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In Nobel Prize news this week, Malala Yousafzai was announced, to a lot of positivity and acceptance, as the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. In literature news, the Nobel committee granted author Patrick Modiano the honour of being the 2014 winner. The French novelist wrote Missing Person (1978), over twenty more books and the screenplay for the film Lacombe Lucien (an Oscar-winning Louis Malle film from 1975). Bookies had previously noted Haruki Murakami or Ngugi wa Thiong’o as favourites for the Prize.
Malala Yousafzai

J. K. Rowling teased fans last week with a riddle posted on twitter: ‘Cry, foe! Run amok! Fa awry! My wand won’t tolerate this nonsense.’ After a number of near-guesses from readers and odd hints from the author, including reassurance to those trying to crack it that ‘I promise I’m not laughing’, a lucky person solved it. It was an anagram of ‘Newt Scamander only meant to stay in New York for a few hours’ and the genius code-breaker was christened ‘The One True Hermione of Twitter’ by Rowling.

With the interest in and importance of the Potterverse refusing to fade away, a new event aimed at promoting the Harry Potter series is due to begin next year. February 5th 2015 will be Harry Potter Book Night, organised by publisher Bloomsbury. School, bookshops and libraries will be encouraged to participate, as a way to ‘reawaken the excitement of the midnight openings’ for Potter fans.

Scarlett Johansson will be coming to television. The movie star has agreed to act in and produce an eight-part Edith Wharton adaptation. Wharton’s novel Custom of the Country is set at the turn of the century, with Johansson playing the amazingly named Undine Spragg, a Midwestern woman keen to rise through the social ranks of the New York elite.

List time! Here is a selection of 50 favourite books by cultural icons, from David Bowie to Michelle Obama.

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