Richard Flanagan’s Royal Mail postmark

Flanagan postmarkThe Royal Mail is celebrating Richard Flanagan’s recent literary award triumph with a special postmark, which states “Congratulations to Richard Flanagan winner of the 2014 Man Booker Prize”. The postmark will appear on millions of mail items nationwide from tomorrow to Saturday.

Flanagan’s novel about a doctor’s memories of the construction of the Thailand-Burma Death Railway in World War Two, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, beat stories by Joshua Ferris, Howard Jacobson and Ali Smith.

Andrew Hammond from Royal Mail, said: “We’re delighted to be recognising Richard Flanagan’s fantastic achievement in winning the 2014 Man Booker Prize with one of our special postmarks.

“We’re really pleased to share his success in winning this renowned literary award with a postmark that will be delivered to addresses nationwide.”

Jonathan Taylor, Chair of the Booker Prize Foundation, added: “We are delighted that the foremost prize for literary fiction in English has received this splendid stamp of approval from the Royal Mail.”

The Royal Mail has previously released stamps celebrating the writers Jane Austen and Roald Dahl.

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Richard Flanagan wins Man Booker Prize

Richard Flanagan has become the third Australian winner of the prestigious Man Booker Prize with his novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North. He follows in the footsteps of Thomas Kenneally with Schindler’s Ark in 1982, and Peter Carey with his books Oscar and Lucinda in 1988 and the True History of the Kelly Gang in 2001.

Flanagan’s title about surgeon Dorrigo Evan’s experiences in a Japanese POW camp has been praised by Evie Wyld as “an important book in its ability to look at terrible things and create something beautiful”, and by the Observer as a “novel of extraordinary power, deftly told and hugely affecting”.

AC Grayling, Chair of judges, commented: “The two great themes from the origin of literature are love and war: this is a magnificent novel of love and war. Written in prose of extraordinary elegance and force, it bridges East and West, past and present, with a story of guilt and heroism.”

Previous winners of the award have seen a significant increase in book sales after taking the top prizes. Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies have sold over a million copies in the UK, and Eleanor Catton’s UK edition of The Luminaries has sold 300,000 copies, plus almost 500,000 copies worldwide.

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First Booker Prize winner to pen Quick Reads book

Roddy Doyle has become the first Man Booker Prize winner to write a Quick Reads title, Dead Man Talking. Doyle was shortlisted for the prestigious award in 1991 for The Van, and eventually took the top prize in 1993 for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha.

The other Quick Reads stories include Paris for One by Jojo Moyes, Pictures Or It Didn’t Happen by Sophie Hannah, Red for Revenge by Fanny Blake, Out of the Dark by Adèle Geras, and Street Cat Bob by James Bowen.

Doyle commented: “I’m delighted to be involved with Quick Reads as they are all about creating new readers and I’ve seen at first-hand how low levels of literacy have a negative effect on people’s lives. Literacy is the key to opening doors for everyone.

“I started to write a story about a man who was pretending to be dead. But as I wrote, it changed and I realised I was writing about death. I wanted the story to be funny and a bit frightening because, while it’s often frightening, death is rarely funny – and I wanted the challenge.”

In the past, Bernardine Evaristo has penned the tale of gang violence outside a chip shop Hello Mum, and John Boyne has written The Dare about a mother who knocks down a little boy.

The six Quick Reads will be released on 5 February next year.

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Morpurgo, Riddell and Sedgwick selected for World Book Day

An announcement has been made that next year’s World Book Day £1 stories will include work by such literary stars as Michael Morpurgo, Chris Riddell and Marcus Sedgwick.

Children will be transported from Friendship Forest to World Frock Night to a dark, dark path leading into the dark, dark woods…in these brilliant tales.

Sophy Henn's illustration for World Book Day.

Sophy Henn’s illustration for World Book Day.

