Sebastian Rudd takes the cases no one else wants to take: the drug-addled punk accused of murdering two little girls; a crime lord on death row; a homeowner who shot at a SWAT team.
Rudd believes that every person accused of a crime is entitled to a fair trial - even if he has to cheat to get one. He antagonises people from both sides of the law: his last office was firebombed, either by drug dealers or cops. He doesn't know or care which.
But things are about to get even more complicated for Sebastian. Arch Swanger is the prime suspect in the abduction and presumed murder of 21-year-old Jiliana Kemp, the daughter of the assistant chief of police. When Swanger asks Sebastian to represent him, he lets Sebastian in on a terrible secret . . . one that will threaten everything Sebastian holds dear.
Gritty, witty, and impossible to put down, 'Rogue Lawyer' is the master of the legal thriller at his very best.
To buy, click HERE.
The Foreign Land of the Very Wealthy - otherwise known as Manhattan's Upper East Side - has its own rigid code of behaviour. It's a code strictly adhered to by the Wilder-Bingham family.
Emotional displays - unacceptable.
Unruly behaviour - definitely not welcome.
Fun - no thanks.
This is Glenn Wilder-Bingham's kingdom. A beautifully displayed impeccably edited fortress of restraint.
So when Rosie Kitto, an eccentric thirty-eight-year-old primary school teacher from England, bounces into their lives with a secret sorrow and a heart as big as the city, nobody realises that she hasn't read the rule book.
For the Wilder-Bingham family, whose lives begin to unravel thread by thread, the consequences are explosive. Because after a lifetime of saying no, what happens when everyone starts saying . . . yes?
It is 1947, and Beit Daras, a quiet village in Palestine surrounded by olive groves, is home to the Baraka family. Eldest daughter Nazmiyeh looks after her widowed mother, prone to wandering and strange outbursts, while her brother Mamdouh tends to the village bees. Their younger sister, Mariam, with her striking mismatched eyes, spends her days talking to imaginary friends and writing.
When Israeli forces gather outside the town's borders, nobody suspects the terror that is about to descend. Soon the village is burning and, amidst smoke and ash, the family must take the long road to Gaza, in a walk that will test them to their limits.
Sixty years later, Mamdouh's granddaughter Nur is living in America. She falls in love with a married man, a doctor who works in Palestine, and follows him to Gaza. There she meets Alwan, the mother of Khaled – a boy trapped in his own body, unable to wake up from a deep blue dream. It is through her that Nur will at last discover the ties of kinship that transcend distance – and even death.
'The Blue Between Sky and Water' is a story of powerful, flawed women; of relocation, separation and heartache; of renewal, family, endurance, and love. Susan Abulhawa brings a raw humanity and delicate authority to the story of Palestine in this devastatingly beautiful tale.
Soul Bay Press has announced that author Samantha Herron will be appearing at this year's Gibraltar International Literary Festival which will take place from 12-15 November. She will be presenting her debut short story collection 'The Djinn in the Skull: Stories from hidden Morocco' - which will be published on October 23rd - and talking about her experiences living with a family of former nomads in Morocco's Draa Valley on the edge of the Sahara Desert.
Samantha will be appearing at City Hall, John Mackintosh Square, Gibraltar at 2pm on November 14th, 2015. Tickets for the event are £12 and can be purchased via the festival website Here.
Samantha comments: 'I studied classical Arabic and the Quran with the women of the village, travelled in the desert, learned how to take care of camels and sheep, how to ablute and pray, and helped the other women in the family with the day-to-day running of the home. I fell in love with storytelling and stories, which are at the heart of everyday life in Morocco: sharing old stories handed down from generation to generation, embellishing jokes, spreading gossip or simply recounting a personal experience. I began to document the stories I was hearing and then found myself imagining and composing my own.'
This Monday, 19th October, The Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, the UK’s only book award for fiction written by a woman is collaborating with BBC Radio 4 'Woman’s Hour' as part of a series of events lined up to celebrate its 20th anniversary.
Each of the ten Chairs of Judges from 2006 – 2015 will be interviewed individually about ‘their’ winning novel. The interviews will be featured daily for two weeks. Listeners will be encouraged to vote for their favourite Women’s Prize for Fiction book of the second decade via a poll on the Woman’s Hour website.
The result will be announced on Monday 2nd November at London's Piccadilly Theatre in a 'Best of the Best Live' celebration hosted by novelist and Chair of the Board, Kate Mosse. Several award winning actors will be reading from each of the ten novels and there will also be a discussion with the ten Chairs of Judges (2006 - 2015) leading up to the announcement of the ‘Best of the Best’ novel of the past ten winners (2006 – 2015). For tickets to the event, click HERE.
As part of the celebrations, the Prize will be partnering with Waterstones who are supporting the anniversary activity with a dedicated promotion of the past ten winning novels in-store and online.
To further mark the occasion the Prize organisers have put together a souvenir free-to-download digital guide that includes features and comments from leading writers including Dame Jenni Murray DBE and Kate Mosse, plus reading notes for the Prize's winning books of the last 10 years with contributions from the winning titles. To download the guide, click HERE.
