Lit News Round-up: 6 October 2012

Quirky food artists Bompas and Parr, who specialise in designing weird and wonderful culinary experiences on an architectural scale (notably with jelly), have created “The Waft that Woos“—a mirror maze navigable only by nose, as you follow the scent of what they call the “Shakespearean love oil”. Influenced by Shakespeare’s comedy, The Merry Wives of Windsor, you can catch it for free at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon from 6 October to 7 April 2013. The dynamic duo have also invented: a Willy Wonka-style flavour-changing gum that changes flavour as you chew; a chocolate waterfall; and “Alcoholic Architecture”, where gin infuses the air like mist. Like magic!


The 56th London Film Festival kicks off soon at the British Film Institute in Southbank, from 10 to 21 October. Some adaptations of great literature to look forward to: Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie (Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein twisted for an animation film: Young Victor’s dog is killed in a car accident, but the boy finds a way of bringing the canine back to life with a bizarre science experiment), Mohsin Ahmad’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Charles Dicken’s Great Expectations, and Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. Rushdie will be at the BFI on 15 October at 6:30pm to talk about the process of adapting his Booker Prize-winning novel.

The director of We Need To Talk About Kevin has secured financing for her sci-fi film Mobius, which retells the tale of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick in an unusual setting: outer space.

Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe will star in another film adapted from a novel, but this project is a million miles away from the Harry Potter franchise. Radcliffe takes up the lead role in an adaptation of Joe Hill‘s 2010 novel, Horns. His character wakes up one day and discovers a pair of horns protruding from his head, and it gets stranger still as these ghastly pointed features provides him with the power to discover other people’s darkest emotions and thoughts.

To mark National Poetry Day on 4 October, London’s Piccadilly Lights were emblazoned with words from the poem I Am The Song by the Cornish writer, Charles Causley. Faber also celebrates by giving away an audio download of sixty poems from Carol Ann Duffy’s anthology, Jubilee Lines.

Myrmidon and Canongate are to co-publish one of this year’s Man Booker prize shortlisted books, The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng, to help it reach the widest possible audience. Deborah Levy‘s Swimming Home, another shortlisted book published by a small press, And Other Stories, has also been co-published with a mainstream publisher, Faber & Faber, to meet major demand for the book.

Lit News Round-up: 21 September 2012

Stephen King

Happy 65th birthday, Stephen King! There’s a lot to look forward to next year for fans of the author. Thirty-six years after The Shining, we will soon find out what happens to Danny Torrance, the boy who survived the horrific events, in the sequel Doctor Sleep, which is set to be published in September 2013. King will also release a new novel, Joyland, in June next year under the Hard Case Crime imprint. Many of King’s novels have been adapted for film; The Shining was directed by Stanley Kubrick and starred Jack Nicholson. Cary Fukunaga, director of the most recent Jane Eyre starring Michael Fassbender, plans to take on King’s 1986 bestselling ITpreviously adapted into a 1990 mini TV seriesand split it into two feature-length releases.

Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, about Captain Ahab’s obsession with destroying the big white whale, is regarded as one of America’s finest novels, but many haven’t read it. As such, the artist Angela Cockayne and writer Philip Hoare have kicked off a new project to democratise the mighty magnificence of Melville’s writing: Moby Dick Big Read, launched September 16. This could be your new daily ritual: listen to all 135 chapters from Melville’s monolithic tome read out loud—then broadcast online in separate downloads—over 135 days by a range of writers, musicians, artists, scientists, and academics. Notably, Tilda Swinton, who previously starred in We Need to Talk About Kevin and The Chronicles of Narnia, has performed the first chapter, “Loomings”. You can also look forward to upcoming recordings by sci-fi author China Miéville, actor Benedict Cumberbatch (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Sir David Attenborough (who needs no introduction), and UK Prime Minister David Cameron. Moby Dick Big Read supports the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS), so although the readings are available for free, you are invited to make a donation to the charity. And if you want to see Moby Dick Big Read live, click here to find out more.

Another new live storytelling night makes its debut in London. Presented by Future Perfect, Juke Box Story is an event series of tales inspired by music. The first meet-up is tonight at 7:30pm, featuring a line-up of stories, each inspired by an ’80s pop song, at the Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden. Get tickets on the door.

Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie, whose memoir Joseph Anton was published just a few days ago, has already been longlisted as one of 14 titles for the 2012 Samuel Johnson Prize for nonfiction, worth £20,000. It is written in third person about his years in hiding under the threat of Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa, which condemned Rushdie to death on Valentine’s Day, 1989 in the wake of the publication of The Satanic Verses. Apparently, the fatwa still stands; and not only that, it was reported last weekend that an Iranian religious foundation headed by Ayatollah Hassan Saneii had raised the bounty on Rushdie’s head by half a million dollars to $3.3 million (£2 million). The reason: outrage over a film insulting the Prophet Mohammad that has nothing to do with Rushdie. Hassan Saneii reportedly said in a statement, “It [the film] won’t be the last insulting act as long as Imam Khomeini’s historic order on executing the blasphemous Salman Rushdie is not carried out.” Rushdie has dismissed this as mere “talk”. You can catch five extracts from the book on BBC Radio 4 from 17-21 September, 9:45-10:00 a.m.

This isn’t exactly literary news, but since Time Out London is such a great source of literary and cultural events in London, we thought you’d be excited to know that… Time Out London is going free. Yes, FREE! From next Tuesday, 25 September, you can pick up your free copy at tube stations and at big museums and galleries. More information here. Also, an interesting look at its radical roots.