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Weekly Roundup: Memoirs for Father's Day and writers with children

Weekly Roundup: Memoirs for Father's Day and writers with children

Justin Haythe, who was longlisted for the 2004 Man Booker Prize for his only novel so far – The Honeymoon – has swapped literature for life in the saddle. He is the scriptwriter for the forthcoming film of The Lone Ranger (released in August) starring Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer as the masked rider (Helena Bonham Carter also takes part). This is not Haythe's first foray in film, he worked on the screenplay for the adaptation of Richard Yates's novel Revolutionary Road (starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio). According to Haythe, traditional Lone Ranger rules dictate that he “never wins against hopeless odds” and “uses perfect grammar and precise speech devoid of slang”. That'll be where his MB background comes in handy then.

Writing in the Guardian, Andre Gerard, author of Fathers: A Literary Anthology, has selected his top 10 father memoirs to mark Father's Day. Among his picks are works by two of the Man Booker's father figures: Patrimony by Philip Roth (International Man Booker winner in 2011) and My Father's Fortune by Michael Frayn (MB shortlisted for Headlong and longlisted for Spies and Skios).

The author Lauren Sandberg must be wishing she had never aired her view that for a female writer to be successful she shouldn't have more than one child. Among the outraged  voices that have greeted her pronouncement is Zadie Smith's (MB shortlisted 2005). “I have two children, Dickens had 10 – I think Tolstoy did, too. Did anyone for one moment worry that those men were becoming too father-ish to be writer-esque? The idea that motherhood is inherently somehow a threat to creativity is just absurd.” Ouch. The 2009 MB International chair Jane Smiley and the 2008 MB judge Louise Doughty (“arrant nonsense” and “completely ridiculous”) were among those who agreed, in no uncertain terms.

C.M. Naim, Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago was simultaneously heartened and worried by the inclusion of Intizar Husain on the Man Booker International Prize's list of contenders. Heartened because Husain is a writer of real significance but worried because many of the interviews with him mentioned only one novel, Basti. Prof Naim was thus motivated to look into which of his other books are available in English and to plead for greater recognition for translators and their often thankless task. Having seen the effect of the MBI on Intizar Husain's global reputation Prof Naim added a further, ringing entreaty: “What one should hope now is that some of the creative talent of Anglophone Pakistanis will now be devoted to presenting many more translations, and not only of Intizar sahib’s works but also of those forgotten masters whose names are linked in literary history with Pakistan.”