Lime feature- Books & Spoken Word
Hot in 2012: Books
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This book year has been the year of the Kindle.
so many people are now reading books through this new medium. It’s been fascinating to see readers around London engrossed in their misty grey screens. I am sure that Kindles will be under thousands of Christmas trees this year. So far, I have not succumbed, mostly because I genuinely believe that books are such beautiful things, I am not ready to give up that tactile sensuality. A Kindle makes all books feel the same; going back to old books always bring back such wonderful memories. I cannot imagine that you get the same experience with a Kindle. Kindles are said to give access to millions of books, but I do wonder if the books that I really want would be there. In contrast to the anonymity of Kindle books, I am overjoyed to see how many more publishers are giving careful thought to how books look, and are designing whole collections to be evermore gorgeous. I hope that will continue.
Looking ahead to the 2012, it seems that every moment there are literary prizes or book awards of some sort. One that is hardly mentioned is the Commonwealth prizes – there is a book award and a short story award. These are highly competed for world-wide awards that raises entries from fifty four nations across four continents. For 2012 I am reassured to see that the judges include writers Bernadine Evaristo, Nii Ayikwei Parkes, Kei Williams, and publishers Billy Kahora and Margaret Busby. This is an excellent selection of judges who understand both writers and what people want to read. The winners for both awards will be announced next June.
• Margaret Busby is also the chair of judges for the newly launched SI Leeds Literary Prize for Black and Asian women. It will be awarded in October for an unpublished work of fiction. Supported by the Peepal Tree Press, the Leeds based publishers of Black British & Caribbean works, the first prize is to be £2,000.
• Lizzy Attree became the chief administrator of The Caine Prize this summer. The prize awarded for a published short story to an African writer has proved a signifier of quality writing and many of today’s star names have either won or been shortlisted for the Caine prize. It will be interesting to see how Lizzy takes the prize into its next phase of evolution, celebrating the depth and breadth of African fine writing. The Caine Prize is awarded in July. www.caineprize.com
• I did not get to enough book events this year, but I heard good things about the Lewisham Literary Festival, I hope they get the funding for another festival in 2012. http://lewishamlitfest.wordpress.com/
• One event I did get to was the first ever public reading by Chibundu Onuzo. Still a history student at King’s College, London, Chibundu’s book The Spider King’s Daughter will be published by Faber & Faber in March. Follow Chibundu’s blog at http://authorsoundsbetterthanwriter.blogspot.com
• Founded in 1970, the book shop, community centre and café, Centrprise in Dalston, is fighting for survival. Hackney Council is seeking to terminate the lease on its building. Centrerpise runs the Word Power books events and also hosts a series of readings and other literary events throughout the year. For an international city of its size London is not exactly flush with bookshops for black and ethnic minority groups. It will be such a shame if we lose Centerprise. Sign the petition here: https://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/savecenterprise