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
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
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- 2 Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
- 3 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Isis publicly behead man in Syrian town square for 'insulting Allah' as he screams for help
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9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures