Books

Danica Novgorodoff wins Kate Greenaway medal for graphic novel Long Way Down

Danica Novgorodoff’s “innovative” graphic novel adaptation of Jason Reynolds’ novel Long Way Down has won the Yoto Kate Greenaway medal, making it the first graphic novel to win the illustration prize since Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas in 1973.Meanwhile, Katya Balen has won the Yoto Carnegie medal, which celebrates outstanding achievement in children’s writing. The “expertly…

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James Patterson apologizes for saying white male authors face ‘racism’

The bestselling author James Patterson has apologized for saying white male authors face “another form of racism”.In an interview with the Sunday Times, Patterson said white male authors faced such a problem in industries including film and publishing.“What’s that all about? Can you get a job? Yes. Is it harder? Yes,” he said, adding: “It’s…

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We Had to Remove This Post by Hanna Bervoets review – confessions of a content moderator

When he launched his takeover of Twitter earlier this year, Elon Musk sparked consternation by declaring he would loosen the social media platform’s content moderation policies – a move that could set Twitter on a collision course with the EU’s digital regulators. In an online world rife with offensive and potentially dangerous material – hate…

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When I Grow Up by Moya Sarner review

What’s going to happen to the children, when there aren’t any more grownups?” sang Noël Coward, satirising the self-indulgent hedonism of the 1920s. But Coward’s ironic lyrics seem even more relevant today when the traditional values of adulthood, self-control, self-sufficiency and the willingness to take responsibility have become sources of angst rather than a desirable,…

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Danica Novgorodoff wins Kate Greenaway medal for graphic novel Long Way Down

Danica Novgorodoff’s “innovative” graphic novel adaptation of Jason Reynolds’ novel Long Way Down has won the Yoto Kate Greenaway medal, making it the first graphic novel to win the illustration prize since Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas in 1973.Meanwhile, Katya Balen has won the Yoto Carnegie medal, which celebrates outstanding achievement in children’s writing. The “expertly…

Continue Reading Danica Novgorodoff wins Kate Greenaway medal for graphic novel Long Way Down

James Patterson apologizes for saying white male authors face ‘racism’

The bestselling author James Patterson has apologized for saying white male authors face “another form of racism”.In an interview with the Sunday Times, Patterson said white male authors faced such a problem in industries including film and publishing.“What’s that all about? Can you get a job? Yes. Is it harder? Yes,” he said, adding: “It’s…

Continue Reading James Patterson apologizes for saying white male authors face ‘racism’

We Had to Remove This Post by Hanna Bervoets review – confessions of a content moderator

When he launched his takeover of Twitter earlier this year, Elon Musk sparked consternation by declaring he would loosen the social media platform’s content moderation policies – a move that could set Twitter on a collision course with the EU’s digital regulators. In an online world rife with offensive and potentially dangerous material – hate…

Continue Reading We Had to Remove This Post by Hanna Bervoets review – confessions of a content moderator

When I Grow Up by Moya Sarner review

What’s going to happen to the children, when there aren’t any more grownups?” sang Noël Coward, satirising the self-indulgent hedonism of the 1920s. But Coward’s ironic lyrics seem even more relevant today when the traditional values of adulthood, self-control, self-sufficiency and the willingness to take responsibility have become sources of angst rather than a desirable,…

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Yell, Sam, If You Still Can by Maylis Besserie review – Beckett’s last days

Maylis Besserie does not lack for daring. Her novel is a fictional account of the last months of Samuel Beckett’s life, which he spent in a Paris nursing home, Résidence Tiers Temps. As she says in an author’s note, the book “reconstructs a version of Beckett from real and imaginary facts, as if he were…

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Faïza Guène: ‘People wanted me to say: Thank you, France’

Faïza Guène is the bestselling, award-winning French-Algerian author of six novels largely set among the Algerian community living in the outskirts of Paris. She shot to fame in 2004 at 19 with the publication of Kiffe kiffe demain (Just Like Tomorrow), which used street slang to capture the world of 15-year-old Doria, growing up on…

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The Social Distance Between Us by Darren McGarvey review – it’s a long, long way from Westminster

A hundred pages into The Social Distance Between Us, the Scottish writer, broadcaster and rapper Darren McGarvey describes the time he spent in Aberdeen while he was filming a series for the BBC. The city, he muses, may well be Scotland’s most beautiful metropolis, where “beams reflect off the granite, rendering even the most ordinary…

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Love and the Novel by Christina Lupton review – can you live life by the book?

