↑↓ Going Up Going Down 15

↓ McCall Smith to re-work Emma
As long as there have been great novels, readers have hankered after sequels. Some work, many fail. There seems to be current thing about getting famous writers to rehash Austen. PD James did it, and I loved Death at Pemberley. But now it is getting a bit silly. HarperCollins has announced the latest match-up in its Austen Project. Alexander McCall Smith, who writes the No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, is to write a modern adaptation of Emma Woodhouse and company. Other pairings include Joanna Trollope/Sense and Sensibility, Val McDermid/ Northanger Abbey, and Curtis Sittenfeld/Pride and Prejudice. I have nothing against McCall Smith, Trollope etc, I have read their books, their books are on my bookshelves. But instead of squeezing square pegs into round holes, why not let these authors write their own thing. And give an opportunity to a few more debut authors!

↑↓ Hurray: a new Nesbo but it’s not Harry Hole!

[photo: Haykon Eikesdal]

[photo: Haykon Eikesdal]

Blood on Snow is a new novel from Jo Nesbo [above], writing as Tom Johansen, and to be published by Harvill Secker in autumn 2014. The second book in the two-book deal will follow in spring 2015 and has the working title Blood on Snow 2. Warner Brothers, with Leonardo di Caprio as one of the producers, has signed a deal for Blood on Snow 1. Di Caprio may appear in the film.

↑ The Forward Prize: The Metric System by Nick MacKinnon
I sucked the milk that Harold Wilson
invested in my infant skeleton,

laced with strontium from Windscale
and Christmas Island. Miss Odell

perched on my radiator, bra-less
in her flower power sundress.

“How would you weigh that straw?”
A spring balance hung from her finger,

graduated in the metric system
that had taken us to the moon.

She smiled when I tied a squidgy knot
in my straw and baited the hook with it,

but her spring remained unstirred.
She led me to the Straws Cupboard

seeming riddled with woodworm,
the shelves of plastic honeycomb

drinking our voices. She jiggled
down a 1000, her armpits frizzled

like my mother’s all that summer,
and pierced the glossy wrapper,

cupping the tight-skinned bundle
like an apple in her palm until

the scale read 300 grams, dead.
“Now see that 300 in your head.”

I stared at her rose trellis ribcage
and the digits bloomed in the foliage.

“Give me your finger. I want
you to put it on the decimal point.

Move it to the left. Again. Again.
Right there.” So our answer came,

and she laughed, the hook ripping
the paper, the spring zipping

to weightless as a thousand straws
splashed down on the cupboard floor.

‘The Metric System’ by Nick MacKinnon, winner of the 2013 Forward Prize, Best Single Poem. To read more about the winners, click this link:-

↑ The Forward Prize: Best Collections

[photo: symmonsroberts.com]

[photo: symmonsroberts.com]

Michael Symmons Roberts’ volume of poetry Drysalter, published by Cape Poetry, has won the Forward Prize for Best Collection. Best First Collection was won by Emily Berry’s Dear Boy, published by Faber.

Symmons Roberts [above] explained the title of his winning collection: “It’s called Drysalter partly in response to the old high street traders called drysalters, who were dealers in gums, drugs, poisons and powders. And the title’s also a nod to the psalter, those medieval day-books that contained psalms, but also jokes and cartoons and marginalia.”

[photo: symmonsroberts.com]

[photo: symmonsroberts.com]

‘Drysalter’ by Michael Symmons Roberts