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11 Aug 2016

Q&A with Adrian McKinty, author of the Sean Duffy series

Download Serpent’s Tail’s interview with Adrian McKinty, author of the Sean Duffy thriller series, set in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. The latest in the series, Rain Dogs, was shortlisted for the 2016 Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year Prize. Find out more at www.adrianmckinty.com

01 Aug 2016

Women in Translation Month - Reading List

Did you know that less than a third of all literary translations published in the UK and the US were originally written by women? Did you know that women writers win far fewer prizes for their translated books than male writers? Women in Translation Month is all about appreciating the great women writers who do get translated – and of course the people who bring them to us, their translators and publishers. It’s an opportunity to join in a worldwide conversation about outstanding writing from...

26 Jul 2016

Everyone Brave is Forgiven discussion questions

Mary North – young, resourceful, fiercely intelligent, and a newly recruited teacher – resolves to stay in London at the outbreak of the Second World War. For although the city’s children are evacuated in a carefully orchestrated and very public act, a number of the have been returned, quickly and quietly, because the countryside ‘doesn’t want them’. What good is it to teach a child to count, Mary wonders, if you do not show him that he counts for something? Moving from Blitz-torn London to...

26 Jul 2016

Everyone Brave is Forgiven extract

Mary North – young, resourceful, fiercely intelligent, and a newly recruited teacher – resolves to stay in London at the outbreak of the Second World War. For although the city’s children are evacuated in a carefully orchestrated and very public act, a number of the have been returned, quickly and quietly, because the countryside ‘doesn’t want them’. What good is it to teach a child to count, Mary wonders, if you do not show him that he counts for something? Moving from Blitz-torn London to...

26 Jul 2016

Taduno's Song extract

The day a stained brown envelope arrives from Taduno’s homeland, he knows that the time has come to return from exile. Arriving full of trepidation, the musician discovers that his community no longer recognises him, believing that Taduno is dead. His girlfriend Lela has disappeared, taken away by government agents. As he wanders through his house in search of clues, he realises that any traces of his old life have been erased. All that was left of his life and himself are memories. But...

26 Jul 2016

The Memory Stones extract

Heartbreaking and beautiful, The Memory Stones tells the story of the Disappeared, thousands of Argentinians who fell victim to the violence of the period. Depicting the despair and hope of one family seeking to rebuild itself after unimaginable loss, it is a lyrical, devastating portrait of a country that has come face to face with terror and the long, dark shadow it leaves behind.

12 Jul 2016

I Love Dick by Chris Kraus - Shelf Talker 5

When Chris Kraus, an unsuccessful artist pushing 40, spends an evening with a rogue academic named Dick, she falls madly and inexplicably in love, enlisting her husband in her haunted pursuit. Dick proposes a kind of game between them, but when he fails to answer their letters Chris continues alone, transforming an adolescent infatuation into a new form of philosophy. Blurring the lines of fiction, essay and memoir, Chris Kraus’s novel was a literary sensation when it was first published in...

12 Jul 2016

I Love Dick by Chris Kraus - Shelf Talker 4

When Chris Kraus, an unsuccessful artist pushing 40, spends an evening with a rogue academic named Dick, she falls madly and inexplicably in love, enlisting her husband in her haunted pursuit. Dick proposes a kind of game between them, but when he fails to answer their letters Chris continues alone, transforming an adolescent infatuation into a new form of philosophy. Blurring the lines of fiction, essay and memoir, Chris Kraus’s novel was a literary sensation when it was first published in...

12 Jul 2016

I Love Dick by Chris Kraus - Shelf Talker 2

When Chris Kraus, an unsuccessful artist pushing 40, spends an evening with a rogue academic named Dick, she falls madly and inexplicably in love, enlisting her husband in her haunted pursuit. Dick proposes a kind of game between them, but when he fails to answer their letters Chris continues alone, transforming an adolescent infatuation into a new form of philosophy. Blurring the lines of fiction, essay and memoir, Chris Kraus’s novel was a literary sensation when it was first published in...

12 Jul 2016

I Love Dick by Chris Kraus - Shelf Talker 1

When Chris Kraus, an unsuccessful artist pushing 40, spends an evening with a rogue academic named Dick, she falls madly and inexplicably in love, enlisting her husband in her haunted pursuit. Dick proposes a kind of game between them, but when he fails to answer their letters Chris continues alone, transforming an adolescent infatuation into a new form of philosophy. Blurring the lines of fiction, essay and memoir, Chris Kraus’s novel was a literary sensation when it was first published in...

