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Samuel Johnson Prize Roundup

Samuel Johnson Prize Roundup

Kate Summerscale
Philip Hoare
Leviathan
Jonathan Coe

Fans of Kate Summerscale’s Mr Whicher will be pleased to hear the private investigator will be returning to screens later this year in a follow-up to ITV’s 2011 film drama.  Paddy Considine, who plays protagonist Jack Whicher, will be joined by BAFTA Award nominated actress Olivia Colman as Susan Spencer, who employs Whicher following the savage murder of her niece. Summerscale explains to the Guardian’s John Mullan how she learnt to see the world through the eyes of the pioneer detective to write the Samuel Johnson prize winning book which inspired the TV adaptation.

2009 Samuel Johnson prize winner Philip Hoare has been busy over the last few months with a suitably whale-sized project, the Moby- Dick Big Read.  Brainchild of the Leviathan author and artist Angela Cockayne, the project has broadcast Herman Melville's novel in its entirety – 135 chapters over 135 days. A host of famous names including David Cameron, Tilda Swinton, Stephen Fry and Sir David Attenborough have joined the project to read sections of the novel aloud, bringing new life to the 19th century classic.  The audio recordings have been accompanied by images inspired by the book from some of the biggest names in contemporary art, including Anish Kapoor and Anthony Gormley.  The final reading took place on Tuesday 29 January with discussion from the Philip Hoare and a specially commissioned musical performance.

2005 Samuel Johnson prize winner Jonathan Coe has announced his 10th novel, EXPO 58, will be published in September.  Set in Brussels World’s Fair during the cold war, Coe’s novel mixes espionage, politics and romance which the author has described as “John Le Carré meets Evelyn Waugh”. Foreign rights to the book have already been sold to s number of European countries.

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