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June 14, 2013

Bakker’s The Detour wins Independent Foreign Fiction Prize

Gerbrand Bakker

Gerbrand Bakker

| By Charlotte Williams

Dutch writer Gerbrand Bakker has won this year’s £10,000 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize with his novel The Detour, published by Harvill Secker.

It is the author’s second major literary prize win; his previous novel, The Twin, won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2010.

Bakker will share the prize money with the title’s translator, David Colmer [pictured right].

The Detour follows Emilie, a translation professor and Emily Dickinson scholar, who retreats from her life in the Netherlands to an isolated farm house in Wales following an affair with a student.

Boyd Tonkin, literary editor of the Independent and award judge, said: “Swift-moving and apparently straightforward, but with mysterious hidden depths, The Detour is a novel that grips its reader tight and never lets go

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November 21, 2012

Charge Amazon, Starbucks and Google unpaid tax to fund libraries, says Winterson

Novelist Jeanette Winterson’s incendiary speech calls on companies to honour ‘moral duties’ and ‘do an Andrew Carnegie’.

By Alison Flood

A fiery Jeanette Winterson has called for the hundreds of millions of pounds of profit which Amazon, Starbucks and Google were last week accused of diverting from the UK to be used to save Britain’s beleaguered public libraries.

In an impassioned speech at the British Library this evening, the award-winning author of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit said: “Libraries cost about a billion a year to run right now. Make it two billion and charge Google, Amazon and Starbucks all that back tax on their profits here. Or if they want to go on paying fancy lawyers to legally avoid their moral duties, then perhaps those companies could do an Andrew Carnegie and build us new kinds of libraries for a new kind of future in a fairer and better world?”

Winterson was referring to the meeting at parliament’s public accounts committee last Monday which saw executives from the three companies vigorously quizzed by MPs over their tax affairs, and accused of diverting UK profits to tax havens. Her lecture was to mark the 10th anniversary of the independent charity The Reading Agency, and was attended by fellow authors including David Nicholls, Julian Barnes, Joanna Trollope and Sarah Waters.

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January 11, 2012

Glad tidings of mood-boosting reading

Bill Bryson … has clearly been reading his own books. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA

I’m much cheered by a Reading Agency promotion of 27 books to give your spirits a lift

By Alison Flood

As the yearly dump of diet and health titles hit bookshops, here’s another reason to love libraries: branches across the country are promoting “mood-boosting” books through January, with titles ranging from Laurie Lee’s Cider with Rosie to Tove Jansson’s wonderful A Winter Book. The promotion, says organiser The Reading Agency, follows research that shows reading improves mental wellbeing and reduces stress by over two-thirds.

Running in 135 library authorities, the 27 titles for the Reading Agency promotion were picked by eight reading groups around the country and endorsed by Charley Baker, lecturer in mental health at the University of Nottingham. Although it’s aimed specifically at adults who “might have experienced mild to moderate mental-health conditions linked to stress, anxiety and depression”, I say it’s a lovely idea, and that we could probably all do with a mood-boost in January.

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December 7, 2011

WBN aims for international expansion

Filed under: Publishers — Tags: , , , , — Bookblurb @ 6:43 pm

Photo credit: Richard Stonehouse.

07.12.11 | Benedicte Page

World Book Night founder Jamie Byng has said there is a “very good chance” the book donation event will take place in “dozens” of countries by 2013/14.

The Canongate m.d.’s ambition for major expansion of the event’s international reach was declared at a Downing Street reception last night (6th December), alongside the news that half of the one million books to be given away in the UK in 2012 (April 23rd) will be distributed directly to prisons, hospitals and disadvantaged communities.

World Book Night is already set to take place in the US as well as the UK next year.

Byng said the aim for the UK event in 2012 was to “expand the reach and take it to a new level”, with a priority to “take books to some of the hardest to reach potential readers particularly within UK prisons, libraries and hospitals, care homes and homes for the elderly”.

The remaining 500,000 books will be distributed by 20,000 volunteer members of the public to donate and share as happened at the inaugural event earlier this year. more

January 18, 2011

Reading Agency to launch My Voice project

18.01.11 | Benedicte Page

The Reading Agency has been awarded a grant of close to £350k from the Big Lottery Fund to launch a project supporting disadvantaged teenagers.

The My Voice project will work with young people aged 11-19 who don’t regularly use libraries, encouraging them to get involved in local branches and take part in volunteering opportunities. The project will run in 22 local authorities in London, the South East and the North of England, over three years….read more

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