Salman Rushdie lead the protest for the World Human Rights Day, against the silencing of Chinese writers, in an open letter signed by more than one hundred authors. Rushdie, along with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, J. M. Coetzee, Neil Gaiman and more, joined together to reach out to Chinese leader Xi Jinping and speak against the recent government crackdown on and imprisonment of cultural dissidents in the country.
In other book news:
Max Porter, author of Grief is the Thing with Feathers, was awarded the £5,000 Sunday Times prize last Thursday for his debut novel. Porter was up against Benjamin Wood, for The Ecliptic, Jessie Greengrass’s An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk, According to One Who Saw It (a short-story collection), and Physical, a poetry book by Andrew McMillan.
Rebecca Solnit’s Hope in the Dark, seemingly ubiquitous on threads and blogs as a must-read book of solace in the run-up to the US presidential election, has emerged as one of the best-selling books in a post-Brexit, post-Donald Trump UK. Originally published a decade ago, Solnit’s work has recently sold out as readers flock to get copies of the manifesto, which encourages optimistic thinking and activism in a time of turmoil and pessimism, particularly that of political tumult.
In a similar vein, it turns out that publishers are running full steam ahead with plans to capitalise on the recent shock of political events: many politicians, such as Bernie Sanders, are providing essays for What We Do Now: Standing Up for Your Values in Trump’s America; while some publishing imprints are taking more humourous routes, such as Trump and Brexit-themed comedy Christmas books (Quercus’s Famous Five parody Five on Brexit Island, anyone?).
Zadie Smith, who never seems far from our book-related newsfeeds these days, has written a terrific essay, published over at the New York Review of Books from a speech made in Berlin earlier in November, titled ‘On Optimism and Despair’.
Care for some bookish fun to celebrate the end of 2016? Buzzfeed have selected their 32 best covers of the year, so get reading and delight in the best designs to grace our shelves over the past twelve months.