The winners of the past decade are:
2006 – 'On Beauty' by Zadie Smith – Chair, Martha Kearney
2007 – 'Half of a Yellow Sun' by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Chair, Muriel Gray
2008 – 'The Road Home' by Rose Tremain – Chair, Kirsty Lang
2009 – 'Home' by Marilynne Robinson – Chair, Fi Glover
2010 – 'The Lacuna' by Barbara Kingsolver – Chair, Daisy Goodwin
2011 – 'The Tiger’s Wife' by Téa Obreht – Chair, Bettany Hughes
2012 – 'The Song of Achilles' by Madeline Miller – Chair, Joanna Trollope OBE
2013 – 'May We Be Forgiven' by A. M Homes – Chair, Miranda Richardson
2014 – 'A Girl is a Half-formed Thing' by Eimear McBride – Chair, Helen Fraser
2015 – 'How to be Both' by Ali Smith – Chair, Shami Chakrabarti CBE
by Rana Asfour
Daniel José Alder, a BuzzFeed contributor, wrote in a 2014 online article that ‘we are always writing 'the other', we are always writing the self. We bump into this basic, impossible riddle every time we tell stories. When we create characters from backgrounds different than our own, we’re really telling the deeper story of our own perception. We muddle through these heated discussions at panels, in comments sections, on social media, in classrooms — the intersections of power and identity, privilege and resistance. ‘How,’ he questions, ‘do we respectfully write from the perspectives of others?’
The reason I bring this up is that FB Publishing, a small-press publishing house that works with Muslim authors, topics and stories will this month be releasing a new book ‘Without Shame’ by author Katherine Russell. The delightful story of a Pakistani/Bengali girl called Sariyah living in East Pakistan during the unsettled period of 1968 when the Bengalis were not only calling for but were also preparing for a revolt to secure the independence of Bengal from Pakistan.
Katherine Russell has taken a big risk choosing for her debut novel to write about ‘the other’. See, she writes about Islam – particularly Sufi Islam - though she herself is not Muslim. She writes in the tongue of a woman from Pakistan and yet she herself is a white woman from Buffalo NY. However, what Russell is is a double lung transplant survivor who frequently writes about her experiences with cystic fibrosis and a seasoned writer whose other writing themes include, in addition to exploring other cultures, challenging the American criminal justice system, and social change. She is also a poet.
On her website ‘Katherinekeepswriting.com’, Russell has been very upfront about some of the reasons she wrote “Without Shame’ one of which she believes is that ‘as people read about other cultures and religious nuances, they will be MORE equipped to distinguish religious practices from cultural tradition and not make generalizations about entire religious groups on a global scale’.
‘This is a fundamental tenet of my book,’ she writes. ‘Culture is inseparable from religion - they are a part of each other. When East and West Pakistan were formed, it was based on a theory that all Muslims were the same, so they should live under the same Pakistan. Let's take a guess if that worked...’
In Sariyah’s village, ‘shame is a virtue she never mastered’. As a child, her first act of defiance left her with a lifelong limp serving as an everyday reminder of the shame she brought on herself and her family. However, defiant Sariyah, unhindered by her oppressive father’s views regarding the role of women in society, takes a job as maid at Martin House, a boarding house for volunteer American teachers. Her father's grudging acquiescence comes on the back of his resentful knowledge that Sariyah's 'capacity to do work was unhindered by the limp; however, her capacity to carry a baby was uncertain' which meant her prospects of a marriage proposal were close to none. And yet, Sariyah will have to make one more sacrifice still to ensure that her limp does not stand in the face of her beautiful much coveted sister Nisha, who is adamant on securing a profitable marriage.
At Martin House Sariyah meets Rodney, a young American struggling with the guilt of past decisions. A friendship develops between these two very different characters. Whereas Sariyah views her every step in life as one that brings her closer to God, Rodney on the other hand views the world ‘in polar distinctions: of freedom and what hinders it, of knowing and not knowing, of truth and falsehood’. And yet the two young people’s interest in each other’s worlds gradually progresses into a romantic one of sorts in which Sariyah chooses to conceal her complicated engagement to the loathsome man of her father's choosing.
When Rodney suddenly falls violently ill, Sariyah decides to break her father’s wishes as she rushes to seek help from the uncle he has forbidden her to ever have contact with. When Rodney recovers he finds himself drawn to the old man Sajib, from whom he begins to learn the ways of the Bengal people. Soon, Rodney discovers a few harsh truths not only regarding the country he has set his mind to ‘understanding’ but he finds himself being challenged by Sajib with regards to his belief system and his Westernization. When his confusion shows and he is at a loss of words Sajib steps in to reassure the young man that it is 'hard for the mind to adjust to a new place without wanting to force the familiar on it’ and as eager as Rodney is to learn of the ways of this country he has voluntarily chosen to be in, he shows resistance whenever religion is brought up. Sajib with his wizened ways prods Rodney on:
‘Come see who we are and what moves our limbs in the morning, what summons us from the escape of dreams to give thanks for our struggle. What makes us surrender our notions that the world owes us, not the other way around. I am not asking you to become us, but to know us’.
