The Swedish Academy has this year awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature to the 67-year-old Belarussian non-fiction writer and journalist Svetlana Alexievich, making her the fourteenth woman overall and one of only a select few winners in this category who specialises in non-fiction. Over her career she has faced many risks, criticism and political opposition (particuarly in her native country, where limited freedom of the press is an ongoing issue), as she has investigated and studied historical events, such as female soldiers in the Russian army during the Second World War and the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster, while providing these moments of history with a richly researched human emphasis: Alexievich’s work captures ‘a history of emotions – a history of the soul’, as the secretary of the Academy, Sara Danius, claims.In other book news:
It’s Samuel Johnson book prize time, and this year’s shortlist for the best non-fiction has now been announced to the public. Up for 2015’s £20,000 prize are Jonathan Bate, for his unauthorised biography of poet Ted Hughes, Emma Sky for The Unraveling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq, Samantha Subramanian for This Divided Island, Robert McFarlane for Landmarks, Steve Silberman for his book on autism, Neurotribes, and finally Laurence Scott for The Four-Dimensional Human.
A Harry Potter colouring book will be released in early November. Featuring exquisitely intricate drawings, these books are the latest in the recent trend of colouring books for adults. This particular book will include 96 pages of scenes from the films and characters from the series. In more Potter news, Warner Brothers are now offering people the chance to spend Christmas dinner in the Great Hall at their Studio Tour base in the UK. Guests will be served butterbeer and other Christmas treats.Seth Grahame-Smith’s hit genre-twister Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2009) now has a full-length trailer for its film version starring Cinderella’s Lily James, Lena Headey, Matt Smith, Douglas Booth and Sam Riley, among others. Expect plenty of corset-clad zombie slayers and ridiculous set pieces (there’s slow motion zombie killing and blood-spattered camera lenses!) in this on-screen book adaptation of a Jane Austen classic.
Portions of the internet got into a bit of a tizzy this week with the surprising reveal of a gender-swapped Twilight tale by Stephanie Meyer, as a way to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the series. Life and Death rewrites the first book in the huge vampire-centric franchise by imagining a human teen boy, Beau Swan, who meets the mysterious Edythe Cullen.
The popular cult Japanese manga Death Note has now cast its lead for the cinema adaptation. Nat Wolff (previously in John Green’s Paper Towns and The Fault in Our Stars) will play a student who comes into possession of a very powerful notebook, one which enables him to kill anyone simply by writing their name in it.