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Friday High Five: Man Booker Politics, Getting Back at Buzzfeed

Read Thursday, 29 Jan 2015

Eleanor Catton vs New Zealand

New Zealand’s Man Booker Prize winner (for The Luminaries), Eleanor Catton, has told audiences at the Jaipur Literary Festival that ‘she is uncomfortable being seen as an ambassador for New Zealand which she says is dominated by neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, shallow and money hungry politicians who do not care about culture’. This follows the comments last year by 2014 Man Booker winner, Richard Flanagan, that he is ‘ashamed to be Australian’ because of our environmental policies. Will we southern hemisphere colonials gain a reputation for being politically outspoken?


Triple J vs Buzzfeed

You might (or might not) have been following the – ultimately unsuccessful – attempts of internet publication Buzzfeed to propel Taylor Swift into this year’s Triple J Hottest 100 (even though the station has never played Swift, not ever ever ever). Their motivation? To annoy hipsters, apparently. Triple J has answered back with a very clever listicle of its own, designed to look just like Buzzfeed, with ‘8 Hilarious But Totally True Reasons You Won’t Hear “Shake It Off” In The Hottest 100’.

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How a spelling error ruined a company

Do you think spelling and grammar fiends are kind of precious? Maybe it’s for a reason …. as this you-couldn’t-make-it-up story demonstrates. A 124-year-old Welsh company has gone bankrupt due to a typo of a single letter, after Companies House, part of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, ‘erroneously recorded that the Cardiff engineering firm Taylor & Sons Ltd had been wound up’. (The unlucky firm was actually Taylor & Son.) The loss of customer confidence due to the misunderstanding ruined the business.

Games writers play

Did you know J.K. Rowling winds down with Minecraft? That Alex ‘The Beach’ Garland plays first-person shooter? And that A.S. Byatt loves snooker? The Guardian shares the favourite games of some notable writers.

Nabokov playing chess.
Nabokov playing chess.

Are you a book addict?

If you think you might be a book addict, check these 15 warning signs … and then self-diagnose, as is the way of the internet age. Do you have so many books in your bedroom that they’ve spread off the bookshelves onto the floor? Is 90% of your gift wishlist taken up by books? And … be honest here … are some of your best friends, well, not exactly ‘real’?

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