The Edinburgh International Book Festival have announced that YA author Kathryn Evans is the winner of the 2016 Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book Award for her debut novel, 'More of Me', a gripping and thought-provoking story of growing up and teen identity. All 46 debut novels and short story collections for adults and young adults featured in the Book Festival public programme this year were eligible for the Award, which is voted for by readers and visitors to the Festival. This is the first time in the seven years of the Award that a YA novel has won.
Kathryn Evans said, 'I am stunned to have won this award – when I saw the calibre of the other authors I thought I didn’t have a hope. So often children’s fiction is seen as the poor cousin to adult books – yet in it, we tackle some of the hardest subjects in the most innovative of ways. I am so proud to hold the banner up for YA fiction.
'I had such an amazing time at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, this award is the most delicious icing on an already fabulous cake. Thank you to the Festival team for inviting me, to Usborne for publishing me, and to Sophie Hicks, my amazing agent, for sticking with me all this time. But most of all, a huge thank you to everyone who voted for More of Me – especially the teenagers, let no one tell you you’re apathetic because I know that you are full of passion. Readers, you stars, thank you for voting and making this happen. I owe you all the cake, you are wonderful.”
Following a degree in drama and a short career in theatre, Evans decided that she needed a ‘proper job’ so set up a strawberry farm and then turned her hand to writing. In addition to penning her debut novel, running the fruit farm in West Sussex and raising two children, she loves to belly dance and fences competitively. She is Finance Co-ordinator for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators in the British Isles and regularly travels across the country delivering writing workshops for teenagers and adults. Evans lost her mother at a young age and 'More of Me' is partly inspired by her own childhood.
'More of Me', published by Usborne, is the extraordinary story of sixteen year old Teva whose life seems normal: school, friends, boyfriend. But at home she hides an impossible secret. Eleven other Tevas. Because once a year, Teva separates into two, leaving a younger version of herself stuck at the same age, in the same house... watching the new Teva live the life that she'd been living. But as her seventeenth birthday rolls around, Teva is determined not to let it happen again. She's going to fight for her future. Even if that means fighting herself.
'The Sellout' by Paul Beatty is named winner of the 2016 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. The Sellout is published by small independent publisher Oneworld, who had their first win in 2015 with Marlon James’ 'A Brief History of Seven Killings'.
The 54-year-old New York resident, born in Los Angeles, is the first American author to win the prize in its 48-year history. US authors became eligible in 2014. The 2016 shortlist included two British, two US, one Canadian and one British-Canadian writer.
'The Sellout' is a searing satire on race relations in contemporary America. 'The Sellout' is described by The New York Times as a ‘metaphorical multicultural pot almost too hot to touch’, whilst the Wall Street Journal called it a ‘Swiftian satire of the highest order. Like someone shouting fire in a crowded theatre, Mr. Beatty has whispered “Racism” in a postracial world.’
The book is narrated by African-American ‘Bonbon’, a resident of the run-down town of Dickens in Los Angeles county, which has been removed from the map to save California from embarrassment. Bonbon is being tried in the Supreme Court for attempting to reinstitute slavery and segregation in the local high school as means of bringing about civic order. What follows is a retrospective of this whirlwind scheme, populated by cartoonish characters who serve to parody racial stereotypes. The framework of institutional racism and the unjust shooting of Bonbon’s father at the hands of police are particularly topical.
Though Beatty cites satirists Joseph Heller and Kurt Vonnegut as formative influences, he remarked to The Paris Review that he was ‘surprised that everybody keeps calling this a comic novel… I’m not sure how I define it.’
In addition to his £50,000 prize and trophy, Beatty also receives a designer bound edition of his book and a further £2,500 for being shortlisted.
This is the third year that the prize 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 2016 shortlist included two British, two US, one Canadian and one British-Canadian writer.
Source: press release
by Rana Asfour
A big YAY! for the weird and wonderful world of the World Wide Web. It is there where one can find innovative solutions to irritating every day issues. One example is the email inbox with its flood of frustrating, stressful, and anger inducing messages that are enough to make one go mad. Step in the brainy and brilliant people at 'The Season of Stories'; their mission is to make your email inbox a better - and happier - place, one story at a time.
Starting October 11 (yesterday) for a limited time they'll be emailing eleven fiction tales directly to readers, all written in the first person. Every week, a different Penguin Random House author will take over the newsletter, including award-winning and bestselling authors like Anthony Marra, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Adam Johnson. Seriously, how awesome is that?
You’ll receive a piece of a story one day at a time until the full narrative wraps up just in time for the weekend.The stories are FREE and will only be in the emails (you won’t be able to get them anywhere else!).
Yesterday, yours truly received her first instalment of these stories called 'Juliet' by Elizabeth McCracken, author of 'Thunderstruck & Other Stories'. It is so good that I cannot wait for today's part II.
