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Pamuk and Ferrante on Man Booker International Prize 2016 shortlist

AorhanNobel prizewinner Orhan Pamuk and international (and mysterious) publishing sensation Elena Ferrante are among the six authors in this year’s Man Booker International Prize 2016 shortlist, a selection which, judges said, “Stretch the boundaries not just of our world, but of fiction itself”. For the first time the Prize will be awarded for a single book rather than the previous system which rewarded a body of work. The full shortlist is:

Fiction dominates Stella Prize long list 2016 for great books written by female Australian author

StellaLonglist pix

Novels and collections of short stories including work by Elizabeth Harrower, Charlotte Wood and Amanda Lohrey dominate the long list $50,000 annual Stella Prize which celebrates great books, fiction and non-fiction, by female Australian authors. The only non-fiction book to make the list is Small Acts of Disappearance : Essays on Hunger by Fiona  Wright. The full long list is:

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.

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

Mrs Hemingway gives a fascinating insight into the whirlwind love life of one of our greatest literary icons

9781447229742In a recent radio interview British writer Naomi Wood light-heartedly apologized to Americans for “appropriating” their literary hero, for it is Ernest Hemingway who is, inevitably, the pivot around whom her novel Mrs Hemingway turns. At some time in each of Hemingway’s marriages there were (at least) three integral participants, except perhaps for the first few months of his first marriage to Hadley Richardson. It is these triptychs that provide the structure for Wood’s novel as she focuses the story of each wife at the beginning and the end of their marriages and the points of overlap between the “unlikely sisters”. They were an eclectic collection: Hadley, the shy, slightly frumpy woman, out of her depth in Hemingway’s anarchic social world; Pauline Pfeiffer – Fife – the dazzling socialite who created an environment that nurtured Hemingway’s most creative period and who was left the most damaged by his philandering; Martha Gellhorn, ambitious and adventurous war reporter, famed in her own right; and finally Mary Welsh, the American journalist, daughter of a lumberjack; the tentative one, protective even after his death.

As Mary, acknowledges: “Ernest had, by default, to be shared. There weren’t two women in her marriage; there were always four … The thing was not to be heartbroken about it.” Indeed, the wives stayed in contact with each other long after divorce, not quite a friendship rather an understanding forged by extremes of marital happiness and disintegration.

Dylan Thomas prize long list reveals exciting literary treasures

PileofBooksIt’s been a big week for literary prizes with the announcement of the Man Booker long list  hogging most of the headlines. This has resulted in the long list for the annual Dylan Thomas Prize going largely unnoticed which is a shame, not least because this is the centenary year of the Wales’s most famous son.

The Dylan Thomas prize was set up seven years ago to encourage and develop exciting young talent and is open to writers aged 39, across all genres. The list just announced includes former Man Booker winner Eleanor Catton (the Luminaries) and Bailey’s Women’s Prize winner Eimear McBride (A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing).  Welsh poet and author Owen Sheers is there as is fellow poet Jamaican Kei Miller, crime writer Tom Rob


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