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Win tickets to Bloomsbury Institute’s Servants & Bedfellows evening

31/05/2013

    

Keepers of their masters’ secrets, foils to those they serve, servants have always been objects of fascination in popular culture – from Jane Eyre to Remains of the Day.

Bloomsbury Institute have put together a wonderful evening with historians Lucy Lethbridge and Anna Whitelock and novelist Kate Worsley where they’ll explore just what goes on downstairs.

In the Daily Mail, Craig Brown praised Lucy Lethbridge’s ServantsHats off, then … for so touchingly and comprehensively chronicling those lives that history, like the snootiest of employers, has neglected for so long.” While Hilary Mantel called Anna Whitelock’s Elizabeth’s Bedfellows a “skilful and detailed history [which] will bring you closer than seems possible to this glittering, infuriating, fascinating woman”. Lucy Scholes in the Independent said Kate Worsley’s She Rises was “meticulously and elegantly plotted from the very first page”.

Thanks to Bloomsbury Institute, two lucky winners will get a pair of tickets each to the event and copies of all three books. To enter, please answer the following question: How many indoor servants–not including the eight chauffeurs–did the Duke of Bedford employ just to look after him and his wife until his death in 1940? a) twenty b) forty or c) sixty? Please send your answers to competitions@theomnivore.co.uk.

Alternatively, if you have any fear of missing out, click here to book your ticket for the talk, including drinks beforehand, at 6pm on Tuesday the 4th of June.

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Free short stories in honour of short story month

21/05/2013

David Sedaris once said a good short story “would take me out of myself and then stuff me back in, outsized, now, and uneasy with the fit.” In honour of short story month, we’ve rounded up the internet’s best free short stories, including efforts by Hilary Mantel, Jennifer Egan, China Miéville and David Foster Wallace. Before you say anything, we know we haven’t mentioned Chekhov.

      

“Signs and Symbols” by Vladimir Nabokov

“Wilderness” by Sarah Hall

“Benito Cereno” by Herman Melville 

“Mrs Bathurst” by Rudyard Kipling 

“In the Penal Colony ” by Franz Kafka 

The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Dubliners” by James Joyce

“The Long QT” by Hilary Mantel

The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne

David Sedaris reads “Roy Spivey” by Miranda July 

“The Nose” by Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol

Found Objects” by Jennifer Egan

Safari” by Jennifer Egan

“Ask me if I care” by Jennifer Egan

“Covehithe” by China Miéville

Anne Enright reads “The Swimmer” by John Cheever

Experience” by Tessa Hadley

Good people” by David Foster Wallace

Dave Eggers reads Roddy Doyle’s “Bullfighting”

“The Destructors” by Graham Greene

“Complicity” by Julian Barnes

“Haunting Olivia” by Karen Russell 

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Want to know what the critics made of the latest books? The Omnivore rounds up newspaper reviews, bringing you a cross section of critical opinion. Sign up to our newsletter.

James Tait Black Prize Fiction Shortlist

20/05/2013

These are the shortlisted novels for the 2013 James Tait Black Fiction Prize. Click on the covers for the review roundup.

      

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Want to know what the critics made of the latest books? The Omnivore rounds up newspaper reviews, bringing you a cross section of critical opinion. Sign up to our newsletter.

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Orwell Prize Shortlist 2013

15/05/2013

The shortlist for the 2013 Orwell Books Prize has been announced. Click on the covers to see what the critics made of the contenders. Here’s a link to the longlist.

The winner will be revealed on May 15th.

Shortlist


A Very British Killing by Baha Mousa

A Very British Killing: The Death of Baha Mousa by A. T. Williams

On 15 September 2003 Baha Mousa, a hotel receptionist, was killed by British Army troops in Iraq. He had been arrested the previous day in Basra and was taken to a military military base for questioning. (Jonathan Cape)

Reviews | Extract | Buy the book

 


Burying the Typewriter by Carmen Bugan

Burying the Typewriter by Carmen Bugan

One quiet day when her mother was away from home, Carmen Bugan’s father put on his best suit and drove into Bucharest to stage a one-man protest against Ceauşescu. He had been typing pamphlets on an illegal typewriter and burying it in the garden each morning under his daughter’s bedroom window. (Picador)

