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Did you know there was a literary prize for books about mountains?

I didn’t and I’ve been doing this job for a long time. The Boardman Tasker Prize celebrates mountain literature and is organised by the Boardman Tasker Trust. The prize of £3,000 commemorates the lives of climbers Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker, who died in 1982 while climbing Mount Everest. Both men wrote about mountaineering, hence […]

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2014 Booker Prize shortlist announced

The shortlist for the 2014 Man Booker Prize has been announced. The six books shortlisted are: The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Thai-Burma Death Railway, Australian surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his affair with his uncle’s young wife two years […]

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Should we all be reading The Plague by Albert Camus?

Should we all be reading The Plague by Albert Camus? NPR (National Public Radio) in the United States thinks so as the Ebola outbreak continues to dominate news headlines. La Peste, as the novel is called in French, was published in 1947.  It’s set in an Algerian city and looks at a wide range of […]

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Today’s startling news, Harry Potter is going grey

JK Rowling has placed a 1,500-word article on her Pottermore site where Harry Potter is reunited with Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger and their old Hogwarts friends at the final of the 2014 Quidditch World Cup. The boy who lived is now the middle-aged man who was once famous. The article is written in the sensational […]

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First edition of legendary crime novel The Three Coffins sells for £1,300

A rare copy of The Three Coffins by John Dickson Carr has sold for £1,300 /$2,250 on AbeBooks. The 1935 Harper first edition had a restored dust jacket.  The Three Coffins is a Dr Fell mystery and at first glance appears to be a standard Dickson Carr crime novel. However, chapter 17 of the The Three […]

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Women who write as men – from Blixen to Rowling

The publication of The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith, aka J.K. Rowling/ Joanne Rowling, once again puts women who write as men into the spotlight. The Silkworm is Rowling’s second Galbraith mystery novel and pushes her another step away from the Harry Potter legacy. Many women write under pen names but few actually use clearly male […]

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BBC revisits Laurie Lee’s As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning

Next week’s BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week will be Laurie Lee’s account of walking in Spain, As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning. The show marks the centenary of Lee’s birth on 26th June. The memoir was published in 1969 and is the sequel to Cider with Rosie. The author leaves rural Gloucestershire […]

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Kurt Vonnegut’s letter to the man who burned Slaughterhouse-Five

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut is a modern classic, right? One of the great anti-war novels of modern times? It’s a must-read for any student of literature? Agreed? In 1973, an English teacher at Drake High School in North Dakota decided to use the novel in his classes.  However, the head of the Drake High school […]

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Village in the Jungle, Leonard Woolf’s forgotten colonial masterpiece

The BBC writes about Leonard Woolf’s forgotten Sri Lankan novel, The Village in the Jungle, saying it has been unjustly ignored. Virginia’s husband published the book in  1913 and it is notable because it is the first novel in English literature to be written from the indigenous point of view rather than that of the […]

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Ray Bradbury’s house is for sale

Ray Bradbury’s former home in Los Angeles is for sale at $1,495,000. The three-bedroom house was built in 1937. Bradbury died in 2012 at the age of 91. The author wrote in the basement of the home but also kept an office in Beverly Hills where he also wrote. I flicked through the slideshow of […]

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