Anne Tyler

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Booker Prize shortlist announced

Marlon JamesTom McCarthyChigozie ObiomaSunjeev SahotaAnne Tyler and Hanya Yanagihara were today announced as the shortlisted authors for the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

The chair of judges Michael Wood said that “Only on rare occasions does celebration come so closely aligned with regret. The regret of what we left out was tempered by the enormous excitement we have in presenting the six books on the shortlist.

‘We re-read all 13 books on the longlist and in the process we rediscovered new pleasures in each. The writers on the shortlist present an extraordinary range of approaches to fiction. They come from very different cultures and are themselves at very different stages of their careers.’ Details and links to the full shortlist for the prize, which will be announced on Tuesday 13th October are:

American authors dominate Man Booker 2015 longlist

American writers dominate the Man Booker Prize long list with five inclusions followed by the UK with three. Ireland, Jamaica, Nigeria, India and New Zealand all have one. Already this has fuelled a renewal of opposition to the expansion of the prize to writers from outside the UK& Commonwealth, Zimbabwe and the Republic of Ireland last year.

Review: Anne Tyler’s A Spool of Blue Thread

spool_of_thread_3188819aThere is usually a reassuring feeling of familiarity when you open a book by Anne Tyler; like catching up with an old friend you haven’t seen for a while. Everything is familiar but not the same. At the heart of A Spool of Blue Thread, her 20th novel, are the Whitshanks. Red is the head of a successful Baltimore construction company and he and his wife Abby, a former social worker, still live in the elegant house that his father, Junior, built almost 50 years before. Even they would concede that there is nothing remarkable about the family. This is no sweeping saga. Tyler’s focus, and where she consistently excels, is on the drama that lies within the ordinary everyday events and exchanges between the characters.

As three of their children, Amanda, Jennie and Stem pass from school to forge marriages and careers of their own, Denny, the troubled and troublesome one, consistently

A very long long list for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction


How many books is too many? I confess there’s more than a little self interest involved in the question.  The long list for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction has just been announced and it’s a whopping 20 books long, albeit from 165 original applicants. The prize, which was previously known as the Orange, is for a full-length novel written in english by a woman of any nationality and published in the United Kingdom.

Of course a plus for having long lists longer than the customary 10 or 12 titles is that  many more authors are able to get their moment in the literary sunshine. This particularly applies to debut authors of which the long list has five including Emma Healey’s Elizabeth is Missing, which won the Costa Prize, and Laline Paull’s dystopian The Bees. It also gives the judges the opportunity to broaden the range of work celebrated beyond what might be viewed as more “conventional” subject and style.

On the downside,  I know I am not alone in liking to read as many of the contenders for

Happy new book year, there’s a full calendar of great reading

9781101874271A new year and a whole mouthwatering world of fiction already lined up to be released over the next three months. That’s even if, like me, you still have a pile of must reads left over from 2014.  Below are a few due out between now and the end of March.

A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James (pub. Carcanet) about the attempted assassination of Bob Marley during the drug and gang wars of Jamaica in the 1970s.

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler (Random House): Family saga set


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