March 3, 2011

Kingston upon Thames

Elif Shafak in conversation with Richard Cohen

Elif Shafak is the most widely read woman writer in Turkey. Her novels in both Turkish and English have proved best-sellers and been translated into more than 30 languages, although she was prosecuted for The Bastard of Istanbul's (2006) treatment of the Armenian question. Her memoir of postnatal depression, Black Milk: On Writing, Motherhood and the Harem Within, shortly to be published in English, was equally acclaimed. She is also a political scientist and assistant professor, although currently serving as writer-in-residence at Kingston University. She will discuss her literary career with Richard Cohen, visiting professor of creative writing and publishing studies, in Kingston's Rose Theatre at 1pm on 7 March.


Dangerous Translations: Erotic, Exotic or Downright Rude?

Writing that is bawdy, sexually explicit or plain obscene can present particular problems for translators. Two leading exponents of the art, Shaun Whiteside and Polly McLean, will go head to head with rival versions of works by the French poet Apollinaire and contemporary novelist Alina Reyes, author of The Butcher. The audience at the Southbank Centre in London will be able to decide which they prefer, and perhaps to offer even filthier suggestions. Jonathon Green, the world's leading expert on anglophone slang, will offer reflections on why we choose particular rude words and what it means to say that some are "dirty". The event, which takes place at 7.45pm on 9 March, will be chaired by bilingual author Michèle Roberts, whose acclaimed novel The Wild Girl reimagined Mary Magdalene, often seen as a prostitute, as a prophet, heretic and lover of Jesus.

Nationwide on BBC Two

World Book Night

The brainchild of Jamie Byng, managing director of Canongate Books, World Book Night is an unprecedented industry-wide initiative to inspire a love of reading and literature by giving away a million books. Forty thousand copies of 25 titles - by authors ranging from Margaret Attwood and Alan Bennett to John le Carre, Philip Pullman, Muriel Spark and Sarah Waters - will be assembled at a number of pick-up points. Twenty thousand selected bibliophiles will each take responsibility for collecting and distributing 48 copies of a book to whoever they want, whether confirmed fellow addicts, people with less access to books or those yet to be infected with the reading bug. Personal recommendations underlie many of our most enjoyable reading experiences. World Book Night, on 5 March, multiplies the pleasure a millionfold.


Mary Kelly: Projects 1973-2010

American feminist artist Mary Kelly aroused tabloid hostility in the 1970s when her series of works about motherhood, Post-Partum Document (1973-79), included dirty nappies. This exhibition at Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester (until 12 June) presents a comprehensive overview of her four decades of work. Multi-Story House (2007) invites visitors to step inside and read the intergenerational dialogue patterned on its walls, the polished shields and trophies of Gloria Patri (1992) quote soldiers in Iraq, while The Ballad of Kastriot Rexhepi (2001) tells the story of a child lost and found during the Kosovo war.


King James Bible Lecture Series

The King James Bible, which celebrates its 400th anniversary this year, is one of the most powerful and influential texts in the English language. But although it has often been acclaimed for its supreme literary qualities, it was also a deeply political text, rooted in particular concepts of power relations, particularly between monarchs and subjects. After an introductory lecture this week at King's College Conference Centre, University of Aberdeen, five leading experts dig deep into the Authorised Version, exploring themes such as the development of different editions, its particular significance to Scotland, its "social universe" and its role as a "savage text", used or abused to spread hatred, racism, sexism and slavery. The series continues until 12 May.

• Details from www.abdn.ac.uk/king-james-bible/

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