The book grocer’s coffers are chockfull of goodies this week, so let’s jump right in and get shopping...
Monday: Crikey. Take a look at author and critic George Steiner’s publishing credits and you have to wonder whether the man has actually slept in the past fifty years. Yet the premise of the prolific writer’s most recent work, My Unwritten Books, is that there are actually some subjects that Steiner has purposely left unexplored. Join him for a discussion of these Taboo Topics at a Royal Society of Literature-sponsored talk at the Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre, Somerset House, 7pm. Suggested donation of £5.
Tuesday: Ambit Magazine hosts prose and poetry readings at the Bath House. Poets Peter Porter and Jim Burns and actress Aletta Lawson, reading a Catherine Eisner short story, are in the lineup for tonight. Readers from the floor also welcome. Doors open 6.30pm; readings begin at 7pm. £5 tickets, £4 concessions.
Wednesday: Believe yourself capable of writing the Next Great English Novel? Of course you do. Aren’t we all just slumming it at our day jobs, waiting ‘til the day our first novels are published to much critical acclaim and a sizeable paycheque? Would help if we actually wrote the damn thing, we suppose. We’ll work on that if you’ll head over to the Barbican Library to listen to Penguin Books editor Juliette Mitchell talk with journalist Danuta Kean about what kind of work publishers are after in the current market. We imagine that Mitchell, who works for the Penguin imprint that’s published Zadie Smith, Dave Eggers, and Paul Theroux, is likely to know. 7pm, £11 tickets, £5 concessions.
Other events this evening include a Jeremy Reed poetry reading at the Calder Bookshop; Ann Oakley discussing her recent book, Fracture, at the Maida Vale library; and Housmans' UK launch event for Alasdair Duncan’s Metro, which has already achieved cult classic status among Australia’s young gay community.
Thursday: The 14th of February – is that date significant for some reason? No? Good, because there are plenty of interesting events going on tonight, and you wouldn’t want to be otherwise preoccupied. Former Guardian reporter James Meek will be reading from his new novel, We Are Now Beginning Our Descent, a love-in-the-time-of-war story set against the backdrop of the conflict in Afghanistan and the Western correspondents covering the event, at the Broadway Bookshop, 6.30pm, £3 tickets. Also on tonight is a China Now-sponsored reading at the Southbank Centre: Xiaolu Guo and Yiyun Li read from and discuss, from their perspective as Western emigrants, their stories exploring a changing Chinese society. 7.45pm, £10 tickets, £5 concessions.
Friday: For those not nursing a romantic hangover – or any other kind, for that matter – there’s the final event of the Notting Hill Lovers’ Week at Waterstone’s. Kate Williams discusses England’s Mistress: The Infamous Life of Emma Hamilton, her biography of the prostitute who would be Lord Nelson’s mistress. 7pm, £3.
Saturday: The British Museum, in collaboration with China Now, hosts an afternoon of Chinese literature and film, including a profile of five leading Chinese writers and a screening of Rickshaw Boy, based on the first story in modern Chinese literature to feature a labourer as its protagonist. 2–5.30pm, £5 tickets, £3 concessions.
Image courtesy of paulbence photography's Flickr photostream