One of Ireland’s most beloved authors of children’s novels, Ellís Dillon practiced an economy of style in her work that was spare yet incredibly rich in its sense of atmosphere. Despite the fact that her books were intended for a young audience, the level of her writing achieved such distinguished heights that it appealed to an older generation as well.
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On 9 November 2016, Donald Trump won the electoral college both on the strength of and in spite of a campaign built upon bigoted, misogynistic, and racist rhetoric. In response, AntiBookClub—a small independent publishing company operating under a progressive, reformist platform—released an “open letter” to Penguin-Random House directly urging the company to stop representing Trump. In an eloquently stated passage, the letter advises:
As an influencer in the publishing world, your continued financial support through the sales of his book sends a message to your readers that you condone his racism, his misogyny, and his contempt for people of different nationalities and religions.
His rise to fame was spectacular but brief; as the lead in Berry Gordy’s deathless, runaway cult hit The Last Dragon, Taimak delivered audiences a character whose slash and burn approach to the martial arts was strangely offset by his quiet, unassuming charm. In Bruce Leroy, Taimak created an anomaly of personalities, housed in an individual who became emblematic of the contradiction to black stereotypes in film presented at the time.
The year of the film’s release, 1985, came and went. And it seemed that Taimak did, too. What should have been a meteoric rise to fame was, in fact, a quickly extinguished flame.
Maurice Sendak (1928-2012).
A master dies, and everyone musters to analyse his contribution to children’s literature. Probably, it can be summed up by the way in which he tapped into childhood memories, dreams, dramas – awake and asleep; this ability makes Sendak’s work so influential. I don’t recall his most famous book, Where The Wild Things Are (1963) nearly so much as I remember the imprint of the much criticized In The Night Kitchen (1970) on my childhood recollections of reading.
Max, the hero of Wild Things, was just a naughty boy. I did not relate to him in the way that I found the intimidating and surreal landscape of Mickey’s adventures in the Night Kitchen more impactful. So, what that says about me I’m not sure! (Paging Dr. Freud!)