Fresh Next Week:
This years T.S. Eliot Memorial Lecture is titled Lachrymae rerum: writing about loss. Dannie Abse reads both from Running Late, his latest collection of poetry, and from The Presence, a journal he has been keeping since his wife’s death in the summer of 2005. Alan Jenkins, Deputy Editor of the TLS, reads from his collection A Shorter Life, which includes poems about his mother’s illness and death that have been described as ‘painful in their truthfulness to feeling’.
7pm, Monday 14 May, The Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre, Somerset House, Strand.
Just out the Van:
Also next Monday, Andrew Cockburn looks at the political career and character of Donald Rumsfeld, defence secretary from 2001 to 2006 and confidante of George W. Bush in Rumsfeld: An American Disaster. Cockburn examines how Rumsfeld attained such a position of power and the alliances he made on the way up, and explores in detail his failures over the Iraq war, brought on by intimidation, indecision, destructive micromanagement and bureaucratic manipulation. £6, 7pm, Monday 14, The London Review Bookshop, 14 Bury Place, London, 020 7269 9030.
Givin’ ‘em away:
Boi-Lit Festival this weekend promotes Bengali and Global literature and culture with debate, performances and activities for kids. Free, 12 - 13 May, Brady Arts and Community Centre, 192-196 Hanbury Street, E1 5HU, Whitechapel.
Try a Bit of This:
Her skin felt cool against my fingers, I went to pull away but she held onto me giving both me and the cup fond glances.
‘This looks lovely,’ she says. ‘Absolutely lovely. It’s perfect in every way and you made it so quickly and with such efficiency. I’m proud of you, Bessy, very proud of you. What a good girl you are! Thank you thank you thank you.’
Jesus Murphy it was only a cup of cocoa.
‘Very good, marm.’ I didn’t know where to put myself. ‘Will there be anything else?’
‘Yes,’ she says, suddenly grave. ‘There is something.’
What next, I thought, she is mad as a cuckoo. And then she let go my hands which was a relief and surged to her feet.
‘Sit down in my place, dear,’ she told me, and I did as I was bid.
Then she slid the cup of cocoa towards me.
Extract from The Observations by Jane Harris, included in this year’s
shortlist for the Orange Prize for Fiction.
Two for a Pound:
1. Tom McCarthy's top 10 European modernists.
2. Charlie Brooker’s Terrible Book Covers.
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