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Speeches of Note

Shaun Usher (Author)

From Shaun Usher, the author of the international bestseller Letters of Note, comes an obsessively curated, richly illustrated and sumptuously produced collection of speeches from throughout the ages. Seventy-five extraordinary ways to step into someone else’s shoes.

Discover speeches that altered the course of history, like Nelson Mandela’s on the day he became South Africa’s first black President, and outpourings of much-needed change, such as the impassioned, impromptu appeal for women’s rights from Sojourner Truth, an African-American woman born into slavery. Expect the gloriously unexpected, as Kermit the Frog takes to the podium, and celebrate lives well-lived, including Tilda Swinton’s tribute to ‘every alien’s favourite cousin’, David Bowie.

While some speeches are heard by millions, some remain unspoken: the secret draft prepared for Queen Elizabeth II during a military exercise for World War III, and President Nixon’s chilling public announcement should Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become stranded on the Moon.

Surprising, inspiring and shocking; moving, comforting and enlightening.

The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories

Jay Rubin (Edited by) , Haruki Murakami (Introducer)

A major new anthology of great Japanese short stories introduced by Haruki Murakami

This fantastically varied and exciting collection celebrates the great Japanese short story, from its modern origins in the nineteenth century to the remarkable examples being written today. Curated by Jay Rubin (who has himself freshly translated several of the stories) and introduced by Haruki Murakami, this is a book which will be a revelation to many of its readers.

Short story writers already well-known to English-language readers are all included - Tanizaki, Akutagawa, Murakami, Mishima, Kawabata - but also many surprising new finds. From Yuko Tsushima's 'Flames' to Yuten Sawanishi's 'Filling Up with Sugar', from Shin'ichi Hoshi's 'Shoulder-Top Secretary' to Banana Yoshimoto's 'Bee Honey', The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories is filled with fear, charm, beauty and comedy.

The Purple Decades

Tom Wolfe (Author)

The Purple Decades brings together the author's own selections from his list of critically acclaimed publications, including the best from The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Radical Chic, From Bauhaus to Our House, The Right Stuff and the complete text of Mau-Mauing and the Flak Catchers. An essential introduction to the non-fiction writing of the inventor of New Journalism.

The Right Stuff

Tom Wolfe (Author)

A wildly vivid and entertaining chronicle of America's manned space program, from the author of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY US ASTRONAUT SCOTT KELLY

‘What is it’ asks Tom Wolfe, ‘that makes a man willing to sit on top of an enormous Roman Candle…and wait for someone to light the fuse?’ Arrogance? Stupidity? Bravery? Courage? Or, simply, that quality we call 'the right stuff'?

A monument to the men who battled to beat the Russians into space, The Right Stuff is a voyage into the mythology of the American space program, and a dizzying dive into the sweat, fear, beauty and danger of being on the white-hot edge of history in the making.

‘Tom Wolfe at his very best… Learned, cheeky, risky, touching, tough, compassionate, nostalgic, worshipful, jingoistic...The Right Stuff is superb’ - New York Times Book Review

A Country to Call Home: An anthology on the experiences of young refugees and asylum seekers

Lucy Popescu (Author) , Simon Armitage (Contributor), Eoin Colfer (Contributor) , Kit de Waal (Contributor), Chris Riddell (Contributor) , Michael Morpurgo (Contributor)

From the editor of A Country of Refuge comes an anthology of new writing on one of the defining issues of our time. Focusing on the fate of refugee children and young adults, it is aimed at children and adult readers alike, and features work from Michael Morpurgo, Eoin Colfer, Kit de Waal and Simon Armitage among many others.

There are tales of home, and missing it; poems about the dangerous journeys undertaken and life in the refugee camps; stories about prejudice, but also stories of children’s fortitude, their dreams and aspirations.

A Country to Call Home implores us to build bridges, not walls. It is intended as a reminder of our shared humanity, seeking to challenge the negative narratives that so often cloud our view of these vulnerable young people, and prevent us giving them the empathy they deserve.

