Unstoppable Mantel wins again

News roundup published on March 14, 2013.

Hilary Mantel continues to reap the rewards of her talent, with yet another £40,000 prize to add to her collection. She has won the David Cohen Prize for Literature, thought of as the “British Nobel” says The Guardian, in honour of her 28-year career. In the report, chair of judges Mark Lawson felt compelled to defend the decision against some of her adversaries who think she’s hogging all the prizes. So, no doubt they’ll be delighted to hear that she’s up for another major award. The BBC says Bring Up the Bodies is on the long list for the Woman’s Prize For Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize) to be announced in June.

In an interview on BBC Radio, Mantel hit back at those who criticised her recent British Museum lecture during which she referred to the Duchess of Cambridge as “gloss-varnished”. Parts of her speech – which described the tabloid-led perception of the royal family – were so taken out of context that, in the ensuing furore, Mantel was subjected to the kind of misrepresentation to which she referred in her lecture.

Trainspotting fans have ridden a minor emotional rollercoaster this week. On the one hand, many have had to come to terms with the news that – by 2016 – 20 years will have passed since the film hit our screens. On the other, we’ve learned that director Danny Boyle is planning a sequel to coincide with its 20th anniversary. According to the NME, Boyle says the film will be loosely based on Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting sequel, Porno, and he might even bring back the original cast. It may well be worth the 20-year wait.

Meanwhile, Birdsong author Sebastian Faulks is to take on PG Wodehouse’s classic characters Jeeves and Wooster in the first ever authorised PG Wodehouse follow-up, says The Guardian. Jeeves and the Wedding Bells will be published in November. And HarperCollins has bought the world rights to Robert Plant: A Life, by Paul Rees, says The Bookseller. The Led Zeppelin front man’s biography is set for an October release.

Elsewhere, the high-street backlash against online retailers continues with reports that bookstores are deploying new tactics to entice customers back to stores. The Independent says some retailers have signed contracts with publishers to sell versions of books with extra material which includes special inserts, added chapters and bonus short stories.

And finally, after months of secrecy, The Folio Society was unveiled as the sponsor for a new award that, until now, has been known as The Literature Prize. The award was set up around the time that 2011 Booker awards judges were, controversially, accused of favouring “readability”. The Folio Prize, which, The Bookseller says, will have its own judges’ academy, assures literature award purists that nothing short of “excellence” will do.

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