This is Happiness by Niall Williams review – love and loss in rural Ireland


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Rich in sentiment and humour, this evocation of an Irish village in the 1970s examines grief, faith and first love

Approach with care the book that offers up a tale of Ireland in the old days. Since Patrick Kavanagh published The Great Hunger in 1942, any book about the poetry of rural life and youth’s endless summer must of necessity be acknowledged as sentimental. The best rural writers demolished these cliches long ago, and built in their place a literature that chronicled with unflinching, sorrowful honesty the world we all came from before we moved into the cities.

One thinks of John McGahern, or RS Thomas’s dismissal of those who idealised Wales: “Too far for you to see / The fluke and the foot-rot and the fat maggot”. Without great skill, the country chronicler’s work will fall into the category of tourist fodder – Scottish shortbread, English ale, ...

Won’t stick: reports of Margaret Atwood’s 2019 Booker prize win greatly exaggerated


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Organisers rush to clarify that judges have not yet decided beyond the shortlist after bookshop brands copies of The Testaments as the winner

The Booker prize has stressed that it has not – yet, anyway – selected Margaret Atwood’s much-heralded sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale as this year’s winner, after a bookseller mistakenly displayed copies declaring it the 2019 victor.

Novelist and academic Matthew Sperling posted an image from an unnamed bookshop of Atwood’s The Testaments on Twitter on Monday. Pictured alongside Lucy Ellmann’s Ducks, Newburyport, which bore a sticker highlighting its shortlisting, The Testaments instead boasted a sticker branding it the winner. “Don’t think you were supposed to use those stickers yet, lads...” wrote Sperling.

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Won’t stick: reports of Margaret Atwood’s 2019 Booker prize win greatly exaggerated


This post is by Alison Flood from Books | The Guardian


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Organisers rush to clarify that judges have not yet decided beyond the shortlist after bookshop brands copies of The Testaments as the winner

The Booker prize has stressed that it has not – yet, anyway – selected Margaret Atwood’s much-heralded sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale as this year’s winner, after a bookseller mistakenly displayed copies declaring it the 2019 victor.

Novelist and academic Matthew Sperling posted an image from an unnamed bookshop of Atwood’s The Testaments on Twitter on Monday. Pictured alongside Lucy Ellmann’s Ducks, Newburyport, which bore a sticker highlighting its shortlisting, The Testaments instead boasted a sticker branding it the winner. “Don’t think you were supposed to use those stickers yet, lads...” wrote Sperling.

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Turkish author jailed for life nominated for £50,000 book award


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Assembled from notes, Ahmet Altan’s I Will Never See the World Again is up for Baillie Gifford prize alongside Guardian and Observer journalists Amelia Gentleman and Laura Cumming

Three years almost to the day since the Turkish author Ahmet Altan was first jailed in the wake of the country’s failed coup, he has been longlisted for the £50,000 Baillie Gifford prize for non-fiction for his prison memoir, I Will Never See the World Again.

First imprisoned in 2016, Altan received a life sentence in 2018 for sending out subliminal messages in favour of a coup” on television and attempting to overthrow the government. PEN America has called his imprisonment “a horrific assault on freedom of expression” and authors including JM Coetzee and AS Byatt have demanded his release in an open letter saying that his “crime is not supporting a coup but the effectiveness of his criticism of the ...

Bernardine Evaristo on Woolwich: ‘We weren’t allowed to play outside’


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The Booker-shortlisted novelist on the garrison town on the edge of London where she was first introduced to the writing of James Baldwin and Buchi Emecheta

The Woolwich of my childhood was a predominantly white, working-class garrison town on the outskirts of London, the Thames obscured by the fortress-like wall of the Woolwich Arsenal armaments factory. Today it’s an incredibly multicultural district on the verge of gentrification, boasting luxury high rises with spectacular riverside views.

My family – English mother, Nigerian father and seven siblings – lived on Eglinton Road, which wended its way to the vast expanse of Woolwich Common at one end and a parade of shops at the other. My first primary school, Notre Dame Convent, was next door to our house. My second primary school, Plumcroft, was a 10-minute walk up Eglinton Hill. My next school, Eltham Hill Girls’ Grammar, took 20 minutes on the bus. ...

Booker prize: Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale sequel makes shortlist


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The Testaments, set to be published next Tuesday, remains under lock and key, as Salman Rushdie and an 1,000 page monologue also make final six

The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s much-anticipated sequel to her feminist dystopia The Handmaid’s Tale, has landed her a place on the Booker prize shortlist – despite the fact that barely anyone has read it yet.

With little publicly known beyond that it is set more than 15 years after Atwood’s hero Offred escaped a theocratic future America, the plot of The Testaments remains under strict lock and key until its global release date on 10 September, with midnight launches and bookshop parties planned around the world.