The book will include newly commissioned stories, flash fiction, poetry and original artwork from some of our finest children’s writers: David Almond, Chris Riddell, Moniza Alvi, Sita Brahmachari, Peter Kalu, Judith Kerr, Patrice Lawrence, Anna Perera, the late Christine Pullein-Thompson, Bali Rai and S. F. Said.

You Think It, I'll Say It

Curtis Sittenfeld (Author)

SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2018 SUNDAY TIMES EFG SHORT STORY AWARD: 'Do-Over', one of the stories in this dazzling, smart and razor-sharp first collection by Curtis Sittenfeld, Sunday Times bestselling author of Eligible and American Wife.

In ‘The World Has Many Butterflies’, a married woman flirts with a man she meets at parties by playing You think it, I’ll say it, putting into words the bitchy things she guesses he's thinking about their fellow guests. But she is in for a shock when, in time, she finds out what was really in his mind. ‘The Nominee’ sees Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail, confessing her surprising true feelings about a woman journalist she has sparred with over the years. In ‘Gender Studies’, a visiting academic sleeps with her taxi driver, for what turns out to be all the wrong reasons.

The theme that unites these stories is how even the cleverest people tend to misread others, and how much we all deceive ourselves. Sharp and tender, funny and wise, they show Sittenfeld’s knack for creating real, believable characters that spring off the page, while also skewering contemporary mores with brilliant dry wit.

Mockingbird Songs

Wayne Flynt (Author)

An indelible portrait of one of the most famous and beloved authors in the canon of American literature – a collection of letters between Harper Lee and one of her closest friends that reveals the famously private writer as never before, in her own words.

The violent racism of the American South drove Wayne Flynt away from his home in Alabama, but the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee’s classic novel about courage, community and equality, inspired him to return in the early 1960s and craft a career documenting and teaching Alabama history. His writing resonated with many, in particular three sisters: Louise, Alice and Nelle Harper Lee. The two families first met in 1983, and a mutual respect and affection for the state’s history and literature matured into a deep friendship between them.

Wayne Flynt and Nelle Harper Lee began writing to one other while she was living in New York – heartfelt, insightful and humorous letters in which they swapped stories, information and opinions on topics including their families, books, social values, health concerns and even their fears and accomplishments. Though their earliest missives began formally – ‘Dear Dr Flynt’ – as the years passed, their exchanges became more intimate and emotional, opening with ‘Dear Friend’ and closing with ‘I love you, Nelle.’

This is a remarkable compendium of a correspondence that lasted for a quarter century – until Harper Lee’s death in February 2016 – and it offers an incisive and compelling look into the mind, heart and work of one of the most beloved authors in modern literary history.

Repeal the 8th

Una Mullally (Author) , Lisa McInerney (Contributor), Anne Enright (Contributor) , Louise O'Neill (Contributor), Caitlin Moran (Contributor) , Sinead Gleeson (Contributor)

Abortion is illegal in almost every circumstance in Ireland, making it the only democracy in the western world to have such a constitutional ban. This anthology, a national bestseller, is the definitive collection of the writing and art inspired by the most pressing debate in contemporary Ireland, and beyond.

· Between 1980 and 2015, at least 165,438 Irish women and girls accessed UK abortion services. In 2016, the figure was 3,265.
· Any woman or girl who procures an abortion, or anyone who assists a woman to procure an abortion in Ireland can be criminalised and imprisoned for up to fourteen years.
· A woman may not procure an abortion in Ireland if she is pregnant due to incest or rape, or to prevent inevitable miscarriage and fatal foetal abnormality.

The movement to repeal the Eighth Amendment and make abortion legal in Ireland has grown massively over the last few years. This book shares the literature, personal stories, opinions, photography, art and design produced by the movement that catalysed 2018’s momentous referendum: it features prize-winning novelists, critically acclaimed poets, cutting-edge artists and journalists on the front line.

