Short stories really hit the big time in Britain in the Victorian and modernist period – at exactly the same time that the professional woman writer became a force to be reckoned with. The two have been wed ever since in a spectacularly successful union. The BBC short story award had an all-woman shortlist this year, as it did the year before. And, as usual, the 4th Estate list showcases some of the very best female short story writers around.
What I’m reading: I just finished Robert Elsmere by Mrs Humphry Ward. It was one of the most popular novels of the Victorian era – a huge international bestseller – but is now virtually unknown. The novel details a young Anglican clergyman’s gradual loss of orthodox faith and the conflict that subsequently ensues between him and his strictly evangelical wife. It’s very clever and dense and thoughtful. Quite romantic. Read more…
Yes, yes – we know 4th Estate is renowned for its incisive works of fiction (anyone heard of Hilary Mantel?) and hard-hitting non-fiction (Ben Goldacre, Naomi Klein and Nick Cohen, amongst others). But we don’t take ourselves too seriously, and can (on occasion, mind you) have a laugh. Join in the fun and feast on these quirky Christmas picks.
We are very proud of our three authors Hilary Mantel, Nicola Barker and Sam Thompson who have been longlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize. Mantel has been longlisted for Bring up the Bodies, the sequel to the 2009 Booker-winning Wolf Hall, while Nicola Barker’s The Yips was chosen- topping off an incredible set of reviews for a novel that has been described as ‘more consistently surprising than War and Peace, at least.’ (Sunday Telegraph)
Free download of Part One of Darkmans by Nicola Barker.