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Night for Day by Peter Flanery review – double lives examined


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The past haunts the present in a multi-layered narrative centred on the film industry and themes of betrayal

In the final pages of Patrick Flanery’s immersive fourth novel, Helen Fairdale sits down to write a letter. It’s the summer of 2016; in her youth she was an actor in Hollywood, at the beck and call of the studio system in the years after the second world war, a period of anti-communist hysteria when the House Un-American Activities Committee wielded terrifying power. The film industry was a particular focus of the committee’s investigations, culminating in the persecution of the “Hollywood 10”, a group of writers and directors called to testify in 1947. When they refused to cooperate, the men received jail sentences and blacklistings. Helen recalls the righteous venom of those bygone days. “How could men and women in the 1940s and 1950s who believed they were doing good (as I ...

Not the Booker prize 2019: the first three books on our shortlist are …


This post is by Sam Jordison from Books | The Guardian


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After a lively week of voting, three novels have made it to the final stage – where your opinions will remain crucial

The votes have been cast. They have been counted. We have whittled down our very long longlist and now have a very short shortlist of three books:

The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas by Daniel James (Dead Ink Books)
Please Read This Leaflet Carefully by Karen Havelin (Dead Ink Books)
Skin by Liam Brown (Legend)

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From Black Panther to Tade Thompson: why Afrofuturism is taking over sci-fi


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Thompson’s Arthur C Clarke winning novel Rosewater, NK Jemisin, Nnedi Okorafor ... the most exciting sci-fi is coming from writers of colour

Last week Tade Thompson, a British-born Yoruba writer, became only the second writer of black African heritage to win the Arthur C Clarke award for science fiction. Three out of this year’s five shortlisted titles were by writers of colour, a reflection of the fact that some of today’s most exciting SF and fantasy writing comes from non-white authors. Recent high-profile examples include Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, which won the Pulitzer prize in 2017, as well as that year’s Arthur C Clarke award and is being made into a TV series by Barry Jenkins; and NK Jemisin, who last year won a third consecutive Hugo award for best science fiction novel with the final part of her Broken Earth trilogy. Yet as Tom Hunter, award administrator ...

The Booker prize 2019 longlist’s biggest surprise? There aren’t many | Justine Jordan


This post is by Justine Jordan from Books | The Guardian


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Previous winners Salman Rushdie and Margaret Atwood head the 13 contenders, many of whom are almost as well-established

The surprise about this year’s Booker longlist? That for the first time in years, there are few surprises. This is a list dominated by big names, including one author who won the prize almost four decades ago. Salman Rushdie’s Quichotte, published next month, is a picaresque road trip through contemporary America inspired by Don Quixote. Jeanette Winterson also riffs on a classic: Frankissstein is a mashup of Romanticism and cutting-edge technology, exploring gender identity and AI. Deborah Levy gets her third nomination in a row for The Man Who Saw Everything, a wildly original treatment of totalitarianism and desire, while John Lanchester’s The Wall is a controlled dystopia about borders going up in a time of climate crisis.

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Handmaid’s Tale sequel leads ‘exacting’ 2019 Booker prize longlist


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Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments – not published until September – is chosen alongside 12 other ‘credible winners’ including Salman Rushdie and Jeanette Winterson

Most readers will have to wait until September to find out what happens in Margaret Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, but the Booker judges have deemed The Testaments worthy of a place on the 2019 longlist for the £50,000 literary prize.

This is the sixth time the Canadian novelist has been nominated for the Booker, and her first nomination since she won the UK’s most prestigious literary prize for The Blind Assassin in 2000.The Testaments is set 15 years after the end of her dystopian classic The Handmaid’s Tale. Out on 10 September, the novel’s contents remain a closely guarded secret – with this year’s judges, chaired by Hay festival director Peter ...

Not the Booker prize 2019: nominate your novel of the year now


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Now into its second decade, the reader-driven books award is introducing some exciting new features. But we still need your votes

The Not the Booker prize is back – for the 11th time. We’ve been uncovering excellent novels for more than a decade, and that’s a mighty fine thing. But let’s not dwell on the past, because the future promises yet more excitement. Like many 11-year-olds, the Not the Booker is changing.

We still want to find this year’s best novels and uncover a few gems that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. We still want to have a serious discussion about literature and prize culture. We still want to have fun. And we still want to hear from you about the books that matter. So this year’s Not the Booker prize begins like every other, with nominations ...

Tade Thompson’s ‘gritty’ alien invasion tale wins Arthur C Clarke award


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Judges praise winning novel Rosewater for its ‘winning combination of science fictional invention and sly wit’

British Yoruba author Tade Thompson has won the Arthur C Clarke award, the UK’s most prestigious prize for science fiction novels, for Rosewater, his alien invasion novel set in a future Africa.

Opening in 2066, in the aftermath of an alien invasion that has left much of humanity powerless through airborne microscopic fungal spores, Rosewater is the name of a new town that forms on the outskirts of an alien biodome dropped in rural Nigeria. The dome opens just once a year, heals all nearby sick people, gives new life to the dead and begins to influence people in unusual ways. The alien presence has also awakened telepathic skills among select humans, dubbed “sensitives”, and the novel follows one, Kaaro, who investigates when other sensitives begin to die.

