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Happy 65th birthday, Stephen King! There’s a lot to look forward to next year for fans of the author. Thirty-six years after The Shining, we will soon find out what happens to Danny Torrance, the boy who survived the horrific events, in the sequel Doctor Sleep, which is set to be published in September 2013. King will also release a new novel, Joyland, in June next year under the Hard Case Crime imprint. Many of King’s novels have been adapted for film; The Shining was directed by Stanley Kubrick and starred Jack Nicholson. Cary Fukunaga, director of the most recent Jane Eyre starring Michael Fassbender, plans to take on King’s 1986 bestselling IT—previously adapted into a 1990 mini TV series—and split it into two feature-length releases.
Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, about Captain Ahab’s obsession with destroying the big white whale, is regarded as one of America’s finest novels, but many haven’t read it. As such, the artist Angela Cockayne and writer Philip Hoare have kicked off a new project to democratise the mighty magnificence of Melville’s writing: Moby Dick Big Read, launched September 16. This could be your new daily ritual: listen to all 135 chapters from Melville’s monolithic tome read out loud—then broadcast online in separate downloads—over 135 days by a range of writers, musicians, artists, scientists, and academics. Notably, Tilda Swinton, who previously starred in We Need to Talk About Kevin and The Chronicles of Narnia, has performed the first chapter, “Loomings”. You can also look forward to upcoming recordings by sci-fi author China Miéville, actor Benedict Cumberbatch (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Sir David Attenborough (who needs no introduction), and UK Prime Minister David Cameron. Moby Dick Big Read supports the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS), so although the readings are available for free, you are invited to make a donation to the charity. And if you want to see Moby Dick Big Read live, click here to find out more.
Another new live storytelling night makes its debut in London. Presented by Future Perfect, Juke Box Story is an event series of tales inspired by music. The first meet-up is tonight at 7:30pm, featuring a line-up of stories, each inspired by an ’80s pop song, at the Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden. Get tickets on the door.
Salman Rushdie, whose memoir Joseph Anton was published just a few days ago, has already been longlisted as one of 14 titles for the 2012 Samuel Johnson Prize for nonfiction, worth £20,000. It is written in third person about his years in hiding under the threat of Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa, which condemned Rushdie to death on Valentine’s Day, 1989 in the wake of the publication of The Satanic Verses. Apparently, the fatwa still stands; and not only that, it was reported last weekend that an Iranian religious foundation headed by Ayatollah Hassan Saneii had raised the bounty on Rushdie’s head by half a million dollars to $3.3 million (£2 million). The reason: outrage over a film insulting the Prophet Mohammad that has nothing to do with Rushdie. Hassan Saneii reportedly said in a statement, “It [the film] won’t be the last insulting act as long as Imam Khomeini’s historic order on executing the blasphemous Salman Rushdie is not carried out.” Rushdie has dismissed this as mere “talk”. You can catch five extracts from the book on BBC Radio 4 from 17-21 September, 9:45-10:00 a.m.
This isn’t exactly literary news, but since Time Out London is such a great source of literary and cultural events in London, we thought you’d be excited to know that… Time Out London is going free. Yes, FREE! From next Tuesday, 25 September, you can pick up your free copy at tube stations and at big museums and galleries. More information here. Also, an interesting look at its radical roots.
Emily joined Litro in April 2012 as Literary Editor & Web Designer. She made over the website and introduced new developmental and editorial features to strengthen Litro's online presence. She left her position in January 2013, taking a backseat as Contributing Editor to concentrate on writing. She is a freelance journalist with a special interest in travel writing and foreign reporting (with an inclination for Asia and Latin America), and is now based in Malaysia. English is her native language, but she also speaks Mandarin and Spanish, having spent 2007-08 travelling in Central America.