Thursday, June 10, 2010

Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna beats Wolf Hall to Orange prize

An epic, ambitious novel that straddles the Mexican revolution and the crazed communist witch-hunts of 1950s America was tonight named winner of this year's Orange prize for fiction.
Barbara Kingsolver took the £30,000 prize for The Lacuna, her eagerly awaited first novel since 2000.
The American novelist held off heavyweight competition from Hilary Mantel, for Wolf Hall, and Lorrie Moore, for A Gate at the Stairs, to take what is the biggest literary award for women writers.
Daisy Goodwin, the TV producer who chaired this year's judges, praised The Lacuna's "breathtaking scale and shattering moments of poignancy" and said the winner was only ever between the three books. "It was a bit like trying to choose between your three beloved children," she said.
"In the end I suppose that while a couple of us felt very passionately about The Lacuna everyone was happy for it to be named winner. They were three of the finest books I've read in a long time. It wasn't like we were scraping in any sense."
The Lacuna, made up of memoir, diaries, letters, newspaper reports and congressional transcripts, is arguably the most demanding of the six books on the shortlist. It's a doorstopping novel that needs to be read properly rather than in snatches and tackles big subjects that resonate today – not least, the media creation of, and obsession with, celebrity.
Beginning in 1929, it follows the life of Harrison Shepherd from his sensitive teenage years in Mexico to fame in 1950s America as the reclusive author of Aztec swashbucklers. In between – and central to the story – Shepherd gets work in the bohemian household of artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo while they entertain house guest Leon Trotsky, for whom he becomes a scribe.
- Mark Brown,

Read the rest of the article here.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Sunday Times Literary Awards longlist announced

Winner to be announced on the 24th of July ...

1. Patterns of Change by Dr Eckart Schumann

2. To Heaven by Water by Justin Cartwright

3. Summertime by JM Coetzee

4. Come Sunday by Isla Morley

5. Beasts of Prey by Rob Marsh

6. The Double Crown by Marie Heese

7. Saracen at the Gates by Zinaid Meeran

8. Black Petals by Bryan Rostron

9. The Transplant Men by Jane Taylor

10. Counting Sleeping Beauties by Hazel Frankel

11. Shiva's Dance by Elana Bregin

12. Trinity Rising by Fiona Snykers

13. Daddy's Girl by Margie Orford

14. The Shape of Him by Gillian Hope Schierhout

15. Trespass by Dawn Garisch

16. Small Moving Parts by Sally-Ann Murray

17.The Elephant in the Room by Maya Fowler

18. The Book of the Dead by Kgebetli Moele

19. Little Ice Cream Boy by Jacques Pauw

20. Sleeper's Wake by Allistair Morgan

21. House of War by Hamilton Wende

22. Black Diamond by Zakes Mda

23. Kings of the Water by Mark Behr

24. Exhibit A by Sarah Lotz

25. Revenge of Kali by Aziz Hassim

26. The Bird of Heaven by Peter Dunseith

27. My Name is Vaselinetjie by Anoeschka von Meck

28. A Man Who is Not a Man by Thando Mgqolozana

29. High Low In-between by Imraan Coovadia

30. Shark by Carel van der Merwe

31. Refuge by Andrew Brown

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Charles Saatchi on Art & Life

One of the world’s foremost art collectors answers questions from readers on why he collects, what he would ask Moses and Darwin—and the greatest mysteries of the universe.

Charles Saatchi has been one of the most influential forces of the contemporary art scene. Founder of global advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, and the most influential art collector of our time, he has vigorously shaped the contemporary art scene while contradictorily remaining an elusive, even reclusive figure.

Though he—famously—refuses to be interviewed, you can now read his brutally frank responses to a battery of questions put to him by leading journalists and critics as well as members of the public.

Do you believe in the 10 Commandments?

An overrated lifestyle guide, unsustainable and largely ineffective, only succeeding in making people confused and guilty.

For example: You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his house, nor his servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's.

This was always obviously a no-hoper of a Commandment. Coveting is all everyone does, all the time, everyday. It’s what drives the world economy, pushes people to make a go of their lives, so that they can afford the Executive model of their Ford Mondeo to park next to their neighbor’s Standard model.

And would you want to be married to someone who nobody coveted?

- The Daily Beast

Read the rest of the article here.