2013 Women’s Prize for Fiction: Shortlist Announced

Women's Book PrizeOn Wednesday 17th April, the shortlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction was announced. Among the six authors shortlisted were former winners Zadie Smith and Barbara Kingsolver, and unsurprisingly, Hilary Mantel. Named a “staggeringly strong” list by one pundit, the judges face a tough decision before the winner is announced at the Royal Festival Hall on 5th June.

The Shortlist
‘Bring Up the Bodies’ by Hilary Mantel
‘Flight Behaviour’ by Barbara Kingsolver
‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’ by Maria Semple
‘Life After Life’ by Kate Atkinson
‘May We Be Forgiven’ by A M Homes
‘NW’ by Zadie Smith

Some have said that Hilary Mantel has won enough awards, and whilst we don’t agree entirely we do think that it would be great for another author to have their work well and truly recognised. We’ll be reviewing the winning book when it’s announced in June. You can read our review of last year’s winner – ‘The Song of Achilles’ by Madeline Miller – here.

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‘Enduring Love’ by Ian McEwan

Enduring Love

Never-ending denial.

A beautifully written novel by Ian McEwan, Enduring Love is a passionate thriller that explores the relationship between love, confusion and paranoia. With a unique and eventful beginning, the story soon develops into something unexpected that’s filled with subtle twists and turns, and a heart-racing conclusion. Continue reading

World Poetry Day – In My Craft or Sullen Art

It’s World Poetry Day – a time to appreciate and rediscover one of the finest forms of literature. There’s a poetic style and voice to suit every reader, from the humour of Pam Ayres to the grim beauty of Philip Larkin. We think there is much to be said for a comfy chair, a glass of wine and a good poetry anthology. Lyrical and evocative, one of our favourite poets is Dylan Thomas – and it’s his ‘In My Craft or Sullen Art’ that we think is a very fitting tribute to this literary day.

In My Craft or Sullen Art
By Dylan Thomas

In my craft or sullen art
Exercised in the still night
When only the moon rages
And the lovers lie abed
With all their griefs in their arms,
I labour by singing light
Not for ambition or bread
Or the strut and trade of charms
On the ivory stages
But for the common wages
Of their most secret heart.

Not for the proud man apart
From the raging moon I write
On these spindrift pages
Nor for the towering dead
With their nightingales and psalms
But for the lovers, their arms
Round the griefs of the ages,
Who pay no praise or wages
Nor heed my craft or art.

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2013 Women’s Prize for Fiction: Longlist Announced

Women's Book Prize

The Women’s Prize for Fiction, formerly known as the Orange Prize for Fiction, returns for another year. Following Madeline Miller’s success in 2012, the longlist features both acclaimed and relatively unknown authors. With Hilary Mantel’s Booker Award winning novel, ‘Bring up the Bodies’, longlisted alongside books such as ‘Alif the Unseen’ and ‘The Red Book’, the competition is sure to be an unpredictable one. The shortlist of six will be announced on Tuesday 16th April, and the winner on Wednesday 5th June.

Read our review of last year’s winner, ‘The Song of Achilles’ by Madeline Miller, here.

Source: http://www.womensprizeforfiction.co.uk/2013-prize/longlist

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Director Announced For ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ Adaptation

This week it was announced that ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ by New York Times best-selling author John Green, which is currently being adapted to film, has acquired a director. Josh Boone, who recently made his directorial debut, has stated that: “I feel the weight and responsibility to get this right and give his readers and devoted fans as pure a translation as possible … We hope to create a little infinity within this film that fans can revisit over and over.” Continue reading

‘The Slap’ by Christos Tsiolkas

The Slap

A shocking sting of consequentiality.

Described by Commonwealth Writers Prize judge, Nicholas Hasluck, as “a controversial and daring novel”, ‘The Slap’ by Christos Tsiolkas is a clever read that challenges the perception of the human condition. After an unruly young boy is slapped at a barbecue in suburban Melbourne, the novel tells of its widespread consequences to all those who witness it. Continue reading

‘A Tiny Bit Marvellous’ by Dawn French

A Tiny Bit Marvellous

A big bit of loveliness.

The first novel by Dawn French, ‘A Tiny Bit Marvellous’ tells the tale of a typical, if not slightly eccentric, modern British family. The book is centred on Mo Battle, a 49-year-old mum of two who feels that there’s some excitement missing from her life, something that she wants to reclaim. As the story develops we follow her through exploration and experimentation with the person that she has become, and the woman that she ends up being. Continue reading

‘The Song of Achilles’ by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles

A gay Greek extravaganza.

The Song of Achilles is a story of love, battle and heartbreak, set during the time of the Trojan War in Ancient Greece. It follows the story of Prince Achilles and his beloved comrade Patroclus through their childhood and into a war that threatens to end their intimate companionship forever. What Madeline Miller has essentially done is taken the original myth of Achilles and elaborated on certain aspects of it to create her story. And it’s a good one… Continue reading

‘Trainspotting’ by Irvine Welsh


It’s not just about heroin.

Trainspotting. It’s just about a group of rough Scottish heroin addicts, right? Wrong! Well I mean that is part of it, but that’s definitely not all of it. I’ll admit that I bought the book mainly for the lovely Vintage Classics bright orange pages and cover, and the fact that I just wanted to say I’d read it due to its reputation and supposed greatness… Continue reading

Infinite Jest: an infinitely beautiful challenge


About a year ago while caught in a link chain on Wikipedia, I came across the mention of a book. A book infamous for its length, scope and difficulty (though this last was always prefaced with the assurance that it was in fact very ‘’entertaining’’).
It was of course, the mammoth ‘Infinite Jest’ by the late, brilliant David Foster Wallace.
I was strangely hooked by the idea of a book that has been understood almost as a rite of passage for any serious fiction reader – a trial of patience, brains and commitment to a book; to the idea of the book. Continue reading