Richard Lea in the Guardian checks in with authors on both sides of the current conflict in South Lebanon, including Lebanese novelists Elias Khoury and Hassan Daoud, Israeli author Orly Castel-Bloom and writer of surreal short-fiction Etgar Keret, and Palestinian author Adania Shibli.
Unsurprising verdict: war isn't very good for writing. My favourite comment comes from Castel-Bloom:
I used to write books they called post-modern, but now it is pure realism.Meanwhile, Nobel prize winner Gunter Grass's shock revelation that he once served in Adolf Hitler's Waffen SS force has ignited a firestorm of criticism, writes Tony Paterson in the Independent,with some quarters demanding that he return the award. Grass claims that writing his new autobiography Peeling the Onion (supposed to be published next month, but I believe it has already been launched) finally gave him the opportunity to face up to his Nazi past.
Also well worth reading on the case is this post on the Done with Mirrors blog (via Tailrank).
The Nigerian Biafran war provides the background to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's new novel, which is dedicated to the grandparents Adichi never knew. Adichi's highly praised first novel Purple Hibiscus was shortlisted for the Orange Prize in 2004 and won the Commonwealth Writers First Book Prize. The novelist is profiled by Christina Patterson in the Independent. Although writing of war at second-hand, Adichie clearly gets things right. Patterson describes Half A Yellow Sun as:
... a magnificent novel, packed with memorable characters and their different worlds. Adichie's own childhood took place entirely within the bounds of a university campus, but she captures village life, and the cocktail-drinking coteries of the super-rich, as if they too were part of the fabric of her daily life. She also captures the horrors of war: the constant upheaval, the hunger and the brutalising fear that causes ordinary people ... to take part in acts of casual brutality.In case we need reminding.