– All praise currently must be pointed toward two prize-winners: Alice Munro and Irina Kahlip. The former won the prestigious Nobel Prize for Literature late last week. The writer was born in Canada in 1931, and in her long career has become an acclaimed and highly regarded short story writer – in 2009 Munro won the Man Booker International Prize. Recently Munro published the collection Dear Life (2012), and wrote Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage (2001) with the short story ‘The Bear Came Over the Mountain’, which was adapted into the movie Away From Her by award-winning Canadian director Sarah Polley. Her contemporaries have widely applauded the decision to award the Nobel to Munro, whose revered prose is considered Chekhovian in its subtle and epiphanic power, and her title as one of the greatest living writers today is finally receiving widespread acknowledgement.
– Irina Khalip, the Belarusian investigative reporter, has won the coveted PEN Pinter Prize, which is awarded to an International “writer of courage”. Khalip was given the Prize by British playwright Tom Stoppard, who first met the reporter in Belarus in 2005.
– Once more we have some Fifty Shades of Grey news to ponder, as Brit actor Charlie Hunnam has dropped out of the anticipated movie adaptation whilst still in the pre-production stages. Perhaps the script was too raunchy even for the Sons of Anarchy star…
– In more Cinema/Literature hybrid news, Nicole Kidman has reportedly optioned the rights to produce and star in The Silent Wife, a thriller in the vein of recent success Gone Girl, about the dark intermingling of marriage and murder.
– As expected, last week’s Frankfurt Book Fair has turned up some intriguing book deals. Glen Duncan (author of I, Lucifer and the recent werewolf series The Last Werewolf & Tallulah Rising) has landed a deal with Orion to publish a new novel The Killing Lessons, under the pseudonym Saul Black. Jessica Cornwell, grand-daughter of John Le Carre, has received a six-figure deal for her Da Vinci Code-esque The Serpent Papers.
– Sci-Fi and Fantasy imprint Hodder & Stoughton have bought global rights to a new time-travel YA series by Scott K Andrews, called Timebomb, to be published summer 2014. Hodder has also signed with author Rebecca Levine for her four-part fantasy series The Hollow Gods, also to be released next summer.
– Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace is to be adapted for UK television in 2015. BBC Worldwide have teamed up with The Weinstein Company to produce a typically British six episode series broadcast of the novel.
– The Observer is into a new week of their ‘100 Greatest Novels’ countdown. Number 4 on the list (which is being released in chronological publication date order) is lengthy eighteenth-century epistolary novel, Clarissa, by Samuel Richardson (1748). It has a tragic heroine, a smarmy villain, and plenty of sentiment – an early masterpiece of the English novel tradition.