Contributors include Lisa McInerney, Anne Enright, Louise O’Neill, Caitlin Moran, Tara Flynn, Aisling Bea, Sinead Gleeson and Emmet Kiran.

Ground Work

Tim Dee (Author) , Richard Holmes (Contributor)

We are living in the anthropocene – an epoch where everything is being determined by the activities of just one soft-skinned, warm-blooded, short-lived, pedestrian species. How best to make our way through the ruins that we have made?

This anthology of commissioned work tries to answer this as it explores new and enduring cultural landscapes, in a celebration of local distinctiveness that includes new work from some of our finest writers. We have memories of childhood homes from Adam Thorpe, Marina Warner and Sean O’Brien; we journey with John Burnside to the Arizona desert, with Hugh Brody to the Canadian Arctic; going from Tessa Hadley’s hymn to her London garden to caving in the Mendips with Sean Borodale to shell-collecting on a Suffolk beach with Julia Blackburn.

Helen Macdonald, in her remarkable piece on growing up in a 50-acre walled estate, reflects on our failed stewardship of the planet: ‘I take stock.’ she says, ‘During this sixth extinction, we who may not have time to do anything else must write now what we can, to take stock.’ This is an important, necessary book.

Orwell on Truth

George Orwell (Author)

A selection of George Orwell's prescient, clear-eyed and stimulating writing on the subjects of truth and lies. With an introduction by Alan Johnson.

'Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two equals four. If that is granted, all else follows.'

This selection of George Orwell’s writing, from both his novels and non-fiction, gathers together his thoughts on the subject of truth. It ranges from discussion of personal honesty and morality, to freedom of speech and political propaganda. Orwell’s unique clarity of thought and illuminating scepticism provide the perfect defence against our post-truth world of fake news and confusion.

'The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.'

Includes an introduction by Alan Johnson and passages from Burmese Days, The Road to Wigan Pier, Coming Up for Air, The Lion and the Unicorn, Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell’s letters, war-time diary, criticism and essays including ‘Fascism and Democracy’, ‘Culture and Democracy’, ‘Looking Back on the Spanish War’, ‘As I Please’, ‘Notes on Nationalism’, ‘The Prevention of Literature’, ‘Politics and the English Language’ and ‘Why I Write’.

Scraps of Wool

Bill Colegrave (Author)

For more than forty years I have collected and read travel books... I marked passages that enthused me and so gathered a library that was annotated by triangular corner-folds and barely decipherable jottings. This was my own inadvertent wool-gathering...

Scraps of Wool is a celebration of travel writing, bringing together in a single volume passages that have enthralled generations of readers, encouraged them to dream of exploration and set off on journeys of their own.
Compiled by Bill Colegrave, its excerpts have been selected by today’s travel writers and journalists, who have revealed the books that influenced them: Dervla Murphy, Tony Wheeler, Rory MacLean, Pico Iyer, Jan Morris, Colin Thubron, Artemis Cooper, Sara Wheeler, Alexander Frater and many more.

Each of these scraps is a document of the writer’s passion for place – thick equatorial jungle, the soft ergs of the Sahara, Patagonian steppe – and each story, each memory will transport you to a different corner of the globe, and maybe even inspire you to plan your own great adventure.

The Good Immigrant

Nikesh Shukla (Author) , Nikesh Shukla (Edited by)

How does it feel to be constantly regarded as a potential threat, strip-searched at every airport?

Or be told that, as an actress, the part you’re most fitted to play is ‘wife of a terrorist’? How does it feel to have words from your native language misused, misappropriated and used aggressively towards you? How does it feel to hear a child of colour say in a classroom that stories can only be about white people? How does it feel to go ‘home’ to India when your home is really London? What is it like to feel you always have to be an ambassador for your race? How does it feel to always tick ‘Other’?

Bringing together 21 exciting black, Asian and minority ethnic voices emerging in Britain today, The Good Immigrant explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it means to be ‘other’ in a country that doesn’t seem to want you, doesn’t truly accept you – however many generations you’ve been here – but still needs you for its diversity monitoring forms.