Sophy Henn, author and illustrator of Where Bear?, will be decorating the World Book Day website, tokens, resource packs and display materials with her charming illustrations of eager readers (pictured). She has a Fashion degree at Central Saint Martins, and an MA in Illustration at the University of Brighton. She is taking over the role previously held by Alex T. Smith, creator of Hector and the Big Bad Knight and Foxy Tales: The Cunning Plan.

This year’s World Book Day titles featured David Melling’s Hello, Hugless Douglas, Emily Gravett’s Little Book Day Parade, I am Nit a Loser by Barry Loser, Fun with the Worst Witch by Jill Murphy, The Midnight Picnic by Lauren St. John, Terrible Trenches by Terry Deary, Middle School: How I Got Lost in London by James Patterson, Jack Pepper by Sarah Lean, Rock War: The Audition by Robert Muchamore, and The Boy in the Smoke by Maureen Johnson.

World Book Day 2015 list:

Age 2+:

The Dinosaur That Pooped A Lot! by Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter
Elmer’s Parade by David McKee

Age 5+:

A Pirate’s Guide to Landlubbing by Jonny Duddle
Magic Animal Friends: Lucy Longwhiskers Finds a Friend by Daisy Meadows

Age 7+:

Goth Girl and the Pirate Queen by Chris Riddell
The Diary of Dennis the Menace: World Book Menace Day by Steven Butler

Age 9+:

Best Mates by Michael Morpurgo
Dork Diaries: How to be a Dork! by Rachel Renée Russell

Young Adult:

Geek Girl: Geek Drama by Holly Smale
Killing the Dead by Marcus Sedgwick

Ireland only:

The Fairytale Trap by Erika McGann

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Visit Guardian’s Neverwhere BookBench

Neverwhere BookBenchThe 51st BookBench depicting Neil Gaiman’s story Neverwhere is now available to visit.

In July, Guardian readers were asked to vote for which book or character should be celebrated as a new BookBench sculpture for the National Literacy Trust, and Gaiman’s Neverwhere was the eventual winner. Other titles included in the poll were the classics Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland, as well as contemporary tales Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling and London Fields by Martin Amis.

The Neverwhere BookBench illustrated by Chris Riddell will be displayed until 3 October at the Guardian in King’s Place in London.

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Leo Tolstoy’s Google Doodle

Leo TolstoyLeo Tolstoy’s 186th birthday has been marked today with a Google Doodle depicting scenes from his stories War and Peace, Anna Karenina, and The Death of Ivan Ilyich.

Roman Muradov, illustrator for the Penguin Classics Centennial Edition of James Joyce’s Dubliners, created the striking imagery for the search engine.

Muradov said: “I hardly need to say that making a tribute to Leo Tolstoy was a daunting task. No set of images can sum up a body of work so astonishing in scope, complexity, and vigour – its memorable scenes come to life with seeming effortlessness, fully realized in the immortal lines and between them. Tolstoy’s lasting influence is a testament to the power of his art, which will remain relevant as long as the questions of life and death occupy our minds, which is to say – forever.”

Last month, Sheridan Le Fanu was given a Gothic Doodle, and in February Doodler Mike Dutton depicted Of Mice and Men, The Pearl and other John Steinbeck classics to celebrate the author’s 112th birthday.

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BBC’s The Outcast drama

Sadie Jones’ Costa First Novel Award-winning story The Outcast will be shown as a two-part drama on the BBC next year.

The story tracks Lewis’ life in post-war Britain from the tragic death of his mother to his increasingly chaotic teenager years.

The title was also shortlisted for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction, and has received positive feedback from Lionel Shriver who called it “Riveting” to Tracy Chevalier who recommended the story as “An elegant, subtle, haunting novel that stayed with me long after I finished it”.

Christine Langan, Head of BBC Films, commented: “The Outcast is a captivating and heart-breaking story of a young man’s desperate situation. I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to work with BBC One to bring a two-part adaptation to screen to retain the essence of Sadie Jones’s award-winning novel.”

Filming has already begun in Buckinghamshire.

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