Despite plans to make reading a daily habit, I’ve only recently managed to start working my way through a mammoth pile of books – mostly fiction. Having finally completed Roddy Doyle’s Paddy Clarke Ha, Ha, Ha, I quickly ploughed through his Woman Who Walked into Doors. I enjoyed both for very different reasons. Paddy Clarke was hard going simply because it was one long yarn but certainly reminiscent of my school days in lots of ways. While I say I enjoyed it, it was more of a challenge to read it as it wasn’t a book I would have chosen voluntarily.
The latter was an excellent portrait of a lone woman’s fight to rid herself of an abusive husband. Not for the faint-hearted, Doyle paints an excellent picture of a brutal, but sometimes humorous existence. If you’ve not read any of his works before I think this is a good place to start.
Next on the reading list is Kate Mosse’s Winter Ghosts. Again this is not a read because the theme of the book caught my eye, but because I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed both Labyrinth and Sepulchre. Mosse has a great aptitude for enveloping the reader in the world she’s created – OK it’s the aim of hundreds of writers but it’s amazing how many fail. This book is not on the same scale as Labyrinth or Sepulchre but set in similar mysterious surroundings. Looking forward to finishing it this week.
Last few days!
Time is getting tight for this competition run by the Poetry Society.
Since its launch in 1978 it has attracted tens of thousands of entries from across the globe. It’s easy to enter and copies of last year’s winning poems can be found on the website. Deadline is 31 October 2016. The winners will be announced next Spring and published on the recently revamped PS pages. You can, of course, save on the entry fee by joining the Society – a really worthwhile investment for all who enjoy poetry in all its forms.
See the latest update in this campaign under the Re: Actions tab (above), as former prisoners and detainees write to support English PEN and the Howard League for Penal Reform’s campaign to lift restrictions on sending books to prisoners in the UK.
An exciting & thought-provoking event made all the more interesting by the conflicting opinions about the huge Chinese presence.
I’ll shortly be blogging:
- An interview with Louise Jordan of the Writers’ Advice Centre;
- Reviewing Carole Jahme’s latest novel Worth Their Weight in Blood & finding out what she said about her work during our LBF interview;
- Looking at the 3-volume work East Meets West from Joan Chan.
Full reviews will be available to download, as soon as I’ve got through Carole’s 300+ pages and Joan’s 700+.
The writers’ charity, English PEN has launched PEN Atlas, an initiative of the Writers in Translation programme. Correspondents from around the world will post regular news and comment from the literary scenes in other countries.
Ros Schwartz, English PEN Trustee and Chair of the Writers in Translation Programme, commented: ‘The amount of foreign literature published in English is far too low. We hope the PEN Atlas will inspire literature lovers to sample new writing from other countries, and encourage publishers to bring that writing to the British market.’
The PEN Atlas is edited by Tasja Dorkofikis. New articles will be published online every Thursday. The first is by Athens-based Gazmend Kapllani, who writes on how authors are trying to continue writing while the economy collapses around them.
The PEN Atlas is aimed at literature lovers, publishers and translators.