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Tade Thompson’s ‘gritty’ alien invasion tale wins Arthur C Clarke award


This post is by Sian Cain from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Judges praise winning novel Rosewater for its ‘winning combination of science fictional invention and sly wit’

British Yoruba author Tade Thompson has won the Arthur C Clarke award, the UK’s most prestigious prize for science fiction novels, for Rosewater, his alien invasion novel set in a future Africa.

Opening in 2066, in the aftermath of an alien invasion that has left much of humanity powerless through airborne microscopic fungal spores, Rosewater is the name of a new town that forms on the outskirts of an alien biodome dropped in rural Nigeria. The dome opens just once a year, heals all nearby sick people, gives new life to the dead and begins to influence people in unusual ways. The alien presence has also awakened telepathic skills among select humans, dubbed “sensitives”, and the novel follows one, Kaaro, who investigates when other sensitives begin to die.

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Jilly Cooper tops inaugural Comedy women in print awards


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The Rutshire Chronicles author received the lifetime achievement honour, with prizes for rising stars Laura Steven and Kirsty Eyre

Reigning queen of the pun Jilly Cooper has been awarded the inaugural Comedy women in print (CWIP) lifetime achievement award “in recognition of her legacy and inspiration to comic women writers everywhere”.

The bestselling author, who at one point describes her hero Rupert Campbell-Black’s aggressive love-making as “like a power drill … her Campbell-Black-and-Decker”, was named winner on Wednesday night.

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I can’t write about a world without rape – because I don’t live in one


This post is by Kaite Welsh from Books | The Guardian


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Women read and write crime fiction as a way to understand real experience. I was raped – and being told by the Staunch prize that books like mine are preventing justice is outrageous

That rape cases are hard to prosecute is no shocker, but the claim that crime writers are partly to blame shocked me. According to the Staunch prize for books with no violence against women, writers who include sexual violence and rape in their books are contributing to a wider culture in which jurors are “reluctant to convict ‘ordinary’ men” because “they don’t fit the idea of a rapist they’ve internalised through the stories and images they’ve received through popular culture”. In great thriller tradition, the call is coming from inside the house.

As someone who analyses culture for a living and often finds it wanting, I’m in the unaccustomed position of noting that what we’re talking about ...

Crime writers react with fury to claim their books hinder rape trials


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Novelists have condemned the Staunch prize – for thrillers without violence against women – as a ‘gagging order’, after organisers said the genre could bias jurors

Crime novelists have hit out at the claim that fictional depictions of sexual assault influence the outcomes of rape cases, after a prize for books with no violence against women asserted that stereotypical portrayals of attackers could “seriously affect justice”.

The Staunch prize, awarded to a thriller in which no woman is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered, was launched last year to “offer an alternative narrative to stories based around violence to women”. When it was announced, it was widely criticised by major writers including Val McDermid and Sophie Hannah. McDermid said that “as long as men commit appalling acts of misogyny and violence against women, I will write about it so that it does not go unnoticed”, and Hannah told her ...

Crime writers react with fury to claim their books hinder rape trials


This post is by Alison Flood from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Novelists have condemned the Staunch prize – for thrillers without violence against women – as a ‘gagging order’, after organisers said the genre could bias jurors

Crime novelists have hit out at the claim that fictional depictions of sexual assault influence the outcomes of rape cases, after a prize for books with no violence against women asserted that stereotypical portrayals of attackers could “seriously affect justice”.

The Staunch prize, awarded to a thriller in which no woman is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered, was launched last year to “offer an alternative narrative to stories based around violence to women”. When it was announced, it was widely criticised by major writers including Val McDermid and Sophie Hannah. McDermid said that “as long as men commit appalling acts of misogyny and violence against women, I will write about it so that it does not go unnoticed”, and Hannah told her ...

Miles Franklin award 2019: shortlisted Australian authors ‘unafraid to take risks’


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Judges laud six authors vying for $60,000 prize, including Michael Mohammed Ahmad, Melissa Lucashenko and Rodney Hall

From an unsettling, dystopian vision of the ocean’s future to a tale of Muslim youth in western Sydney, judges for the 2019 Miles Franklin literary award said its shortlist speaks to the diversity of Australian experience and imagination.

The six authors shortlisted for the $60,000 prize were announced on Tuesday. They include Miles Franklin veterans Rodney Hall, Gail Jones and previous longlistee Melissa Lucashenko, alongside Gregory Day, Michael Mohammed Ahmad and Jennifer Mills.

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Miles Franklin award 2019: shortlisted Australian authors ‘unafraid to take risks’


This post is by Stephanie Convery from Books | The Guardian


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Judges laud six authors vying for $60,000 prize, including Michael Mohammed Ahmad, Melissa Lucashenko and Rodney Hall

From an unsettling, dystopian vision of the ocean’s future to a tale of Muslim youth in western Sydney, judges for the 2019 Miles Franklin literary award said its shortlist speaks to the diversity of Australian experience and imagination.

The six authors shortlisted for the $60,000 prize were announced on Tuesday. They include Miles Franklin veterans Rodney Hall, Gail Jones and previous longlistee Melissa Lucashenko, alongside Gregory Day, Michael Mohammed Ahmad and Jennifer Mills.

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