Inspired by discussion around why society appears to deem people of colour as bad immigrants – job stealers, benefit scroungers, undeserving refugees – until, by winning Olympic races or baking good cakes, or being conscientious doctors, they cross over and become good immigrants, editor Nikesh Shukla has compiled a collection of essays that are poignant, challenging, angry, humorous, heartbreaking, polemic, weary and – most importantly – real.

Beauty and the Beast

Maria Tatar (Author)

Perhaps no fairy tale is as widely known as 'Beauty and the Beast' - and perhaps no fairy tale exists in as many variations. Nearly every culture tells the story in one fashion or another - such cultural phenomena as The Fault in Our Stars and Me Before You are recent examples - and it is impossible to find one version that laid the foundation for the rest. From Cupid and Psyche, India's Snake Bride to South Africa's 'Story of Five Heads', the partnering of beast and beauties has beguiled us for thousands of years.

In this fascinating volume preeminent fairy tale scholar Maria Tatar brings together tales from ancient times to the present and from a wide variety of cultures.

Rome Stories

Jonathan Keates (Edited by)

During its three-thousand-year history Rome has been an imperial metropolis, the capital of a nation and the spiritual core of a great world religion. For writers from antiquity to the present, however, the place holds an alternative significance as a realm of fantasy, aspiration and desire. Captivating and lethal at one and the same moment, its fatal gift of beauty both transfigures and betrays those in thrall to it. Rome Stories explores the city's fateful impact through the writing of classical historians, a Renaissance sculptor, 18th-century tourists, American, British and French novelists and the authors of modern Rome, each testing and unravelling the city's ageless paradoxes. Gibbon admires the Last of the Tribunes, Goethe decodes the mysteries of the Carnival and Stendhal's subversive aristocrats mingle revolution with a little cross-dressing amid their gilt mirrors and frescoed ceilings From Plutarch to Pasolini, from Hawthorne to Wharton, the city of Caesars and popes, of dreamers, chancers and hustlers confronts the questing imagination with its eternally unflinching gaze.

The Penguin Book of the British Short Story: 2

Philip Hensher (Edited by)

'Eclectic, entertaining ... almost all British, if not human, life is here' Boyd Tonkin, Independent

'Mind-stretching, heart-breaking, beautifully-crafted fiction' Claire Harman, Evening Standard

'She would tear the house down - shatter the windows, slash the furniture, flood the baths, fire the curtains!'

Hilarious, exuberant, surreal, subtle, tender, brutal, spectacular and above all unexpected: this extraordinary selection celebrates the British short story from the 1920s to the present day. From Angela Carter to V. S. Pritchett, Elizabeth Taylor to J. G. Ballard, Ali Smith to a host of little-known works from magazines and periodicals, and including tales of air-raids, phone sex, snobbery, modern-day slavery, grief, desire, the familiar and the strange, here is the short story in all its limitless possibilities.

Edited and with an introduction by Philip Hensher, the award-winning novelist, critic and journalist.

The Penguin Book of the British Short Story: 1

Philip Hensher (Edited by)

'A bold anthology ... alive with provocations and insights' John Carey, Sunday Times

'The Boy-scouts mistook my signal, and have killed the postman. I've had very little practice in this sort of thing, you see'

The British short story tradition is probably the richest, most varied and historically extensive in the world. This new anthology celebrates the full diversity and energy of its writers, subjects and tones, from the story's origins with Defoe, Swift and Fielding, to the 'golden age' of the fin de siècle and Edwardian period, ending with the First World War. Including the most famous authors as well as some magnificent, little-known stories never republished since their first appearance in magazines and periodicals, these stories are by turns topical and playful, ghostly and theatrical, rumbustious and sublime.

