‘What’s taking so long?’: children’s books still neglect BAME readers, finds study


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Although picture has improved since 2017, research shows that last year only 4% of books for the youngest readers featured a minority ethnic hero

In most children’s books, according to one London primary school pupil, “people are peach”. Another feels there are “no black people” in the stories they read, meaning that the characters they imagine always seem white.

The children, from Surrey Square primary school, were being interviewed for a new report into representation of people of colour, which reveals that in 2018 only 4% of children’s books published in the UK in 2019 had a minority ethnic hero. The survey included all new books for children aged between three and 11. The proportion is an increase on 2017, when just 1% of main characters were BAME.

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We Need New Stories by Nesrine Malik review – challenging today’s toxic myths


This post is by Helen Charman from Books | The Guardian


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How free speech, political correctness, identity politics, empire are misunderstood ... a rigorous study of our predicament

The idea that the tumultuous political events that occurred in Britain and the US from 2016 onwards were caused by a kind of sudden populist madness has become something of a cultural myth. Invoked by commentators and politicians alike, it recasts in a soft, nostalgic glow the preceding years and decades, turning the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics, the election of Barack Obama and the Queen’s golden jubilee into liberal touchstones, ignoring austerity, drone strikes and the legacy of empire.

“Myth” is a term that has long been used, in cultural studies and elsewhere, to illustrate the ideological uses to which events and images can be put: Roland Barthes called it the system that perpetuated the confusion of “Nature and History”. In We Need New Stories, Nesrine Malik deconstructs the ...

When Milton met Shakespeare: poet’s notes on Bard appear to have been found


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Hailed as one of the most significant archival discoveries of modern times, text seems to show the Paradise Lost poet making careful annotations on his edition of Shakespeare’s plays

Almost 400 years after the first folio of Shakespeare was published in 1623, scholars believe they have identified the early owner of one copy of the text, who made hundreds of insightful annotations throughout: John Milton.

The astonishing find, which academics say could be one of the most important literary discoveries of modern times, was made by Cambridge University fellow Jason Scott-Warren when he was reading an article about the anonymous annotator by Pennsylvania State University English professor Claire Bourne. Bourne’s study of this copy, which has been housed in the Free Library of Philadelphia since 1944, dated the annotator to the mid-17th century, finding them alive to “the sense, accuracy, and interpretative possibility of the dialogue”. She also provided many ...

Permanent Record by Edward Snowden review – the whistleblower’s memoir


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The call of duty and a patriotic pedigree are given priority in Snowden’s account of his motivations – and he warns of dangers ahead

Towards the end of Edward Snowden’s memoir, he hands the narrative to his partner, Lindsay Mills, in the form of the diary she was keeping at the time he was “outing” himself as a whistleblower intent on revealing the most cherished secrets, and rampant ambitions, of the American and British spy agencies. “Ed, what have you done?” she wrote. “How can you come back from this?”

Permanent Record is Snowden’s attempt to answer these questions by doing something he finds discomforting and antithetical: breaching his own privacy, opening up what he calls the “empty zone that lies beyond the reach of the state”.

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For the Record: signs of trouble before David Cameron book hits shelves


This post is by Ben Quinn and Alison Flood from Books | The Guardian


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Preorders appear sluggish and some shops in remain-voting areas say they won’t stock memoir

It is the fruit of three years’ work, at least some of which is presumed to have taken place inside a £25,000 shepherd’s hut.

The much-anticipated publication next week of For the Record, David Cameron’s 752-page book promising a candid account of his time in politics, is expected to be the moment a man widely blamed for Britain’s greatest postwar crisis will make a concerted bid for control of his tainted legacy.

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Michael Morpurgo on fighting Brexit: ‘I’ve been spat at. It’s almost civil war’


This post is by Etan Smallman from Books | The Guardian


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The world’s getting nastier, says the writer, and Britain no longer cares. So he’s hitting back – with a Gulliver’s Travels update that targets Trump, Brexit and the refugee crisis

Michael Morpurgo has all the trappings befitting a prolific, bestselling and beloved children’s author. There is the National Theatre production (War Horse, still touring the globe) and its Spielberg movie adaptation; the stint as children’s laureate (a post he helped create); the gold Blue Peter badge and the knighthood. But as a vocal campaigner against Brexit, he is getting used to rather a different kind of reception.

“I’ve been spat at,” Britain’s storyteller-in-chief says nonchalantly over lunch at his local pub in an idyllic Devon village. “I went to Sidmouth folk festival – quite a peaceable part of the world, you would have thought.” The trouble began when he bought one of the “little blue ...