Reviews | Extract | Buy the book

 


From the Ruins of Empire by Pankaj MishraFrom the Ruins of the Empire by Pankaj Mishra

Viewed in the West as a time of self-confident progress, the Victorian period was experienced by Asians as a catastrophe. As the British gunned down the last heirs to the Mughal Empire or burned down the Summer Palace in Beijing, it was clear that for Asia to recover, a new way of thinking was needed. (Allen Lane)

Reviews | Buy the book

 


Injustice by Clive Stafford Smith

Injustice by Clive Stafford Smith

In 1986, Kris Maharaj, a British businessman living in Miami, was arrested for the brutal murder of two ex-business associates. His lawyer did not present a strong alibi; Kris was found guilty. (Harvill Secker)

Reviews | Extract | Buy the book

 


Occupation Diaries by Raja Shehadeh

Occupation Diaries by Raja Shehadeh

It is often the smallest details of daily life that tell us the most. And so it is under occupation in Palestine. What most of us take for granted has to be carefully thought about and planned for: When will the post be allowed to get through? Will there be enough water for the bath tonight? How shall I get rid of the rubbish collecting outside? (Profile Books)

Reviews | Extract | Buy the book

 


Leaving Alexandria by Richard Holloway

Leaving Alexandria by Richard Holloway

At fourteen, Richard Holloway left his home in the Vale of Leven, north of Glasgow, and travelled hundreds of miles to be educated and trained for the priesthood by a religious order. (Canongate)

Reviews | Extract | Buy the book

 


Best free collections of literary letters

06/05/2013

JD Salinger

Who knew the famously reclusive JD Salinger was such a flirt? A cache of letters to an admiring female fan was found in a shoebox in Toronto last week. “Sneaky girl. You’re pretty”, he writes in reply to her letter and portrait, “I sent off my last photo to a little magazine, but I’m having some more made. Rest assured, though, I’m a doll.” To this day, Canadian pensioner Marjorie Sheard isn’t that impressed: “He was tall, dark and handsome but he was one of those people that didn’t age terribly well because he didn’t stay that way.” If you enjoy nosing through authors’ correspondence, we’ve raided Project Gutenberg to bring you the best free collections of literary letters.

1. The Love Letters of Mary Wollstonecraft to Gilbert Imlay by Mary Wollstonecraft

2. The Letters of Jane Austen by Jane Austen

3. Private Letters of Edward Gibbon (1753-1794) Volume 1 (of 2) by Edward Gibbon

4. Love Letters of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Volume I (of 2) by Nathaniel Hawthorne

5. The Letters of Henry James (Vol. I) by Henry James

6. Louisa May Alcott : Her Life, Letters, and Journals by Louisa May Alcott

7. Letters of John Keats to His Family and Friends by John Keats

8. The Love Letters of Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn by King of England Henry VIII

9. The Letters of Charles Dickens by Charles Dickens

10. The Letters of Robert Burns by Robert Burns

The Desmond Elliott Prize Longlist 2013

25/04/2013

Click on the covers for the reviews or for the link to the Amazon page.

                  

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Want to know what the critics made of the latest books? The Omnivore rounds up newspaper reviews, bringing you a cross section of critical opinion. Sign up to our newsletter.

Win tickets to see ORPHEUS feat. Django Reinhardt at Battersea Arts Centre

24/04/2013

Prepare to be transported to 1930s Paris where legendary musician, Django Reinhardt, has been cast as the lead in a new production of ORPHEUS.

And prepare for your chance to win tickets to see this funny and witty production courtesy of Little Bulb Theatre Company. The Telegraph called it “Such a lot of fun” while Lynn Gardner, theatre critic at The Guardian, tweeted “funny, silly & ultimately a real heart-breaker”.

The performances run from 16 April to 11 May 2013 7:30pm (Sat matinees 2.30pm) and we really recommend it!

All information here.

To be in the chance of winning a pair of tickets (subject to availability), please tell us why Django Reinhardt’s left hand might not have been especially suited to playing the guitar.

Email answers to competitions@theomnivore.co.uk by midnight tomorrow. That’s Thursday 25th.

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Want to know what the critics made of the latest books? The Omnivore rounds up newspaper reviews, bringing you a cross section of critical opinion. Sign up to our newsletter.

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