12 Jul 2016

I Love Dick by Chris Kraus - Postcards

When Chris Kraus, an unsuccessful artist pushing 40, spends an evening with a rogue academic named Dick, she falls madly and inexplicably in love, enlisting her husband in her haunted pursuit. Dick proposes a kind of game between them, but when he fails to answer their letters Chris continues alone, transforming an adolescent infatuation into a new form of philosophy. Blurring the lines of fiction, essay and memoir, Chris Kraus’s novel was a literary sensation when it was first published in...

12 Jul 2016

I Love Dick by Chris Kraus - Recommendation cards

When Chris Kraus, an unsuccessful artist pushing 40, spends an evening with a rogue academic named Dick, she falls madly and inexplicably in love, enlisting her husband in her haunted pursuit. Dick proposes a kind of game between them, but when he fails to answer their letters Chris continues alone, transforming an adolescent infatuation into a new form of philosophy. Blurring the lines of fiction, essay and memoir, Chris Kraus’s novel was a literary sensation when it was first published in...

08 Jul 2016

The Silent Cry by Cathy Glass - Reading group questions

This is the sixteenth fostering memoir by the inspirational foster carer Cathy Glass, giving a real insight into the world of foster care and the heart-breaking and moving stories she encounters along the way. The Silent Cry is the true story of a deeply troubled mother, Laura, who is struggling to cope with her new born Liam and her little girl Kim. With an overbearing family and her own inner demons starting to take over, can Cathy step in before it’s too late?

08 Jul 2016

The Past by Tessa Hadley - Reading guide

Four siblings meet up in their grandparents’ old house for three long, hot summer weeks. But under the idyllic surface lie shattering tensions. Roland has come with his new wife, and his sisters don’t like her. Fran has brought her children, who soon uncover an ugly secret in a ruined cottage in the woods. Alice has invited Kasim, an outsider, who makes plans to seduce Roland’s teenage daughter. And Harriet, the eldest, finds her quiet self-possession ripped apart when passion erupts...

08 Jul 2016

The Summer of Broken Stories by James Wilson extract

England, 1950s. While out playing in the woods, ten-year-old Mark meets a man living in an old railway carriage. Despite his wild appearance, the stranger, who introduces himself as Aubrey Hillyard, is captivating – an irreverent outsider who is shunned by Mark’s fellow villagers, and a writer to boot. Aubrey encourages Mark to tell stories about his own make-believe world, and in return he informs the boy about a novel he is writing – a work of ominous science fiction. As the meddling...

08 Jul 2016

Father's Day by Simon van Booy extract

A beautifully crafted story of an orphaned girl named Harvey and the troubled uncle who raises her Moving between past and present, Father’s Day weaves together the story of Harvey’s childhood on Long Island and her life as a young woman in Paris. Written in raw, spare prose that personifies the characters, this novel is the journey of two people searching for a future in the ruins of their past.

08 Jul 2016

The House at the Edge of the Night extract

On a tiny island off the coast of Italy, Amedeo Esposito, a foundling from Florence, thinks he has found a place where, finally, he can belong. Intrigued by a building the locals believe to be cursed, Amedeo restores the crumbling walls, replaces sagging doors and sweeps floors before proudly opening the bar he names the ‘House at the Edge of Night’. Surrounded by the sound of the sea and the scent of bougainvillea, he and the beautiful, fiercely intelligent Pina begin their lives...

05 Jul 2016

Cruel Heart Broken Discussion Points

Inspired by a tragic true story, Cruel Heart Broken is a taut tale of guilt, impossible choices, and the consequences that follow. Laurie is a good girl – so everyone thinks. But eight months ago she did something that she can’t undo and it’s tearing her apart. Charlie used to be her best friend. He’s done something he regrets too… and now someone has died. Two impulsive decisions. Two toxic secrets. Too many hearts broken. Partly inspired by the true story of a teacher in France who...

24 May 2016

The Impact of Chatterbooks on Children’s Reading Enjoyment, Behaviours and Attitudes - Executive Summary

Executive Summary of the evaluation report by Clémence Pabion and Christina Clark, National Literacy Trust. The report looks at the impact of Chatterbooks on children’s reading enjoyment, behaviour and attitudes, relating to our Department for Education funded project to establish KS2 book clubs in primary schools, and encourage year 3 library membership.

