Saturday, 27 August 2011

Jackie Kay wins at EIBF

Managed to get to EIBF for a day. Thrilled to see Jackie Kay win the Scot Book Awards. The event started a bit late as Jenni Murray 'BBC Woman's Hour' presenter was caught up in traffic. I got to talk to her and say how much I enjoy her programmes every morning. She was gracious and charming. She chaired the event with humour.

First to read was Sue Peebles for her debut novel 'The Death of Lomond Friel', a book about how a young woman's life is thrown into disarray when her father has a stroke, the extract on the fish shop was good. She is coming to the Milngavie Book Festival and you can see her at the Milngavie Library on 8th September FREE!

Jackie Kay read next from the non-fiction category 'Red Dust Road' her biography, and made us laugh with the extract on her summer holidays with her family. It was lovely to see her joy in paying tribute to her parents who were in the audience. A stunning writer and poet whose work tugs at your heart and yet blends humour with such ease.

Poet Stewart Conn was next and read 3 poems from 'The Breakfast Room'. He was mildly surprised about winning the poet's prize as he said he had mixed reviews for this collection. The poems he read were lyrical.

Leila Aboulela won the fiction category with 'Lyrics Alley'. She could not be there because of family commitments. She sent a touching message on how 'elastic' the word 'Scottish' writer was, to include her. She also gave a clue about her next book which is going to be set in two time frames of Sudan in the 19th C and a North Eastern Scottish city (Aberdeen methinks!)

I was hoping to catch Anjali Joseph and Neel Mukherjee at the Amnesty Talk but as this programme over ran the hour it was not possible.

I have posted the arty pics of authors at the Fest which adorned most of the marquees, a touch of wit at the EIB. Also took the RBS Theatre where the event took place.

A perfect day at the Book Fest.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Book Covers

Thought this article is really interesting from a marketing point of view.

With kind acknowledgement to 'The Wall Street Journal' March 16th 2011

Why Book Covers Get an ‘Indian’ Makeover
When Indian novels are published abroad, quintessential Indian motifs like gods and elephants tend to crop up on their cover. Exhibit A: The debut novel 'Serious Men,' shortlisted for the Man Asian Prize.

The UK version is the Amazon cover with the wee boy. The Indian one is muted colours and no Indian Gods on it. What does it say about readership in each of the continents?

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

August Reads

Two completely different books that I had waited in my TBR list managed to surface to the top and I decided to read them. August is a busy month and I had to find time to devote to them.

Finkler's Question- A comedy on Jewishness won the Man Booker Prize in 2010. This is a clever and funny novel with dazzling prose that had laugh aloud moments in Part One of the book. Jewish identity is a theme that has been written about many a time. This book is exceptional. It is full of warmth, beautifully written and the main protagonist Julian Treslove is not a Jew but one who yearns to be Jewish.Two other characters are Sam Finkler and Libor Sevcik an older friend who was also their teacher.By posing the Jewish Question of identity Jacobson has debated the all the questions of culture, relationships, family and faith. I found Part 2 not as riveting as the earlier chapters. Reading it is an experience, making one laugh at the same time reflect and think about the issues that have been raised.

Sebastian Barry's 'A Long, Long Way' is a poetic, lyrical novel that depicts the hopelessness of the First World War and the millions who laid down their lives. The novel is about a young lad Willie Dunne from Dublin whose innocence when he enlists is in stark contrast to his slow realization of the futility of war as his own country slides into the Easter Rising of 1916 and the struggle for loyalties become untenable. Barry's strength lies in his language, it transports one to scenes of utter hell in no man's land and shakes you to the core. The endless waste of human lives as wars continue to this day makes one wonder if man will ever learn. Not one for reading 'war novels' this was 'unputdownable.'

I now look forward to his new book 'On Canaan's Side'as it takes the story of Dunne's sister Lillie from 1916 to her new life in New York a tale of trauma and exile as the blurb says. Yes I'll be reading it soon.

In my hands now is Alice Albinia's 'Leela's Book' the next on my reading list. How could I resist a book with my own first name? What a lovely cover too!

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