I predict this will become an iconic photo. These girls, some with school ties bandoliered around their heads, have discovered their power as they attempt to prevent further destruction of this police van during the recent London student protests against fee rises and education cuts. Their peaceful intervention is wise beyond their years.
In our upcoming novel it is Katie Rivers, the book’s young protagonist, who seeks to heal a family divided by conflict. These ‘angelic spirits’ in Peter Marshall’s photograph are also determined to create a better future and have put themselves on the front line to make this happen. It’s an old story, but what a story.
One of the section chapters in The Double Happiness Company is a Spanish proverb: ‘No matter what happens in your life, nobody can take away your dance.’ The writer and poet, Maya Angelou, embodies this philosophy in her work and in her life. Enjoy her wonderful poem, ‘And Still I Rise’.
The Galaxy National Book Awards ceremony on November 11 was a red carpet affair held at BBC Television Centre. We thought you might be interested to read a condensed version of an article by Liz Thomson of BookBrunch:
‘There were some unexpectedly great moments at the Galaxy National Book Awards. Stephen Fry’s webcam was one of them, recorded from the perspective of one who thought he wouldn’t win and was just going through the whole charade to oblige. “I can say anything – I can say that publishers are prats, because no one’s going to see it because I won’t win,” he ventured, riffing on the theme before launching into a pastiche of the moment’s required niceties . . . in the event that he did, after all, win the award for Tesco Biography of the Year. And of course he did, beating, among others, Alan Sugar, Deborah Devonshire and Tony Blair. Mention of the former PM’s name provided another great moment, for it prompted some loud booing. The miscreant turned out to be David Wilson of indie publisher BareBone Books; in his previous life, Wilson handled press for the Stop the War Coalition . . .
Then there was Paul O’Grady, presenting the award for Sainsbury’s Popular Fiction Book of the Year. Picking up on an earlier mention of A Simples Life, the meerkat memoir, he lashed out at the nonsense, suggesting a biography of Churchill, the insurance dog, before heading off on to a rant about celebs unable to write their own memoirs yet unwilling to fess up to having worked with a ghost. O’Grady’s words are his own and he had worked for eight months, “sweating like a whore at confession”. His verbal aim last night was rather better than that of the student protestors, “who couldn’t get a brick through a window” . . .
“It’s for a TV audience – it will look fine when it’s edited” was the kindest verdict, oft-repeated at the after-show party. And no doubt it will. It’s just not one that book people will want to watch, other than those who were there, out of morbid curiosity and to see if the refreshing misbehaviour of Wilson, Fry and O’Grady makes the final cut.’
Photo: Liz Thomson (Anne Aylor & David Wilson at Galaxy Book Awards)