Donald Trump is President-elect of the United States of America. Mainstream media and at least 50% of the US population (plus approximately 100% of the world) are still reeling. Here’s how 4th Estate authors met the news the morning of November 9th, 2016.
Merry Christmas! If, like us, you’ve had your dinner and would like to take yourself to a quiet corner with something good to read and a cup of tea (or a second Christmas dinner- why not?) , rather than get into yet another discussion about politics or similar tricky topics with your aunt’s husband, then we have a treat for you.
Kindle have discounted a whopping 12 of our bestselling titles. Just click on the tiny price next to each title below and you’ll be able to read Wolf Hall, Americanah, All the Light We Cannot See, Pretty Honest and many more in an instant. With enough titles to take you through to 2016, you’ll have a very happy new year too. Read more…
Picture Perfect month presents us with the opportunity to showcase the cover of one of the best books published in many of our lifetimes. And it’s #tbt, which means that we can root around in the archives all the way back to…2009.
Wolf Hall was the first of Hilary Mantel’s mould-breaking historical novels about Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s great minister. Mantel made Man Booker prize history by becoming the first woman and the first British writer to win the literary award twice, winning for both Wolf Hall and its sequel, Bring Up The Bodies (2012).
Receiving the second price, Mantel joked: ‘You wait 20 years for a Booker prize and then two come along at once’.
‘Lock Cromwell in a deep dungeon in the morning,’ says Thomas More, ‘and when you come back that night he’ll be sitting on a plush cushion eating larks’ tongues, and all the gaolers will owe him money.’
Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. Ruthless in pursuit of his own interests, he is as ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. Hilary Mantel’s prize-winning Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies explore the man and motivations behind this most masterful of political figures.
How did you first come across Cromwell, and when did you decide to write about him?
I first came across him when I was a child learning history in a Catholic school. I grew up with the sainted Thomas More looking down from stained-glass windows. As I am a contrarian, it made me ask whether there was more to Cromwell’s story than just his opposition to More, and I carried that question with me. When I began writing, I registered him in my mind as a potential subject. This would have been in the 1970s, before I’d finished my first novel. There seemed to be a lot of blanks in his story, and it wasn’t easy to find out anything about him, but it’s in those gaps that the novelist goes to work. Read more…
Power is a fickle mistress, likely to flit about the room and rest at random moments with unexpected allies. Its path is hard to track. Does it lie with the person that everyone talks about, waits for, looks at: a prime minister with an iconic handbag, an iconic hairdo, a woman that cameras permanently train their lens on – a woman undergoing minor eye surgery? Or does it lie in the eye of the beholder, with the unseen watcher, the photographer / sniper? ‘Just as a camera is a sublimation of the gun, to photograph someone is a subliminal murder – a soft murder, appropriate to a sad, frightened time’ said Susan Sontag. Perhaps, ultimately, power remains with she who watches the watcher. She whose opinion can become a dagger flying straight to the heart. She whose words can capture the crucial moment that everyone else missed, the ‘one easy wink of the world’s blind eye’. Read more…
*I like the works of double Man Booker Prize winner Dame Hilary Mantel
*I am a fan of Wolf Hall, her work of historical fiction
*I also enjoyed the sequel, Bring Up the Bodies
*I have read neither of the above, but would like to
*I am looking forward to The Mirror and the Light, the third in the series
*I partake in television watching Read more…
This month our theme is power, and who has more power than the royals themselves? All good monarchs know the cost of power and what it takes to hold onto it. From historical fiction, children’s to fantasy – there are so many examples of great kings and queens in literature. Some are brave and noble, some are cruel and immoral and others are just badass! Here are just four of my favourite fictional kings and queens…