Tag: the guardian

Meet Joy Harjo, One of the First Native American Poet Laureates!

According to The Guardian there is exciting news for the poetry world. Poet, musician, and author Joy Harjo has been appointed as the Poet Laureate, the first Native American to take the position in years. Harjo has been in the running for a role for a long time, having acted as an advocate and voice for Native Americans in the literary world. Harjo term will last one year, and she will succeed Tracy K. Smith, who served two terms in the position.

 

 

 

 

Harjo is known for poetry collections like The Woman Who Fell From the Sky and In Mad Love and War. Critics have praised her forceful, intimate writing style that draws upon the natural and spiritual world, always emphasizing and exploring man’s relationship to nature.

 

A Native American Woman stands on a lakeshore

Image via Public radio tusla

 

Harjo has expressed her political views through song and metaphor, using her poetry to draw attention to social issues. One of her poems, “Rabbit Is Up to Tricks,” epitomizes her style:

 

And Rabbit had no place to play.
Rabbit’s trick had backfired.
Rabbit tried to call the clay man back,
but when the clay man wouldn’t listen
Rabbit realized he’d made a clay man with no ears.

 

Harjo began writing in 1970, according to The New York Times. As a young woman, she attended Native American gatherings in the Southwest, where she heard poetry spoken aloud. Realizing poetry was a vehicle for social change, her art became a way for her to speak about the Native American rights movement. Since then, Harjo has written eight books in total, including poetry, memoir, and YA novels. As for her nomination, Harjo said she was in a “state of shock” and considers her a position a great honor, as well as a position of honor for all Native peoples.

In a statement to the Library of Congress, Carla Hayden, the Librarian of Congress said of Joy Harjo’s work “powerfully connects us to the earth and the spiritual world with direct, inventive lyricism that helps us reimagine who we are.”

In addition to being an author, Harjo is also a musician, composing four albums that speak to not only naturalistic themes but also the current political and social divides across America. She feels that poetry is a way to bridge cultures and hopes to embrace her new position.

 

 

 

 

Featured Image Via The Guardian. 

Feminist Dystopia ‘Last Ones Alive’ Is Getting a Film Adaptation!

The film rights to Sarah Davis-Goff’s dystopian novel Last Ones Left Alive have been acquired by Irish production company Treasure Entertainment, which means we’re getting a film adaptation on the way!

"The Last Ones Left Alive" Cover

Image Via Goodreads

Last Ones Left Alive oscillates between a young Orpen training as a child on her peaceful island-home of Slanbeg and Orpen as an adult traveling towards the mysterious Phoenix City.

Add in a four-legged companion and her wounded, wheelbarrow-bound guardian and you have a harrowing journey made all the more despite, and thus dramatic.

 

Sarah Davis-Groff

Image Via Irish Times

The Times writes that “[Sarah Davis-Goff] sees it as a wasteful dismissal of ‘the experiences, viewpoints and brilliant work of women’. Her enjoyable debut novel suffers from no such deficit,” and that might be the best summation of this novel.

Feminist, kickass, The Guardian noted that the novel “runs compellingly enough to an irresistible internal logic of violence,” with the The Irish Times writing “Davis-Goff blends narrow and wide lens writing to good effect”.

 

"The Last Ones Left Alive" Cover-2

Image Via Amazon

Perhaps it’s shouldn’t be as astonishing for the novel to get a film adaptation, but I can’t help but be blown away considered it was published by Tinder Press just a month ago on March 7, 2019.

Treasure Entertainment

Image Via Cinando

Screen Daily reports that Treasure Entertainment has bought film rights. Producer Rebecca O’Flanagan said in a statement that:

From my first read, I was struck by the visual nature of the book and could immediately see that it was a story that has huge potential to hit international screens with iconic and far-reaching success.

So far it’s not known who will be involved in the project. Davis-Goff is said to be “creatively involved” but will not write the screenplay. That makes sense, considering that Totally Dublin reports that “Davis-Goff has signed a two-book deal with publisher Tinder Press, so horror fans can expect another page-turner in the near-future”.

What are you more excited for: the film adaptation or the sequel novel?

 

 

Featured Image Via The Gloss Magazine

Elif Shafak

Turkey Puts Novelists, Including Elif Shafak, Under Investigation

According to The Guardian Turkish prosecutors have begun investigations into numerous writers of fiction, including famed author Elif Shafak. The campaign has been described as a serious violation of free speech rights, all breaking off from recent, rather vicious debates on social media about authors who write about difficult topics, such as child abuse and sexual violence. After a page from a new novel Abdullah Sevki was shared on Twitter, the novel quickly generated deep controversy when the chapter showcased featured a first person account of a child being sexual assaulted from a sexual predator’s POV. The government of Turkey has issued a formal complaint to ban the book and has charged Abdullah Sevki with criminal acts such as potential child abuse.