Not so long ago, there was something of a craze in publishing for books about reading, one for which I didn’t much care at the time. But Christina Lupton’s Love and the Novel has little in common with the platitudinous manuals that particular trend delivered to the common reader. Its author, an academic with a…

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The Islander by Chris Blackwell review – maverick who brought Bob Marley to the masses

Nineteen sixty-two was a big year for Jamaica and Chis Blackwell alike. The country gained its independence and hosted the first James Bond movie, Dr No, on which Blackwell worked as a fixer, recommending locations and recruiting his musician friends as grips, extras, even as musicians. So impressed was co-producer Harry Saltzman that he offered…

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The Escape Artist by Jonathan Freedland review – how an Auschwitz breakout alerted the world

It was around September 1942, the month when he turned 18, that Rudolf Vrba came to a momentous decision. He had been imprisoned in Auschwitz since June and was working on the ramp where most new arrivals were sent directly to their deaths. SS men would sometimes reassure them or even joke with them right…

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Dark Earth by Rebecca Stott review – magical, mythical historical fiction

Rebecca Stott’s superb third novel, Dark Earth, dramatises the parallels between archaeology and historical fiction. Stott is a renowned historian, but in this excavation of London’s deep past she has created something radically new and beautiful, a book that retells a period of our national past that straddles the line between history and myth.The title…

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The Bloater by Rosemary Tonks review – 1960s gem rescued from obscurity

The poet, novelist and critic Rosemary Tonks vanished from public life in the mid-1970s after publishing six novels and two acclaimed collections of poetry, leading to fevered speculation about her fate. She had converted to fundamentalist Christianity and lived as a recluse in Bournemouth until her death in 2014, visiting public libraries with the intention…

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Parts of John Hughes’ novel The Dogs copied from The Great Gatsby and Anna Karenina

The Australian novelist John Hughes, who last week admitted to “unintentionally” plagiarising parts of a Nobel laureate’s novel, appears to have also copied without acknowledgment parts of The Great Gatsby, Anna Karenina and other classic texts in his new book The Dogs.The revelation of new similarities follows an investigation by Guardian Australia which resulted in…

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Ruth Ozeki’s ‘complete joy’ of a novel wins Women’s prize for fiction

Ruth Ozeki’s fourth novel, The Book of Form and Emptiness, has won the Women’s prize for fiction.The novelist, filmmaker and Zen Buddhist priest takes the £30,000 award for a book that “stood out for its sparkling writing, warmth, intelligence, humour and poignancy”, according to chair of judges Mary Ann Sieghart. Photograph: Canongate/PAThe Book of Form…

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Red Sauce Brown Sauce by Felicity Cloake review – a quest for the great British breakfast

Halfway through reading Red Sauce Brown Sauce, I cycled 6km to a fishmonger’s on an industrial estate, between a Hertz car hire centre and a T-shirt printer’s, to buy a tin of laverbread. What can I say? I’m susceptible. Felicity Cloake’s description of cycling from Falmouth to Gowerton – from hog’s pudding HQ in Cornwall…

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George Lamming obituary

The six novels and the collections of essays by George Lamming, who has died aged 94, did much to shape Caribbean literary culture. He also contributed to it as an educator and activist intellectual, mentoring a host of young writers and scholars in the Caribbean and beyond.Intensely aware of the impact of colonialism on individual…

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‘Landmark’ anthology 100 Queer Poems published for Pride month

This Pride month, a new anthology featuring the work of queer poets such as Langston Hughes, Ocean Vuong and Kae Tempest is “questioning and redefining what we mean by a ‘queer’ poem”.100 Queer Poems, edited by Andrew McMillan and Mary Jean Chan, features work from 20th-century poets as well as contemporary LGBTQ+ voices. It’s a…

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The Visitors by Jessi Jezewska Stevens review – a wild ride into Occupy-era Manhattan

