‘I have lost plenty of people. Every loss is a lessening. Every loss makes one more aware of how much there is to lose. But the death of my mother was something else. I don’t know when she died. She had dementia. For ten years she was among us in the midst of life cut off. An island going down under rising sea-levels. A skyscraper collapsing in a decade-long earthquake. A sunset sleepier than a druid’s daydream. It began in her mid-sixties. It was over before her seventy-fifth birthday. It wasn’t like an island or a skyscraper or a sunset. These similes are to no purpose. Nothing captures the pace of her descent into where she went.’
Bernardine shares the win with Margaret Atwood. When receiving the award, said she hoped her win will bring about change, with more black writers winning the award in the future.
“It’s so incredible to share this with Margaret Atwood, who’s such a legend and so generous,” she said.
“A lot of people say, ‘I never thought it would happen to me’, and I will say I am the first black woman to win this prize, and I hope that honour doesn’t last too long. I hope other people come forward now.”
Margaret Busby featured on various news reports last week, celebrating revered author Toni Morrison who died on the 5th August 2019. Toni featured in Daughters of Africa, the first anthology edited by Margaret, which she followed with New Daughters of Africa this year. You can hear Margaret talking on BBC Radio 4: Last Words HERE.
To celebrate the launch of Sensible Footwear: A Girl’s Guide, Kate Charlesworth had not just one but two fantastic launches. The first was at The Cartoon Museum in London, followed swiftly by a day event at Glasgow Women’s Library, pictured here.
Photographs by Becky Male. To see more, head to our Facebook page.
‘Kate Charlesworth’s new book, Sensible Footwear: A Girl’s Guide, has become “urgent”, as the prologue explains, because of the current rise of intolerance that is threatening the civil and human rights of historically marginalised groups. Charlesworth’s ethos is that we all deserve to know our history, and that without that knowledge we remain vulnerable to such histories repeating themselves.’
Brought to you via the team behind Ink Mag, The Artful #1: New Beginnings issue features an interview with Kate as well as an essay on queer rights, using Sensible Footwear as a jumping board into a discussion about sexuality, gender and injustice.
To receive The Artful newsletters, head to their website.
The Murder of Harriet Monckton by crime author Elizabeth Haynes has been chosen by Waterstones as one of their Summer Reads for 2019. ‘Whilst the plotting is immensely skilful and the tension expertly exploited, it is the subtle gender politics and rounded characterisation that marks The Murder of Harriet Monckton out as a truly superior crime novel.’
Click HERE to see the list in full.
The Royal Society of Literature elected 45 new Fellows and Honorary Fellows last week at the annual RSL summer party.
New Daughters of Africa contributors Catherine Johnson and Dorothea Smartt were elected as Fellows alongside To The Volcano author Elleke Boehmer, while New Daughters of Africa contributor Ellah Wakatama Allfrey and Brave New Words editor Susheila Nasta were elected as Honorary Fellows.
Susheila was also awarded the prestigious Benson Medal, for exceptional contributions to the advancement of literature.
Click HERE to read The Bookseller’s write up of the event.
PassBlue, an independent, women-led journalism site, shares excerpts from New Daughters of Africa and discusses the writers who were involved in the publication.
‘The writers in the anthology are often the children of African independence, and they remain placed in their land and deep generational cultures.’ Read more here.
How To Be Autistic by Charlotte Amelia Poe makes The Bookseller’s preview list for upcoming nonfiction titles. ‘This sassy, honest and enlightening memoir is a very personal account of autism, mental illness, gender and sexual identity. Poe also works with video and won the inaugural Spectrum Art prize in 2018 with their work,”How To Be Autistic”.
The Bookseller ran a feature celebrating the new £20,000 Margaret Busby New Daughters of Africa Award, created by Myriad Editions and SOAS, which will be offered to a female, black student who is ordinarily resident in Africa. The bursary will pay for the recipient’s tuition fees and accommodation costs for a SOAS Masters in African Studies, Comparative Literature or Translation in African Languages.
Sensible Footwear: A Girl’s Guide featured in The Irish Times article, 50 books to keep you reading all year long.
‘I am strongly opposed to capital punishment in any form, for anyone. As for hanging rapists, it just seems stupid to assume that this will change anything, except make a statement that we are a barbaric society. ‘
A brief extract from one of Sohaila’s talks at the Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters 2019.
Sohaila was invited to Politics and Prose bookstore to discuss What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape in front of a live audience. Watch her here.
‘Now, my heroes are less likely to perform the blatant prodigies of Baun-Bligh-Duc and more likely to manifest the quiet radiance of a skinny, white-haired woman I will call Joan. Joan is in her early 70s. Apart from her dark-framed glasses, she has no features that would make her stand out in a crowd – which is just as well, as she is, and would no doubt like to remain, a hero in hiding.’