Ian McEwan announces surprise Brexit satire, The Cockroach


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Out this month, the Kafkaesque novella sees a man wake up as prime minister and is described by the author as a ‘therapeutic response’ to Brexit turmoil

In Kafka’s Metamorphosis, Gregor Samsa awoke to discover that he had been transformed into a monstrous beetle. Now, in Ian McEwan’s unexpected new project, Jim Sams wakes and finds he must endure a worse fate: he has become the British prime minister.

Announced on Thursday, and to be published in just two weeks time on 27 September, The Cockroach is McEwan’s 16th work of fiction and his second to be published this year, after the novel Machines Like Me. Following the transformation, Sams – who was “ignored or loathed” in his previous life – finds himself with new powers and a new mission: to carry out the will of the people.

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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 ...

Angela Carter’s ‘carnival’ London home receives blue plaque


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The novelist wrote some of her most famous books at the Clapham house, where she also tutored the young Kazuo Ishiguro

The house in Clapham, south London, where the acclaimed author Angela Carter lived for the last 16 years of her life has been commemorated with a blue plaque by English Heritage.

Carter lived at 107, The Chase from 1976 until her death from lung cancer in 1992, aged 51. There, she wrote seminal works including The Bloody Chamber, her acclaimed erotic retellings of fairytales, Nights at the Circus and Wise Children, also tutoring her then student, now Nobel laureate, Kazuo Ishiguro at her kitchen table, and entertaining writers including Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan and JG Ballard.

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Lyra McKee anthology to show ‘subtlety and courage’ of murdered reporter


This post is by Jade Cuttle from Books | The Guardian


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Collection of the campaigning journalist’s work will be published next year to mark the anniversary of her killing

An anthology of work by the investigative journalist Lyra McKee, who was fatally shot by New IRA gunmen, will be published next year on the first anniversary of her death, Faber & Faber has announced.

The 29-year-old was reporting on unrest in Derry on 18 April while standing close to a police vehicle when she was killed by activists from the dissident republican group. Both marking her loss and celebrating her work, Lyra McKee: Lost, Found, Remembered will be published in April 2020.

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‘She’s a prophet’: handmaids gather for Margaret Atwood’s midnight launch of The Testaments


This post is by Sian Cain from Books | The Guardian


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With cocktails and craftivism, fans and authors including Neil Gaiman and Jeanette Winterson countdown release of sequel

The last time bookshops saw this much action at midnight on a weekday, a certain boy wizard was on the shelves.

“There’s not another Potter out?” a passing man asks the growing queue outside Waterstones in London’s Piccadilly, where a parade of women dressed in red flowing robes and white bonnets are silently gliding by.

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Exclusive: John le Carré’s new novel set amid ‘lunatic’ Brexit intrigue


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Agent Running in the Field, due out next month, reflects ‘the divisions in Britain, and between Britain and Europe’.

  • Read an extract below

Just as intrigue over Brexit is expected to reach peak intensity next month, Britain’s master spy novelist John le Carré will be releasing a new novel, set in 2018, where the UK is ruled by “a minority Tory cabinet of 10th-raters”, and the country’s new prime minister Boris Johnson is at that point merely “a pig-ignorant foreign secretary”.

An early extract from Le Carré’s 25th novel, Agent Running in the Field, is published in Saturday’s Guardian. It shows Nat, a 47-year-old member of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (MI5), revealing his career choices to his daughter. As she picks away at his beliefs, Nat admits to serious reservations about the idea of England “as the mother of all democracies”, describing the country as in freefall, with “a minority ...

Newcastle bookseller bans Michael Owen memoir over slights to city


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Huge sports book retailer based in city says Reboot’s account of sour relationship with the city’s team has made it the first book they will ban

A sports bookshop in Newcastle upon Tyne has announced that it will not stock Michael Owen’s new memoir Reboot, after early extracts revealed the footballer’s reluctance to move from Real Madrid to Newcastle United in 2005, writing: “I don’t need to justify myself to fucking Newcastle fans.”

Newcastle-based The Back Page, which describes itself as the largest stockist of sports books in the world, said that Reboot is “the first book we have ever totally refused to stock”.

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Richard Ayoade webchat – follow it live!


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The director, actor, author, presenter and overachiever is here answering your questions

Thanks every one!
Sorry every one!
Bye every one!

