by Rana Asfour
Back in April, American Entertainment company, Hulu, announced a straight-to-series order for 'The Handmaid’s Tale', a drama from MGM Television starring Elisabeth Moss (Peggy from Mad Men). According to the book's author, Margaret Atwood, production is scheduled to start in September and viewers will get to see it on screens sometime in 2017.
In a recent candid interview with Grant Munroe published online at LitHub.com, Atwood discusses the reaction to her novel's release back in 1985, written as a stand against the radical religious movement gaining strength within the American Right, describing the international reception of the novel as 'Interesting'.
'The English', she says, 'who had already had their religious civil war, said, “Jolly good yarn.” The Canadians in their nervous way, said, “Could it happen here?” And the Americans said, “How long have we got?”
When asked what she thought of today's politics with regards to how far it had allowed women to forge ahead citing recent Republican Party Nominee Donald Trump's comments on women, Atwood described Trump's style as 'sort of old-style, 1950s-beauty-contest stuff, rather than religious-right-fundamentalist-puritan stuff'. For full interview on these views as well as her obsession with flying cats, click HERE.
'The Handmaid’s Tale' 1990 movie adaptation starred Natasha Richardson along with Faye Dunaway and Aidan Quinn. The film from Cinecom/Bioskop was directed by Volker Schlondorff on a script by Harold Pinter.
The book won the 1985 Governor General's Award and the first Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1987; it was also nominated for the 1986 Nebula Award, the 1986 Booker Prize, and the 1987 Prometheus Award. It has been adapted for the cinema, radio, opera, and stage. According to Wikipedia, 'The Handmaid's Tale' has never gone out of print since its first publication in 1985.
About the book:
'The Handmaild's Tale' is Atwood's dystopian novel is set in a future North America in which a totalitarian Christian theocracy (Republic of Gilead) has replaced the American government.
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now. For more on the book, click HERE.
An advance upwards of $2m is the figure awarded Emma Cline in the aftermath of an American bidding war that erupted to ensure her debut novel 'The Girls' crosses the Atlantic into the UK market. Emma Cline is from California. Her fiction has appeared in Tin House and The Paris Review, and she was the recipient of the 2014 Paris Review Plimpton Prize.
'The Girls' is about Evie Boyd, 14, who is desperate to be noticed. In the summer of 1969, empty days stretch out under the California sun. The smell of honeysuckle thickens the air and the sidewalks radiate heat. Until she sees them. The snatch of cold laughter. Hair, long and uncombed. Dirty dresses skimming the tops of thighs. Cheap rings like a second set of knuckles. The girls. And at the centre, Russell. Russell and the ranch, down a long dirt track and deep in the hills. Incense and clumsily strummed chords. Rumours of sex, frenzied gatherings, teen runaways.
Was there a warning, a sign of things to come? Or is Evie already too enthralled by the girls to see that her life is about to be changed forever?
While the subject matter is familiar — this is TC Boyle’s 'Drop City' meets Donna Tartt’s 'The Secret History' — it’s the prose that makes 'The Girls' such a strikingly accomplished debut' - Alex Preston, author of 'In Love & War'
Praise for The Girls
“Spellbinding . . . A seductive and arresting coming-of-age story hinged on Charles Manson, told in sentences at times so finely wrought they could almost be worn as jewelry . . . [Emma] Cline gorgeously maps the topography of one loneliness-ravaged adolescent heart. She gives us the fictional truth of a girl chasing danger beyond her comprehension, in a Summer of Longing and Loss.”--The New York Times Book Review
“[The Girls reimagines] the American novel . . . Like Mary Gaitskill’s Veronica or Lorrie Moore’s Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?, The Girls captures a defining friendship in its full humanity with a touch of rock-memoir, tell-it-like-it-really-was attitude.”--Vogue
“Debut novels like this are rare, indeed. . . . The most remarkable quality of this novel is Cline’s ability to articulate the anxieties of adolescence in language that’s gorgeously poetic without mangling the authenticity of a teenager’s consciousness. The adult’s melancholy reflection and the girl’s swelling impetuousness are flawlessly braided together. . . . For a story that traffics in the lurid notoriety of the Manson murders, The Girls is an extraordinary act of restraint. With the maturity of a writer twice her age, Cline has written a wise novel that’s never showy: a quiet, seething confession of yearning and terror.”--The Washington Post
“Emma Cline has an unparalleled eye for the intricacies of girlhood, turning the stuff of myth into something altogether more intimate. She reminds us that behind so many of our culture’s fables exists a girl: unseen, unheard, angry. This book will break your heart and blow your mind.”—Lena Dunham
“Emma Cline’s first novel positively hums with fresh, startling, luminous prose. The Girls announces the arrival of a thrilling new voice in American fiction.”—Jennifer Egan, A Visit From The Goon Squad
