Posted on October 13, 2010 - by MG
From festivals – to prizes!
Last week was off to a cracking start when I was lucky enough to be the guest speaker at the School Librarian of the Year Awards for 2010.
If you watch this video from Teacher’s TV you’ll see my shock and delight that I was able to announce TWO winners. And that’s from a very strong shortlist! It was a joy to be able to see the work that all the honour list of librarians has put into the ‘Learning Resource Centres’ in their schools. I quite envied the kids at Kevin Sheehan’s school in Offerton, Stockport, who got to enjoy, amongst many other activities, a Doctor Who theme day.
Then it was on to St. Gregory the Great School, Oxford, where a House competition was run to find the best school poet for National Poetry Day. Four talented young poets stood up to represent their houses before a packed hall at lunchtime. The brilliant Raymond Pelakamoyo won for Benedict House with a poem about Home that brough the house down. (You can watch the video of Raymond Pelakamoyo below or on Youtube)
Then…back home to hear two exciting announcements – the fabulous news that fellow Redhammer client, author Michelle Paver had won the Guardian Children’s Book Prize. And that one of my favourite authors, Mario Vargas Llosa, novelist and former Peruvian presidential candidate had finally won the greatest prize in Literature, the Nobel Prize.
Huzzah and thank goodness! For those of us who carry resentment that Jorge Luis Borges and Graham Greene were never given their due recognition by the Nobel Committee, Mario Vargas Llosa was another thorn in our side. Now he’s won! Now he is officially the literary equal of his former friend and subject of his doctoral thesis (until he punched him in the face in Mexico City), Gabriel Garcia Marquez!
I’ll confess that I have yet to finish the two books that are considered to be Vargas Llosa’s greatest contributions to the American Novel.
- The Green House
- The Feast of the Goat
And I haven’t yet read Conversations in the Cathedral, which Vargas Llosa told an audience at the 2009 Oxford Literary festival, was his own favourite. Or The War at the End of the World.
But! I have read and loved The Time of the Hero, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, Captain Pantoja and the Special Service, Who Killed Palomino Molero, The Storyteller, The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta and The Bad Girl.
Readers who know their onions are now nodding and thinking, yes, she’s a lightweight, only read the shorter, more entertaining novels. That’s what makes Vargas Llosa such a genius and such a worthy winner! Unlike most Nobel winners he can write dense politico historical epics, comedy, thrillers and murder mysteries. As the guy who announced the Nobel said, Vargas Llosa is a STORYTELLER.
He can write ANYTHING and make it awesome.
If you haven’t read anything by him, start with Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter. And yet again, thanks to Alan Hoyle, former boyfriend of my mother’s for giving me this book for honeymoon reading over 20 years ago and introducing me to your literary hero and now mine.
Three cheers for Vargitas and Peru!