Katherine Russell has done a very fine job with her novel. The characters are plausible and the events as well as the themes the novel touches upon will provide many interesting discussion points among readers. Although it is clear that a lot of research has been done and she has taken great pains to be respectful of her subject matter, this sadly in no way means that she is exempt from inadvertent prejudiced stereotyping in a few instances. But hey, no one ever is. And for those of you who might disagree with this last sentence my advice is to think along the lines of stones and glass windows.
That said, this is not the book that will teach you about Islam, Pakistan, Bengal or provide insightful research-worthy material with regards the female situation in that part of the world. But here’s the point. It never claimed to be. What the author is offering is a work of fiction, a story, a stepping out from our everyday reality wherever in the world we may be in order to spend a few hours with her make-believe characters; ones she has superbly moulded and shaped to evoke a myriad of emotions; empathy, love, betrayal, denial, anger, identity and hope.
'Literature is supposed to reveal a part of life,' writes Katherine Russell about her new release on her website. 'It is not definitive, it is not the template of all reality. It is a peephole into someone else's truths. It is an insight into our connection, our differences, our humanity. It is supposed to show, not dictate. Hopefully, through that, we can become a more tolerant, empathetic, and loving people'. And for those who choose to believe otherwise, her response is ready too: 'Those who will read it will take it as they will'. And I couldn't agree more!
East Pakistan, 1968: In Sariyah’s village, shame is a virtue she never mastered. As a child, she learned to read in secret, kept talismans against her father’s orders, and questioned everything, even Allah. Now she is practicing how to be a “woman with shame,” torn between promises to her family and to herself.
She yearns to join a movement with her fellow Bengalis, who are gripping onto their language and cultural identity against colonial powers – but she is continuously sucked into the narrow visions of her father.
In the midst of all this, an American has come to teach English. Rodney Creed comes with the bright optimism of a college graduate, too eager to sense the rumbling ground beneath him – until he meets Sariyah. Rodney believes he is there to teach, but he will learn painful, irreversible things.
‘Without Shame’ is a love story at its core – but not in the traditional sense. It’s about love of one’s country, culture, God, and language. It’s about the power of identity to shine through when other forces threaten to overshadow it.
'A Brief History of Seven Killings' by Marlon James has been named as the winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. 'A Brief History of Seven Killings' is published by Oneworld Publications. The 44-year-old, now resident in Minneapolis, is the first Jamaican author to win the prize in its 47-year history.
'A Brief History of Seven Killings' is a 686-page epic with over 75 characters and voices. Set in Kingston, where James was born, the book is a fictional history of the attempted murder of Bob Marley in 1976. Of the book, the New York Times said: ‘It’s like a Tarantino remake of “The Harder They Come”, but with a soundtrack by Bob Marley and a script by Oliver Stone and William Faulkner...epic in every sense of that word: sweeping, mythic, over-the-top, colossal and dizzyingly complex.'
Referring to Bob Marley only as ‘The Singer’ throughout, 'A Brief History of Seven Killings' retells this near mythic assassination attempt through the myriad voices – from witnesses and FBI and CIA agents to killers, ghosts, beauty queens and Keith Richards’ drug dealer – to create a rich, polyphonic study of violence, politics and the musical legacy of Kingston of the 1970s.
This is the first Man Booker Prize winner for independent publisher, Oneworld Publications.
On 12 October 2015 the Australian Minister for the Arts Joy Burch announced the shortlisted nominations to the 2015 ACT Book of the Year Award. Musa's 2014 book which was chosen from a selection of 24 entries had previously been listed for the Miles Franklin Literary Award.
For full list of the books in the shortlist, click HERE.
About the book: (from Penguin Books Australia)
In small town suburbia, three young men are ready to make their mark.
Solomon is all charisma, authority and charm, down for the moment but surely not out. His half-brother, Jimmy, bounces along in his wake, underestimated, waiting for his chance to announce himself. Aleks, their childhood friend, loves his mates, his family and his homeland, and would do anything for them. The question is, does he know where to draw the line?
Solomon, Jimmy and Aleks: way out on the fringe of Australia, looking for a way in. Hip hop and graffiti give them a voice. Booze, women and violence pass the time while they wait for their chance. Under the oppressive summer sun, their town has turned tinder-dry. All it'll take is a spark.
As the surrounding hills roar with flames, the change storms in. But it's not what they were waiting for. It never is.
About Omar Musa:
Musa is a Malaysian-Australian rapper and poet from Queanbeyan. A former winner of the Australian Poetry Slam and Indian Ocean Poetry Slam. Omar has released three hip hop albums and two poetry books, including Parang, 2013. He was a panellist on ABC's Q&A in 2012, performing a poem for its conclusion, and was a star performer at the TEDx Sydney event in 2013 at the Sydney Opera House. Omar has also run creative workshops in remote Aboriginal communities, youth centres and rural schools. and he was named one of the Sydney Morning Herald's Young Novelists of the Year in 2015.
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