24 May 2016

The Impact of Chatterbooks on Children’s Reading Enjoyment, Behaviours and Attitudes

Evaluation report by Clémence Pabion and Christina Clark, National Literacy Trust. The report looks at the impact of Chatterbooks on children’s reading enjoyment, behaviour and attitudes, relating to our Department for Education funded project to establish KS2 book clubs in primary schools, and encourage year 3 library membership.

19 May 2016

Year 3 Library Membership Report

Report on the Year 3 Library Membership element of the KS2 Book Clubs and Library Membership project, funded by the Department for Education.

03 May 2016

The Vegetarian - reading notes

Reading notes for Man Booker International Prize shortlisted book The Vegetarian. Yeong-hye and her husband are ordinary people. He is an office worker with moderate ambitions and mild manners; she is an uninspired but dutiful wife. The acceptable flatline of their marriage is interrupted when Yeong-hye, seeking a more ‘plant-like’ existence, commits a shocking act of subversion by becoming vegetarian. As her rebellion causes rifts in her marriage, Yeong-hye spirals further and further into...

03 May 2016

The Story of the Lost Child - reading notes

Reading notes for Man Booker International Prize shortlisted book The Story of the Lost Child. The fourth and final instalment of the Neapolitan Novels series, this is the dazzling saga of the friendship between two women: brilliant, bookish Elena and fiery, uncontainable Lila. Both women fought to escape the neighbourhood in which they grew up: a prison of conformity, violence, and inviolable taboos. Against the backdrop of a Naples that is as seductive as it is perilous in a world...

03 May 2016

A Strangeness in My Mind - reading notes

Reading notes for Man Booker International Prize shortlisted book A Strangeness in My Mind. This is the story of boza seller Mevlut, the woman to whom he wrote three years’ worth of love letters, and their life in Istanbul. Between 1969 and 2012, Mevlut works a number of different jobs on the streets of Istanbul, from selling yoghurt and cooked rice to guarding a car park. He observes many different kinds of people thronging the streets, he witnesses all of the transformative moments in the...

03 May 2016

The Four Books - reading notes

Reading notes for Man Booker International Prize shortlisted book The Four Books. In the ninety-ninth district of a sprawling labour camp, the Author, Musician, Scholar, Theologian and Technician are undergoing Re-education, to restore their revolutionary zeal and credentials. In charge of this process is the Child, who delights in draconian rules, monitoring behaviour and confiscating treasured books. But when bad weather arrives, followed by the ‘three bitter years’ of The Great Famine, the...

03 May 2016

A Whole Life - reading notes

Reading notes for Man Booker International Prize shortlisted book A Whole Life. Andreas lives his whole life in the Austrian Alps, where he arrives as a young boy taken in by a farming family. He is a man of very few words and so, when he falls in love with Marie, he doesn’t ask for her hand in marriage but instead has some of his friends light her name at dusk across the mountain. When Marie dies in an avalanche, pregnant with their first child, Andreas’ heart is broken. He leaves his valley...

03 May 2016

A General Theory of Oblivion - reading notes

Reading notes for Man Booker International Prize shortlisted book, A General Theory of Oblivion. A wild patchwork of a novel, which tells the story of Angola through Ludo, a woman who bricks herself into her apartment on the eve of Angolan independence. For the next 30 years she lives off vegetables and pigeons, and burns her furniture to stay warm. But the outside world seeps in, through snippets on the radio, voices from next door, glimpses of a man fleeing his pursuers and a note attached...

03 Feb 2016

A Baby at the Beach Cafe by Lucy Diamond Quick Reads learning resource

A learning resource for readers and practitioners to accompany the Quick Read A Baby at the Beach Cafe by Lucy Diamond

29 Jan 2016

Reading for Pleasure and Reading Circles for Adult Emergent Readers

Reading for Pleasure and Reading Circles for Adult Emergent Readers aims to provide practical tips and things to think about for anyone interested in running a reading group of any kind – librarians, community workers, teachers and non-teachers, including anyone working with people who may see themselves as new to reading or new to reading in English. The author, Sam Duncan, is Senior Lecturer in Adult Education and Literacies at UCL Institute of Education. She is also the creator of the...

17 Dec 2015

Public Library & Other Stories by Ali Smith - Competition Image for Twitter

Public Library & Other Stories Competition Image for Twitter In the run up to National Libraries Day, and to celebrate the publication of Public Library and Other Stories by the great and talented Ali Smith, Penguin and The Reading Agency invite you to join in the #MyPublicLibrary competition! The competition Launching on 4 January, simply tweet or Instagram a picture of yourself with a favourite book you discovered at a library using the hashtag #MyPublicLibrary to be in with a chance of...

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