Formerly known as the Orange Prize, the Women’s Prize for Fiction is awarded annually and ‘celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world’. We delve into the sixth, and final, of the shortlisted novels — Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up The Bodies.
The epic saga of Anne Boleyn and her ignominious persecution, trial and death is intrinsically familiar to those even mildly acquainted with English history. As a key figure instrumental in bringing about the first break between the Church of England and Rome, and the first English queen to be publicly executed despite contradictory evidence, dubious sources and ill-solicited rumours, Anne Boleyn will forever be a subject of endless fascination firmly entrenched in the annals of English history.
But it’s not Anne Boleyn English writer Hilary Mantel is intent on chronicling. Just as she did in her multiple award-winning historical novel Wolf Hall, Mantel resuscitates master politician and chief minister to King Henry VIII, Thomas Cromwell, in Bring Up The Bodies – the second book in her historical trilogy, concluding with the yet-to-be-released The Mirror and the Light. In Wolf Hall, Cromwell oversees King Henry’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon, his subsequent marriage to Anne Boleyn, the English church’s break with Rome, and the dissolution of the monasteries that followed. This time, we see Cromwell play a decidedly more significant role as he masterminds a convoluted maze of lies, unwieldy intimations and ruthlessly corrupt processes that eventually seal Anne Boleyn’s fate and the downfall of her family.
Formerly known as the Orange Prize, the Women’s Prize for Fiction is awarded annually and ‘celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world’. We delve into the fifth of the shortlisted works – A.M. Homes’ May We Be Forgiven.
An inescapable kiss, ‘serious, wet and full of desire’ between Harry and his brother George’s wife, Jane, is the portentous watershed moment that culminates in the unravelling of all three lives. A few months later, George plows into a minivan in a mindless ‘car accident’ – killing a couple and leaving their son who was marooned in the car an orphan – and rapidly descends into an existential crisis. Drawn closer by the unexpected sequence of events, Harry and Jane succumb to the throes of an adulterous affair – albeit a short one – as George discovers what has transpired and lashes out, changing all their lives forever.
Taking place within the first 14 pages, the irreversible events hurtle along at breakneck speed – leaving readers to wonder what will happen in the remaining 466 pages. The answer is: everything possibly imaginable and non-conceivable.
Not too long ago, I stumbled upon a particularly heinous form of bookish torture, when a friend confessed to me that she wouldn’t let here 10-year-old daughter read beyond Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
‘They’re too dark,’ she said, ‘book two was already keeping her up at night.’
‘B-b-but! The Triwizard Tournament! Dumbledore’s Army! Ron and Hermione!’ I exclaimed.
My friend is going to give her daughter the Harry Potter series in increments – one a year, readying her for the darkness and death of the voluminous final installment.
When I was still scraping my jaw off the floor, my friend revealed that Harry Potter were not the only books her daughter was not allowed to read… yet. She has actually been buying lots of books (mainly of the young adult variety) that she isn’t comfortable with her daughter reading right now, so she’s saving them for when she’s older. Making the list was The Hunger Games trilogy, a few Melina Marchetta’s and John Marsden’s, and the Percy Jackson series.
Australia is now well and truly into performance poetry: we have the National Poetry Slam drawing huge crowds every year, and smaller events popping up regularly in our capital cities. But what makes a writer become a performer, and how does performance change the written word?
Sky Kirkham examines the nature and history of slam, from Def Jam Poetry and the Nuyorican in the United States, to the Sydney Opera House. Sky talks with Ken Arkind, Josh Donellan, Anis Mojgani, Jive Poetic, Bo Svoronos, and Kate Tempest about their experience as performance poets, and the continuing role of slam in Australian society.
Killings brings you our weekly selection of posts that have amused, enlightened and
generally distracted us.
Peter Jackson, like an idiot, asked Viggo Mortensen to reprise his LOTR character Aragorn in The Hobbit, but Babe-agorn had other, more factually correct, ideas.
Friends don’t let friends misquote Albert Camus on the internet.
Canadian politics is enjoying a season of alleged crack smoking to spice things up.
Four Fox News dudes are DEEPLY concerned over statistics that show women make up 40% of breadwinners in the United States. (This is basically trolling.)
If that crushed your soul a little, this will lift it back up: man who designed the iconic pink garden flamingo has worn matching outfits with his wife for 35 years.
Hey, Young Writer, Ernest Hemmingway thinks you should be reading these books.
These ladies in Iran doing parkour win the internet for today. The rest of us can go home.
The adorable Ron Swanson dancing to Daft Punk agrees.
Rumour has it there’s a breed of humans who don’t need sleep. These high-achieving creative types stay up till dawn writing masterpieces while the rest of us are dozing. But is creative insomnia a myth? And can it be induced?
This is an extract from Mel Campbell’s fascinating new memoir, Out of Shape, which explores the tensions in our culture between size and fit. You’re invited on a jaunty adventure through fashion malls, boutiques and vintage fairs as Mel’s endeavours to get to the heart of the question: why do clothes make us feel bad so often? Mel is a regular contributor to Kill Your Darlings, writing on film, television and popular culture. Out of Shape, published by Affirm Press, is on-sale this month.
Many women and men actively identify with the numbers on their clothing labels: ‘I’m a size 10’, ‘I’m an extra large’, ‘I’m a 38’, and so on. It’s hard to figure out which came first: this self-identification, or the orthovestic media coverage that frames weight gain and loss in similar terms – ‘Drop three dress sizes by summer’; ‘Nicole has ballooned to a size 18!’; ‘Nine out of ten men prefer size 14 women to size 10 women!’
I cried when I saw Claudette Colbert’s dress from Cleopatra at Hollywood Costume, an exhibition from London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, and currently on display at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. Other people noticed the Cleopatra dress, I’m sure, but as I stood there quietly bawling, drawn to it by an invisible yet unyielding force I can only call love, I may as well have been the only person in the crowded gallery.
Kill Your Darlings is delighted to announce new staff to our ever-expanding organisation. Brigid Mullane has been promoted to Deputy Editor of Kill Your Darlings, replacing Hannah Kent who now joins Editor Rebecca Starford as Publishing Director. We’re also very happy to announce Jessica Alice’s appointment as Online Assistant Editor, replacing Stephanie van Schilt, who leaves KYD for the newly created role of Deputy Editor at The Lifted Brow. We thank Steph for her time with us and wish her all the best – she will be missed! Also in staff news, Samantha van Zweden has been appointed Social Media Assistant and she’s already taken to our Tweetdeck like a duck to water. We warmly welcome our new staff to the KYD fold and look forward to you getting to know them in the coming months.
There is a memorable sequence in Harmony Korine’s latest film Spring Breakers where wacked-out deviant ‘Alien’ (James Franco) plays Britney Spears’ ‘Everytime’ on a piano against a sun-kissed backdrop. As he sings, three bikini-clad college girls, sporting bright pink balaclavas and toting shotguns, dance around excitedly. The scene abruptly transitions into a montage of terror and bloodshed when Spears’ sickly-sweet original song kicks in, as Alien and his posse of Disney ‘princesses’ (Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine) go on a hedonistic rampage.