ShermanMLight asks:

As a reknowned Dinosaur Jr fan, what’s your favourite album of theirs? (Mine is Dinosaur)

I have a soft spot for Green Mind
but also
You're Living All Over Me
and
Beyond
and the last one was great

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Order, order! Books to help make sense of parliament


This post is by Isabel Hardman from Books | The Guardian


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From Erskine May to The Rise of Political Lying, journalist Isabel Hardman shares the best titles that explain what is happening in UK politics

If you’re confused by the current political scene, you may or may not be reassured to learn that the people paid to understand it, including political journalists, are also struggling to keep up. Many of the twists and turns in parliament are so unprecedented that it’s not clear whether they are supposed to be happening or not.

Everyone is trying to sound better briefed than they actually are. There’s not even a great deal of point in burying yourself in Erskine May, the parliamentary bible of what MPs can and cannot do, because Speaker Bercow has been more than willing to ignore it too. Still, that weighty tome is now online, so at least you don’t have to haul it around with you on public ...

Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale sequel escapes from tight secrecy


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Strict measures meant to keep all details of The Testaments confidential until publication have fallen through for some US readers

Hundreds of readers in the US have received early copies of Margaret Atwood’s heavily embargoed follow-up to The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testaments, after copies were shipped out early by Amazon.

Security around the novel had been as tight as anything mounted for JK Rowling or Dan Brown’s blockbuster releases – the judges for the Booker prize, who shortlisted The Testaments for the award on Wednesday, were warned they would be held liable if their watermarked copies leaked. But since Tuesday, readers have been posting images on Twitter of their freshly delivered copies, a week before the novel’s official release on 10 September.

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Unknown text by John Locke reveals roots of ‘foundational democratic ideas’


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Newly discovered ‘Reasons for tolerateing Papists equally with others’ shows the Enlightenment thinker expressing unexpected social liberalism

A “once in a generation” discovery of a centuries-old manuscript by John Locke shows the great English philosopher making his earliest arguments for religious toleration, with the scholar who unearthed it calling the document “the origin and catalyst for momentous and foundational ideas of western liberal democracy”.

Dated to 1667-8, the manuscript titled “Reasons for tolerateing Papists equally with others”, was previously unknown to academia. It had been owned by the descendants of one of Locke’s friends until the 1920s, when it was sold at auction to a book dealer. From there, it went into private collections until it was donated to St John’s College, Annapolis, in the latter half of the 20th century. It lay unstudied in archives until Locke scholar JC Walmsley noticed a reference to it in a 1928 book ...

Lavinia Greenlaw on Essex: ‘As a teen, even Siberia had to be better’


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The poet and novelist recalls the lacerating east wind, the weekly library van and eventually finding inspiration in village life

When I was 11, my family moved from London to an Essex village. I was bereft. My plan for my teenage years involved going to see David Bowie and T Rex at the Roundhouse, not sitting about in bus shelters. We arrived in winter at a time of power cuts. People spoke of the lacerating easterly wind as blowing in “straight from Siberia”. Even Siberia had to be better than this. When I read Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, the tedium of the gulag made me sigh knowingly.

I read compulsively and without discrimination as a way of being anywhere but there. Books protected me from my loneliness, too. I read trashy apocalyptic novels, decrepit romances, the small ads in the local paper, ...

Richard Booth obituary


This post is by Oliver Balch from Books | The Guardian


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Self-styled King of Hay who put the market town on the map by establishing it as a centre for the secondhand book trade

On April Fools’ Day 1977 Richard Booth, who has died aged 80, strode down the high street of Hay-on-Wye, Powys, dressed in a home-made crown and fake ermine robe. His intent – to declare the small market town an independent sovereign state – was as visionary as it was bonkers.

Today Hay-on-Wye, a pretty but otherwise unremarkable border town, thrives thanks to the remarkable legacy of its self-appointed monarch, who helped to establish it as a centre for the secondhand book trade and to create the environment in which the annual Hay festival of literature and arts was founded in 1988. The narrow streets of the UK’s so-called Town of Books now buzz with tourists and incomers throughout the year.

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Richard Booth obituary


This post is by Oliver Balch from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Self-styled King of Hay who put the market town on the map by establishing it as a centre for the secondhand book trade

On April Fools’ Day 1977 Richard Booth, who has died aged 80, strode down the high street of Hay-on-Wye, Powys, dressed in a home-made crown and fake ermine robe. His intent – to declare the small market town an independent sovereign state – was as visionary as it was bonkers.

Today Hay-on-Wye, a pretty but otherwise unremarkable border town, thrives thanks to the remarkable legacy of its self-appointed monarch, who helped to establish it as a centre for the secondhand book trade and to create the environment in which the annual Hay festival of literature and arts was founded in 1988. The narrow streets of the UK’s so-called Town of Books now buzz with tourists and incomers throughout the year.

Continue reading...