The story so far is about a weird library in which the children's room houses a bunny called 'Kaspar Hauser', who the narrator figures probably 'prayed nightly to become a ghost' to escape the taunting of the children who came to see it; three finches happy in their communal cage, and fish who 'maybe wept in the terrible privacy of their tank'.
This library is a place where people seek 'not just books but attention and advice and, in case of one widower, the occasional rear end to pat affectionately'. There are all sorts of people coming in and going out, inquiring about one thing or other. Old people, two transgendered patrons one of whom is a radical lesbian, teenagers who want to nap and a man who just wanted to punch someone. That's just to name a few.
However, it is the mysterious Juliet, a young woman in her late twenties, with long loose dark hair, who visits the library for the first time on a Monday who captures the attention and imagination of the library dwellers. It seems something terrible might be about to happen to Juliet, but I'm not quite sure what it is yet but the fact that she 'clutched a book in her hand in such a way that it looked like a knife she was prepared to use on herself' gives me a creepy feeling. Other clues? She is described as having 'something forsaken and hopeful about her' and she's wearing white. That always reads as this woman might be facing a gory, violent and miserable end, Right? Or is it just me? hmm.
Intrigued? All you have to do to is sign up with your email after clicking HERE.
The Sharjah International Book Fair have today announced their exciting and extensive details for the region’s largest book fair which takes place Nov 2 until Nov. 12 in Sharjah. Attending the press conference were HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of Sharjah Book Authority as well as HE Abdulaziz Taryam, CEO Advisor and General Manager of Etisalat Northern Emirates.
Now in it’s 35th year, the programme is filled to the brim with all things literary as well as a plethora of activities such as a cooking corner which includes 76 activities with 14 guests from 10 participating countries. Children are promised a dazzling time with a whole host of activities lined up for their entertainment, with 54 guests from 19 participating countries dedicated to the task.
Participating in this year’s Sharjah International Book Fair are 1250 publishers from 60 countries, with nine of these countries participating for the first time. There will be over half a million books on display and UNESCO is to be guest of honor at SIBF 2016.
The Fair organizers have settled on ‘Read More’ as this year’s slogan in accordance with the UAE’s ‘2016 Year of Reading’ which continues to be celebrated across the country.
In an earlier press release, the SIBF announced that it will play host to renowned Egyptian actor Ezzat Al Alaili in appreciation of his significant contribution to Egyptian Cinema over many decades and his highly creative film interpretations of the best Egyptian and Arabic novels through a huge collection of films and TV series.
The Fair will open daily from early morning until late at night during its 11-day run bringing together authors, publishers, readers, literary stakeholders, celebrities and cultural ambassadors all under one roof in an exhibition area that covers 25,000 square metres, with the space extending across five halls at Expo Centre Sharjah.
We've said it a million times but we'll put it in writing this time: there's nothing more that we love than a book sale except for a book sale for a good cause. And now's your chance to do both here in Abu Dhabi.
Operation Smile UAE are having their annual mega book sale at Wahda Mall, Abu Dhabi, this Thursday 13 Oct - Saturday 15 Oct. from 10am - 11pm. All funds raised will help children with cleft lip and cleft palate receive free collective surgery so they too can smile.
The event will take place in Wahda Mall's main atrium in front of Starbucks. Check out the Operation Smile UAE on Facebook for more details.
by Rana Asfour
(Tadah! The modern literary world's most famous mystery has been resolved with the very public unmasking of the true identity of Elena Ferrante, author of the much celebrated 'My Brilliant Friend' as well as the entire Neopolitan series as that of Italian translator Anita Raja.
The news splashed out onto media platforms when Italian journalist Claudio Gatti, a writer for the New York Review of Books as well as Il Sole 24 Ore decided to go public with the information. In true modern espionage fashion, Gatti has revealed that he was able to identify Ferrante by the significant payments that had been made to her by the company, which appeared proportionate to the success of her books.
Asked in an email interview for the Gentlewoman earlier this year why she protected her anonymity, Ferrante said it was partly to shield the Neapolitan community from which she drew her inspiration. But there were other reasons, too.
'The wish to remove oneself from all forms of social pressure or obligation. Not to feel tied down to what could become one’s public image. To concentrate exclusively and with complete freedom on writing and its strategies,' she wrote.
Many have criticised the revealing of the writer with some labelling it as 'disgusting journalism'. In a series of angry tweets, author JoJo Moyes wrote that Raja must have had good reason to revert to a pseudonym and that it wasn't the public's 'right' to know her.
The journalist has since defended his decision to publish his findings regarding Raja's identity explaining that not only was Ferrante a public figure and the public had a right to know who she was but that as a journalist he was only doing his job. For more on that HERE.