wombs have become the preferred method of gestation has won this year’s Arthur C Clarke award for science fiction.

Beginning in London in 2034, Anne Charnock’s Dreams Before the Start of Time examines the reproductive decisions of several characters in the same group of families, over multiple generations. Two friends, Millie and Toni, bear children who will in turn experience very different methods of birth over the following decades – in one case, adopting an orphan who was left to gestate in an artificial womb; in another, a man who creates a daughter using only his DNA.

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The ugly scandal that cancelled the Nobel prize

Sweden’s literary elite has been thrown into disarray by allegations of sexual harassment and corruption. By Andrew Brown

In the eyes of its members, there is no more important cultural institution in the world than the Swedish Academy. The members, who call themselves The Eighteen (always in capitals), are elected for life by their peers, and meet for a ritual dinner every Thursday evening at a restaurant they own in the heart of the old town in Stockholm. And once a year, at a ceremony brilliant with jewels and formality, the permanent secretary of the academy hands out the Nobel prize in literature and all the world applauds.

But this year there will be no prize and no ceremony. In November 2017, it was revealed in the Swedish press that the husband of one of the academy members had been accused of serial sexual abuse, in assaults alleged to ...

Not the Booker prize 2018: nominate your favourite book of the year

The literary award decided by Guardian readers is celebrating its 10th birthday – and now it’s down to you to choose the contenders

The Not the Booker prize is back. Again! When we started back in 2009, the world was a different place – one Gordon Brown was prime minister and a TV host called Donald Trump had just endorsed Hillary Clinton to be president of the US.

Over the last 10 years we’ve done some fine work – or, I should say, you’ve done some fine work. It’s your nominations, suggestions and votes that have made this prize over the past decade. We’ve had some fiery and important discussions about the nature of art and prizes and judgments. We’ve also been able to bring attention to some excellent books – bask in the glow of our past winners:

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The Alternative Nobel: vote opens for a surprising new literature prize

Swedish librarians have drawn up their longlist for the New Academy’s take on the world’s biggest books award. And it really is new

Sweden’s librarians have spoken: a wonderfully eclectic lineup of authors has emerged on a long-ish longlist for the New Academy’s alternative to the postponed 2018 Nobel prize for literature.

Traditionally awarded in autumn by the opaque and austere Swedish Academy, the Nobel was called off in March due to an ongoing sex scandal – and swiftly replaced when a group of the country’s cultural figures decided that the “world’s greatest literature prize” should still be awarded. “In a time when human values are increasingly being called into question,” the New Academy’s solemn opener read, “literature becomes an even more important counterforce to stop the culture of silence and oppression.”

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‘Not every day was like Trainspotting’: Orwell prizewinner Darren McGarvey on class, addiction and redemption

The author of Poverty Safari, better known as the rapper Loki, believes you can break out of the cycle of grinding poverty, abuse and addiction. And he should know – he is the living proof, he says

Darren McGarvey, who this week won the Orwell book prize for Poverty Safari, his memoir of growing up in a tough part of Glasgow with an alcoholic, drug-abusing mother, is a little embarrassed by the chair of judges Andrew Adonis comparing his work to George Orwell’s. “I misread his quote and thought it said ‘It’s not up to the Orwell standard’, and I thought, ‘That’s fair enough.’ And then I read it again and realised it said it is, and I thought: ‘That’s really nice but I’m not going to buy into that idea.’ I’ve got so long to go and a writer could live five lifetimes and not match Orwell.”

It’s ...

American librarians defend renaming Laura Ingalls Wilder award

Professional body the ALA says the Little House on the Prairie author’s ‘complex legacy’ of racist attitudes was not consistent with its values

The American Library Association (ALA) has stressed that its decision to drop Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from its children’s literature award due to racist sentiments in her books is not “an attempt to censor, limit, or deter access” to the Little House on the Prairie author’s books.

The organisation announced on Sunday that the board of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) had voted 12 to zero in favour of changing the name of the Laura Ingalls Wilder award to the Children’s literature legacy award. The prize was first awarded in 1954 to Wilder herself, and has been won by some of America’s best-loved children’s authors, from EB White to Beverly Cleary.

