As discerning international booklovers may already have seen, we’re thrilled to announce that Pierre Lemaitre has won the Prix Goncourt in France, for his latest novel Au revoir là-haut, which we will be publishing in 2015. The prize is widely regarded as France’s premiere book award, won in the past by such literary galacticos as Marcel Proust and Simone de Beauvoir.
English-language readers will obviously know Pierre for his outstanding English-language debut Alex, released this year in both the UK and USA by MacLehose Press, to widespread critical acclaim: “With quiet virtuosity, Lemaitre moves the narrative through its various levels toward a concluding act of retribution that is both ingeniously conceived and immensely satisfying,” said the Washington Post; “It enthrals at every stage of its unpredictability. Grippingly original” proclaimed The Times.
The next instalment of that trilogy – Irène – is on its way, and indeed is already setting pulses racing in the MacLehose office (opinions are divided as to whether one of its many twists outdoes anything in Alex, but it’s a close-run thing either way). However, Au revoir là-haut is part of a new direction in Pierre’s career, and is a remarkable literary tragedy set in the aftermath of the First World War.
It goes without saying that it has already received yet more rave reviews in France. Le Monde praises Lemaitre for “masterfully composing a fresco of post-war France”. Meanwhile Le Point argues the novel “confirms, as if it were necessary, the talent Pierre Lemaitre has demonstrated in crime fiction. Light, hyper-documented, the novel is built on a very effective plot . . . it feeds a network of characters always relevant and always alive”.
But if you can’t wait that long to get your hands on a Prix Goncourt winner, you’re still in the right place. Including this latest triumph, MacLehose Press will now be publishing three of the last five novels to win this prestigious award, starting with the 2009 winner, Three Strong Women by Marie Ndiaye. This extraordinarily powerful interweaved tale of three eponymous heroines is out now in paperback, and coming soon to ebook. Meanwhile next year we will publish Sermon on the Fall of Rome by Jerome Ferrari, a staggeringly good novel set in a small town in Corsica, from the author of Where I Left My Soul, which was a 2012 “Books of the Year” pick in no less than four British newspapers.
Until then though, it’s our warmest félicitations to Pierre!
“As the National Theatre celebrates its 50th anniversary, a new biography based on previously unseen letters and diaries of Laurence Olivier tells the story of the legendary actor as he developed his craft, focusing on his career path from early school days through rep theatre to Hollywood, before returning to triumph in his greatest role ever – as the first director of the National Theatre.”
OLIVIER by Philip Ziegler is Radio 4 Book of the Week, starting next Monday, September 30th.
Hollywood superstar; Oscar-winning director; greatest stage actor of the twentieth century. The era abounded in great actors – Gielgud, Richardson, Guinness, Burton, O’Toole – but none could challenge Laurence Olivier’s range and power.
By the 1940s he had achieved international stardom. His affair with Vivien Leigh led to a marriage as glamorous and as tragic as any in Hollywood history. He was as accomplished a director as he was a leading man: his three Shakespearian adaptations are among the most memorable ever filmed.
And yet, at the height of his fame, he accepted what was no more than an administrator’s wage to become the founding Director of the National Theatre. In 2013 the theatre celebrates its fiftieth anniversary; without Olivier’s leadership it would never have achieved the status that it enjoys today.
Off-stage, Olivier was the most extravagant of characters: generous, yet almost insanely jealous of those few contemporaries whom he deemed to be his rivals; charming but with a ferocious temper. With access to more than fifty hours of candid, unpublished interviews, Philip Ziegler ensures that Olivier’s true character – at its most undisguised – shines through as never before.
Buy Philip Ziegler’s OLIVIER now from: Amazon | Waterstones | Hive
Philip Ziegler’s Olivier has not been short of praise since it’s publication last month. Describing as “compelling” by The Guardian, “splendid” by The Economist, “brilliant” by the Mail on Sunday, “superbly crafted” by The Sunday Express and as the “definitive and best-sourced biography of Laurence Olivier” by The Times, you could be forgiven for skipping the rest of the article to get hold of a copy as quickly as possible.
