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Weekly Roundup: Midnight's Children film adaptation to be shown at the BFI

Weekly Roundup: Midnight's Children film adaptation to be shown at the BFI

The BFI London Film Festival, which runs from October 10th to 21st, should perhaps be renamed this year as The BFI Man Booker London Film Festival. The rebranding is called for thanks to the jamboree featuring a number of films with Man Booker connections. Adaptions from novels are on the rise because, according to the festival organisers, “intelligent story-telling is something that should transcend format and translate through alternate medium”. Among the novels about to hit the screens are Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children (he will also be taking part in a Q&A on October 15th) and Moshin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Meanwhile Ronald Harwood was the scriptwriter for Quartet (Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut). Harwood has written the screenplays for, amongst others, The Pianist and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, but far more importantly he is also one of the trustees of the Booker Prize Foundation.


This year's Man Booker Prize chair of judges, Peter Stothard, has caused a fluttering in the dovecote with his comments about the rise of blogging and its role in the demise of serious review coverage. He told The Independent that “If the mass of unargued opinion chokes off literary critics … then literature will be the lesser for it.” Too many books blogs, he thinks, say what the blogger likes rather than explaining why they like it and why the book is any good. Newspapers meanwhile are cutting back on books coverage arguing that “it's all online”. Needless to say, Sir Peter's argument has not gone down well with … bloggers.


Before they reached eminence as writers, several Man Booker figures had rather less glamorous jobs (if writing can be said to be glamorous), which they vouchsafed to a newspaper this week. Hilary Mantel (Man Booker Prize winner in 2009 and shortlisted this year) was a social work assistant in a geriatric hospital, earning a princely £1,068 a year; Susan Hill (a judge last year) was a junior reporter on her local Coventry newspaper for £5 a week, while John Banville (winner in 2005) worked on a fruit farm as a strawberry picker and spent his earnings on cigarettes.