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American librarians defend renaming Laura Ingalls Wilder award

Professional body the ALA says the Little House on the Prairie author’s ‘complex legacy’ of racist attitudes was not consistent with its values

The American Library Association (ALA) has stressed that its decision to drop Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from its children’s literature award due to racist sentiments in her books is not “an attempt to censor, limit, or deter access” to the Little House on the Prairie author’s books.

The organisation announced on Sunday that the board of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) had voted 12 to zero in favour of changing the name of the Laura Ingalls Wilder award to the Children’s literature legacy award. The prize was first awarded in 1954 to Wilder herself, and has been won by some of America’s best-loved children’s authors, from EB White to Beverly Cleary.

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Reading group: Help choose a Booker prize winner to read in July

The Golden Man Booker prize judges are making their choice – but we want your ‘gold’. The author will win our attention for a month. Please vote!

This July is a bumper Man Booker month. As well as the announcement of the 2018 longlist, we also have the results of the Golden Booker vote to look forward to, with members of the public picking their favourite winner from a six-book shortlist spanning the last 50 years. So we thought we’d join in, by asking you to nominate your own favourite winner from the last half-century to be this month’s reading group selection.

I have to admit I initially felt some “franchise fatigue” when the Golden Booker was announced. It perhaps says as much about my relationship with time as it does about the Booker, but it doesn’t seem all that long since the Lost Booker (won by ...

‘It is like being on psychedelic drugs’: Benjamin Myers on the strange world of literary prizes

Heading to the Scottish Borders to win the Walter Scott prize for historical fiction, Myers takes a strange literary trip involving Gordon Brown and a lot of potted shrimp

A strange thing happened this week: my dreams came true.

When I received a message several weeks ago to say that I had been shortlisted for the Walter Scott prize, the world’s richest prize for historical fiction, I was struck by one immediate thought: “I didn’t know I wrote historical fiction.” My nominated novel The Gallows Pole is the retelling of a true story of a murderous 18th-century criminal gang of forgers known as the Cragg Vale Coiners, who take on the might of an establishment who want to keep them poor and hungry. Up until then, I simply saw it as an allegorical tale for an austerity Britain ruled by a government not entirely favourable towards literature – ...

Preti Taneja’s ‘awe-inspiring’ reimagining of King Lear wins Desmond Elliott prize

Debut novel We That Are Young takes £10,000 award after early struggles to find a publisher

Preti Taneja’s debut novel We That Are Young, a reimagining of King Lear set in contemporary India that was rejected by multiple major publishers as commercially unviable, has won the £10,000 Desmond Elliott prize.

Judges for the award, which is named after the late literary agent and publisher and is intended to reward a first novel that is “both vividly written and confidently realised”, described We That Are Young as “awe-inspiring” in its “scope, ambition, skill and wisdom”. Chair and author Sarah Perry said that after reading it, she and her fellow judges “sat together shaking our heads, saying, ‘If this is her first novel, what extraordinary work will come next?’”

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What is it like being a first-time novelist today? – books podcast

In some ways, it has never been easier to become an author – but in others, it has never been harder. While self-publishing, blogging and crowdfunding have opened up opportunities, there are also unprecedented financial pressures that determine who can and can’t afford to write, with books cheaper than ever and advances getting lower.

On this week’s show, Sian sits down with two first-time novelists to discuss the challenges and joys of publishing a book today: Paula Cocozza, author of How to Be Human and Preti Taneja, author of We That Are Young. Both women are up for the Desmond Elliott prize, an award intended to help debut writers to get on with their next book.

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Carnegie medal winner slams children’s book publishers for ‘accessible’ prose

Geraldine McCaughrean, accepting award for Where the World Ends, warned that restricting the language children read risks creating a future underclass who are ‘easy to manipulate’

Carnegie medal winner Geraldine McCaughrean has castigated the books industry for dumbing down language in children’s literature, warning that a new focus on “accessible” prose for younger readers will lead to “an underclass of citizens with a small but functional vocabulary: easy to manipulate and lacking in the means to reason their way out of subjugation”.

