Boel Westin, professor of literature at the University of Stockholm, has written an affectionate biography. She wrote her doctoral thesis on the Moomin world and knew Jansson. In the book, Westin compares her to Shakespeare, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, even "Chekov spiced with Poe". Actually, Jansson needs no such comparisons: that she wrote well is self-evident from the enduring popularity of her surreal and prankish tales.
Pushkin is to publish a children’s biography of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of The Little Prince, under its Pushkin Children’s Books imprint.
The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry by Peter Sís will hit the shelves on 3rd July, in time to mark the 70th anniversary of the disappearance of Saint-Exupéry that month.
James Tait Black Memorial Prize Winners
The acclaimed novelist Alan Warner and the celebrated art historian Tanya Harrod have received this year’s James Tait Black prizes. They join an illustrious roster.
Each year, one prize goes to a work of fiction, and the other to a work of biography. The latter was awarded to Harrod’s ‘The Last Sane Man: Michael Cardew, Modern Pots, Colonialism and the Counterculture’, while the former went to Warner’s novel ‘The Deadman’s Pedal’.The novel was described by Lee Spinks, the prize’s fiction judge, as “an exceptionally fine novel, richly evocative in detail, beautifully poised in execution, which in the story of one young mans journey to adulthood through the mysteries of childhood, sexuality, work, the realities of class society and the experience of divided family loyalties, offers a compelling poetic vision of a changing Scotland.”Tanya Harrod’s book won the following praise from the biography judge Professor Jonathan Wild: “The Last Sane Man’ offers an exceptional portrait of a remarkable craftsman and his world. Harrod constructs this biography with the same eye for form and purpose that marked the work of her subject.”Both authors were picked from weighty shortlists. Alan Warner’s rivals for the fiction prize were Jenny Fagan The Panopticon, Kirsty Gunn The Big Music and Ben Lerner Leaving The Atocha Station. Tanya Harrod’s book was chosen from a shortlist that featured Salman Rushdie’s Joseph Anton: A Memoir; Michael Gorra’s Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of a Modern American Masterpiece; and Thomas Wright’s Circulation: William Harvey’s Revolutionary Idea.