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Blog entries on '27 February 2006'

Monday 27 February 2006

The Railway

Hamid Ismailov was forced to flee Uzbekistan because he was regarded as having "unacceptably democratic tendencies". He came to London in 1994 and is now head of the BBC Central Asia Service. His debut novel The Railway, translated from Russian by RSB interviewee Robert Chandler, will be published by Harvill Secker on Thursday 2nd March 2006:


Set between 1900 and 1980, The Railway introduces to us the inhabitants of the small town of Gilas in Uzbekistan. Among those whose stories we hear are Mefody-Jurisprudence, the town’s alcoholic intellectual; Father Ioann, a Russian priest; Kara-Musayev the Younger, the chief of police; and Umarali-Moneybags, the old moneylender. Their colourful lives offer a unique picture of a land populated by outgoing Mullahs, incoming Bolsheviks, and a plethora of Uzbeks, Russians, Persians, Jews, Koreans, Tatars and Gypsies.

On March 8th at 5.30pm there will be a reading, with Robert and Hamid, including snacks and wine! The event is free and will be held at St Benet’s Chapel, Queen Mary College, Mile End Road, E1 4NS (Mile End tube). For more (and please RSVP): kcf19@dial.pipex.com.


On April 4th at 6.30pm Robert and Hamid will be accompanied by music from Uzbek musicians (presumably, not whilst they read). This event is also free and to be held at Leighton House, 12 Holland Park Road, W14 8LZ (High St. Kensington tube). For more (and essential to RSVP): JacksonRowlandson@randomhouse.co.uk.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Monday 27 February 2006

March festivals

There are a fair few literary festivals happening this time of year:


The London Book Fair ("the global publishing community’s leading Spring forum for bookseller, publisher and librarian buyers and specifiers worldwide") is running March 5-7th. The LBF is a trade show, so not nearly as interesting as it thinks it is.


Bath has: The Bath Shakespeare Festival (March 6-19th) and The Bath Literature Festival (March 4-12th).


Keswick, in the Lake District, has: Words by the Water (organised by Ways With Words) (March 10-19th). I'm fairly sure, RSB interviewee Michael Schmidt is talking at some point during this event ...


Then there is the Oundle Festival of Literature (March 4-18th). The line-up includes PD James, Polly Toynbee, Sir Roy Strong, Anthony Horowitz, Louis de Bernieres and the Antonius Players, George Alagiah, Michael and Rebecca Frayn in conversation with Maya Jaggi, Wendy Cope and Joanna Trollope. I shall not be attending!


Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Serendipoetry

Augustus

As you sow, so shall you reap. The bags packed,
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Getaway cars nose on a hot scent.
Under striped canvas the patrons gather,
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The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or two

Pre-order Anu Garg's new book: The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two: The Hidden Lives and Strange Origins of Common and Not-So-Common Words (ISBN 9780452288614), published by Penguin more …

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