Edited with an introduction by Philip Hensher

Writings from Ancient Egypt

Toby Wilkinson (Author)

'Man perishes; his corpse turns to dust; all his relatives pass away. But writings make him remembered'

In ancient Egypt, words had magical power. Inscribed on tombs and temple walls, coffins and statues, or inked onto papyri, hieroglyphs give us a unique insight into the life of the Egyptian mind. For this remarkable new collection, Egyptologist Toby Wilkinson has freshly translated a rich and diverse range of ancient Egyptian writings into modern English, including tales of shipwreck and wonder, first-hand accounts of battles and natural disasters, obelisk inscriptions, mortuary spells, funeral hymns, songs, satires and advice on life from a pharaoh to his son. Spanning over two millennia, with many pieces appearing in a general anthology for the first time, this is the essential guide to a complex, sophisticated culture.

Translated with an introduction by Toby Wilkinson

Shaken and Stirred

Diana Secker Tesdell (Edited by)

In this lively collection, wine snobs receive their comeuppance at the hands of Roald Dahl and Edgar Allan Poe; innocents over-imbibe in tales by Jack London and Alice Munro; riotous partying exacts a comic price in stories by P. G. Wodehouse and Kingsley Amis; Charles Jackson and Jean Rhys chronicle liquor-soaked epiphanies; while John Cheever, Vladimir Nabokov and Robert Coover set their characters afloat on surreal, soul-revealing adventures. Here, too, are well-lubricated tales by Dickens, Twain, Beckett, Colette, Dorothy Parker, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Doris Lessing, Frank O'Connor, Penelope Lively, and many more.

The settings include hotels and restaurants, a wine cellar in Italy, a café in Paris, a bar in Dublin, a New York nightclub, Jazz Age speakeasies, suburban lawn parties and the occasional gaol cell, and are peopled by lovers and loners, barmen and chorus girls, youths taking their first sips and experienced tipplers nursing hangovers.

Whether living it up or drowning their sorrows, the vividly drawn characters in these sparkling pages will leave you shaken and stirred.

A Country of Refuge

Lucy Popescu (Edited by) , Sebastian Barry (Contributor), William Boyd (Contributor), A.L. Kennedy (Contributor) , Hanif Kureshi (Contributor)

A Country of Refuge is a poignant, thought-provoking and timely anthology of writing on asylum seekers from some of Britain and Ireland’s most influential voices, among them Sebastian Barry, William Boyd, A. L. Kennedy and Hanif Kureshi.

Compiled and edited by human rights activist and writer Lucy Popescu, this powerful collection of short fiction, memoir, poetry and essays explores what it really means to be a refugee: to flee from conflict, poverty and terror; to have to leave your home and family behind; and to undertake a perilous journey, only to arrive on less than welcoming shores.

These writings are a testament to the strength of the human spirit. The contributors articulate simple truths about migration that will challenge the way we think about and act towards the dispossessed and those forced to seek a safe place to call home.

First Light

Erica Wagner (Edited by)

For more than 50 years, Alan Garner has enraptured generations of readers with works like The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, The Owl Service, Red Shift, and The Stone Book Quartet. Described by Philip Pullman as 'the most important British writer of fantasy since Tolkein', Alan Garner has inspired readers and writers alike.

Now, in celebration of his 80th birthday, comes First Light. A collaboration by many of the acclaimed writers, artists, archaeologists and historians he has influenced over the years, this anthology includes original contributions from David Almond, Margaret Atwood, John Burnside, Susan Cooper, Helen Dunmore, Stephen Fry, Neil Gaiman, Elizabeth Garner, Paul Kingsnorth, Katherine Langrish, Helen Macdonald, Robert Macfarlane, Gregory Maguire, Neel Mukherjee, Philip Pullman, Ali Smith, Elizabeth Wein, Michael Wood, and many, many more.

Whether a literary essay, a personal response to Alan's work, a memory of the first time they read his work, or a story about the man himself, each piece is a tribute to his remarkable impact.

Edited by the acclaimed literary journalist and novelist, Erica Wagner, First Light is a striking collection that will touch the heart of anyone who grew up reading the works of Alan Garner.

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