Readersforum's Blog

September 25, 2014

The brilliance of Richard Brautigan

Fairytale meets beat meets counterculture: bursting with colour, humour and imagery, Brautigan’s virtuoso prose is rooted in his rural past – and that’s what draws me in.

Over the years, I’ve lived in a variety of places, including America, but I was born and raised in the Lake District, in Cumbria. Growing up in that rural, sodden, mountainous county has shaped my brain, perhaps even my temperament. It’s also influenced the qualities I seek in literature, as both reader and writer. In my early 20s, connecting with fiction was a difficult process. There seemed to be little rhyme or reason to what was meaningful, what convinced, and what made sense. There was a lot of fiction I did not enjoy, whose landscapes seemed bland and unevocative, the characters faint-hearted within them, the very words lacking vibrancy. This was no doubt empathetic deficiency on my part. I wouldn’t say it was lack of imagination – if anything, roaming around moors and waterways solo can lead to an excessive amount of making things up, a bizarreness of mind. I suppose what I wanted to discover was writing that served these functions, and I was in danger of quitting books.

Around this age I first read Richard Brautigan.


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March 14, 2014

Folio Prize: George Saunders wins with short story collection

Tenth of December - George Saunders

Tenth of December – George Saunders

American writer George Saunders has won the inaugural Folio Prize for his “darkly playful” short story collection, Tenth of December.

The new prize, open to English-language writers from around the world, pre-empts the Man Booker Prize, which this year expands to a global level.

Saunders picked up his £40,000 cheque at a ceremony in central London on Monday night.

The eight-strong shortlist had been dominated by American authors.

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April 17, 2013

Granta 123: Best of Young British Novelists

GrantaFor three consecutive decades, Granta has foreseen the brilliant careers of the British literary scene, showcasing an array of talent that included Martin Amis, Pat Barker, Julian Barnes, Kazuo Ishiguro, Ian McEwan, Salman Rushdie, Rose Tremain, Alan Hollinghurst, A.L. Kennedy, Will Self, Helen Simpson, Jeanette Winterson, David Mitchell and Zadie Smith.

Here, in a collection of new work by twenty writers, is the future of literature in Britain: Granta’s fourth BEST OF YOUNG BRITISH NOVELISTS.

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March 25, 2013

Junot Díaz wins world’s richest short story prize

DiasAmerican author Junot Díaz, winner of both a Pulitzer and a MacArthur “genius” grant, has beaten a strong lineup of British writers to take the world’s richest prize for a single short story.

Díaz’s story, “Miss Lora”, is about a high-school-age boy having a relationship with an older woman in 1980s New Jersey, and is written in the “Spanglish” for which the Dominican-born writer is known. It beat entries from top British authors including Mark Haddon, Ali Smith and Sarah Hall to be named winner of the £30,000 Sunday Times EFG Private Bank short story prize.

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November 24, 2012

Hall and Sprackland win Portico Prize

Sarah Hall

| By Benedicte Page

Sarah Hall and Jean Sprackland have been named the 2012 winners of the Portico Prize for Literature, each receiving £10,000.

Hall [pictured] won the fiction prize for The Beautiful Indifference (Faber) while Sprackland’s Strands: A Year of Discoveries on the Beach (Jonathan Cape) triumphed in non-fiction. It’s a second time Hall has won the prize, which is given biennially; she also won the 2010 award for How To Paint a Dead Man.

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