This week’s book buzz focuses on the winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction. ‘Home Fire’ by Kamila Shamsie was announced as the 2018 winner on Wednesday 6th June. The judges were unanimous in their decision and described the novel as ‘a story about identity, conflicting loyalties, love and politics. And it sustains mastery of its themes and its form. It is a remarkable book which we passionately recommend.’ Home Fire is a reworking of Sophocles’ Greek tragedy Antigone. Sarah Sands, chair of judges, said the panel had chosen ‘the book which we felt spoke for our times’. I’m looking forward to seeing how the plot develops as I’m only 30 pages into this novel, but I can already vouch for its readability.
An annual treat for me is a trip to the Hay Festival of Literature and Arts. The Hay Festival is crammed with inspirational talks and a dazzling book shop. This year’s book list, in honour of the votes for women centenary, focused on 100 Books by Women authors written over the past hundred years. Readers voted for their favourites and the list was drawn up from all genres – including graphic novels, poetry, fiction and non-fiction. A good starting point for some excellent summer reading. If you are interested in non-fiction I recommend ‘Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and how it changed the world ’ by Laura Spinney. This book will soon be available from the library and is the culmination of 3 year’s research into the Spanish Flu of 1918. Her Hay talk was fascinating; she discussed how little this devastating epidemic has permeated into the collective memory. It is rarely mentioned in books and art despite having killed more people than World War l, possibly as many as 100 million.