“Is it possible to imagine something so fully that it takes on a life of its own?” The Visitors, New Yorker Jessi Jezewska Stevens’s second novel, inspects the ways in which reality can be affected by indexes and abstractions: the stock exchange, energy reserve or the dark web. But when C, Stevens’s protagonist, puts this…

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This month’s best paperbacks: Maggie Shipstead, Shon Faye and more

Fiction Parallel lives take flight Great Circle Maggie Shipstead Great Circle Maggie Shipstead Parallel lives take flight The early history of aviation is full of courageous, fascinating women: Amy Johnson and Amelia Earhart are probably the best known. With the fictional Marian Graves, Maggie Shipstead creates a compelling, original heroine all her own. In this…

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‘When Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston were cast I was in shock’: Sarah Perry on The Essex Serpent

In March 2021, I was driven by a stranger down to the Essex coast, and there I found myself at the end of the 19th century, in a place that had never existed, full of people who’d never been born.At any rate, that was the impression; in fact, I’d been deposited in a field on…

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Children’s and teens roundup – the best new picture books and novels

Be Wild, Little One by Olivia Hope and Daniel Egnéus (Bloomsbury, £6.99)This luminously beautiful picture book is filled with tender, thrilling exhortations to embrace wildness: diving into the deepest blue, swinging along with chimpanzees or wishing on every star.The Boy Who Sailed the World by Julia Green and Alex Latimer (David Fickling, £6.99)A little boy…

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Where to start with: Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith made a splash in the literary scene at the turn of the millennium with her debut novel White Teeth. She has since written everything from short stories to playscripts, and made headlines earlier this year when she sang with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. South London writer Yara Rodrigues Fowler, whose second novel there…

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‘It’s the best way to live!’: International Booker winners Geetanjali Shree and Daisy Rockwell

“If you handle a heavy thing with lightness, you actually increase the poignancy, and it puts a different kind of focus on it.” Geetanjali Shree is talking to me about her novel Tomb of Sand, which, in its translation from Hindi by Daisy Rockwell, won the International Booker prize on Thursday. It’s now early Friday…

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Geoff Dyer: ‘I’m convinced Roger Federer and I could become great friends’

Geoff Dyer, 63, grew up in Cheltenham and lives in Los Angeles. His 19 books include Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi, which won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse prize for comic fiction, and Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room, on Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 film Stalker. In the words of…

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Sarah Polley on her unflinching memoir: ‘Can you forgive – and should you forgive?’

When Sarah Polley was four years old she entertained her Christian kindergarten class with a rendition of the Monty Python song Sit on My Face. “I love to hear you oralise / When you’re between my thighs … ” she chirruped, to the delight of her libertarian parents, who denied all responsibility when they were…

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Children’s and teens roundup – the best new chapter books

The modern plague of celebrity children’s authors has honourable exemplars. Step forward, child poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford, who follows his hit of 2021, You Are a Champion (voted book of the year at last week’s Nibbies), and his children’s book club with his middle-grade fiction debut.The Beast Beyond the Fence (Macmillan, £6.99), the first of…

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‘I always secretly wonder which of us is the real artist’: Sally Rooney in conversation with Patricia Lockwood

Sally and I began this conversation when I was in London, having flown there to attend the Dylan Thomas prize ceremony. My husband, Jason, had experienced a medical emergency on the plane from Los Angeles and had been rushed to Charing Cross hospital as soon as we touched down, so my emails were written under…

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Happy-Go-Lucky by David Sedaris review – laughter in the dark

David Sedaris got his start in comedy as Crumpet the Christmas elf, campily dancing attendance in Santa’s grotto at Macy’s department store while clad in green knickers and a spangled bonnet. As he recalls in his first book, Barrel Fever, his merriment with the squalling brats and their bossy mothers barely concealed his outrage.No longer…

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With a Mind to Kill by Anthony Horowitz review – 007 in a polished page-turner

Anthony Horowitz’s third James Bond tale begins both dynamically and canonically. It starts immediately after the events of Ian Fleming’s final Bond novel, The Man With the Golden Gun, at M’s funeral; his murderer is none other than 007, who has now been brainwashed by the Russians and turned into their prime asset. Nothing is…

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The Case Against the Sexual Revolution by Louise Perry review – a potent, plain-speaking womanifesto

