Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Man Booker Prize longlist 2015 announced

Man Booker Prize longlist has been announced today: thirteen titles  by thirteen authors from across the globe, the Prize now being open to any nationality. But the list seems heavily dominated by US which has five representations among the thirteen. 

The list is also skewed in favour of female authors - seven out of thirteen.

Then there are some big omissions: Pat Barker, Salman Rushdie Jonathon Franzen and Kazuo Ishiguro. 

The list comprises just three Britons. Which must shock the long-time observers of the Booker Prize. 

Of course, there is a paradigm shift in compilation of the list. Americans are all set to take over, and change the game. My guess is that the Man Booker Prize is going to an American novelist this year.

The good old Booker Prize, with all its glory, seems to be over.

Of the eleven books, I've  read only one title: A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon Jones (Jamaica). 

Marlon Jones represents Jamaica, but actually lives in NewYork.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

E L Doctorow passes away at 84

"Writing teachers invariably tell students, Write about what you know. That’s, of course, what you have to do, but on the other hand, how do you know what you know until you’ve written it? Writing is knowing. What did Kafka know? The insurance business? So that kind of advice is foolish, because it presumes that you have to go out to a war to be able to do war. Well, some do and some don’t. I’ve had very little experience in my life. In fact, I try to avoid experience if I can. Most experience is bad."

Sunday, July 19, 2015

What weight means to Ta-Nehisi Coates

Weight was when I first came to New York, and I didn’t have a job. My wife was the breadwinner in our household, which is fine. But I couldn’t even contribute. Weight is having a one-year-old kid and having no idea how you are going to contribute to the household. Weight is writing for years, where you are paid ten cents a word and you write three articles that year that you worked your ass off to do, and that’s all the income you bring in. Weight is all those years when you bring in 1,000 or 2,000 dollars a year. That’s weight. I never thought I would get here. I had no expectation of this. This is icing. [Laughs] It’s not even the cake; it’s icing. And you can’t write for that.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Would people enjoy Harper Lee's new novel " Go Set A Watchman"?

Go Set A Watchman, the hotly anticipated novel by Harper Lee, is on sale now. According to BBC, the initial print run in USA is 2 millions and it would be released in 70 countries simultaneously. Of course a big moment in publishing.

But I'm not excited. In fact, reading the reviews and the first chapter of Watchman, I get less enthused to read the book.  Who would want to see Atticus, such a fine and rational being in Mockingbird to change suddenly into a bigot in Watchman?

These are worst times for the black in USA as they experience more and more violence and hatred from the white. I'm afraid in the new charged atmosphere the book's content could be a thing for glee for bigots, unintentionally though. May be it was the reason why the novel which was actually written before the Mockingbird was rejected by Lee's editor fifty five years ago.

Times have only changed for the worse now.

The publishing of the book may have a historic value, but I think it's not going to be welcome by many. Worse still, you can't re-read Mockingbird with same love and enthusiasm now.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Language is an irrelevance!

For a long time now, especially since the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, I’ve despised literature for its impotence to change the world for the better, its inability to dissuade or enlighten the people who do harm. Sometimes I think that language as a whole is an irrelevance, that all the true motivations are non-verbal. (I was writing about this as far back as 1996, in a story called The Tunnel of Love). But language is all we have. And although The Book of Strange New Things expresses that despondency and frustration about communication, it’s a kind of love song to intimacy and good intentions as well. And good humour. At one point, Peter laments to Bea that he would need to have the skills of a novelist to describe to her what he’s seeing and experiencing. The reader can relish that, because you’re experiencing everything in technicolour and sensurround via my prose, while Bea has to make do with Peter’s absurdly crappy letters. The gulf is terrifying but also funny.
       ---Michel Faber 

Friday, July 10, 2015

If you want to write, read more: Namwali Serpell

I think if you want to write short stories, the best thing to do is to read more. I say this to all my students, to anybody who wants to write: If you want to write, read more. And there’s so many amazing short stories that you can read; you can listen to short stories on the tube, or on the train, or on the bus. And I think if you read stories by Amos Tutuola or Franz Kafka or Gogol or Alice Munro you get this kind of remarkable range of the possibilities of what you can do with the short story, so that when you sit down to write your own you have a real sense of freedom, I think. You think, “All of these amazing things have been done. Borges did this, Calvino did that, I can do something really interesting and experimental as well.



Read the Caine Prize winning story, "The Sack".

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Read the Caine Prize winning story "The Sack"

The Sack by Namwali Serpell

It's an exquisite piece of art. You may have to read it a second time if you can't appreciate it at first attempt.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Recommended reading:Susan Sontag Revisited Symposium Lecture

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