Female Authors top of the list for the Desmond Elliott Prize

Desmond-Elliott-2015Three female authors will compete for The Desmond Elliott Prize 2015.

All three authors shortlisted for this year’s £10,000 award, which is for debut novels, are published by Penguin Random House.

Emma Healey is shortlisted for Elizabeth is Missing (Viking), Carys Bray for A Song for Issy Bradley (Hutchinson), and Claire Fuller for Our Endless Numbered Days (Fig Tree).

Chair of judges, author Louise Doughty, said: “It’s fascinating to see that each writer arrived here from slightly unorthodox beginnings and it’s a testament to The Desmond Elliott Prize that it identifies and rewards the very best new writing talent, whatever the author’s date of birth. Our shortlist shows that there’s no age limit on being a sparkling new arrival on the literary scene.”

our endless numbered daysFuller’s Our Endless Numbered Days is about a young girl who is taken to live in a cottage in the forest by her survivalist father.

Fuller originally studied sculpture at Winchester School of Art, specialising in wood and stone carving, then ran her own marketing company for 23 years.

She began writing fiction in her 40s, spurred on by National Novel Writing Month.

Elizabeth is missingHealey’s Elizabeth is Missing is about an elderly woman who is searching for her old friend called Elizabeth. Fuller’s first degree was in bookbinding, after which she worked in an art gallery. She eventually enrolled in the UEA Creative Writing Course before Elizabeth is Missing went on to sell at auction.

Bray’s A Song for Issy Bradley is about a Mormon family coping with the death of a child. Bray was restricted from writing until recently, and five years ago she and a song for issy bradleyher husband removed their family from the Mormon faith.

Dallas Manderson, chairman of the prize trustees, said: “We are delighted to present these outstanding titles in our search for this year’s best debut. The judges have done an admirable job selecting a shortlist from a particularly strong and varied longlist this year and we look forward to seeing which book ultimately comes out on top.”

Doughty is joined on the judging panel by bookseller Jonathan Ruppin and journalist and author Viv Groskop. The winner will be revealed at a ceremony at Fortnum & Mason on 1st July, where she will be presented with a cheque for £10,000.

Adapted from an article from The Bookseller Magazine

Dying Matters Awareness Week

dying matters logoDeath is not the most pleasant subject to talk about, but yet we all know that it will happen to us eventually. Leeds City Council is pleased to be supporting Dying Matters Awareness week, a week to encourage us all to prepare for the inevitable.

We have a number of leaflets in libraries over the week, to help with the following subjects:- Five Things to do before I die; Putting your house in order; Mythbusting; Organ Donation; My funeral wishes.

Of course you can also borrow a number of titles to help and advise you from our libraries. We currently have some suggestions on the front page of our catalogue.

There are also a number of events happening across the city during the week. Further information on these can be found on the Leeds City Council website.

 

 

Poem of the Week – Today by Billy Collins

spring blossomIf ever there were a spring day so perfect,

so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze

that it made you want to throw

open all the windows in the house

and unlatch the door to the canary’s cage,

indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,

a day when the cool brick paths

and the garden bursting with peonies

seemed so etched in sunlight

that you felt like taking

a hammer to the glass paperweight

on the living room end table,

releasing the inhabitants

from their snow-covered cottage

so they could walk out,

holding hands and squinting

into this larger dome of blue and white,

well, today is just that kind of day

This poem originally appeared in the April 2000 issue of Poetry magazine.

Poem of the week – Ode To Bicycles

bicycle-159680_1280As Yorkshire is welcoming the first ever Tour De Yorkshire this weekend I thought it would be nice to have a bicycling poem on the blog this week. The race kicked off today in Bridlington and is finishing in Roundhay in Leeds on Sunday.

I found this poem on the Bicycling Life website. It is written by Pablo Neruda, a Chilean poet. Pablo was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971 and died in 1973. Interestingly he was portrayed as one of the principle characters in the film “Il Postino.”

