Cover Stories: Best of the Bookers; Mills & Boon exhibition; very Bohemian
Friday 06 June 2008
Rose Tremain's widely predicted Orange Prize victory with The Road Home calls attention again to the bizarre choices of last year's Man Booker judges. They deemed such fast-forgotten titles such as Michael Redhill's Consolation to be more worthy of a longlist place than Tremain's conspicuously first-rate fiction. But all readers who complain about Booker blunders can make their mark by voting (until 8 July) in the 40th anniversary "Best of the Booker" race, from a shortlist that includes Pat Barker, Peter Carey, JM Coetzee, JG Farrell, Nadine Gordimer and Salman Rushdie: see
www.themanbookerprize.com. Coetzee, meanwhile, makes a rare UK appearance to lecture at UEA in Norwich on Thursday 19 June (booking: 01603 508050) as part of the New Writing Worlds festival, devoted this year to literature and the natural world.
Sophisticates like to mock Mills & Boon, but the company has prospered for a century. The numbers speak for themselves: 130 million books are sold in 26 languages every year; every three seconds, someone in the UK buys an M&B. As a new exhibition in Manchester Central Library (until 31 July) shows, M&B started out as a general publisher. Its role as a specialist in escapist fiction was cemented in the Blitz. The exhibition, And Then He Kissed Her, draws on the vast M&B archive to show the evolution in romantic fiction and the changes in women's lives.
Literary festivals mushroom across Europe every summer, but how about a selective (250 places only) outing for bookish bohemians in... Bohemia? Offering a relaxed, intimate and hype-free vibe, Under the Linden takes place at Kamenice nad Lipou, an unspoilt spot in the Czech Republic, from 20-25 August. Guests will include John Berger, Anne Michaels and film director Sally Potter, with movies, music and debate also scheduled. Details: www.gotogetherpress.com
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 If I were Prime Minister: I'd give tax cuts to the rich, keep Trident, and get my football team wrong
- 2 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 4 University student in court for allegedly covering housemates' food in window cleaner and spit
- 5 Garland shooting: Isis claims attack on Prophet Mohamed cartoon contest in Texas as its first action on US soil
In defence of liberal democracy
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
Andy McSmith's Sketch: Feisty audience is the real star of an enlightening show