Paver's 'Wolf Brother'
to be filmed
The film rights to the British author Michelle
Paver's book 'Wolf Brother'
have been bought by
Fox for £2.13m ($4m),
for the director Ridley
Scott to develop. Ridley
Scott is quoted as being
'thrilled' with the
project as, no doubt,
is the author with the
book is the first of
a planned series of
six under a general
heading of 'The Chronicles
of Ancient Darkness'.
Published by Orion in
2004 it earned the author
the highest advance
ever made for a debut
children's book at £2.8m
($5m). The film is
due for release in 2006.
John Murray Publishing
Archive for the National
Library of Scotland
The National Library of Scotland is to be given a
top-up figure of £17.7m by the Heritage Lottery Fund to reach
the £31.2m needed to
acquire the unique John Murray publishing archive.
Started by the first John Murray, a Scot who founded his publishing house in London in 1768, seven successive Murray generations built up the archive, one of the world's most significant literary collections made up of 150,000 manuscripts, papers and letters.
It contains correspondence between the publisher and influential figures including Jane Austen, Charles Darwin, Sir Walter Scott, Benjamin Disraeli, David Livingstone, Thomas Carlyle, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Edith Wharton among others.
It has been independently valued at £45m but has been offered for sale to NLS at a reduced price of £31.2m to keep the collection in the United Kingdom.
Ted Hughes' birthplace 'For Sale'
The house where poet Ted Hughes was born at 1 Aspinall Street, Mytholmroyd, Hebden, West
Yorkshire, a three-bedroom stone-built property,
is on the market with
an asking price is £145,000. Ownership
of the domain www.tedhughes.org
is included in the sale.
He spent the first seven years of his life here, before his family moved to Mexborough. These formative years had a major influence on his later poetry with many poems written about the house itself as well as the nearby village, canal, river and surrounding moorland and woods. At least 28 poems are set in and around the house, with many many more about the Calder Valley beyond.
Interest in Ted Hughes has grown steadily since the poet's death in 1998 and the land surrounding it is now a conservation area thanks to its links with the poet. Meanwhile, the former railway station at the heart of the village is to become the Ted Hughes Literary Centre in 2006.
of Agatha Christie - Mary Westmacott
- Hessay Books
How many of the millions of readers of the
best-selling Queen of
Crime know that she
had a secret double
life as the novelist
According to her
daughter, Rosalind Hicks,
she chose the name after
some thought - Mary
was her second name
and Westmacott was the
name of some distant
relatives. For 15 years
from 1930 she managed
to keep her second identity
secret, and was delighted
at the modest success
of the six books she
wrote under that name.
In 1930 she felt she needed to write a book which was not a detective story, so ‘with rather a guilty feeling' she enjoyed herself
writing Giant’s Bread, a novel about a man obsessed with music, which drew on her own experiences training as a singer and
concert pianist in Paris. Her publishers, Collins, were not very enthusiastic. They wanted her to keep to detective stories, for which
she was just becoming famous - she had published the first ‘Miss Marple’ story Murder at the Vicarage that year. However, Giant’s Bread received good reviews and sold reasonably well for a supposed ‘first novel’. Four years later, after several Poirot stories,
she published Unfinished Portrait, which also draws on her own early life.
Ten years later, in 1944, she published Absent In The Spring, the story of a self-satisfied woman who misses her train connection
on the way back from Baghdad and has to spend several days alone in a desert rest-house, gradually confronting the reality of her
relationship with her husband and children. As Agatha said in An Autobiography ‘ I wrote the one book that has satisfied me
completely…. the book that I had always wanted to write….I wrote that book in three days flat….I don’t know myself of course
what it is really like. ..But it was written with integrity, with sincerity, it was written as I meant to write it, and that is the proudest
joy an author can have’.
In 1947 she wrote The Rose And The Yew Tree, which was also one of her favourites. It is set in Cornwall at the time of the
General Election in 1945, and as well as being a well constructed and very readable story it gives an insight into the political and
social history of that period, when the war was ending and a new world was being created.
Collins had been very lukewarm about publishing her ‘Mary Westmacott’ books, so for this book, and the two later books, A
Daughter’s A Daughter of 1952 and The Burden of 1956 she moved to Heinemann. Collins, however, later realised their mistake
and reprinted all six ‘Mary Westmacott’ books in 1985.
Mary Westmacott never had the same popular success or critical acclaim as Agatha Christie, but the books are well written,
compulsive reading and give a fascinating picture of life in that period. They are ‘romantic novels’ with a difference (they certainly
have no happy endings) which deserve to be better known today.
Bell' is dead!
A new, special exhibition 'Currer Bell' is dead! is being held to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë's death from
1st February until 31st
December 2005 at the Brontë Parsonage Museum,
year sees several events
to commemorate the anniversary
as well as a normal
programme and full details
for the first part of
the year are available
on the Brontë Parsonage
Museum and Brontë Society
T. S. Eliot
year's £10,000 T. S.
Eliot Poetry Prize, awarded by the Poetry Book Society
and sponsored by 'five', has
been won by Hungarian
born poet George Szirtes,
last year's Chairman
of the judging panel, for his collection called 'Reel'.
year's Chairman of the judges, Douglas Dunn, said: "George Szirtes' Reel is a brilliantly virtuosic collection of deeply felt poems concerned with the personal impact of the dislocations and betrayals of history. The judges were impressed by the unusual degree of formal pressure exerted by Szirtes on his themes of memory and the impossibility of forgetting."
presentation was made
by T. S. Eliot's widow
Valerie at an award ceremony held at Senate House in London. Previous winners include Ted Hughes, Don Paterson and Alice Oswald.
The £25,000 prize for the overall winner of
the 'Whitbread Book
of the Year' for 2004
has been awarded to Andrea
Levy for her novel 'Small
Island', which won the
'Orange' prize for her
in June 2004.
The Whitbread Book Awards, established by Whitbread in 1971, have the single aim of celebrating the most enjoyable books of the last year by writers based in the UK and Ireland.
category award winners
novel - Eve Green by
- My Heart is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots by John Guy
Poetry - Corpus by Michael Symmons Roberts
Children's - Not the End of the World by Geraldine McCaughrean
Macclesfield Psalter saved from export
£1.7m has been raised to prevent the export
of a medieaval psalter, unearthed when a family dispute forced the Earl of Macclesfield to auction off the contents of a library at Shirburn Castle. The
psalter was bought at
auction in June 2004
by the Paul Getty Museum
of Los Angeles but has
been subject of a temporary
export ban pending the
outcome of an appeal
for funds to keep it
in this country.
The 225-page illuminated 14th Century work, previously unknown to scholars, is considered one of the most important of its kind. The 170x108mm illuminated manuscript was produced in East Anglia, probably at a priory at Gorleston in Norfolk, and its new home will be Cambridge's Fitzwilliam Museum.
Next Month: The feature for
March 2005 is by Peakirk Books