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 Servants “Hats 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
These are the shortlisted novels for the 2013 James Tait Black Fiction Prize. Click on the covers for the review roundup.
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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
Click on the covers for the reviews or for the link to the Amazon page.
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!
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 email@example.com by midnight tomorrow. That’s Thursday 25th.