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Newly nominated for a Baillie Gifford literary prize, the political prisoner has written a novel from behind bars
“You can imprison me but you cannot keep me here,” writes Ahmet Altan at the end of his acclaimed book I Will Never See the World Again. “Because, like all writers, I have magic. I can pass through your walls with ease.”
The novelist’s series of essays, smuggled out of jail among notes to his lawyers, was lauded by critics as an instant classic when it was published in Britain in spring this year, and last week it was longlisted for the £50,000 Baillie Gifford nonfiction prize.Continue reading...
The Souvenir and The Goldfinch, both based on celebrated artworks, are set to pique a revival of interest in the originals
She is the young heroine of a romantic novel that once rocked the whole of France and she is also the star of a charming portrait housed at London’s Wallace Collection. Now, thanks to an art-house hit – a film delighting critics and winning five-star reviews – the spotlight has swung once again on to Julie D’Etange, the enigmatic subject of Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s little painting The Souvenir.
His picture shows a young woman in a luxurious pink satin dress carving her lover’s initials into a tree, in a scene drawn from Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s 1761 book Julie. Written in letter form, the story charts the path of her illicit love for Saint-Preux, a former lover and tutor, reintroduced into her life by her unsuspecting husband.Continue reading...
In the aftermath of headline-making claims against famous men, a number of authors have begun to reshape gender relations
The #MeToo movement can reasonably be described as kicking off on 5 October 2017, with a New York Times report Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades that contained the accounts of eight women who said they were sexually harassed or assaulted by the now-disgraced Hollywood producer.
Weinstein is now facing a trial for his alleged crimes. But what followed the Times’ story was a deluge of accusations of sexual misconduct toward women by men – often with a straight-forward power dynamic between older, professionally accomplished men and younger, often vulnerable, women trying to establish a career. Many of the biggest names in media, the arts and politics were brought down.Continue reading...
In an extract from his memoir, serialised in the Times, former PM makes claim about Boris Johnson’s senior aide
Dominic Cummings has developed a somewhat unsavoury reputation since taking over as Boris Johnson’s senior aide. But his nefarious influence over the machinations of No 10 stretches back much further, David Cameron claims in his forthcoming memoir.
Extracts printed in Saturday’s Times reveal that, in 2013, Cameron suspected a “bilious” Cummings of “dripping his poison” into the ear of Michael Gove, even though he was no longer serving as a special adviser to the then education secretary.Continue reading...
In an interview to promote his book, the former PM still says Brexit poll was necessary
Readjusting to being a former prime minister can’t be easy. Tony Blair described having to learn to use a mobile phone, after years when aides took charge of all his communications. Theresa May was to be seen earlier this week pottering about in the palace of Westminster, not a flunky in sight, buying herself lunch.
But the sense from David Cameron’s Times interview is that the hardest readjustment has been getting used to the idea of not always being a winner.Continue reading...
Preorders appear sluggish and some shops in remain-voting areas say they won’t stock memoir
It is the fruit of three years’ work, at least some of which is presumed to have taken place inside a £25,000 shepherd’s hut.
The much-anticipated publication next week of For the Record, David Cameron’s 752-page book promising a candid account of his time in politics, is expected to be the moment a man widely blamed for Britain’s greatest postwar crisis will make a concerted bid for control of his tainted legacy.Continue reading...
Out this month, the Kafkaesque novella sees a man wake up as prime minister and is described by the author as a ‘therapeutic response’ to Brexit turmoil
In Kafka’s Metamorphosis, Gregor Samsa awoke to discover that he had been transformed into a monstrous beetle. Now, in Ian McEwan’s unexpected new project, Jim Sams wakes and finds he must endure a worse fate: he has become the British prime minister.
Announced on Thursday, and to be published in just two weeks time on 27 September, The Cockroach is McEwan’s 16th work of fiction and his second to be published this year, after the novel Machines Like Me. Following the transformation, Sams – who was “ignored or loathed” in his previous life – finds himself with new powers and a new mission: to carry out the will of the people.Continue reading...
Assembled from notes, Ahmet Altan’s I Will Never See the World Again is up for Baillie Gifford prize alongside Guardian and Observer journalists Amelia Gentleman and Laura Cumming
Three years almost to the day since the Turkish author Ahmet Altan was first jailed in the wake of the country’s failed coup, he has been longlisted for the £50,000 Baillie Gifford prize for non-fiction for his prison memoir, I Will Never See the World Again.
First imprisoned in 2016, Altan received a life sentence in 2018 for sending out “subliminal messages in favour of a coup” on television and attempting to overthrow the government. PEN America has called his imprisonment “a horrific assault on freedom of expression” and authors including JM Coetzee and AS Byatt have demanded his release in an open letter saying that his “crime is not supporting a coup but the effectiveness of his criticism of the current government”.Continue reading...