Latest Star Wars Character as Diverse as the Rest
The latest Star Wars novel will feature a lesbian character, Moff Mors, who will appear in the forthcoming book Lord of the Sith. Author Paul S. Kemp explains the intricacies of his latest character, who will join the already diverse cast. He explains how his latest creation is an ‘an Imperial who has made some very serious mistakes but she is an incredibly capable leader and spends much of the book working hard to prevent absolute failure. She also happens to be a lesbian.’ He went on to say ‘Her orientation is a characteristic in the same way as is her brunette hair.’
Celebrity vs Literature
Literary Festivals have lost their integrity, according to Joanna Trollope, writer and former chair of the Orange Prize. She explains how she is drawn to festivals abroad that still celebrate literature and their audiences. Trollope feels that larger, home grown festivals have become about celebrity culture and that this ‘patronises the audience. It’s gone a bit too far. I would say “Do not let the money dominate.” My belief is that these festivals are about readers and reading – audiences should come away enriched.’
Quotes from His Dark Materials
Twenty years have passed since we were lost in the land of His Dark Materials, the books by the wonderful children’s writer Philip Pullman. In honour of this special anniversary the Guardian have selected some magical quotes from the much loved trilogy. Below is my personal favourite of the ten, but you can choose your own here.
‘Tell them stories. They need the truth. You must tell them true stories, and everything will be well, just tell them stories.’ – The Amber Spyglass
Sisters are lovely, aren’t they? This piece, by Julia Eccleshare, appeared recently in The Guardian on the topic of sisters in children’s stories. We have that pair of googly eyed Disney princesses from Frozen, Lauren Child’s creations, Charlie and his sister Lola, who loves pink milk, and Dol, Star and their Illustrated Mum, by Jaqueline Wilson.
Wellcome Book Prize Shortlist
The 2015 Wellcome Book Prize shortlist has been announced. This celebrates new writers who have written on the theme of health, medicine or wellness which can cross a range of genres. I’m really intrigued by this award and will be keeping an eye out for the winner. Find the shortlist here.
Speaking of women, The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist has been announced. This prize, originally the Orange Prize for Fiction, was established in 1996 to address the lack of female fiction writers being nominated for literary awards. Despite this, Shami Chakrabarti, the chair of the judging process this year, has stated that recognition for women in literature still has a way to go.
Israel Prize for Literature Dropped for 2015
The prestigious Israel Prize for Literature will not go ahead this year following interference from Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Last month, two of the judges were removed from the panel after they were accused of cronyism and political unsuitability. The Prime Minister’s actions have caused outrage from the arts community who see this annual award, given each Independence Day, as one of great esteem and honour.
Hong Kong Publishing House accused of Censorship
Sino United, a Hong Kong-based publishing company, has returned hundreds of books from a pro-democracy, independent publishing company. Up Publications’ Editor-in-Chief, Carmen Kwong Wing-suen, has expressed great regret over this ‘unprecedented’ return of their books, saying ‘Our distributer told us that some bookstore staff said we should not have stood at the front line of Occupy Central.’
This is verging into artsy, design territory, but I’m intrigued by a new design project that will bring to life daydreams and stories that may otherwise have been lost. The Peachy project will collect the thoughts of passersby through the use of boxes left in areas around Dublin into which people can drop a story. The stories will drive the concept of the art project, which is in aid of Aware. I know this isn’t literature news per se, but if you think about it, scribbling thoughts and dreams on scraps of paper and sharing them with others is the way any story comes to be. You can fund the Kickstarter campaign here.
EU Prize for Literature
Irish writers Mary Costello, Donal Ryan and Deirdre Sullivan have been shortlisted for the EU Prize for Literature. Each of the twelve countries taking part will choose a national winner to be announced on April 14th at the London Book Fair.