Tag Archives: Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt

The Green Carnation Prize Longlist 2014

Now if you have seen me chuntering on about this on Twitter, you can forgive me, ignore this post or just enjoy the exciting news all over again. Yes, today has been the announcement of the Green Carnation Prize 2014’s longlist. You may or may not know that this prize is very close to my heart as it is one that I co-founded way back in 2010 (I won’t go on you can read all about it here) to celebrate LGBT writing as it is something, that believe it or not, there is still sometimes some stumbling blocks in the way of. The prize has gone from strength to strength in the last five years, with a lot of hard work I won’t lie, and is now in association with Foyles Bookshops and this years judges have come up with this rather wonderful selection of books…

The Green Carnation Prize Longlist 2014

  • Through The Woods – Emily Carroll (Faber & Faber)
  • The Absent Therapist – Will Eaves (CB Editions)
  • The Fair Fight – Anna Freeman (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
  • All The Days and Nights – Niven Govinden (The Friday Project)
  • Vixen – Rosie Garland (Borough Press)
  • Thirst – Kerry Hudson (Chatto & Windus)
  • The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales – Kirsty Logan (Salt)
  • In Search of Solace – Emily Mackie (Sceptre)
  • Any Other Mouth – Anneliese Mackintosh (Freight)
  • The Lives of Others – Neel Mukherjee (Chatto & Windus)
  • Unspeakable Things – Laurie Penny (Bloomsbury)
  • Invisible Love – Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt (Europa Editions)
  • The Glasgow Coma Scale – Neil D. A. Stewart (Corsair)

What is exciting is that while I do all the admin of the prize and the snaring of judges, I have absolutely no control over what the judges choose as their longlist out of the submissions they get (this year was the most ever). I just make sure they all have them really and sit in on meetings to make sure it is all above board. I have to keep my mouth shut and remain nonchalant throughout even if books I love get culled – after all I haven’t read the whole lot of submission have I? Well, not since I stopped judging. So the longlist is always a surprise to me. Having had a few days to think on this list (a small bonus that almost makes up for all the press release, website and social media scheduling madness that follows the decision) the more and more I have fallen in love with it.

To me, at least, it seems like a really diverse and exciting list of all sorts of writing be it a thick epic novel or a short snappy one, a memoir, a short story collection, memoir, non fiction or graphic novel. Amazing. There is a mix of the big publishers and the smaller indies. There is also a wealth of authors I had and hadn’t heard of, meaning some new exciting voices look to be on my reading horizon… Yes, I am planning on reading all (eight) that I haven’t yet in the next few weeks and I am really excited about it. Though I might not be able to talk to you about them until after the winner, though maybe not being a judge I can? What do you think? Hmmm, I will have a think! Either way is it bad that I feel very proud of the prize, the judges and even a teeny weeny bit proud of myself?

For more info on the prize, the judges, events and more head to the website here. What are your thoughts on the list? Have you read any of them? Will you be reading any of them? As always I would love to hear your thoughts.

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Oscar and the Lady in Pink – Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt

It’s really a bit rude of me isn’t it? I ask you all for your advice on a book that I should read next (as I did on Saturday) and then I go and read something completely different. Yet haven’t we all done this? You go through your book shelves and pick three books that you really would like to read and then a book on another shelf or something from the library catches your eye and off you go on a reading tangent as I did with ‘Oscar and the Lady in Pink’ by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt this weekend.

I hadn’t heard of this book until I saw it in the library a few weeks ago and from reading the premise thought I should give it a go. This novella is the tale of ten year old Oscar who is currently residing in hospital with terminal cancer. Oscar himself knows he is going to die, after doing what a lot of young kids like to do and eavesdropping, yet his parents won’t talk to him about it. Only one person will and that is ‘Granny Rose’ on of the ‘pink ladies’ who comes in to visit all those in the hospital and hopefully bring some joy into their stays in the hospital or in the patients final months and weeks. She tells him that he should live each day as if it were ten years in one day and at the end of the day write to God with one wish for the next day.

I was a little worried at one point that bringing God into the book might make this book turn into some kind of preaching exercise and it doesn’t. Instead we are given the insight into the life of an angry, upset and confused young boy as he makes sense of his situation and Schmitt gets us into the thoughts and emotions of that boy incredibly well. We even get some humour as he talks about some of his antics and some of the other patients like ‘Peggy Blue’ named because a condition of blood not reaching the lungs makes her blue, Oscar is infatuated with her but worries if he still will when she goes pink again after her operation.

The character of Granny Rose is a wonderful one too. An apparent former boxing champion who fought against the likes of ‘Plum Pudding’, ‘Nutcracker’ and ‘Dragon Breast’ in her heyday brings a caring yet honest and occasionally blunt figure into Oscars world and the relationship between them is a joy to read. Though I will admit you might need your hankies for the ending this is definitely a book worth reading despite being in parts upsetting as it is also incredibly uplifting too, a read that I would highly recommend to you all.

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Accidental Library Looting

I am blaming all of you for the fact that I seem to have somehow gained lots more books from the library this week. I mentioned to you last week the bizarre and wonderful forgotten library I went to, which took me right back to the 80’s when I last used libraries lots and lots. As it is on the bus route to the supermarket I needed to go to I got off there to drop two books back and kindly take a picture for you which is here…

I think the grey threatening sky adds to the fact it reminds me of my youth, the 80’s always seem grey and wet to me am not sure why. No being a Wednesday I assumed it would be closed and I would take a picture, drop three books through the letter box and be gone. It was open!!! So naturally I went in and then came away with all of these…

I have decided short books from the library are fine (as you can probably see) as well as guilty pleasure I have no intention of buying but could do with between a more heavy weight book now and again – oh dear that sounds snobbish, it isn’t meant to. So my latest loot is…

Oscar and the Lady in Pink – Eric Emmanuel Schmitt
I have heard lots of great thing about this. Its written by a young ten year old boy in letters to God. He knows he is dying despite his parents never telling him and depicts his relationship with Granny Rose one of the elderly ‘pink ladies’ who come and visit. Sounds like will need a hanky but have heard its also beautifully uplifting.

Queer – William Burroughs
I have always wanted to read a Burroughs, I already own one but this is much shorter and is set in Mexico City which in my head was near Brazil and would therefore go towards my Brazil reads – erm, no!

Between Us Girls – Joe Orton
I have never seen an Orton book, that wasn’t his diaries, in a library so I snapped it up I was actually looking for the one longlisted for the Lost Man Booker Prize but couldn’t find it. This had caught my attention last time I went there so was glad no one else had taken it.

Eclipse – Stephenie Meyer
Yes, I know, I know. Me the man who said he refused to get into this series. Well it was ona  shelf, I dont want to get it for my Birthday and so I thought why not? I do want to know what happens now I have read two and this could be a perfect read between some books I have lined up in the non to distant future.

Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins
Though I am still really, really torn about reaidng The Hunger Games I think I am going to try and crack it this weekend. I was recommended by Sandy to have this on standby in case I love the first as you rush to read the second. I have also been told the second isn’t so good so could be interesting.

Right there you go, all because I wanted to take a picture for you ‘orrible lot hee, hee. What have you recently got from the library? Have you read any of these or anything by the authors?

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