Viewing all posts by Emily Ding


After the Apocalypse: Going Underground in Hugh Howey’s Wool

The next Hunger Games? Dystopian-fiction fan Emily Ding reviews Hugh Howey's Wool and chats with the Florida-based author about his journey from self-publishing sensation to Big-Six author, and how it feels to have his book optioned for Hollywood, possibly to be directed by three-time Oscar-nominated Ridley Scott of Gladiator fame. Read more →

Your Fairytale Fix: In Books, Films, TV, Exhibitions, and on the Stage.

We’ve been revisiting fairytales lately. The Grimm brothers’ annotated bicentennial edition, introduced by A. S. Byatt, was published recently by W. W. Norton, who also published, in 2007, an annotated edition of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytales. Then there’s Phillip Pullman’s retelling of fifty of his favourites, Grimm Tales: for Young and Old, and Sara Maitland’s Gossip from the Forest: The Tangled Roots of Our Forests and Fairytales, in which she explores the forest as not only the backdrop, but also the source, of fairytales.

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New Nobel Laureate Mo Yan’s hometown soon to be the Mo Yan theme park

Nobel Laureate Mo Yan

Here’s hypercapitalism at work in the book industry: following the Chinese author Mo Yan’s win of the Nobel prize for literature, Chinese Communist party officials plan to spend a whopping 70 million pounds (about $112 million) to turn his home village—the pastoral town of Ping’an in the eastern province of Shandong—into a “Mo Yan Culture Experience Zone”, starting with his family home.

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More prizes for women’s fiction: in UK, Australia and Canada

Earlier in May this year, it seemed the English world’s premier global women’s prize for fiction was under threat. Orange had pulled their sponsorship to focus on film, and in a tough commercial climate it wasn’t clear who would step in to save it. Then, about a month ago, private donors (including Cherie Blair and bestselling writers Jonathan Trollope and Elizabeth Buchan) put up some money to keep the prize going for at least another year.

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8 Nov, 9pm: Five stories from M. R. James’ 1904 collection, Ghost Stories of an Antiquary

It’s no secret we’re a fan of the short ghost story master, M. R. James. Last week, we ran a Litro Lab episode featuring Robert Lloyd Parry who, in 2005, started adapting James’ stories for the stage in a one-man show, and who delighted us with a reading of “A School Story” (he has also started touring again—see dates here).

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Neil Gaiman and Meg Rosoff discuss Phillip Pullman’s new collection of Grimm fairytales

LONDON, Mon, 29 Nov—I’d been eagerly anticipating the Phillip Pullman-Neil Gaiman event on Monday evening, only to see, when I arrived at the Cambridge Theatre’s entrance, an A4 piece of paper tacked on it apologising for Phillip Pullman’s absence, as he was ill. Still, there was Neil Gaiman to look forward to, and as stands-ins: American writer Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveler’s Wife), who read “The Three Snake Leaves” from Philip Pullman’s new collection of Grimm Tales (27 Sep/UK, 8 Nov/US; Penguin)—you can also hear Phillip Pullman’s own reading of this on BBC Radio 3—and award-winning American children’s author Meg Rosoff.

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The biggest publisher in the world: House of the Random Penguin?

The emergence of the world’s biggest book publisher was announced today. Sadly, it won’t be called “House of the Random Penguin”, as our Arts Editor Becky Ayre suggested, but Penguin Random House. Random House owner Bertelsmann will own 53% of the newly created group, and Penguin owner Pearson 47%. Apparently, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, who owns HarperCollins, had tried to gatecrash the wedding, but didn’t get there in time, which probably relieves many

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Martina Devlin & Jackie Kay at V.S. Pritchett Memorial Prize evening

LONDON—Irish author Martina Devlin‘s story “Singing Dumb”, about a young girl from a rural community whose three-year-old brother is involved in a car accident, won the 2012 V.S. Pritchett Memorial Prize—founded by the Royal Society of Literature for the best unpublished short story of the year. She wins a £1,000 cash prize, publication in Prospect magazine, and will join Jackie Kay—poet, novelist (Trumpet) and short story writer (her latest collection: Reality, Reality)—to read from their works at Somerset House on Monday, 5 November at 7pm.

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Mo Yan

Lit News Round-up: 13 October 2012

Lena Dunham's first book deal; a reading by Man Booker prize shortlisted authors; Mo Yan the first Chinese citizen to win the Nobel prize for literature; the new Women's Prize for Fiction; Jack Kerouac's original 120ft-long manuscript of On the Road on display at the British Library; the cases of the first female sleuth of British fiction in print again; HarperCollins to publish J. R. R. Tolkien's 200-page epic poem about King Arthur. Read more →

Lit News Round-up: 6 October 2012

Navigate a mirror maze by scent; literary adaptations galore at the 56th London Film Festival; Moby Dick as science fiction; Daniel Radcliffe to star in adaptation of Joe Hill's 2010 novel, Horns; free poetry download for National Poetry Day; and cheers all around for Man Booker shortlisted novels by small publishers. Read more →
Anne Frank (April 1941)

Teenage Writers: Bonafide Wunderkinds?

Just as we are heartened that someone "past their prime" can still start doing great work, so we are understandably impressed when young people—kids, even—show themselves to be early achievers. Some might say prematurely, but it doesn't matter. Put youth and genius together, and we are seduced totally. It's the dream, and we badly want to believe in it. As we've seen, however, writing a bestselling book has little to do with writing a good book—so are these teenagers bonafide wunderkinds, or one-hit wonders successful only by virtue of having done something so unexpected for their age? Read more →
Jeffrey Eugenides. Photo by Grant Delin for Interview Magazine.

Lit News Round-up: 28 September 2012

Jeffrey Eugenides weighs in on the gender imbalance debate; the 2012 Man Booker prize chair of judges and bloggers on whether blogging is destroying literary criticism; the Shakespeare's Globe stage plays on the big screen; Penguin suing authors for failing to deliver books; the poet T. S. Eliot's 124th birthday; J. K. Rowling's launch of her new book for adults; and an impressive line-up of literature and spoken word events at the Southbank Centre. Read more →
Stephen King

Lit News Round-up: 21 September 2012

Forthcoming projects from the birthday boy, Stephen King; the Moby Dick Big Read project; Juke Box Story, a new London live storytelling night inspired by music; Salman Rushdie's new memoir Joseph Anton; and the newly FREE Time Out. Read more →

Lit News Round-up: 14 September 2012

The 2012 BBC International Short Story Award shortlist; the Literary Death Match on TV;'s celebrity-performed audiobooks; the state of book reviews; the new prohibition on "love padlocks" in Rome; and a belated mention of Roald Dahl Day (yesterday). Read more →

Novel: John Saturnall’s Feast by Lawrence Norfolk

Early signs of Lawrence Norfolk's John Saturnall's Feast are promising, especially if you a judge a book by its embossed cover—and the intricate illustrations contained within its pages—made more potent by its synopsis, which made me really want to read the book. Sadly, in the end this early promise doesn't extend to the entirety of the novel, but for the first third of it at least, I remain enthralled. Read more →
Published 5 July 2012 by Canongate, UK.

Book Club Review: The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers

What are Book Club Reviews?
This is a new series of book reviews on Litro. It’s exactly what it says on the tin: book reviews by book clubs in London or elsewhere in the world. The idea is to have the opinion of more than one person to help you make a decision on whether to read a book (the opinion hopefully more discerning after being subjected to discussion), and also to go beyond Amazon reader reviews.
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