 

Turkey novelist with a close up of her face
IMAGE VIA THE GUARDIAN

Elif Shafak has described the campaign as a serious attack on free speech, having received thousands of abusive messages about her work published in the last few years, which deals with similar themes. She said her work is intended to put a spotlight on sexual violence in Turkey, especially against children, as Turkish courts have dragged their feet actually investigating reported incidents. She notes that instead of going after real life rapists, the Turkish courts are attacking writers instead, using them as a scapegoat without having to actually investigate the true problem.

Numerous speech organizations are deeply concerned about this campaign against Turkish novelists and have been quoted as saying:

“Freedom of expression in Turkey is increasingly under serious threat. Too many writers are in prison whilst others have been forced into exile.”

 

Shafak was previously tried for her novel, The Bastard of Istanbul, where she referred to the massacre of Armenians in World War I as a war crime and genocide. Shafak acknowledged that she deals with difficult subjects, such as sexual violence, but does not condone it and does the exact opposite with her work. She further notes she has always been a campaigner for women, children, and minority rights.

The campaign into investigating Shafak and other authors like her is sparking an international debate, both over free speech rights and content allowed in novels. What are your thoughts on this complicated issue? This could be easily be a slippery slope to go down for Turkey as a whole.

 

 

Featured Image by Random House Books 

James Ellroy, Author of ‘L.A Confidential’ Had Some Harsh Words About the Film

James Ellroy, author of the bestselling 1990 noir novel L.A. Confidentialhas a few harsh words to say about the novel’s 1997 film adaptation, which starred Guy Pearce, Russell Crowe, Kim Basinger, and Kevin Spacey. This was surprising, considering the film won numerous Oscars, including Best Picture and currently has a 99% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But James Ellroy made it clear in his panel during the weekend of the Hay Festival, according to The Guardianthat he did not care for it.

He said the novel was as ‘deep as tortilla’, while also noting he did not care for the the majority of the performances and even considered that the plot itself made no sense. He thought the action lacked a soul, focused on action and spectacle as opposed to the deeper significance he gave the book. He did, however, like the money he was given to the rights to the book, noting it was a gift he never had to give back.

 

A close up portrait of writer James Ellroy, framed against a white backdrop

Image via Random House books

James Ellroy hasn’t shied from controversy before, expressing the belief that Citizen Kane is a sh*tty film and expressing disinterest in any events after 1972, preferring immensely to write about the period before that. He refused to answer questions at the end of the panel about ‘contemporary issues’. Either way, this showcases that no matter how good or popular your movie is, the author may not like it.

What are your thoughts on this? Tell us in the comments!

 

Featured Image Via Deadline 

‘Tulip Fever’ Author Recalls “Nightmare” Experience of Movie Adaptation

Deborah Moggach, author of Tulip Fever, opened up to The Guardian  about the ‘nightmare’ experience she had regarding the adaptation of her novel, which starred Alicia Vikander and Christoph Waltz. Translating her beloved novel to the big screen was a horrible process and in many ways, was a cautionary tale of how NOT to adapt a book. Describing the experience as a ‘ghastly disaster’, Moggach, after flying to Hollywood to speak to producers about adapting the novel, jokingly offered her milkman, Ron, a role in the film. Though the comment was in jest, newspapers caught wind of this and spun it into “MILKMAN BEING OFFERED ROLE IN MOGGACH’S TULIP FEVER!” Soon, Moggach found herself dealing with both the press and a mountain of incoming screenwriters.

She recalled there was a continuous stream of screenwriters hoping to adapt her work, each one bumped off in favor of a new writer. In the process, she believes they lost track of what the book was supposed to be about. Moggach noted Harvey Weinstein interfered with the production constantly, which was shooting in 2014. It was first optioned in 2004 but was dropped after production delays. Weinstein kept fiddling with the cut of the film itself.  Moggach comments that he was a ‘bully’ and was never satisfied with the cut.

 

A woman in a period dress stands before a window with a rose
Image via Wikipedia

The film adaptation was finally released to negative reviews. It currently has a 10% on Rotten Tomatoes and an average rating of 4.4/10 on IMDB. It’s not hard to see why the author thought the film was particularly terrible and she admitted to watching the first screening with a glass of wine in hand, practically laughing at the decisions made by screenwriters while adapting the novel.

This film shows what happens when a good story gets into the wrong hands. What did you think of the film adaptation? Was it as terrible as everyone said? Is the book better? (In this author’s opinion, yes!)

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Rolling Stone