A wonderful article by Mike Barnes in The Globe and Mail. Read in full here.
Manu Joseph interviewed by comedian Kunal Kamra. The very funny interview is an hour long and features great insight into Manu and his novel, Miss Laila, Armed and Dangerous.
‘I wanted this balance: rape is serious but, like everything else in life, you can be light. In fact, part of the whole problem, certainly in India, is that if you’re raped, you’re supposed to be overcome with heaviness and die.’
Read the full article by Publishers Weekly here.
‘Just for this lovely moment, I’m living the dream. I’ve spent some months writing a book, had a grand time doing it, and it’s poised to come out all over the world. It might sell; it might not. The dreamy part was working on it, talking to incredible people, typing madly while ignoring the reality that my table is too high and my chair too low and it huts to sit here and why don’t I get a real desk…’
Sohaila discussing What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape in Harper’s Bazaar, Indian- October 2018. You can read the article here: Harper’s Bazaar India, October 2018
‘Unlike any other graphic novel we can think of, although Brookes has previous in that regard.’ Teddy Jamieson quizzes Gareth Brookes on method and macular degeneration.
Tom Connolly remembers his late brother, Pip, for the Guardian:
‘Something about the prospect of turning 50 in March this year had been niggling me for some time, despite the fact that I’ve never taken much notice of birthdays… I began to realise it was sadness at the fact that soon after my 50th birthday I would become older than my big brother; my beloved, late, big brother. And that felt like an abomination.’
‘The appeal of writing fiction is discovering the individuality of one’s fictional characters, and for me Leo’s loneliness is not so much age- or gender-related so much as to do with a certain sort of urban solitude, and in particular the way that New York City can leave you feeling like you’re on the outside edge of the greatest party ever thrown.’
Tom talks about writing Men Like Air to Bookish Ramblings.
If you want good sex, maybe you need to read a graphic novel. So says Jade Sarson in this piece for the Huffington Post.
Read Nicola Streeten’s comic Precarious Migration relating the experiences of Cambodian migrants produced for Migrating Out of Poverty Research at the University of Sussex for DFID and launched at WOMAD 2016.
As part of a series of shows about ‘untold tales’, narratives not normally depicted in comics, Alex Fitch talked to artist Henny Beaumont about her debut graphic novel A Hole in the Heart, about bringing up a child with Down’s Syndrome:
We’re proud to announce six new titles for the graphics list, coming in 2017 and 2018. These diverse and exciting new titles come from a range of both established and new voices to expand our thought-provoking and colourful graphics list, as well as spearheading Myriad’s position at the forefront of Graphic Medicine publishing in the UK.
We are busily reading all the entries for our First Drafts Competition 2016: ‘First Crimes’. It is the seventh year of our competition, which recognises promising work-in-progress by previously unpublished writers, and this year we are focusing exclusively on crime and thrillers in celebration of the genre.
In 2015 we published a range of exciting and groundbreaking new fiction and graphics titles and were thrilled to see many of them recognised in end-of-the-year selections and round-ups across the press – in print and online.
‘Everything is so extreme, the heat, the sun, the wild animals and the ever-present smell of death…’
Umi Sinha is interviewed about the background to her debut novel by TripFiction.
Last week saw the launch of the paperback edition of Sally O’Reilly‘s historical novel, Dark Aemilia, with a special event at famous London bookshop Hatchards. Before signing copies of the novel, Sally took part in a Q&A with Myriad’s Marketing Manager, Eleanor Crawforth, discussing the story behind Dark Aemilia – a bold re-imagining of the life of poet Aemilia Lanyer and her relationship with Shakespeare. The Brighton launch took place on Thursday (30 April) at Waterstones. Dark Aemilia has already gathered fantastic reviews including in The New York Times (‘tantalising’) and Washington Post (‘wildly romantic’). Read a new essay by Sally for Bookanista, ‘The Mindful Writer’, in which she celebrates the benefits of creative writing as a life-enhacing process.
Earlier in April, Sally completed a writing residency at the prestigious Hedgebrook Retreat in Seattle, USA, before flying to Italy to mark the launch of the Italian edition of Dark Aemilia (LA DAMA NERA, Sonzogno). Hosted by the Bookish Supper Society, the Italian celebrations took place around Venice and the Veneto, incorporating locations from Dark Aemilia and culminating in a gala dinner at the stunning Villa Godi Malinverni in Lugo di Vicenza. See our Facebook page for photographs of the sun-soaked, Italian adventure!