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Weekly Roundup: Booker Prize winner Barry Unsworth dies at 81

Weekly Roundup: Booker Prize winner Barry Unsworth dies at 81

There was sad news with the announcement of the passing, aged 81, of Barry Unsworth, who jointly won the Booker Prize in 1992 with Sacred Hunger alongside Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient. His publisher, Jocasta Hamilton at Hutchinson, commented: ‘Barry's work was characterised by a willingness to tackle big subjects with great humanity. His writing brought enormous pleasure as well as being thought-provoking and illuminating. Many of us met him in 2010 and were as charmed in person as we had been thrilled by his novels." A sequel to Sacred Hunger, The Quality of Mercy, was published in 2011 and was his last book. Our thoughts are with his family.

In The Guardian, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg revealed his reading habits, including double Man Booker Prize-winning JM Coetzee.

Esi Edugyan, whose Half Blood Blues was shortlisted for the 2011 Man Booker Prize, as well as reaching the Orange Prize shortlist this year, was in conversation with the Other People podcast about writing and diverse subjects including urban cycling

Thomas Keneally, author of Schindler’s Ark, which won the Booker Prize in 1982, spoke to the Booktopia Blog (video above) about his new novelThe Daughters of Mars while Roddy Doyle talked to Reuters about his new novelA Greyhound of a Girl. Sebastian Barry was also interviewed this week by Radio National about five works of art that changed his life.

The announcement of the winner of the Walter Scott Prize draws closer. In a series of in-depth articles about the shortlisted novels, the Historical Novel Society took a closer look at Alan Hollinghurst’s 2011 Man Booker longlisted The Stranger’s Child. Eric Byrd looks at Hollinghurst’s latest novel in the light of Henry James’ famous scruples about historic novels while Sally Zigmond discusses the theme of ‘pastness’.

Hollinghurst, as well as fellow Booker-winning A.S. Byatt, will be talking at a Man Booker Prize evening at UCLs Festival of London and Literature, which takes place on the 15th June. The pair will discuss how London influences and inspires their writing.

There was also updates about the film adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s Booker-winning Midnight’s Children. Director Deepa Mehta revealed she shot the film not in India or Pakistan, but in Sri Lanka and also told of plans for a release date, as reported by the Hindustan Times.

Barry Unsworth, 1930-2012
Barry Unsworth, 1930-2012