From the beginning, the poet was a wanderer, a storyteller, an imaginer of bridges between worlds. Zaffar Kunial is just such a poet and guide for us today. Yet his territory extends much further afield than those of the past – through Kashmir, where his father was born and now lives, to the Midlands of his mother’s birth, and further north to ancestors in Orkney, as well as through language, memory and time. Already an acknowledged star of the Faber New Poets scheme, Kunial has won admirers in such measure as to ensure that Us is one of the most anticipated debuts in recent times. Across its pages, he vocalises what it means to be a human being planting your two feet upon the dizzying earth – and he does so delicately, urgently, intimately – in some of the most original and touching ways that you will read.
Alison Donnelly has suffered for love. Still stuck in the small Northern Irish town where she was born, working for her father’s real estate agency, she hopes a second marriage will help her get her life back together. Her sister Liz, a fiercely independent professor who lives in New York City, is about to return to Ulster for Alison’s wedding, before heading to an island off the coast of Papua New Guinea to make a TV show about the world’s newest religion.
Both sisters hope to write their own futures, but the past has other ideas. Alison wakes up the day after her wedding to find that her new husband has a past neither of them can escape. While Liz, in a rainforest on the other side of the planet, finds herself increasingly entangled in the eerie, charged world of Belef, the charismatic middle-aged woman she has come to film, the leader of a cargo cult.
As Modern Gods ingeniously interweaves the stories of Liz and Alison, it becomes clear that both sisters must learn how to negotiate with the past, with the sins of fanaticism, and decide exactly what the living owe to the dead. Laird’s brave, innovative novel charts the intimacies and disappointments of a family trying to hold itself together, and the repercussions of history and belief.
RCW is delighted to announce that Modern Gods by Nick Laird and Us by Zaffar Kunial have been shortlisted for the 2018 TS Eliot Prize for Poetry.
The T. S. Eliot Prize is run by The T. S. Eliot Foundation. It is the most valuable prize in British poetry, with the winning poet receiving a cheque for £25,000 and the shortlisted poets each receiving £1,500. It is the only poetry prize which is judged purely by established poets.
The TS Eliot Prize Readings will take place on Sunday 13th January 2019 in Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall as part of its literature programme. The shortlist readings are the largest annual poetry event in the UK and will be hosted once again by Ian McMillan.
The winner will be announced an a ceremony on 14th January 2019.
For more information, please see here.
The Prize was established in 2013 to reward fiction that breaks the mould or extends the possibilities of the novel form. The annual prize of £10,000 is awarded to a book that is deemed genuinely novel and which embodies the spirit of invention that characterises the genre at its best.
The Goldsmith’s Prize 2017 was awarded to H(A)PPY by Nicola Barker. The Long Take, which is also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018, is a verse novel, praised for its original treatment of form and style.
The winner for this year’s prize will be announced on 14th November.
For more information, please see here.
(Agent for Robin Robertson: Peter Straus)
We are excited to announce that John Guy’s award-winning biography, My Heart is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots has been made into a film and will be released in the UK in January.
Beau Willimon, whose previous credits include House of Cards and The Ides of March, has adapted John Guy’s book into a screen play narrating the struggle for power between Mary and her cousin, Elizabeth I. The film stars Oscar-nominees Saoirse Ronan, playing the titular Queen, and Margot Robbie as Elizabeth, alongside David Tennant, Gemma Chan and Adrian Lester.
You can find out more about the film here.
(Agent for John Guy: Peter Robinson)