Tag Archives: Hilary Mantel

Man Booker Shortlist Announced!

On July 26th, this blog announced the Man Booker Longlist titles, and today, we have the shortlist.

The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng (Myrmidon)
 set in post-second world war Malaya.

Swimming Home by Deborah Levy (And Other Stories)
– in which a young woman entangles herself in the life of an English poet and his family in the south of France.

Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (Fourth Estate)
– sequel to Man Booker prize-winning Wolf Hall.

The Lighthouse by Alison Moore (Salt)
– a man trying to find himself on a walking holiday.

Umbrella by Will Self (Bloomsbury)
– the story of a victim of the sleeping sickness epidemic at the end of the first world war.

Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil (Faber & Faber)
–  set amongst the opium dens of 1970s Mumbai.

Click here to view the shortlist in pictures.

According to the Guardian, “After last year’s controversial focus on ‘readability’, the judges for this year’s Man Booker prize have concentrated on the ‘pure power of prose’ to pick a confident, eclectic shortlist of titles.”

As reported in the Independent, one of the books on the shortlist, Swimming Home by Deborah Levy, was rejected by traditional publishers and only hit the shelves thanks to a publisher which relies on subscriptions from readers.

Chair of the judges, Sir Peter Stothard, editor of the Times Literary Supplement, said: “We loved the shock of language shown in so many different ways and were exhilarated by the vigour and vividly defined values in the six books that we chose – and in the visible confidence of the novel’s place in forming our words and ideas. We were considering all the time novels, not novelists, texts not reputations. We read and we reread. It was the power and depth of prose that settled most of the judges’ debates. […] Without the renewal of English the novel does nothing very much.”

The winner will be revealed at a ceremony at London’s Guildhall on 16th October. The winner will receive a £50,000 prize, in addition to the £2,500 awarded to all shortlisted writers and, importantly, a huge boost in sales for their work. Last year’s winner, The Sense Of An Ending by Julian Barnes, has sold more than 300,000 print editions in the UK.


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Wolf Hall to be BBC2 Drama

After the success of the Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning ITV show Downton Abbey, it seems BBC2 is following suit with the promise of a new production of Hilary Mantel’s Man Booker Prize-winning Wolf Hall and her new novel Bring Up the Bodies.

It will be adapted by Peter Straughan, the man who brought Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy to the big screen. Wolf Hall, a novel charting the rise of Tudor politician Thomas Cromwell, will become a six-part series for BBC2. It is expected to be broadcast in late 2013.

As reported yesterday by the Guardian, the third part of Mantel’s Tudor trilogy, the yet-to-be-published The Mirror and the Light, might form a standalone drama at a later date.

Stressing the channel’s commitment to drama in the face of cuts that from the new year will ravage the daytime schedule, BBC2 controller Janice Hadlow – who named Wolf Hall as among her favourite books of recent years – said the novels were “right in the cross hairs of what BBC2 viewers will enjoy”.

“I think there is a cumulative, mounting hunger for the [dramas] that we do,” said Hadlow. “That doesn’t mean that all of them will be massive audience drivers but I think what drama injects into the channel is of such value … something so powerful that you’d want to protect that at all costs.”

Other new dramas for BBC2, which will air Tom Stoppard’s eagerly awaited adaptation of Parade’s End starring Benedict Cumberbatch tonight at 9pm, include spy thriller The Honourable Woman by Hugo Blick, who wrote and directed the channel’s recent opinion-splitting drama “The Shadow Line”.

Hadlow also spoke about BBC adaptations of Shakespeare and French and Russian classics — for more, see here.

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Edinburgh Festivals

Today the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Edinburgh International Festival, and the International Book Festival all meet in Scotland’s capital.
The Guardian has full coverage of the festivals on their website — check it out here!


Zadie Smith will be giving the first glimpse of her long-awaited new novel NW, poet Alice Oswald will put on a rare performance of Memorial, her reimagining of the Iliad, and authors from Irvine Welsh to Joyce Carol Oates are debating the key issues facing modern literature at this summer’s Edinburgh international book festival.

Smith, who has not published a novel since On Beauty (2005), will give a sneak preview of NW, about four people who grew up on a council estate in north-west London. “It’s a fantastic year for British fiction,” said festival director Nick Barley.

Smith will also be discussing the state of Britain today on a panel with Alistair Darling and Paddy Ashdown, while Ian McEwan will be interviewing Scotland’s first minister Alex Salmond about his life beyond politics. Debate will likewise rage at the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference, a major programming partnership between the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the British Council. The event will mirror the notorious 1962 Edinburgh writers’ conference, where authors including Norman Mailer and William S Burroughs thrashed out the relevance of literature.

From talks by former prime minister Gordon Brown and former hostage John McCarthy to the reminiscences of Seamus Heaney and Andrew O’Hagan about their journeys together through Scotland, Wales and Ireland, 800 authors from 44 countries will appear in 750 events at this year’s festival. A lineup featuring eight Booker winners, including Hilary Mantel, John Banville and Anne Enright, will also incorporate Nobel laureates, politicians and poets.

As reported in The Guardian,”Last year, our theme was revolution,” said Barley. “Now the question everyone is asking is: ‘Where did revolution take us?’ My feeling is that, following a time of revolution, we need to take stock. So the theme of the debates is ‘rethinking’ – looking again at ideas we thought were clear in our minds, like democracy. This is a year for taking stock about what matters to us in a time of uncertainty, doubt and data overload. It is also, of course, a time when Scotland is preparing to make a big decision about its own future. All this and more will be discussed, deliberated, considered, broadcast live online via the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference, and disseminated around the world. We look forward to a lively, informed and informative debate.”


