The Omnivore Digest (XL): The sun is shining …
… And Hitler is dead.
Ever since the New Statesman ran Richard Evans’ hatchet job on A.N. Wilson’s Hitler biography, or more precisely A.N. Wilson, the country has been on tenterhooks to see how Wilson would respond. Threaten to sue? A punch-up in the British Library? In the end, he settled on a course of action both surprising and inspiring. He bravely took to the pages of the magazine that had wronged him to remind us that when bullies call you names, the best weapons are sweetness and light:
I’m writing from Roxburghshire, the sun is shining and pied wagtails are dancing over the lawn … All is joy. The war is over. Hitler is dead. Get a life, poor Evans. There is no need to be so cross.
Within hours of the Statesman hitting newsstands, Wilson’s chilled-out weltanschauung had gone viral. Yoko Ono tweeted, ‘Take a sad song and make magic!’ while Pope Benedict was reported to have said, ‘Hear, hear. Why get so wound up over an old Nazi?’ In a world where we’re quick to get cross about trivial things – petrol, pasties, the shortlist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award – it is perhaps unsurprising that this still, small voice of calm has struck a chord with so many.
Now you can show your support for the Wilson philosophy with The Omnivore’s limited edition T-shirt, yours for just £19.99 (+p&p). We have high hopes for this becoming the new ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’.
Win The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan
If Julian Fellowes’ effort left you yearning for a higher class of Titanicana, then look no further than Charlotte Rogan’s debut novel THE LIFEBOAT. Festooned with praise from J.M. Coetzee and Hilary Mantel, this is the chilling tale of the aftermath of a transatlantic shipwreck, when one of the survivors ends up on trial for murder.
More Battleship Royale than Downton-on-Sea, The Lifeboat is already winning plaudits. Kate Saunders in The Times said it was ‘unbearably exciting — you’ll gulp it down in a single sitting.’
Thanks to Virago, we’ve got five copies of The Lifeboat to give away. For your chance to win one, tell us: Which hymn is alleged to have been played as the Titanic went down? Send answers to email@example.com by Friday 6 April. (NB Clever, know-all answers will be disqualified.)