Ruth Rendell, the 85-year-old British author of over 60 crime and psychological thriller novels, in a career that spanned decades, died on Saturday 2 May. The author had been admitted to hospital in January following a major stroke. Not only was she a well-regarded writer, Ruth Rendell was also a very active figure in British politics; a member of the House of Lords, the author helped pass a law against sending girls abroad for female genital mutilation.
In other book news:
The upcoming PEN gala in the U. S. has caused quite a stir among American authors, since the awards ceremony, to be held in New York, is planning to honour French magazine Charlie Hebdo with a Freedom of Expression Courage Award. Acclaimed and popular writers such as Junot Diaz, Michael Ondaatje and Rachel Kushner have withdrawn their attendance from the gala in order to criticise the awarding of this particular prize to the controversial magazine. Despite condemning the tragic attacks on the magazine that occurred in January, these authors believe that the magazine’s frank and offensive cartoons on the Muslim community, as well as the magazine staff’s steadfast refusal to be swayed by death threats, should not be celebrated with the Freedom of Expression Courage Award. Other writers have spoken out against this decision, such as Salman Rushdie, who has challenged it by calling Ondaatje et al.’s remarks and stance ‘horribly wrong’.
Yiyun Li has been crowned the first female recipient of the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, worth £30,000. The Chinese-American author’s story ‘A Sheltered Woman’, which appeared in the New Yorker early in 2014, follows a nanny’s month-long support of a new mother and her baby.
With the summer comes plenty of festivals and celebrations, but in the world of young adult fiction only one event matters: the YALC. In July, the second-ever Young Adult Literature Convention will take place in London and the highly popular and admired American author Judy Blume has announced that she will be attending. Blume, whose debut novel was published 40 years ago, will be interviewed by Patrick Ness.
What makes a book a classic? Better yet, what makes a text a must-read, with readers defending it as a work worth reading above others? Here is a list of books ‘everyone should read at least once in their lifetime’. Of these 35 titles, which would you agree with, and which would you rather see at the bottom of a bargain bin (for any literary lovers, hopefully none!)
May is not the likeliest of months to turn to scary stories for fun, but if you’re feeling nostalgic for wintery weather, then here is a selection of 30 horror tales that should be read if you want to consider yourself a true genre aficionado. From The Exorcist and Dracula to the contemporary novels of Joe Hill, this list is guaranteed to get your spine tingling.