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Books, London Book Fair and Tavira reading “flash mob”

Book Fest Tavira
Book Fest Tavira

A couple of years ago a few book enthusiasts organised an event for young people at the Library in Tavira.  The idea was that children of different cultures would come together and share their favourite books and read in their own language from those books.  Children practiced their reading aloud to an audience and each other and on the performance day they were very excited about being heard and being able to read their treasures.  This last week in Tavira, there has been a celebration of reading and young people from many of the local schools have organised themselves with the help of their teachers and the Library to read and create waves of appreciation for the books they love.

As part of the week’s activities on the theme of the sea of books, children from many schools in Tavira came together for a “flash mob” reading event in the Praça da República.  This was the initiative of the Library in Tavira and Associação para o Desenvolvimento Integral da Baixa de Tavira (UAC), along with the school librarians.  A range of activities and workshops took place all week and Paula Ferreira the Director of the Library in Tavira said “This initiative, we hope, will encourage people, especially young people, to read more, to have more ideas and to share their thinking with others”.

Audience Book Fest Tavira
Book Fest Tavira

This week also saw the launch of Granta’s Best of British young writers.  Granta publishes the best of British young writers every 10 years.  They have  partnered with the British Council to launch the Best of Young British Novelists 4.  In 2012 they launched the best of Brazilian young writers and the launch took place at Paraty International book festival in Brazil.  Granta publishes 12 International editions.  The Portuguese Granta published by tinta-da-china will be launched in May this year.  The writers to be included in the Portuguese Granta are still a secret.  So there is some excitement about who they are and where they could be in 10 years time.

The 2013 British Young writers edition has for the first time, a majority of women new writers. It is  international list with the the writers’ backgrounds and storytelling interests that include China, Nigeria, Ghana, the US, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

New names that may be fresh to many include David Szalay, author of three novels; Taiye Selasi, whose first novel was published only last month; and Sunjeev Sahota, who according to John Freeman, the editor of Granta, “had never read a novel until he was 18 – until he bought Midnight’s Children at Heathrow.  He studied maths, he works in marketing and finance; he lives in Leeds, completely out of the literary world”.

The full list is

Naomi Alderman (born 1974), author of books including The Liars’ Gospel and designer of computer games.

Tahmima Anam (1975), whose Bengal Trilogy charts Bangladeshi history from the war of independence onwards.

Ned Beauman (1985), who was longlisted for the Man Booker prize for The Teleportation Accident.

Jenni Fagan (1977), whose debut, The Panopticon, was published 2012. She is also a poet.

Adam Foulds (1974) won the Costa poetry prize for his poem about the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya. His novels include The Quickening Maze, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker.

Xiaolu Guo (1973) was shortlisted for the Orange prize for A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers.

Sarah Hall (1974) has won and been shortlisted for many awards for her novels, which include How To Paint a Dead Man.

Steven Hall (1975) has published one novel, The Raw Shark Texts, which won the Somerset Maugham award.

Joanna Kavenna (1973), whose books include Come to the Edge, won the Orange prize for new writing.

Benjamin Markovits (1973) turned from professional basketball playing to writing, including a trilogy on the life of Lord Byron.

Nadifa Mohamed (1981) was born in Somalia and won the Betty Trask award for her debut, Black Mamba Boy.

Helen Oyeyemi (1984) is the author of three novels including White is for Witching.

Ross Raisin (1979) is the author of God’s Own Country, shortlisted for the Guardian first book award, and Waterline.

Sunjeev Sahota (1981) is working on his second novel, The Year of the Runaways.

Taiye Selasi (1979) has just published her debut, Ghana Must Go.

Kamila Shamsie (1973) has written five novels; the most recent, Burnt Shadows, was shortlisted for the Orange prize.

Zadie Smith (1975) is the author of four novels. The latest is NW. She was on the Granta list in 2003.

David Szalay (1974) is the author of three novels: London and the South-east, The Innocent and Spring.

Adam Thirlwell (1974) has written two novels and was on the Granta list in 2003.

Evie Wyld (1980) publishes her second novel, All the Birds, Singing, in June.

Throughout 2013, Granta are collaborating on an international showcase of contemporary British novelists, which features the twenty writers from the 2013 list.  Events will be taking place in more than ten countries including Russia, Qatar and India.  Sadly Portugal is not on the list, but talking to Granta, there may be some interest in bringing new writers to the region.   One of Granta’s former young writers is Jackie Kay.  She was published in Granta 63 in 1998.  She is coming to Tavira in September 2013 and will be reading from some of her more recent work.  She is a fabulous performer so when you see the publicity make sure you do not miss her!

This week also saw the annual London Book Fair.  One or two new books to look for in the next couple of years include a new biography of Paul McCartney by Phillip Norman.  Red Notice by Bill Browder, which is a memoir of how he made billions in Russia and fell foul of the Kremlin.  Virago will be publishing in 2016, Naomi Wolf  book Outrages, which is an examination of the 1857 Obscene Publications Act – the first law to ban the sale of obscene materials.  The historical novelist Bernard Cornwell has written “A history of Waterloo”.  According to the Bookseller it will be published in time to mark the 200th anniversary of Napoleon’s defeat in 2015.   J P Bean has written “Singing from the floor”, which tells the story of the folk revival of the 1950s and 60s, “not an easy task”, says Jarvis Cocker, the publicist for Faber “especially when the events in question took place many years ago and may have involved the consumption of alcohol”.   Singing from the Floor is due in April 2014.

Authors of the day during the fair included international bestselling writers William Boyd and Liz Pichon.

The next London book fair takes place in Earls Court 8-10 April 2014

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