the-tempest– The sad and terrible news over the weekend has been the shooting in Nairobi’s Westgate Mall in Kenya. One of the fatalities was esteemed Ghanaian poet Kofi Awooner, who had been in Nairobi to speak at the Storymoja Hay Festival.

– The Observer is teaming up with The Guardian and Waterstones to compile a list of the 100 Greatest Novels of All Time. Some may wonder why, considering the sometimes vitriolic backlash against their last attempt to define the greatest literature ‘of all time’.Robert McCrum wrote an introduction to the new list on Sunday that explains the new reasoning,alleging that this time the list will be along a more schematised vein of the randomised ‘list’ of 2003 – purposefully excluding translated works and non-English texts, focusing mostly on the best of Anglo-American works from the 17th Century to approximately 2000.  Shall we start petitioning now for the inclusion of works likely to be left off, or should we pay any attention at all? Well, I enjoy a good list – pertinent word ‘good’, so let us see what the next few weeks of the list roll-out bring.

– The 8th Annual £15,000 BBC Short Story Award has, for the second time since its inception, produced an all-female shortlist.The candidates are Lionel Shriver, Lisa Blower, Lavinia Greenlaw, Sarah Hall and Lucy Wood. The judge’s chair Mariella Frostrup considers this proof that the short story form stylistically favours women writers, from the classic texts of Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Katherine Mansfield to the present day. The winner will be announced October 8th.

– Shakespeare’s plays will be getting some cosmetic treatment from contemporary prose writers in a new novel series of the bard’s tales to be published by Hogarth Shakespeare, part of the Penguin Random House Group. For example, Margaret Atwood has fittingly chosen to retell The Tempest, whilst Jeanette Winterson has opted for The Winter’s Tale. Contracts for this project are still on-going, with new authors still being drafted in to complete the various titles.

– The Washington Post has a great illustrated gallery on ‘The 20 Stages of Reading’, chronologically expressing the reading experience from infancy to old age, with a wonderful message offered at the end, to simply “read freely”: http://wapo.st/16jHnhb

– Imagine, for a minute, that the oddity of the James Franco cult stretched over to the literary world. Actually, backtrack, it already has. Just look at the new ‘motion picture’ As I Lay Dying cover. As a result of the madness of the celeb takeover, here’s a link to some mocked up examples of other books! Just look at the Lolita cover…: http://bit.ly/1b4Cjic  

– On November 7th HarperCollins imprint, Voyager, will publish a book of quotations for everyone’s favourite Game of Thrones character, Tyrion Lannister. Do I pre-order or add this to my Christmas wish-list? Oh yes, winter is coming.