The Weekly Reader: 18/09/13

I am now at that point in my holiday where, with less than a week left, I am beginning to question my ability to enter back into the real world. I continue to hold out hope for an almost supernatural transition into work mode. Naive, perhaps, but I remain optimistic. Next week’s The Weekly Reader will be coming to you from the UK, so if you could all begin sending positive weather vibes that way, I would be very grateful.


‘A New Precedent For Female Authors?’ – The Riveter

This week, I begin with my latest column over at The Riveter. In my defence, it is the crossover with some key topical literary news that gains it principal place on this list. This week, I consider the announcement that the National Book Award’s ‘5 under 35’ list consists entirely of female authors – asking whether this represents a new precedent for the recognition of female literary talent. Alluding to the continuing practice of female authors adopting male pen names (with J.K. Rowling’s Robert Galbraith a case in point), the column argues that there is still a substantial battle to fight in gender equality in the literary field.

‘Philip Pullman: Illegal Downloading Is “Moral Squalor”‘ – The Guardian

As you all know, if there are two things that I love in this world they are: (1) Philip Pullman; and (2) a good rant. Bring the two together and I imagine that you end up with something akin to this article. Writing a piece for one of my favourite organisations – Index on Censorship – Pullman argues that the illegal downloading of books and music amounts to theft, on par with physical robbery. The development of computer technology, Pullman argues, does not alter the underlying principle of copyright laws – that an individual’s work must be paid for, in order to be enjoyed. Philip Pullman always could make a good argument. This piece is no exception.

‘Global Expansion For Booker Prize’ – BBC

You will remember last week’s update regarding announcement of the Man Booker Prize’s 2013 Shortlist. Subsequent controversy has surrounded the decision of the organisers to open the prize to authors beyond the Commonwealth, Ireland, and Zimbabwe. From 2014, any author writing in English will be eligible to win the £50,000 prize. While many have welcomed the change, a number of authors – including A.S. Byatt – have expressed concern for the rigour of judging a substantially increased number of works. There appears to be particular concern that British authors will be forced to relinquish the limelight to American heavyweights, such as Toni Morrison. It will certainly be interesting to see what this means in practice for the Man Booker Prize, as one of the most reputable literary awards.


Today we celebrate the wonder of The Bard, with a homage to all things Shakespearean.

‘William Shakespeare Decoration’ – British Library

Preparing you for a fantastically literary Christmas tree, this combined with the Darcy decoration will get you well on your way. Get ready to impress your party guests.

‘Fantasy Renaissance Elizabethan “Shakespeare In Love” Gown’ –  SewHistorical

I have a soft-spot for fearless costume replication. If you have £771.41 to spare, why would you not spend it here?

‘Felted Hamlet Hamster’ – Mythillogical


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