The title of Louise Perry’s first book makes it sound almost comically conservative: uh-oh, you think, expecting a manifesto worthy of some latterday Mary Whitehouse or Victoria Gillick. But don’t be misled. In this cultural moment, The Case Against the Sexual Revolution could hardly be more radical. It is an act of insurrection, its seditiousness…

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Diego Garcia by Natasha Soobramanien and Luke Williams review – protest fiction for a new generation

One of the US’s largest overseas military bases lies in the Indian Ocean on Diego Garcia in the Chagos Islands. How that came to pass is murky, to say the least. The islands were once part of Mauritius, a British colony until 1968. Knowing the US wanted a base there, Britain made independence conditional on…

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All the Flowers Kneeling by Paul Tran review – a confrontation of pain and poetic form

Sometimes, reading a poet for the first time is like meeting a person: the first impression is defining. That is what Paul Tran’s debut is like. A queer, transgender Vietnamese American – such labelling scarcely serves as an introduction – their presence on the page is instantly dramatic: there is a gorgeous sensuality to the…

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Ian Rankin: ‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is a perfect gem of a story’

My earliest reading memoryI read children’s comics voraciously from a very young age, starting with Bimbo (aged four or five) and progressing via the Dandy and Beano to the Victor and the Hotspur. Then there were the comic strips in the Sunday Post newspaper – Oor Wullie and the Broons. I did try drawing my…

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The Escape Artist by Jonathan Freedland review – the man who broke out of Auschwitz

“It was my good fortune” are the opening words of Primo Levi’s memoir If This Is a Man, and good fortune is the chief reason Levi gave for his survival in Auschwitz. Other factors helped too: fitness, intelligence, adaptability, usefulness about the camp, sturdy footwear. But at crucial moments he and other survivors were saved…

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Fight Night by Miriam Toews review – a war cry for rebellious women

Miriam Toews’s novels are often described as tragicomedies, populated by war survivors, and set in or around Mennonite communities where Toews, too, grew up. In works such as All My Puny Sorrows, following the relationship of two sisters, and the spectacular Women Talking, about cloistered women who gather in secret after a series of sexual…

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Paper Cup by Karen Campbell review – a journey towards healing

From Rachel Joyce to Jonas Jonasson to Emma Hooper, novels about older people going on long journeys have almost become a genre: later-life pilgrimage fiction. In Paper Cup, Karen Campbell gives it a new slant; her protagonist who takes an extended walk is a homeless alcoholic. The freezing doorways, dirty skips and uncaring streets of…

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All in My Head by Jessica Morris review – an attempt to make the incurable treatable

In 2016 Jessica Morris was on an annual hiking weekend with friends in upstate New York when she started to feel all wrong. Being out of breath was nothing new since she was in her mid-50s, and exercise had never been her thing. What was her thing, though, was talking – and now, weirdly, she…

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Tiepolo Blue by James Cahill review – a bold debut of psychosexual awakening

James Cahill’s hotly tipped debut about art, privilege and power takes us first to the rarefied environs of Peterhouse College, Cambridge. It’s 1994 and winds of change are blasting through the university. An installation entitled Sick Bed – very much modelled on Tracey Emin’s groundbreaking My Bed – has been erected on the quadrangle. Sick…

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The Prince Rupert Hotel for the Homeless by Christina Lamb review – bed, breakfast and respect

The Prince Rupert hotel in Shrewsbury is the kind of establishment where you’re offered a glass of sherry as you check in. A timber-framed oasis of fluffy towels and four-poster beds, its guests have included Margaret Thatcher, Monica Lewinsky and the Liverpool football team. Yet at the start of the pandemic, owner Mike Matthews, who…

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‘Surreal fable’ by Derek Jarman to be published for the first time

An unpublished short story by the late artist and film-maker Derek Jarman will be available to buy for the first time later this year.Jarman, who is best known for his films Sebastiane, Caravaggio and Blue, wrote Through the Billboard Promised Land Without Ever Stopping, his only piece of narrative fiction, in 1971. More than 50…

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Poem of the week: Hang Gliders with Saxophones by Ian Pople

