Tag: dystopias

Books of the Decade – Andrew Kelly

Andrew KellyAndrew Kelly is the Director of the Bristol Festival of Ideas and other projects. He is the author and editor of 12 books including Filming All Quiet on the Western Front, Cinema and the Great War, Queen Square: biography of a place, Brunel: in love with the impossible.

Of the many hundreds of books I have read in the past decade, three stand out. But could I mention too the series of letters by T E Lawrence that Jeremy and Nicole Wilson at Castle Hill Press are producing. They are defenders of the Lawrence flame, and have already published the definitive and most elegant edition of Lawrence’s classic work, Seven Pillars of Wisdom. But the letters are something different and new. A painfully slow process – given the high standards of research and editorial work demanded – this is turning into one of the finest series ever published, bringing to life a complex and brave man. And can I thank the (mostly small) publishers of the works of Joseph Roth, Stefan Zweig and Hans Fallada for bringing these authors to me over the past ten years.

To see Andrew’s book choices, click below. Read More

Margaret Atwood interview

Atwood Year of the Flood cover

“It’s increasingly evident that narration is built in to the human floor-plan as it were. Little kids take to story-telling very, very early… The fact is that we will tell stories; it’s part of being human.

“What effects those stories may have are often quite unforeseen by the people telling them, but if they are listened to, if they have an audience, they are doing something…

“This kind of novel is like a detour sign on a road: if you don’t want to fall into the big hole that looms ahead, you should probably turn right here. Or left.” (laughs)

I interviewed Margaret Atwood about her new novel The Year of the Flood when she visited Bristol earlier this month as part of her international book tour, which has been dubbed the greenest book tour ever – Atwood travelled to the UK by ship rather than plane, forswore meat and insisted that all coffee served came from organic, Fairtrade, shade-grown plantations.

Margaret Atwood on stage at St George's Bristol

Her event at the Bristol Festival of Ideas was unusual in other ways too – Atwood was joined on stage by a choir and group of actors to perform dramatized readings from the book and the specially composed hymns of the God’s Gardeners sect.

Click here to find out why writing dystopian fiction is still an optimistic act, why Montecristo cigars are so called, and why a book tour is like hang-gliding… [12 minutes]