Nigerian writer leaves literary legacy

News roundup published on March 28, 2013.

Once again the literary world is mourning this week, this time the death of Nigerian author Chinua Achebe. Described by The Guardian as “seen by millions as the father of African literature”, Achebe’s literary accomplishments included the Commonwealth Poetry Prize for his collection Christmas in Biafra, and the 2007 Man Booker International Prize. The Independent focuses on Achebe’s political dissidence and of his defining novel Things Fall Apart.

Awards announced this week include the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, won by a tale of a teenager’s correspondence with a death row inmate. According to The Guardian, Ketchup Clouds was inspired by its author Annabel Pitcher’s own experience of writing to a prisoner as a teenager. Meanwhile, Junot Díaz, an American writer, has won the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award. The author collected the £30,000 prize at the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival, says the Booktrust report, for his tale of adolescent lust, Miss Lora.

Ever present at awards ceremonies these days, Hilary Mantel also appeared at the Oxford Literary Festival to accept the Bodley Medal for outstanding contribution to culture, says The Telegraph. She offered fans a tiny glimpse into the third instalment of her Thomas Cromwell trilogy, The Mirror and the Light. According to the report, Mantel said the book starts with Cromwell on the scaffold, shortly after Anne Boleyn is executed.

The Telegraph also tempted readers with a taste of what’s to come when Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep hits the shelves in September. The build up to its release includes an interactive animation of the book’s creepy cover – a cat shrouded in smoke. The report says King was inspired by Oscar the therapy cat, whose eerie sixth sense led him to sit on the beds of patients in an American nursing home just hours before they died. No doubt poor Oscar – if he’s still around – gets shoved off the furniture more than most cats.

The horror writer is also in the news this week for investing $3 million into a public library in Maine, according to The Guardian. But in the UK, reports of library closures continue to make headlines. While many can’t be saved, others are finding new ways to keep their doors open. The Guardian reports that nearly half of public libraries on the Isle of Wight are now run by community volunteers, saving the council around £350,000.

Finally, anyone needing advice on ejecting nuisance mystical creatures from their homes might pick up a copy of Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop by Reginald Bakeley. According to the BBC, the book won the Diagram Prize for this year’s oddest book title, as voted for by visitors to welovethisbook.com. Other contenders included the intriguingly named, God’s Doodle: The Life and Times of the Penis, by Tom Hickman.

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