The Origin of Others by Toni Morrison review – the language of race and racism

The author of Beloved reads that novel alongside the real-life story that inspired it, in one of a resonant set of lectures on literature and the fetishisation of skin colour

It is hard not to read Toni Morrison’s The Origin of Others in the light of recent disturbing political developments in the US. As Ta-Nehisi Coates points out in his introduction, the central concerns of this slim book, based on Morrison’s 2016 Norton lectures at Harvard on “the literature of belonging”, may seem to have a new resonance after the election of Trump and given the increasing visibility of white supremacist groups.

Morrison considers the fetishisation of skin colour and the questions posed by our era of mass migration, and offers elegant reminders of some well-known but still unpalatable facts. One is that human beings invent and reinforce dehumanising categories of otherness in order to justify economic exploitation and to ...

George Saunders’ victory disproves Booker lore that favourites never win

Audacious experimentalism of Lincoln in the Bardo shows US author is not only a writer’s writer but a reader’s writer too

Booker lore has it that the favourite never wins. The surprise this year was that George Saunders had done just that.

As the second US winner in a row, his victory may give further ammunition to the chorus of voices decrying American domination of the prize, but it’s a resoundingly good decision.

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George Saunders’ victory disproves Booker lore that favourites never win

Audacious experimentalism of Lincoln in the Bardo shows US author is not only a writer’s writer but a reader’s writer too

Booker lore has it that the favourite never wins. The surprise this year was that George Saunders had done just that.

As the second US winner in a row, his victory may give further ammunition to the chorus of voices decrying American domination of the prize, but it’s a resoundingly good decision.

Continue reading...

Proud to have published Audre Lorde in the UK | Letters

At Sheba Feminist Press we published Lorde’s Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, The Cancer Journals, Our Dead Behind Us, and A Burst of Light: and Other Essays, writes Sue O’Sullivan

RO Kwon’s review of a welcome new collection of Audre Lorde’s work (4 October) rightly highlights the late American writer’s relevance for today. But her assertion that Lorde was never published in the UK is wrong. At Sheba Feminist Press we published Lorde’s Zami: A New Spelling of My Name (UK 1984, republished 1990), The Cancer Journals (1985), Our Dead Behind Us (1987), and A Burst of Light: and Other Essays (1988). Sheba also hosted Lorde on her trips to the UK when many hundreds of women heard her speak. For a wonderful evocation of Audre’s impact as a writer and person, read Jackie Kay’s article in a recent edition of the New Statesman (30 September). When ...

Proud to have published Audre Lorde in the UK | Letters

At Sheba Feminist Press we published Lorde’s Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, The Cancer Journals, Our Dead Behind Us, and A Burst of Light: and Other Essays, writes Sue O’Sullivan

RO Kwon’s review of a welcome new collection of Audre Lorde’s work (4 October) rightly highlights the late American writer’s relevance for today. But her assertion that Lorde was never published in the UK is wrong. At Sheba Feminist Press we published Lorde’s Zami: A New Spelling of My Name (UK 1984, republished 1990), The Cancer Journals (1985), Our Dead Behind Us (1987), and A Burst of Light: and Other Essays (1988). Sheba also hosted Lorde on her trips to the UK when many hundreds of women heard her speak. For a wonderful evocation of Audre’s impact as a writer and person, read Jackie Kay’s article in a recent edition of the New Statesman (30 September). When ...

How do you win the Man Booker prize? Move to New York or London | Lucy Diver

The prize used to champion unknowns and outsiders. But a 2014 rule change has cemented the neo-colonial cultural dominance of the US and the UK

The upstairs room of an indie bookstore. A book launch for a local author. Crisps and wine are being handed out, a buzz is in the air, congratulations are showered upon the young writer. I know – because I worked there at the launch of Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries.

When Catton won the 2013 Man Booker prize, people in the bookstore were crying. Looking back on that day, the store’s manager said: “I don’t watch rugby, but I did think, maybe this is what it’s like when we win the World Cup?”

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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee taken off Mississippi school reading list

  • Official: ‘some language in the book makes people uncomfortable’
  • Story of racism in the US south has been removed from schools before

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee’s classic novel about racism and the American south, has been removed from a junior-high reading list in a Mississippi school district because the language in the book “makes people uncomfortable”.

Related: Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird: a classic with many lives to live

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