I read The Grapes of Wrath in that fierce span of adolescence when reading was a frenzy. I was all but drowned in the pity and anger John Steinbeck evoked for these people, fleeing Oklahoma to seek work but finding nothing save cruelty, violence, the enmity of immoral banks and businesses, and the neglect by the state of its own people in the Land of the Free. The novel was published in 1939 and delivered a shock to the English reading world. But for years I did not read him. Earlier this year, when asked to make a film about Steinbeck for the BBC , I went back with apprehension.
In the early nineteen-seventies, Mark and Delia Owens, two graduate students in biology at the University of Georgia, were seized by the idea of resettling in remotest Africa. They organized an auction, sold their possessions, and used the modest proceeds to buy camping equipment and a pair of one-way air tickets to Johannesburg. When they arrived, in January, 1974, Delia, the daughter of a Georgia trucking executive, was twenty-four years old. Mark, who grew up on a farm west of Toledo, Ohio, was twenty-nine, the divorced father of a four-year-old boy named Christopher. Mark and Delia had scoured the map of Africa, searching for a site so isolated that its wildlife would have no knowledge, and no fear, of humans.
Find a complete listing of literary magazines here. Our criteria for this list has changed and we feel the literary magazines on this list are much better ranked than our previous list. It's always hard to build this list, but we looked about close to 20 data points in coming up with this list. The most important criteria we used this time was date of founding, number of national anthologies publications (and we looked at a lot of them), and the quality of work of and names of passed greats published in the magazines. The purpose of this list is to help writers find a place to publish their writing that will get them some recognition.
Originally formulated by scientist Edward O Wilson , the biophilia hypothesis suggests that human beings have an innate affinity with the natural world – plants, animals or even the weather. Yet it's not biophilia but good old-fashioned fandom that has drawn a small band of Björk obsessives to queue outside Manchester's Campfield Market Hall since 10am this morning. Not that there's anything old-fashioned about the woman they are here to see. Biophilia is the Icelandic singer's new project – the word means "love of living things" – and promises to push the envelope so far you'll need the Hubble telescope to see it.
One of the works that will be shown in the Ghosts of Gone Birds exhibition: Six Skins And A Single Egg by Rebecca Jewell. Photograph: Rebecca Jewell/Ghosts of Gone Birds They are all, alas, bleeding demised, passed on, no more, ceased to be, bereft of life and resting in peace.
Margaret Atwood is among writers contributing to Verso's collection of short stories on climate change, I'm With the Bears. Photograph: Murdo Macleod for the Guardian Novelists from Margaret Atwood to David Mitchell are hoping to bring the dangers posed by climate change to life, through a new collection of short stories tackling the climate crisis.
One of the distinctive aspects of British culture is that the word "intellectual" seems to be regarded as a term of abuse. WH Auden summed it up neatly when he wrote: "To the man-in-the-street, who, I'm sorry to say, / Is a keen observer of life,/ The word 'Intellectual' suggests right away/ A man who's untrue to his wife." Auden wasn't alone in thinking that intellectuals suffer from ethical deficiencies. The journalist and historian Paul Johnson once devoted an entire book, Intellectuals: from Marx and Tolstoy to Sartre and Chomsky (2000), to proving that some of the 20th century's most prominent thinkers were moral cretins.
The poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, is launching a poetry competition for secondary school pupils. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images Hardly a week goes by without a warning about how educationally detrimental it is for children to spend hours of every day screen-gazing and message-sending. But now there's a note of dissent – from the poet laureate, no less, who says she believes texting is an ideal springboard to good poetry-writing.