Preview: Small Wonder, Charleston, nr Lewes
We need to talk about Richard
Wednesday 17 September 2008
Lionel Shriver has been a fan of the work of Richard Yates since she read his first novel, Revolutionary Road. So when she was asked to read the late, neglected author's short story "Doctor Jack-o'-lantern" at Small Wonder, the festival held every year at Charleston, East Sussex, she jumped at the chance.
Shriver, whose novel We Need To talk About Kevin won the Orange Prize in 2005, says: "Once I got into the novels, I read his collected stories. 'Doctor Jack-o'-lantern' is a very good example of where Yates is able to write about a character and a small incident which is actually quite ugly. He is mean to a teacher who has only been nice to him. But somehow you understand it. In some weird way, she brought it on herself.
"He's very good at spreading the sympathy around," she continues. "That is something I aspire to in my own work and don't always achieve. I really like it when you have a clear-eyed view of a character. To be able to understand their faults and at the same time have compassion for them, is the kind of balance I really appreciate in a fiction writer."
Yates has a cult following, but never sold more than 12,000 copies of any one hardback and all his books were out of print when he died in 1992. "Now that Revolutionary Road is becoming a movie, Yates is being rediscovered," says Shriver, "but until very recently most people had never heard of him. It is not a just world and great writers get swallowed up. I'm sorry that it takes a movie to get people to read people's books, but I'm very pleased for him – even posthumously – that it's refocused attention on his work."
18-21 September (01323 811265; www.charleston.org.uk)
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Amber Peat: Body found in search for missing 13-year-old who ran away after argument with her parents
- 2 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 3 Gay teenager 'forced to have sex with his own mother' to 'cure' his homosexuality, campaigners in India say
- 4 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
- 5 Fifa corruption: Qatar says investigations are racist, anti-Arab and show 'ugly face' of countries who lost 2022 World Cup bid
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 9, The Dance of Dragons: Jon Snow returns to The Wall after epic Battle of Hardhome
Touch-screen Teletubbies say hello: Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po are back, now with smart technology
Black Angel: Long lost Star Wars precursor to be made into crowdfunded feature film
Game of Thrones, season 5: heavy metal rockers Mastodon cameo as Wildlings in Hardhome
Environmental Photographer of the Year 2015 award: Shortlisted images go on show
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers