'Adventures in the Anthropocene' by Gaia Vince, has been awarded the 2015 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books.
Chair of judges Professor Ian Stewart FRS described the book as ‘ambitious and essential’, while fellow judge and novelist Sarah Waters called it ‘an inspiring testament to human ingenuity’.
The winner was announced by Professor Brian Cox at the award ceremony on 24 September. Gaia Vince is the first solo female winner in the Prize’s 28-year history.
The author of the winning book receives £25,000 and £2,500 each is awarded to the authors of the five shortlisted books. To check those out, click HERE.
Al Ain Reads: an extensive cultural programme highlighting the literary production of Emirati writers.
The seventh edition of the annual Al Ain Reads, being held at the Al Ain Convention Centre from October 4 – 11, 2015, has attracted a record 70 exhibitors and seen a 15% increase in exhibition area over last year’s edition, organisers Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority have revealed.
The exhibition is expected to attract book lovers from all over the UAE and the Sultanate of Oman, with the event now being expanded to eight days following overwhelming demand from exhibitors and publishing houses.
Al Ain Reads 2015 will feature more than 60,000 literary, scientific, children’s and educational titles in English, Arabic and other languages. The literary flair of Emirati writers and emerging cultural issues will be discussed throughout a series of sessions in its dedicated cultural programme.
“Al Ain Reads 2015 is one of the most important book fairs in the region. It has succeeded in attracting quality participation from local publishing houses that are focusing greater emphasis in developing the publishing industry,” said H.E. Juma Al Qubaisi, Executive Director of the National Library division at TCA Abu Dhabi.
“We have established Al Ain Reads in successive years to provide an annual platform to display books by an increasing number of local publishing houses, with visitors from all over the UAE, especially by Al Ain university students attracted to the event,” he added.
The expansion of the Oasis city’s book fair follows a successful Al Ain Reads 2014, which attracted 67 local publishers displaying over 55,000 Arabic and English literary and scientific works.
“We expect over 35,000 visitors this year following the expansion of the fair to eight days, who can participate in a series of evening lectures by eminent Emirati authors and innovators to highlight the cultural issues in the area,” added Al Qubaisi.
It is expected that the group of Emirati writers’ series of seminars and discussion sessions for scholars, and the informative and engaging ‘Creativity Corner’ will remain a major attraction for children who, along with their parents, will be treated to a unique experience in the world of books, reading and creativity.
Source: Press Release
Reviewed by Abu Dhabi resident Kubra Mubashir who runs Abu Dhabi-based bookclub Ravenous Readers. Find them on Facebook.
Having heard about the rise and growth of the Taliban and their strict imposition (of their interpretation) of the Sharia law I only assumed that life for women in Afghanistan must have been hard. However after coming across this book, I realised that there is a pattern in the subjugation of women ---either by using religion or culture as the whip to beat them with.
Initially I assumed that "bacha posh" must be prevalent amongst the rural or uneducated populace but I was sadly mistaken. In Afghanistan, even the doctors believe in the importance of bearing a son. Dr Fareiba exclaiming "We are the Pashtun people. We need the son" summed up the desire and dependence of happiness of families on the birth of a son
The parents/children have many reasons for blurring their existence. The reasons range from the social pressure on the family to produce a boy; to feed the family or it's just the child desiring to enjoy the rights of the male.
All however don't cross back easily because some are unsure about which side they belong to, some miss the freedom they once enjoyed but some are confident of their existence and mental strength while some never cross over and resist any attempt in this direction
As one mother of a bacha posh opines "Bacha posh is less about preference for sons and more a symptom of how poorly the society works".
After reading the stories I wondered what social system forces parents to make their children cross dressers; go forth into the world as someone they are not. Can they not imagine the trauma they subject the child to at puberty when he is expected to cross back into a normal life? What must the girls go through with having been given full freedom till 13 years and then total subjugation for the remaining period of their lives.
Things won't change in Afghanistan. The absence of a stable government, law and order coupled with the hold of the Taliban and rustic war lords in a mountainous areas where culture and social norms weigh heavily over religion, logic or education means things won't change much. As long as women are handled as stooges and pawns, disrespected and treated as housemaids meant only for child bearing, such phenomena will continue to propagate and thrive. For these women gender is optional but freedom is what they desire
It's one of the few books that moved me considerably. Well written, precise and well researched.
Marlon James, Tom McCarthy, Chigozie Obioma, Sunjeev Sahota, Anne Tyler and Hanya Yanagihara are today, Tuesday 15 September, announced as the shortlisted authors for the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.
The six names were announced by Chair of judges, Michael Wood, at a press conference at the offices of sponsor Man Group.
The judges remarked on the variety of writing styles, cultural heritage and literary backgrounds of the writers on the shortlist, which includes new authors alongside established names. Two authors come from the United Kingdom, two from the United States and one apiece from Jamaica and Nigeria.
This is the second year that the prize, first awarded in 1969, has been open to writers of any nationality, writing originally in English and published in the UK. Previously, the prize was open only to authors from the UK & Commonwealth, Republic of Ireland and Zimbabwe.
