Hilary Mantel has been courting controversy over the publication of her latest writing, The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher: August 6th 1983. The short story from the collection is based on an experience the author had years ago upon spotting the former Prime Minister unguarded in Windsor, and subsequently fantasising about killing her. Rather than a non-fiction account of this occurrence, Mantel’s story is a fictional tale of a woman who lets a plumber into her flat, only to come to realize that the man is an assassin sent to murder Margaret Thatcher as she leaves the hospital across the street. Due to its controversial subject matter, the Daily Telegraph – which had paid a handsome advance for publication rights to the short story – has since retracted their desire to publish the piece. The short story collection as a whole will be published at the end of September.
Graphic novelist and acclaimed writer Alison Bechdel (Fun Home) has been gifted with a MacArthur Genius Grant. The award – of $625,000 – is given annually to a number of individuals who, across a variety of fields, work toward creative visions that will contribute to the future. The money is paid to the recipient over a five-year period, and has no strings attached, meaning the chosen person can follow their own projects with ‘maximum freedom’.
Ben Fountain’s award-winning novel Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk will be turned into a film by acclaimed director Ang Lee. The novel concerns the Bravo squad, a group of American soldiers and media ‘heroes’ on a two-week break from duty in Iraq, who are part of the parade at a Thanksgiving Day Dallas Cowboys NFL game in 2004.
The BBC National Short Story Award shortlist has, for the third time in nine years, produced a selection of all-female authors. Lionel Shriver, Zadie Smith, Rose Tremain, Tessa Hadley and Francesca Ryhdderch are all up for the £15,000 prize. Zadie Smith’s ‘Miss Adele Amidst the Corsets’ follows a protagonist searching New York city for a new corset; Shriver wrote ‘Kilifi Creek’; Tremain, ‘The American Lover’; Rydderch, ‘The Taxidermist’s Daughter’ and Hadley wrote ‘Bad Dreams’.
Up there with J. K. Rowling for ubiquitous authors in the news, is American superstar John Green. This week it was announced that his book Paper Towns will star fashion’s favourite It girl Cara Delevigne. The model and actress will play Margo, a character who, with her neighbour Quentin, discovers the body of a man who killed himself and then subsequently goes missing. Apparently John Green tweeted that Delevigne’s audition ‘blew everyone away’ – it seems we’ll be seeing more of her on the big screen in the future, as she has also landed roles in the adaptation of book Tulip Fever.