The Edinburgh International Festival is from the 9th August-2nd September — see full programme here.
The Book Festival is running from 11th-27th August — see the full programme online here.
The Fringe Festival is from the 3rd-27th August — see their programme here.

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Extracts from titles on Man Booker Longlist

GalleyCat has provided online extracts from the 12 Man Booker Longlist titles, so for all of you who haven’t heard of these authors or know what they’re about, simply click the links below!


Free Samples of the 2012 Man Booker Prize Longlist

Nicola Barker for The Yips

Ned Beauman for The Teleportation Accident

Andre Brink for Philida (No sample available online)

Tan Twan Eng for The Garden of Evening Mists 

Michael Frayn for Skios 

Rachel Joyce for The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry 

Deborah Levy for Swimming Home 

Hilary Mantel for Bring up the Bodies 

Alison Moore for The Lighthouse (PDF link)

Will Self for Umbrella

Jeet Thayil for Narcopolis

Sam Thompson for Communion Town


The shortlist will be announced on the 11th of September, and the lucky winner(s?) will be named on the 16th of October.


Courtesy of GalleyCat.

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Man Booker Prize Longlist Announced!

Today the longlist for this year’s Man Booker Prize winner was announced. Much mixed feedback has come back, such as this article from the Telegraph and this from the BBC, as it seems that the longlist (of just 12 titles out of an initial 145) is in favour of new writers and small independent publishers.

Tom Tivnan, features editor of The Bookseller, told The Independent: “It’s a nice mix of young gunslingers and some of the old guard. It’s a bit more literary than last year.”

The longlist titles are as followed:

The Yips by Nicola Barker (Fourth Estate)
The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman (Sceptre)
Philida by André Brink (Harvill Secker)
The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng (Myrmidon)
Skios by Michael Frayn (Faber & Faber)
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (Doubleday)
Swimming Home by Deborah Levy (And Other Stories)
Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (Fourth Estate)
The Lighthouse by Alison Moore (Salt)
Umbrella by Will Self (Bloomsbury)
Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil (Faber & Faber)
Communion Town by Sam Thompson (Fourth Estate)

Each one is given a brief outline and introduction here.

Peter Stothard, chairman of the judges, said:

“Goodness, madness and bewildering urban change are among the themes of this year’s longlist. In an extraordinary year for fiction the ‘Man Booker Dozen’ proves the grip that the novel has on our world. […] We did not set out to reject the old guard but, after a year of sustained critical argument by a demanding panel of judges, the new has come powering through.”

The shortlist will be announced on 11th September and the winner of the £50,000 prize on 16th October.

According to the poll in the Telegraph, Hilary Mantel is set for a sure-fire second Man Booker Prize. Who would your favourite be?

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Self-publishing comes of age?

The news and social media have been buzzing lately with updates on how self-publishing is turning over the literary industry.

The Alliance of Independent Authors (AIA) is making huge ground in self-publishing, having given Goodreads.com a full endorsement as the site of self-published authors to advertise, and engaging the help of the literary agency AM Heath — the agency that represents Hilary Mantel — to establish translation and international rights for independent authors. This agreement between AM Heath and the AIA is the first of its kind, and marks a turning-point in the path of self-publishing. Why is this so significant? The AIA’s blog is the perfect place to find out.

Only a few days ago, there was another huge move forward for self-publishing when Pearson, a global education and learning company, announced its acquisition of Author Solutions, Inc. (ASI), a leading provider of self-publishing services. ASI works in tandem with Penguin, which contributes, “design, editorial and sales skills, and its strong international presence”. This essentially means that independent authors will have the opportunity to market their work under Penguin’s banner, with the support of two global companies. The CEO of Penguin, John Makinson, released a statement to coincide with Pearson’s announcement, in which he outlined that this acquisition will allow Penguin, “to participate fully in perhaps the fastest-growing area of the publishing economy.”

He also said, “Self-publishing has moved into the mainstream of our industry over the past three years. It has provided new outlets for professional writers, a huge increase in the range of books available to readers and an exciting source of content for publishers such as Penguin. No-one has captured this opportunity as successfully as Author Solutions, which has rapidly built a position of world leadership on a platform of outstanding customer support and tailor-made publishing services.”

Neill Denny, Editor-in-Chief of the Bookseller Magazine, outlined that this announcement marked the day self-publishing came of age.

However, some people were less enthusiastic at the prospect of Pearson, ASI and Penguin joining together, as one commenter on the Bookseller article protested that, “Author Solutions (owners of Author House, Trafford, Xlibris, and iUniverse) is one of the worst self-publishing ‘service’ companies out there. […] [They] continually over-charge for their services (both in the form of huge up-front fees AND taking a huge chunk of authors’ royalties), have an awful service record, and industry watchdogs such as Writer Beware have received a litany of complaints over the years. What is Penguin thinking?”

The Print-on-demand publishing site, podpublishing.org, wrote a controversial article when ASI took over Xlibris  in 2009, and outlined the pros and cons of Xlibris under its new parent company. Glassdoor.com, the website dedicated to analysing how well jobs and companies work, gives ASI quite a negative review, with only 18% of employees recommending the job to a friend.

*Edit*: Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, criticised the acquisition in a recent essay. Carla King also wrote out against the move on PBS.

While the ambiguity surrounding ASI seems to differ from person to person, what can absolutely be said is that this move has heightened awareness of self-publishing in the industry, and with the support of Penguin, Pearson may herald a new momentum of success for independent authors.

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