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The craft store had acquired the 3,600-year-old artefact for its Bible museum, but court says it had been smuggled and should be returned to Iraq
A rare and ancient tablet showing part of the epic of Gilgamesh, which had been acquired by Christian arts and crafts retailer Hobby Lobby for display in its museum of biblical artefacts, has been seized by the US government.
The Department of Justice (DoJ) alleges that the 3,600-year-old “Gilgamesh Dream Tablet”, which originated in a region that is now part of Iraq, was acquired in 2003 by an American antiquities dealer, “encrusted with dirt and unreadable”, from the family member of a London coin dealer. Once it had arrived in the US, and been cleaned, experts realised that it showed a portion of the Gilgamesh epic, one of the world’s oldest works of literature, in the Akkadian language.Continue reading...
Author accused of repeating ‘lazy inaccuracies’ about businessman’s role in Russian politics and society
Roman Abramovich’s lawyer said it was defamatory to describe the businessman as having “a corrupt relationship” with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and that he had acted “covertly at his direction” in key business deals such as the purchase of Chelsea football club.
Speaking on the first morning of a preliminary hearing of a high court libel claim against a bestselling book about the modern Kremlin, Hugh Tomlinson QC said the 54-year-old billionaire did not “bring this claim lightly” and understood it could be characterised as “an attack on public interest journalism”.Continue reading...
Second Place is both timeless and up-to-the minute, with big names Richard Powers and Kazuo Ishiguro among strong international finalists
This is a longlist light on debuts and surprises, heavy on historical fiction, with an impressive geographical reach and an interest in the weight of the past. The biggest names look to the future, however: Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun shows us, through its narrator’s artificial eyes, a tired, fragile world in which inequality is ever-deepening and humans are at risk of becoming defunct. As ever, the Nobel laureate is exploring the messy mysteries of emotion, memory and what it is to be human: the book makes a fascinating companion piece to his 2005 novel Never Let Me Go. And it’s no surprise to see Richard Powers here, previously shortlisted for The Overstory; it’s not out until September, but Bewilderment, an investigation of climate grief and the prospect of life on other planets, told through the story of a father and his troubled son, will be a strong contender.
Elsewhere, recent political history and national trauma come to the fore. This is the third Booker listing for Damon Galgut; The Promise follows a white South African family in the decades before and after the end of apartheid, weighing broken promises on a national and individual level. Anuk Arudpragasam is a hugely promising young Sri Lankan author: in his second novel, A Passage North, a young man reflects on the horrors of the civil war. There’s a more fable-like treatment of political violence in one of the surprise inclusions, An Island; South African Karen Jennings’s small-press parable centres on an isolated lighthouse keeper who has suffered under colonialism and dictatorship in an unnamed African country. Debut novel The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris has been a smash in the US: a revisionist take on civil war history, with a sweeping treatment of forbidden gay love and the aftermath of slavery.Continue reading...
Kazuo Ishiguro makes cut alongside Rachel Cusk and Richard Powers, and novels from Sri Lanka and South Africa compete with choices from the US and UK
Kazuo Ishiguro first won the Booker prize in 1989 for The Remains of the Day. Thirty-one years later, the British author has made the longlist for the £50,000 award with Klara and the Sun, his first novel since winning the Nobel prize in literature.
Ishiguro’s story of an AF, or “artificial friend”, which is bought as a companion for a 14-year-old girl, is one of 13 novels in the running for this year’s Booker, the most prestigious books prize in the UK. The author, who has been shortlisted three times, was praised by judges for his “haunting narrative voice – a genuinely innocent, ego-less perspective on the strange behaviour of humans obsessed and wounded by power, status and fear”.
Spencer, telling the story of Diana and Charles’s bitter divorce, will battle for the Golden Lion in September alongside the latest by Pedro Almodóvar
The story of Diana, Princess of Wales’s agonies over divorcing Prince Charles will do battle with an adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s The Lost Daughter and The Power of the Dog, Jane Campion’s long-awaited return to the big screen, for the Golden Lion at the Venice film festival.
The lineup for the 2021 event in September was announced on Monday by artistic director Alberto Barbera, which, like last year’s edition at the height of the pandemic, will be a primarily in-person event. It will closely follow Cannes, which staged a physical festival earlier this month, having been forced to delay from its traditional slot in mid-May.Continue reading...
Scheme that started in Redbridge to help people talk about difficult subject is rolled out across country
In the middle of Redbridge central library in Ilford, among all the bookshelves and displays, is a phrase that may surprise some visitors: “The death-positive library.”
The sign sits above a collection curated to help people deal with death, dying and loss, including books by former England footballer Rio Ferdinand, the late American novelist Toni Morrison, and anthropologist Sue Black.Continue reading...
Simon Akam says Penguin Random House cancelled his book about the British army, The Changing of the Guard, and demanded back his advance after he refused to let the MoD vet it
In the summer of 2015, journalist Simon Akam was thrilled when Penguin Random House (PRH) imprint William Heinemann won a five-way auction to publish his book, The Changing of the Guard. It promised to be an “explosive, intimate, authoritative account of the British army”, with PRH likening Akam to George Orwell, Ernest Hemingway and Michael Herr.
Six years later, The Changing of the Guard was published – but not by PRH. It was released this February by independent press Scribe, after an extraordinary dispute between PRH and Akam resulted in the publisher dropping the book, spending a year chasing Akam for tens of thousands of pounds, and accusing him of not meeting “the standards of balance and accuracy expected of responsible publishers, authors and journalists”.Continue reading...
Once There Was a Bear by Jane Riordan and Mark Burgess will channel the original books’ voice and pictorial style using details from Christopher Robin’s real life
The story of how Winnie-the-Pooh went from a Harrods toy shelf to the home of Christopher Robin and the Hundred Acre Wood is set to be told for the first time, in an official prequel to AA Milne’s original stories.
Winnie-the-Pooh: Once There Was a Bear has been written in the style of Milne by children’s writer Jane Riordan, with illustrations by Mark Burgess emulating the original drawings of EH Shepard. It is the first prequel to Milne’s books and poetry about the bear, and has been authorised by the estates of both Milne and Shepard.Continue reading...
Books tried to explain the pro-democracy movement, portraying supporters as sheep surrounded by wolves
Five members of a Hong Kong union behind a series of children’s books about sheep trying to hold back wolves from their village have been arrested for sedition.
The arrests by the new national security police unit, which is spearheading a sweeping crackdown on dissent, are the latest action against pro-democracy activists since huge and often violent protests convulsed the city two years ago.Continue reading...