McCaughrean was named winner on Wednesday of this year’s CILIP Carnegie medal for her historical adventure novel Where the World Ends, 30 years after she first took the prize, the UK’s most esteemed children’s literature award. She used her winner’s speech to attack publishers’ fixation on accessible language, which she called “a euphemism for something desperate”.

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Miles Franklin 2018 shortlist: Gerald Murnane gets first nod in 44-year career

Previous winners Michelle de Kretser and Kim Scott have also been shortlisted for the award

Will Gerald Murnane win the 2018 Miles Franklin for his first nomination in a 44-year literary career? That is the question on the lips of the literary community with the announcement of the shortlist for the $60,000 prize on Sunday night.

Murnane, recently described as “the greatest living English-language writer most people have never heard of”, has been shortlisted for Border Districts, a loosely autobiographical novel based on meditations on history, the narrator’s own past, and the boundary between life and death.

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Mike McCormack wins €100,000 International Dublin literary award with one-sentence novel

Solar Bones, the Irish author’s fifth book, is told by a ghost on All Souls’ Day and was turned away by major publishers as too uncommercial

It’s not often that an author described on his own Wikipedia page as “disgracefully neglected” is awarded a €100,000 literary prize. But this is where the Irish author Mike McCormack finds himself, with Wednesday’s announcement that he has won the International Dublin literary award for his novel, Solar Bones. As someone who has hovered close to mainstream success without ever shaking off the slightly damning label of “writer’s writer”, he is unsurprisingly delighted.

“I don’t feel neglected today. I don’t know who put that Wiki page up, but I think whoever did will have to rethink that,” he laughs. “I was shocked. I had completely given up hope that I was going to win it. But I’m over the shock now and enjoying myself ...

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wins PEN Pinter prize

Nigerian author wins award in memory of the late Nobel laureate for her ‘refusal to be deterred or detained by the categories of others’

Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has been awarded the 2018 PEN Pinter prize. She was hailed by Harold Pinter’s widow, the biographer Antonia Fraser, as a writer who embodies “those qualities of courage and outspokenness which Harold much admired”.

An award-winning novelist – her 2004 debut Purple Hibiscus won the Commonwealth writers’ prize, Half of a Yellow Sun won her the Orange prize in 2006, and Americanah took the US National Book Critics Circle award in 2014 – Adichie is also known for her TED talks and essays. Her most recent book is Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, which began as advice for a friend about how to raise her daughter as a feminist.

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Kamila Shamsie: ‘We have to find reasons for optimism’

The award-winning writer on prophecy, political pessimism and her love of London

When Kamila Shamsie began her novel Home Fire in 2015, Sadiq Khan had yet to launch his campaign to become London’s mayor and the idea of a Muslim home secretary would have been dismissed as a futuristic fantasy. As she stepped up to receive the Women’s prize for fiction this week, both had come to pass, along with several more chilling scenarios in her updating of the classical tragedy Antigone to multicultural Britain today.

After the banker-turned-Conservative MP Sajid Javid was promoted to the Home Office, a supporter went so far as to create a twitter hashtag, #nostrashamsie. But to those who tell her that the resonance of the novel has grown exponentially since it was published last year, Shamsie briskly responds: “I’m not a soothsayer – these things were in the water.”

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Reporter by Seymour Hersh review – memoir of a giant of journalism

The reporter who exposed the My Lai massacre and the CIA’s illegal domestic spying in the 1970s continues to be a rebel outsider

“Give me a break!” were the first words Lieutenant William Calley Jr, accused of killing 109 Vietnamese civilians, said to Seymour Hersh when the intrepid reporter finally found him. It had not been an easy task for Hersh, who had been chasing the story for weeks. In the hunt for Calley he had driven to Fort Benning, Georgia, scoured (without success) endless volumes of phone directories, broken into a military barracks and pretended to be a lawyer. When he finally did find Calley, the last thing he was willing to give him was a break. That initial story of what had happened at My Lai, and how complicit the US army had been in the killing of civilians, came after an all-night, bourbon-fuelled interview, at ...