Hang Gliders with SaxophonesThe saxophones circle in the airabove the moor, the thermal columnthat the breath supports.Keys rest neatly on the pads,pads rest neatly on the air,one and two and three and four fingerssupporting wings above the Earth.Between sky and crushing ground,they overblow the octave, one to another:sopranino and baritone,alto, bass and tenor,soprano too; Roland…

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Thrillers of the month – review

Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £16.99, pp368English villages are notorious havens for murderers – think of all the untimely deaths to have taken place across the county of Midsomer or in Agatha Raisin’s new home of Carsely in the Cotswolds. Now, with a nod to its most famous predecessor, Miss Marple’s home of St Mary Mead, the…

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Frank Cottrell-Boyce: ‘I read Adrian Mole every year, it gets funnier each time’

The book I am currently readingCarter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold – the story of how a piece of stage magic might have led to the death of President Harding. It’s spectacular.The books that changed my lifeUrsula K Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea. And The Gospel of Luke. Words a child could…

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This Dark Country by Rebecca Birrell review – Bloomsbury’s female artists

According to Rebecca Birrell, there was nothing remotely still about the still lifes that British female painters produced in the first third of the 20th century. While Vanessa Bell’s apples, Gluck’s flowers and Nina Hamnett’s saucepan might appear to speak of modest ambitions and domestic self-containment, Birrell argues that these works positively buzz with political…

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From Aristotle to Ariana Grande: the expanding meaning of ‘metaverse’

Ariana Grande’s virtual concerts, held recently within the video game Fortnite, have had excitable tech enthusiasts talking anew about the imminence of the “metaverse”. The ancient Greek meta means “with” or “after”. The title of Aristotle’s Metaphysics, given by an editor after his death, means simply “the books that come after the ones on physics”,…

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The Right to Sex by Amia Srinivasan review – the politics of sexual attraction

In The Right to Sex Amia Srinivasan, a professor of social and political theory at Oxford University, tells the story of a black friend who, “despite being beautiful and otherwise popular”, was “off the table” when it came to dating in her mostly white private school. The reason, Srinivasan tells us, is because it is…

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Red Knight by Michael Ashcroft – an unauthorised biography of Keir Starmer

In an unusual departure from the norms of the genre, Michael Ashcroft begins his unauthorised biography of Keir Starmer, Red Knight, with a lengthy peroration about himself. Ashcroft informed Starmer of his project, but received no reply; it emerged over time that not only did the Labour leader not wish to cooperate, he had asked…

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Ted Cruz’s campaign may have spent $150,000 on copies of his book

Ted Cruz’s campaign spent more than $150,000 at US book chain Books-A-Million in the months after the Texas senator’s book was published, Forbes has reported.Cruz, who was prominent among the Republicans trying to block the certification of Joe Biden’s election, published One Vote Away: How a Single Supreme Court Seat Can Change History in September.…

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Werner Herzog to tell story of Japanese soldier who refused to surrender

Werner Herzog is writing a book about Hiroo Onoda, the Japanese soldier who took three decades to surrender after the end of the second world war.The esteemed German film director’s take on the life of Onoda, The Twilight World, will be translated by the poet Michael Hofmann, and published next summer by The Bodley Head.…

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An Island by Karen Jennings review – compact allegory of postcolonialism

South African Karen Jennings is the only writer published by a small press to make the Booker longlist. A short, thoroughly absorbing book, An Island’s principal action occurs over four days, yet within that timescale Jennings manages to compress the turbulent history of an unnamed African country and its disastrous effects on the life of…

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Sarah Ferguson’s Mills & Boon novel edges on to UK bestsellers chart

It’s not quite Bridgerton levels of sales, but Sarah Ferguson’s first venture into the romantic fiction market, Her Heart for a Compass, has nonetheless made its way into the UK bestsellers chart, with just over 1,000 copies sold in the last week.Her Heart for a Compass was published on 3 August. Photograph: Mills & Boon/PAPublished…

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The picture book fighting back against Russia’s LGBT+ propaganda law

A month after a Hungarian bookshop chain was fined for selling a children’s story about a day in the life of a child with same-sex parents, the same picture book has been published in Russia – but with an “18+” label on it in deference to the country’s so-called “gay propaganda” law.American author Lawrence Schimel…

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Inflamed by Rupa Marya and Raj Patel review – modern medicine’s racial divide