Philip will be discussing the book at events across the south of England over the next couple of months, so be sure to come along and listen to the fascinating story behind the book’s publication, and to pick up signed copies for the perfect Christmas gift. Events are taking place at the following venues:
- Times Cheltenham Literature Festival – Saturday 5th October
A keynote panel discussion (2:00pm) with Juliet Gardiner and Jane Humphries on how we create and shape collective national memories, followed by a solo event about the book at 8:45pm.
Buy tickets here
- Bath – Thursday 10th October
Philip will be at Topping and Co. Bookshop in Bath, with the event starting at 8pm.
Buy tickets here
- Guildford Book Festival – Tuesday 22nd October
Hosted in The Electric Theatre at 3pm, Philip will be in discussion with Olivier’s son Tarquin, discussing both the book and the great actor.
Buy tickets here
- Hove – Thursday 24th October
Hosted by City Books, Philip will be doing a talk in the Royal Pavilion Music Room, followed by a Q&A. The event starts at 7pm.
Buy tickets here
- Petworth Literary Weekend – Wednesday 6th November
Watch this space, all details to be confirmed from 9th October.
- Bath – Friday 8th November
Lunch and a talk in Bath’s glamorous Theatre Royal, tickets are available with or without food.
Buy tickets here
- Richmond Literary Festival – Sunday 24th November
Philip will be in the Orange Tree Theatre at 7pm – details to be confirmed.
Buy tickets here
With more events to be confirmed, including multiple London venues, we do hope you get a chance to hear more about this splendid book.
The five winners of the MacLehose Press Design Competition were at long last announced at an event in the Gallery at Foyles Bookshop on Charing Cross Road. Author and former advertising executive David Abbott did the final honours after speeches from three of the judges, Christopher MacLehose, Katharina Bielenberg and Suzanne Trocme.
The competition’s overall winner was Coral McCloud, who impressed the judges with her bold and coherent designs for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Heaven and Hell and Beauty and the Inferno.
Winners for the five categories (one for each of the five books) were also announced:
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Coral McCloud
Heaven and Hell – Andy Allen
Brodeck’s Report – Anna Heath
Beauty and the Inferno – Ben Whitesell
An Atlas of Impossible Longing – Stephanie Sitwell
The lively and excitable evening was a fitting conclusion to a competition that has attracted such a diverse spread of vibrant and innovative designs. The judges present all stressed the difficulties they faced in picking winners from such a strong field.
Many congratulations to the five winners and a huge thank you to all who took part!
We’re thrilled to announce that our forthcoming title, A Naked Singularity by Sergio De La Pava, has been awarded the prestigious PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize.
The prize, worth $25,000, is awarded annually to honour “exceptionally talented fiction writers whose debut work represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise”. Previous winners include Jonathan Safran Foer for Everything is Illuminated.
The novel tells the story of Casi, a public defender from New York City, working on the front line of America’s War on Drugs. Its pitiless dissection of the New York Justice System will appeal to fans of “The Wire”, but De La Pava frames it with a breathtakingly original style all of his own.
The novel was published last year in the U.S.A. to widespread critical acclaim, and numerous listings on “Books of the Year” round-ups. Julia Keller in the Chicago Tribune described it as “a cross between Descartes and Disneyland”, while Sam Sacks of the Wall Street Journal regarded it as “a propulsive, mind-bending experience“, and Alex Good of the Toronto Star simply acclaimed it “a great American novel: large, ambitious, and full of talk”.
The story of the book’s rise to success is almost as interesting as its mercurial protagonist. De La Pava was originally unable to find a publisher for the book, so opted to self-publish it back in 2008, where slowly but surely it made waves throughout the online blogging community.
A key breakthrough came in 2010 when influential literary blog The Quarterly Conversation described A Naked Singularity as “one of the best and most original novels of the decade”; the blog’s editor prefixed the review with a note saying there was “a growing body of evidence that it is a remarkable work of fiction that has been unjustly ignored”. All this prompted the illustrious University of Chicago Press to take on the first formerly-self-published novel in their history, triggering the current wave of approval that brought the novel all the way to MacLehose Press.
De La Pava will be appearing at the Edinburgh Festival this weekend at an event alongside Booker Prize nominee Richard House. A Naked Singularity will be available in ebook on 22nd August, and in hardback from the 29th August. It is available for pre-order from Amazon and Quercus.