Rana Haddad’s debut novel to Hoopoe Fiction
Hoopoe Fiction have acquired English language rights for the UK, US and Egypt in Rana Haddad’s novel THE UNEXPECTED LOVE OBJECTS OF DUNYA NOOR, to be published in 2018. Andrew Nurnberg Associates are handling translation rights.
Maureen Duffy at the LSE Literary Festival
Coming Out: 50 Years of gay literature
On Saturday 25th February Maureen Duffy was on a panel with Neil Bartlett and Dean Atta, in discussion with Mel Kenyon. They talked about how literature and performance have engaged with changing attitudes since the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967, and themes of gay identity, both in their own work and the work of other writers, over the last 50 years. A recording of the event is available as a podcast here.
Len Deighton’s SS-GB television series to be broadcast 19th February on BBC 1
Starring Sam Riley and Kate Bosworth, SS-GB is a thriller set in 1940’s London, with the premise that the Germans won the Battle Of Britain and London is under Nazi occupation. Archer is a Scotland Yard detective working under the SS facing the dilemma of whether to effectively collaborate or join the resistance. An explosive thriller that will ask: what would you do, faced with stakes as high as this?
5 x 60’ series, adapted from the novel by Len Deighton by the writers of the James Bond films, Robert Wade and Neal Purvis; produced by Sid Gentle Films for BBC One. Executive produced by Sally Woodward Gentle and Lee Morris for Sid Gentle Films and Lucy Richer for the BBC.
Kristin Scott Thomas to direct THE SEA CHANGE by Elizabeth Jane Howard
Kristin Scott Thomas is set to make her directorial debut with a film adaptation of THE SEA CHANGE.
She said,“The Sea Change asks a question I have been trying to answer in many of my performances – what are the reasons for the thrills and difficulties of love? I want to make a film that has depth, humour and beauty.”
“I first read this novel 40 years ago. It was a beautifully complex story of four people of different ages trying to figure out what to do with the cards life had dealt them. Its multilayered and nuanced approach meant that each time I re-read it over the course of my life I identified with different characters – and felt that this would be the ideal premise for a film. Rebecca’s script perfectly captures the novel’s theme of exploring how and why we love.”
We’re posting this excerpt from THE UNEXPECTED LOVE OBJECTS OF DUNYA NOOR by Rana Haddad as a tribute to the people of Aleppo. The novel is set in the 1990s.
The City of Boys
Like every city in Syria, Aleppo seemed to be heavily populated by men and boys. Almost everywhere Dunya looked she saw boys, boys, boys. Boys who, regardless of whether they were four, five, six, ten, eleven, twelve, or fourteen, behaved as if they were big men with big wide shoulders, hungry mouths to feed and households to run — as though they had better be tough enough to cope with life. And it was clear from the proud expressions on their faces that they were all fully aware of the importance of their future destinies as Men.
The men of Aleppo often called one another Batal, hero, but many of them and particularly the shopkeepers and craftsmen thought of themselves as Kings. ‘The King of Melons’, ‘The King of Biscuits’, ‘The King of Cakes’, ‘The King of Cardamom’, ‘The King of Perfumes’, ‘The King of Falafels’, ‘The King of Courgettes’, ‘The King of Soap’ — and, finally, Dunya found ‘The King of the World’, who owned a shop that sold more than one thing, including TVs, aerials, radios and washing machines.
In the old town of Aleppo different historical eras were mixed-up haphazardly. Boys on donkeys and others on motorbikes passed by at leisure, soldiers proudly paraded their Kalashnikovs on their shoulders while chewing gum and eyeing up the women, as if this was their full-time job — even more important than saving the country. Women wearing jeans and fashionable skirts walked next to bearded men in turbans and robes and women whose heads, faces and bodies were covered entirely in black polyester cloth. These veiled women walked everywhere, carrying shopping bags, their black shoes hiding their feet, their silence hiding their thoughts, looking like secrets that had come to life. Many of the young women of Aleppo walked as if trying to hide, as if by walking quietly and quickly from A to Z no one would see them. Like this no one could inspect them, quantify them, assess their worth, no one could say that they were trying to get attention or flaunting their wares.
Finally Dunya sat down in a pastry shop and ordered a glass of tea, which a boy served to her on a small silver tray. She watched him from the corner of her eye as he went back to his little workstation in the back of the café where he was shovelling handfuls of almonds into little plastic bags. An old man who looked like his grandfather perched on a wooden stool beside him and began to collect the bags in a cardboard box while whistling a playful tune.
Dunya took her camera out and captured the boy and his grandfather — two men separated by a distance of only 15cm and seventy years of laughter and tears.