It was May 2020, just months after Sars-CoV-2 began ripping through the world, when it emerged that 97% of the British medical staff who had died of the disease were from communities categorised as black, Asian and minority ethnic. News reports pronounced it extraordinary, shocking. Would that staple of press briefing catchphrases – “the virus…

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Bob Woodward’s third book in Trump trilogy to cover handling of pandemic

Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward’s third book about Donald Trump will be called Peril, completing a trilogy begun with Fear and Rage. According to its publisher, it will also include sections on the first months of Joe Biden’s presidency.Woodward rose to fame in the early 1970s, working with Carl Bernstein to uncover the Watergate scandal…

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Instagram user accused of capitalising from Ijeoma Oluo’s anti-racist book

The white woman behind an Instagram account with almost three million followers has apologised for the “harm” she caused to bestselling black author Ijeoma Oluo.Oluo’s examination of race in America, So You Want to Talk About Race, was published in 2018, and hit the bestseller charts in the wake of the killing of George Floyd…

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Dutch literary prize ceremony cancelled over winner’s Desi Bouterse comments

Five months ago, Astrid Roemer became the first author from Suriname, a former Dutch colony in South America, to win the prestigious Dutch-language literary award the Prijs der Nederlandse Letteren, and was praised by the judges for her “unconventional, poetic” works. But last week, the organisers announced that a ceremony for the poet and novelist,…

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Four Thousand Weeks: Time and How to Use It by Oliver Burkeman – review

In the current average human lifespan we get 4,000 of each day of the week: 4,000 Saturday nights, 4,000 lazy Sundays, 4,000 Monday mornings. When we are young, that might feel like a dizzying number of tomorrows. As the years go by, not so much. Oliver Burkeman’s midlife inquiry into how we might most meaningfully…

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Speak, Silence: In Search of WG Sebald by Carole Angier review – the artful master of repressed memories

The German writer WG Sebald, who died in a car accident in 2001 at the age of 57, left behind a slender body of complex work that is even more intricate – and troubling – than it first looks, as Carole Angier’s extraordinary biography makes plain.He first appeared in English in 1996 with The Emigrants,…

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‘I love the perversity of it’: Bad Seed Warren Ellis on how Nina Simone’s gum inspired a book

On the evening of 1 July 1999, the Australian musician and longtime Nick Cave collaborator Warren Ellis watched from the stalls as Nina Simone walked on to the stage of the Royal Festival Hall. It was the penultimate concert of that year’s Meltdown festival. As the audience rose to its feet as one, cheering and…

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Something Out of Place by Eimear McBride review – a howl of despair hard to put into words

A successful literary agent was reminiscing to me recently about her early days in publishing. Twenty years ago, two subjects were considered beyond the pale: baking and feminism. “If you said you had a book of essays on feminism, it was ridiculous,” she said. “People would put on their profiles ‘no essays, thank you very…

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The Reckoning by Mary L Trump review – how to heal America’s trauma

Last year, Mary Trump delivered a salacious and venomous takedown of her uncle, Donald J Trump. Too Much and Never Enough doubled as awesome beach reading and opposition research dump, before the party conventions. Timing was everything.Goosed by the Trump family’s attempt to stop publication and by simple proximity to election day, the book sold…

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Paul Mason: ‘Modern fascism’s interests are being represented in government by rightwing populists’

Paul Mason was born in Lancashire in 1960, the son of a headmistress and a lorry driver. He started his career as a music teacher before becoming a journalist in the early 90s. He joined BBC’s Newsnight as a business editor in 2001 and he later worked for Channel 4 News, jobs that took him…

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Claire-Louise Bennett: ‘If there was a revolution, I’d be there’

A conversation with Claire-Louise Bennett is a dizzying experience: one minute as rowdy as a fairground, the next more like a reflective walk through woodland. She laughs a lot, and raucously, to the point where the ends of her sentences often disappear; and then she might pause for long enough for you to wonder whether…

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Gold Diggers by Sanjena Sathian review – a magical debut

In a fictional Atlanta suburb that’s a “bubble of brownness”, young Neil Narayan wonders if, in post-9/11 Bush-era America, “there were other ways of being brown on offer”. He is not sure there are, not unless he can “write himself” into American history. “There was no room to imagine multiple sorts of futures”, either. Sanjena…