“I don’t know which is more amazing, Emma Cline’s understanding of human beings or her mastery of language.”—Mark Haddon, New York Times bestselling author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Looking For Something To Read Next? Gather Inspiration from The 2016 Centre For Fiction First Novel Prize Longlist
'The Alaskan Laundry' by Brendan Jones (Mariner Books)
'All Joe Knight' by Kevin Morris (Grove Press) - (released Dec 6)
'Another Place You’ve Never Been' by Rebecca Kauffman (Soft Skull Press) - (released Oct. 11)
'As Close to Us as Breathing' by Elizabeth Poliner (Lee Boudreaux Books) - (released July 27)
'The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter' by Kia Corthron (Seven Stories Press)- (released Nov. 3)
'Dodgers' by Bill Beverly (Crown)
'Girl Through Glass' by Sari Wilson (Harper)
'The Girls' by Emma Cline (Random House)
'Here Comes the Sun' by Nicole Dennis-Benn (Liveright)
'How I Became a North Korean' by Krys Lee (Viking) - (released Aug. 2)
'Homegoing' by Yaa Gyasi (Knopf)
'Hurt People' by Cote Smith (FSG Originals)
'The Lightkeepers' by Abby Geni (Counterpoint)
'The Longest Night' by Andria Williams (Random House)
'The Mirror Thief' by Martin Seay (Melville House)
'The Regional Office is Under Attack!' by Manuel Gonzales (Riverhead Books)
'Shelter' by Jung Yun (Picador USA)
'Stork Mountain' by Miroslav Penkov (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
'Sweetgirl' by Travis Mulhauser (Ecco)
'Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings' by Stephen O’Connor (Viking)
'Tuesday Nights in 1980' by Molly Prentiss (Scout Press)
'We Love You, Charlie Freeman' by Kaitlyn Greenidge (Algonquin Books)
'What Belongs to You' by Garth Greenwell (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
'Work Like Any Other' by Virginia Reeves (Scribner)
'Wreck and Order' by Hannah Tennant-Moore (Hogarth)
for more on the Centre for Fiction First Novel Prize, click HERE
Mark your calendars! November 1 is promising to be a grande affair: not only because it happens to be Mr. Fabulous's birthday but also because Elena Ferrante, one of the world's most talked about authors will be releasing not one, but two books on that same day.
It is no exaggeration to say that Elena Ferrante has captivated the world's attention not only with her worldwide best-selling Neapolitan novels but also because, unlike most writers, she has shunned the limelight that follows success and opted instead to remain in the shadows letting her work best represent who she is. Very little is known about the author and many have gone so far as to speculate that 'she' may actually be a 'he'. Whatever the case, one fact remains true: Elena Ferrante's books have so far been a major success around the world.
In November, Elena Ferrante's US publisher, Europa Edition, are publishing 'Frantumaglia', a collection of interviews and letters by the mysterious author as well as the author's first children book entitled 'The Beach at Night'. Both books are translated by Ann Goldstein.
The 'Wall Street Journal' have had exclusive access to the art cover of 'Frantumaglia' which they released in a story on July 12th. According to the publication, the book 'promises to offer the most complete look yet at the woman behind the mega best-selling Neapolitan novels'.
For more on this story, see HERE.
The Palestine Youth Orchestra’s (PYO) first ever UK Tour launches this month! Under the baton of Sian Edwards, the young orchestra will perform at leading venues across the country, culminating at London’s Royal Festival Hall, to bring their message of inspiration and humanity.
Travelling from over ten countries, the 85 musicians, comprising students and high-level amateurs aged 14 to 26 from Palestine and the diaspora, will embark on a six-city tour, showcasing their incredible drive, passion for music, and resilience in the face of adversity.
Unable to rehearse together at home, the PYO will meet at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland between 18 and 24 July. This year they are joined by the Palestinian vocalist, flute player, and composer Nai Barghouti – a rising star of Arabic music, following her recently acclaimed performances at the Montreux Festival and the UN Headquarters in New York - and by several students from leading British conservatoires.
Equally at home with Western and Arabic repertoires, the PYO will perform music by Beethoven, the pop-inspired Metal by British composer Graham Fitkin, songs made famous by legendary female Arab singers Fayrouz and Om Kolthoum, and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.
For more information and tickets, click HERE.
Watch a video of Nai Barghouti below:
From 15 – 24 July 2016, Liverpool Arab Arts Festival, the UK’s biggest annual celebration of Arab arts and culture returns to Liverpool for its 15th year, bringing with it a series of 35 events over a packed 10 day period, including 147 UK and international artists and performers.
Organisers have put together an impressive programme of events and activities, which they describe as ‘something for everyone’, incorporating visual art, music, dance, film, theatre, literature, discussion, comedy and special free public events in various venues across the city.
To read the full programme visit: www.arabartsfestival.com