Soon after that a boy dressed in a man’s suit came and joined Dunya at her table. He had carefully-combed hair with a straight side-parting and was holding a thick book of mathematics in one hand. “Hey lady, how about taking a picture of me?” he said, trying to make his soft boyish voice sound deeper than it was. He shook his little shoulders proudly. Dunya imagined that this was what Hilal was like fifteen years ago. As she looked at the boy through her viewfinder, she imagined him pulling a cigarette out of his pocket and beginning to discuss his latest current affairs concerns. Perhaps he would discuss the Palestinian Question with her, or the distinctions between Socialism, Capitalism and Communism. She wouldn’t have been surprised, as this is what young boys were like in Syria. There were boys who were shopkeepers, boys who baked bread and boys who were pastry-chefs. She saw a boy who was a plumber, another who was a street-gang leader. One boy was a budding comedian, another one carried himself with the air of a street preacher. Some boys seemed like bosses and others like underlings.
As one boss-type of boy saw Dunya passing down an alley, he called out to his gang of friends who were blocking her passage, “Saleeeeem! Saleeeem! Jamal, Hakim, Fadi, Karim, c’mon, move out of the lady’s way!” And they all instantly obeyed.
“What are you doing in our city, Miss?” a boy asked her. “Where do you come from?”
“I’m looking for a young man by the name of Hilal Chihab, the son of Saeed and Souad the Tailor and Seamstress? Have you heard of him?” Dunya asked.
“Is he your sweetheart?” the boy replied.
“Yes,” Dunya answered.
“And you say that his name is Hilal?”
“Yes,” Dunya said.
“If he’s like the moon, he’ll turn up soon!” the boy sang out in a loud melodic voice, then ran off.
Dunya examined the endless number of birds that flew over her head from every direction, and noted how their songs (and even the flapping of their wings) could always be heard above the metallic sounds of hammers and cars and trucks and engines and machinery of every kind all over Aleppo. This wasn’t only a city full of boys: it was also teeming with birds.
*Hilal means crescent moon in Arabic
Elizabeth Jane Howard
The Cazalet Chronicles are under option to Sid Gentle Films (SS-GB, TheDurrells) for a television series, with Sally Woodward Gentle, also the executive producer of Downton Abbey. The books are published by Macmillan in the UK, Open Road and Simon & Schuster in the US, and translation rights have recently been acquired by Fazi Editore in Italy, Ediciones Siruela in Spain and Atlas Contact in the Netherlands.
Elizabeth Jane Howard’s first children’s book, The Amazing Adventures of Freddie Whitemouse, has also now been released, published by Macmillan.
WELCOME TO EARTH by Miles Gibson
A brilliant literary entertainment, imaginary illustrated encyclopedia and bedside companion, WELCOME TO EARTH is now crowdfunding on Unbound.com.
It’s a fantastic reference work, a volume of speculative non-fiction, a book of lists, a bestiary, a taxonomy, a private lexicon, an alternative world. It’s a loose collection of flash fictions, a game, an alternative interpretation, a simple entertainment, a book of jokes.
Supporters can pledge to have a vicious disease named in their honour, or to own the original artwork here.
MARLOW’S LANDING by Toby Vieira
Forthcoming 28th July 2016
John Murray Originals
Goldhaven is after the biggest pink stone in the world. Zog Shikzahl is after Goldhaven. And Boss Macquarie is after his cut. But what on earth is an accountant from Hull after, heading upriver into the biggest white patch on the map?
Nothing is what it seems in Marlow’s Landing, a tale of double-crossing smugglers and best-laid plans. And by the time you’ve figured out you’re being played for a fool, it’s too late to turn back . . .
Pre-order now available.
Portico have bought the rights to two books by journalist and writer Francesca Hornak. Her hugely popular column ‘History of the World in 100 Modern Objects’ which has been running in the Sunday Times Style Magazine since the beginning of 2013 will be published on 1st October 2015. Featuring a different iconic object each week, the column explores contemporary middle-class life through the objects we fetishise. Each column is a little vignette about a different character, such as Izzy, who’s 26 and interns at Kelly Hoppen and gets into a spat with her flatmate about a twee Oliver Bonas cake stand; Nick, 40, who’s considering the safety aspects of his children’s bike trailer and remembering his old DJing days; and Philippa, 64, who’s tussling with her Sky TV remote after her divorce. Funny, charming and sometimes poignant, each column is an evocative slice of modern life. The columns are accompanied by crisp, colourful illustrations which make the book into a design object itself.
The Stone Reader
MODERN PHILOSOPHY IN 133 ARGUMENTS
A timeless volume to be read and treasured in your library, The Stone Readerprovides an unparalleled overview of contemporary philosophy.
Once solely the province of ivory-tower professors and college classrooms, contemporary philosophy was finally emancipated from its academic closet in 2010, when “The Stone” was launched in the New York Times. First appearing as an online series, the column has since attracted millions of readers through its accessible examination of universal topics like the nature of science, consciousness, and morality, while also probing more contemporary issues such as the morality of drones, gun control, and the gender divide. Now collected for the first time in this beautifully designed volume, The Stone Reader presents 133 deeply influential pieces, placing nearly the entirety of modern philosophical discourse at a reader’s grasp. With an introduction that details the column’s founding and distinct editorial process, this collection promises to become an intellectual landmark and the centerpiece of discussions for years to come.
- Forthcoming December 2015
- ISBN 978-1-63149-071-2
- 6.1 × 9.3 in / 768 pages