Prufrock's Page

Saturday, December 29, 2007

More Than Cricket

Shortly after being elected, Kevin Rudd announced two new $100,000 prizes for Australian writing: a Prime Minister's Literary Prize for fiction and one for nonfiction.Jane Gleeson-White applauds, and calls for a revitalisation of Oz literature: "...far from enshrining the language of competition, economic rationalism and sport that has ruled the national narrative of the past 11 years, our literature tells very different stories. It tells us that we are a nation of many voices. It speaks for the marginalised and the dispossessed and addresses a vast range of subjects, from the political to the personal, from the nature of our social fabric to our place in the world."


Not just Kurt Vonnegut, Grace Paley and Norman Mailer, but also Nathan Zuckerman, Harry Potter and...the hardback. Sarah Crown looks at literary losses of 2007. (But there's a lot to look forward to in 2008, including work from Bernhard Schlink, Zoe Heller, Hanif Kureishi and -- hey, he's back -- Manil Suri.)

A Tampered Destiny

"Our father told us on a harmattan morning. Outside the dining room window, the wind was cold and dry, the whistling pine was swaying, a cock was chasing a squawking hen, the red dust was rising and our mother’s spirit was dancing in its whirls. My brother Chuma and I, lips smeared with Vaseline, were playing scrabble at the dining table and listening to Celestine Ukwu on the stereo. " A new short story by Chimamanda Adichie. (Read it quick, the online version is available only till January 10.)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Tour's Over

Websites. Videos. Podcasts. What a relief for self-effacing authors that there's now an alternative to facing the book-buying public.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Which Authors Said The Following In 2007?

“When people pick up a book they may want something happy that will cheer them up. In that case they shouldn’t really pick up my book. It’s the intellectual equivalent of a Hollywood weepie.”

"Well, I’ve never thought about this before, but now that you ask it occurs to me I don’t have much interest in whether my books work or not.”

(On the tense Booker banquet) “Would Kafka have put up with this? Would Henry James?”

“Oh, Christ. You can’t go on getting excited every year about this. I’ve won all the prizes in Europe, every bloody one.”


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Literary Festivities

So where are Gore Vidal, Karen Roberts, Vikram Seth, Alexander McCall Smith, Shyam Selvadurai, William Dalrymple, Shobhaa De and Carl Muller, among many others, going to congregate this January? In Galle, that's where.

Prophet Or Poseur?

One supposes it had to happen. After years of universal rapture over his literary achievements comes this question about Orhan Pamuk: "...this 'caught between East and West' business - how much more literary mileage does he plan to get out of it?"