Continue Reading Gold Diggers by Sanjena Sathian review – a magical debut

Speak, Silence by Carole Angier review – a remarkable biography

WG Sebald’s mother Rosa once said that her son had been born without a skin, so that he was unable to protect himself from being overwhelmed by the suffering of others, and even normal experience was traumatic for him. For Carole Angier, author of this unauthorised biography, something about this acute sensitivity made Sebald “the…

Continue Reading Speak, Silence by Carole Angier review – a remarkable biography

Pointing out racism in books is not an ‘attack’ – it’s a call for industry reform | Monisha Rajesh

It started with a tweet. Kate Clanchy, author of Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me posted on her Twitter account that a reviewer on Goodreads had “made up a racist quote and said it was in my book”. She urged her almost 40,000 followers to flag the review that claimed she had…

Continue Reading Pointing out racism in books is not an ‘attack’ – it’s a call for industry reform | Monisha Rajesh

Anuk Arudpragasam: ‘There’s a lot of laughter in my life, but not when I read’

The book I am currently readingI just finished reading Jamaica Kincaid’s Autobiography of My Mother, and am about to read some Elizabeth Bishop. In Tamil I’m reading Vaadivaasal, an elegant late 1940s novella by CS Chellappa about jallikattu, the centuries-old game of bull-taming that still takes place in parts of Tamil Nadu today.The book that…

Continue Reading Anuk Arudpragasam: ‘There’s a lot of laughter in my life, but not when I read’

Femi Fadugba: ‘There’s no reason why Peckham couldn’t be the theoretical physics capital of the world’

Had it not been for his secondary school caretaker, physicist-turned-novelist Femi Fadugba might never have gone on to study material sciences and quantum computing at Oxford University. “I don’t usually tell people this story because it sounds like something out of a movie,” he says, laughing, on a video call from Peckham, south London. “He…

Continue Reading Femi Fadugba: ‘There’s no reason why Peckham couldn’t be the theoretical physics capital of the world’

The best recent science fiction, horror and fantasy – review roundup

Hollow (Coronet, £17.99), the latest novel from artist and film-maker B Catling, is set in a weird, hallucinogenic version of 16th-century Europe. The Monastery of the Eastern Gate, built on the side of a mountain that was once the Tower of Babel, guards one of the world’s darkest secrets: a walled enclosure where a perpetual…

Continue Reading The best recent science fiction, horror and fantasy – review roundup

Sam Byers and Salena Godden shortlisted for the Gordon Burn prize

Novels by Sam Byers, Salena Godden, and Jenni Fagan have been shortlisted for this year’s Gordon Burn prize for “forward-thinking and fearless” literature. Byers’ Come Join Our Disease, Fagan’s Luckenbooth and poet Godden’s first foray into fiction, Mrs Death Misses Death, are joined on the six-book shortlist by the genre-blurring A Ghost in the Throat…

Continue Reading Sam Byers and Salena Godden shortlisted for the Gordon Burn prize

The Luminous Novel by Mario Levrero review – an extraordinary autofictional diary

In the year 2000, the Uruguayan author Mario Levrero won a Guggenheim grant to write the final chapters of an ambitious novel he had been unable to complete for the past 16 years. He then set about assiduously not writing them. Instead, he dedicated most of his effort to recording his lack of progress in…

Continue Reading The Luminous Novel by Mario Levrero review – an extraordinary autofictional diary

Could ‘antigenic drift’ and ‘antigenic sin’ set back the fight against Covid?

Of the many things that might still go wrong with Covid, the government scientific advisory group Sage has warned, is a possible combination of “antigenic drift” and “antigenic sin”. This does not describe a louche jet-setter, but something rather more alarming.An “antigen” (first recorded in English in 1908) is any foreign substance that, when introduced…

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The Magic Box by Rob Young review – a spirited history of television

I grew up in the West Country but spent much of my adolescence peering at the Sheffield Crucible theatre. Like millions of other Britons, I was glued to championship snooker. Back in the 1960s, BBC Two’s controller David Attenborough had promoted the sport as a showcase for the wonders of colour TV; two decades later,…

Continue Reading The Magic Box by Rob Young review – a spirited history of television

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