The 2015 shortlist of six novels is:
Author (nationality) Title (imprint)
Marlon James (Jamaica) A Brief History of Seven Killings (Oneworld Publications)
Tom McCarthy (UK) Satin Island (Jonathan Cape)
Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria) The Fishermen (ONE, Pushkin Press)
Sunjeev Sahota (UK) The Year of the Runaways (Picador)
Anne Tyler (US) A Spool of Blue Thread (Chatto & Windus)
Hanya Yanagihara (US) A Little Life (Picador)
For more on this story and the books, click HERE.
Reviewed by Abu Dhabi resident Mimi Harding, Past Life Regression Therapist
Set in Tehran over a number of generations and spanning all spectrums of class, religion and society this book is one of the most gripping books I have read for a long time. The book is a series of short stories based on some true life experiences captured by a journalist who returned to Iran following the revolution.
Two things bind all the characters together, one being the road Vali Asr which runs from the rich north of Tehran to the poorer south neighbourhoods and in-between. The other is the underlying love of the culture, lifestyle and belief that the country is slowly evolving and establishing itself within the world.
I was truly captivated by the descriptive prose of the book which is heartbreakingly brutal and at times humorous, it engaged a thought provoking interest to understand what draws a true Iranian back to their City of Lies.
Ramita Navai is an award-winning British-Iranian journalist and author. She has reported from over thirty-five different countries and has a reputation for investigations and work in hostile environments.
As well as making twenty documentaries for Channel 4's 'Unreported World', she has reported for the United Nations in Pakistan, Iraqi Kurdistan and Iran. She has written for many newspapers and publications, and was the Tehran correspondent for The Times from 2003 - 2006. In 2012 she won an Emmy award for her PBS Frontline documentary 'Syria Undercover'.
Her first book 'City of Lies: Love, Sex, Death and the Search for Truth in Tehran' won the Debut Political Book of the Year at the Paddy Power Political Book Awards 2015, and was awarded the Royal Society of Literature's Jerwood Prize for non-fiction.
The Back Cover
Drawn from conversations whispered across tables in the cafes that line Vali Asr, Tehran’s pulsing central thoroughfare, Ramita Navai gives voice to the unforgettable lives of ordinary people forced to live extraordinary lives in modern Tehran: the porn star, the ageing socialite, the assassin and enemy of the state who ends up working for the Republic, the religious militiaman who undergoes a sex change, the dutiful housewife who files for divorce, and the old-time thug running a gambling den.
Rich, absorbing and exotic, this is an insider’s glimpse into the local personalities, the unremarkable busy bodies and hysterical intrigues buzzing about the city like you’ve never seen before. This is a place where Mullahs visit prostitutes, cosmetic surgeons restore girls' virginity and homemade porn is bought and sold in the bazaars. Here, survival depends on an intricate network of lies and falsehoods. Far removed from the picture of Tehran we glimpse in news stories, we are shown another city—a hidden city—but a far more honest one.
Now that most readers of BookFabulous have settled back into their routines, many have been sharing the books they enjoyed reading while on Summer holiday. More and more come through by email, or just from people stopping me to tell me about their amazing book finds. So, if you've read a specially good book that you're dying to share with someone, then drop me an email and I'll make sure to share it with everyone here!
Today's choice is by Abu Dhabi resident Rami Tarazi.
From the bestselling author of 'Blink' and 'The Tipping Point', Malcolm Gladwell's 'Outliers: The Story of Success' overturns conventional wisdom about genius to show us what makes an ordinary person an extreme overachiever.
There is a story that is usually told about extremely successful people, a story that focuses on intelligence and ambition. Gladwell argues that the true story of success is very different, and that if we want to understand how some people thrive, we should spend more time looking around them - at such things as their family, their birthplace, or even their birth date. And in revealing that hidden logic, Gladwell presents a fascinating and provocative blueprint for making the most of human potential.
In this provocative and inspiring book, Malcolm Gladwell looks at everyone from rock stars to professional athletes, software billionaires to scientific geniuses, to show that the story of success is far more surprising, and far more fascinating, than we could ever have imagined. He reveals that it's as much about where we're from and what we do, as who we are - and that no one, not even a genius, ever makes it alone.
'Outliers' will change the way you think about your own life story, and about what makes us all unique.
Malcolm Timothy Gladwell is a Canadian journalist, bestselling author, and speaker. He has been a staff writer for 'The New Yorker' since 1996.
Patrick Ness, the award-winning children’s author of 'The Rest Of Us Just Live Here' hit Twitter Thursday to raise support for the Syrian refugees caught up in the European crisis, saying he would “match donations up to £10k to do *something* to help”. The campaign has since raised over £420,000 and continues to build as I write this.
The appeal was started after the body of a young boy, Aylan Kurdi, who was fleeing Syria washed up on the coast of Turkey sending shock waves around the world. On the Fundraising Page, Patrick Ness writes: 'I am fundraising to help with the Syrian refugee crisis because I can no longer stand to just tweet about it'.
Starting the appeal, Ness wrote on Twitter: “Okay, I don't know if this'll work but I'll match donations up to £10k to do *something* to help this refugee crisis.” The offer was soon matched by John Green, author of 'A Fault in Our Stars' and by JoJo Moyes, author of 'Me Before You'. Other donors include Anthony Horowitz, Derek Landy, Rainbow Rowell and David Nicholls amongst a host of many others.
Check out the latest donations for this 'Save the Children' campaign and how to donate if you want to by clicking HERE.