2   +   9   =  

The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award finalists have been revealed, and five out of the six of them are women. The internationally selected shortlisted authors in the running for the £30,000 prize are Elizabeth McCracken, Rebecca F John, Yiyun Li, Paula Morris, Madeleine Thien and Scott O’Connor. The award has never been won by a British writer, and with only one Brit up for the prize this year (newcomer Rebecca F John), there’s only a slight chance of this changing. On the other hand, the award has never been won by a woman, and there is now a rather more encouraging chance of this year changing that.

Now for a more ridiculous award shortlist: the contenders for the Diagram Prize, otherwise known as the prize for the oddest book title of the year. You can see the titles here. Nature’s Nether Regions gets my vote.

The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction now has a longlist of fifteen authors. This year’s prize could be awarded to Jessie Burton (The Miniaturist), Martin Amis (The Zone of Interest), Sarah Waters (The Paying Guest), Audrey Magee (The Undertaking), Sebastian Barry (The Temporary Gentleman), Elif Shafik (The Architect’s Apprentice), John Spurling (The Ten Thousand Things), Esther Freud (Mr Mac and Me), Paul Kingsnorth (The Wake), Kamila Shamsie (A God in Every Stone), Helen Dunmore (The Lie), Hermione Eyre (Viper Wine), Damon Galgut (Arctic Summer), Anna Hope (Wake) and Adam Foulds (In the Wolf’s Mouth).

whered-you-go-bernadetteRichard Linklater, the director of recent award-winning and generation defining film Boyhood, may be negotiating a deal to direct a feature film adaptation of the bestselling novel Where’d You Go, Bernadette? This book of 2012 by Maria Semple follows an architect with agoraphobia whose mother, Bernadette, goes missing right before a family trip to Antarctica.

Remember the new Shakespeare series being commissioned by Hogarth? Well, they’ve now brought another writer on board. Edward St Aubyn will be reimagining King Lear for the series, which will be launched in October this year with the publication of The Gap of Time (a retelling of The Winter’s Tale, written by Jeanette Winterson). In 2016 three further novels will be released, adaptations of The Merchant of Venice (Howard Jacobson), The Taming of the Shrew (Anne Tyler) and The Tempest (to be written by Margaret Atwood), and the subsequent titles to be published will be penned by Gillian Flynn (Hamlet), Tracy Chevalier (Othello) and Jo Nesbo (Macbeth).

This week BuzzFeed polled its readers on whether Severus Snape was actually a hero in the Harry Potter series. According to 29,000 of the poll-takers, the answer is a resounding Yes!

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