Ode to Bicycles

I was walking
down
a sizzling road:
the sun popped like
a field of blazing maize,
the
earth
was hot,
an infinite circle
with an empty
blue sky overhead.

A few bicycles
passed
me by,
the only
insects
in
that dry
moment of summer,
silent,
swift,
translucent;
they
barely stirred
the air.

Workers and girls
were riding to their
factories,
giving
their eyes
to summer,
their heads to the sky,
sitting on the
hard
beetle backs
of the whirling
bicycles
that whirred
as they rode by
bridges, rosebushes, brambles
and midday.

I thought about evening when
the boys
wash up,
sing, eat, raise
a cup
of wine
in honor
of love
and life,
and waiting
at the door,
the bicycle,
stilled,
because
only moving
does it have a soul,
and fallen there
it isn’t
a translucent insect
humming
through summer
but
a cold
skeleton
that will return to
life
only
when it’s needed,
when it’s light,
that is,
with
the
resurrection
of each day.

Pablo Neruda

I will be enjoying the race ending on Sunday in Roundhay Park. Our mobile library will also be there so you can enjoy bikes and books – a perfect combination. It will be even better if the sun is shining!

Read Regional Author Events

PrintWe are very pleased to be taking part in the Read Regional campaign again this year. Now in its seventh year, Read Regional is a unique campaign run by New Writing North that partners with libraries and publishers to give readers the chance to meet authors in their local libraries. As well as the author events, all of the Read Regional titles are stocked in 19 library authorities across the region, creating a wealth of northern literature available to borrow. To find out more about all the authors featured in this years campaign visit the Read Regional Website.

Last-King-of-Lydia1We are hosting 3 events over the next few weeks. Next Wednesday 29th April Tim Leach will be visiting Chapel Allerton Library to talk about his latest book, The Last King of Lydia. This is the story of Croesus. Croesus was the wealthiest man of the ancient world, whose name is proverbally associated with magnificent riches – ‘rich as Croesus’, as it is sometimes said. Yet the thing that seemed to concern him the most in his life was not wealth or power, but happiness. Come along at 5.45pm to hear why Tim chose Croesus to write about and the research he carried out to do so.

Quick-The-copy1On Monday 11th May at 5.45pm Rothwell Library are hosting an event with Lauren Owen. Lauren will be talking about her debut novel, The Quick. This is a Victorian gothic tale set in Yorkshire. To discover the secrets of ‘The Quick’ you must first travel to Victorian England, and there, in the wilds of Yorkshire, meet a brother and sister alone in the world, a pair bound by tragedy. You will in time, enter the rooms of London’s mysterious Aegolius Club – a society of the richest, most powerful men in England. And at some point – we cannot say when – these worlds will collide.

TookeyMissel-childCVR6mmLater in May we will be hosting a Poetry morning at Oakwood Library. This is on the 21st May and starts at 11.00am with a poetry workshop where you can read and discuss a selection of poetry.  Following that Read Regional poet Helen Tookey will read from her latest collection of poems.

#FF Poem of the Week

A Poison Tree by William BlakeWilliam Blake: poems

I was angry with my friend;

I told my wrath, my wrath did end.

I was angry with my foe:

I told it not, my wrath did grow.

 

And I waterd it in fears,

Night & morning with my tears:

And I sunned it with smiles,

And with soft deceitful wiles.

 

And it grew both day and night.

Till it bore an apple bright.

And my foe beheld it shine,

And he knew that it was mine.

 

And into my garden stole,

When the night had veild the pole;

In the morning glad I see;

My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

#FF Poem of the Week

Landscape With the Fall Of Icarus by William Carlos Williams

According to Brueghel

when Icarus fell

it was spring

 

a farmer was ploughing

his field

the whole pageantry

 

of the year was

awake tingling

near

 

the edge of the sea

concerned

with itself

 

sweating in the sun

that melted

the wings’ wax

 

unsignificantly

off the coast

there was

 

a splash quite unnoticed

this was

Icarus drowning