Submitted by Leah on Fri, 2013-04-26 15:44
It's official, Hilary Mantel is more than just a writer. The serial Man Booker winner has just been named by Time magazine as one of the world's 100 most influential people. She is one of only two writers (the other being the short story specialist George Saunders) on the “Time 100” list and finds herself keeping company with, among others, Barak Obama, Beyoncé, Daniel Day Lewis and, ironically given the recent spat over Mantel's thoughts about the Royal Family, the Duchess of Cambridge. Also on the list is Kim Jong Un whose penchant for sinister political brinksmanship suggests he might do well to read Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies.
The Commitments by Roddy Doyle (Man Booker winner in 1993 with Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha), about the travails of a Dublin soul band, was made into a successful film in 1991 but is only now making its way on to the stage. A musical, written by Doyle himself, will preview at the Palace Theatre in London on 21st September. Doyle rejected various offers to adapt his novel at the time of publication because he thought he didn't like musicals – “I'd never been to one” – but changed his mind when he started to take his children to see them. Slightly ironic really given that many of the new show's cast members weren't even children, in fact they weren't yet born, in 1986, when the novel was set.
While Salman Rushdie's literary credentials are not in doubt his business acumen most certainly is. The film of his Man Booker, Booker of Booker and Best of the Booker-winning Midnight's Children is being released in the United States today – surely a matter of some delight to his bank manager. Not so, it seems: Rushdie sold the film rights for a measly one dollar. The novelist is friends with the film director Deepa Mehta, and while they were having dinner some time back Mehta asked who had the rights to Midnight's Children. “As it happens I do,” Rushdie replied. “Can I make a movie of it?” asked Mehta. Cue “a fierce negotiation” and the dollar deal was done. Perhaps by way of recompense Rushdie's voice is used to narrate the film though, of course, he might have been paid only $1 for that too.
John Banville, Man Booker winner in 2005 with The Sea, is packing his DJ and bow tie and departing for picturesque Salzburg in July to pick up the Austrian State Prize for European Literature and a cheque for a handy 25,000 euros. The state minister for culture noted that Banville “is an unconventional author who always surprises us with his themes and his complex characters”. He is also a writer who belongs to the “tradition of great European authors, tackling profound questions about life”. Banville will join a select group including the former Man Booker winners Julian Barnes and Salman Rushdie as well as the likes of W.H. Auden, Harold Pinter, Doris Lessing, Vaclav Havel and Umberto Eco.