"Rajesh Kumar is a shopkeeper by profession but spends hours every morning teaching around 80 children from the poorest of the poor in India’s capital. The 43-year-old visited the construction of the Delhi transit station a few years ago and was disturbed by the sight of many children playing at the site instead of attending school.
When he questioned the parents working at the sites they all said there were no schools in the vicinity and no one cared. Consequently, his open-air class room was born - between pillars and beneath the tracks of the Delhi transit system, known as the Metro.
Every few minutes a train passes above, the children unperturbed by its sounds. There are no chairs or tables and the children sit on rolls of polystyrene foam placed on the rubble. Three rectangular patches of wall are painted black and used as a blackboard.
Anonymous donors have contributed cardigans, books, shoes and stationery for the children, as their parents cannot afford them. One unnamed individual sends a bag full of biscuits and fruit juice for the pupils every day - another incentive for the children to turn up for their studies.”
Thank you, frenchchairs.
Ann Hamilton's books used in Tropos
…With an electric burner in hand, (she) burned each line from the book, as it was read, causing the air to fill with acrid smoke.
Ann Hamilton- Body Object
Launched in 1996, the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction is awarded annually and celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world. The winner receives a cheque for £30,000.
The judges for 2014 are Helen Fraser, Caitlin Moran, Sophie Raworth, Mary Beard, and Denise Mina.
The Baileys Women’s Prize longlist in full:
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Americanah
- Margaret Atwood - MaddAddam
- Suzanne Berne – The Dogs of Littlefiel
- Fatima Bhutto - The Shadow of the Crescent Moon
- Claire Cameron – The Bear
- Lea Carpenter - Eleven Days
- M.J. Carter - The Strangler Vine
- Eleanor Catton - The Luminaries
- Deborah Kay Davies - Reasons She Goes to the Woods
- Elizabeth Gilbert - The Signature of All Things
- Hannah Kent - Burial Rites
- Rachel Kushner - The Flamethrowers
- Jhumpa Lahiri - The Lowland
- Audrey Magee - The Undertaking
- Eimear McBride - A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing
- Charlotte Mendelson - Almost English
- Anna Quindlen - Still Life with Bread Crumbs
- Elizabeth Strout - The Burgess Boys
- Donna Tartt - The Goldfinch
- Evie Wyld - All The Birds, Singing
Previous Winners Include:
- May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Homes (2013)
- The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (2012)
- The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht (2011)
- The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver (2010)
- Home by Marilynne Robinson (2009)
- The Road Home by Rose Tremain (2008)
- Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2007)
- On Beauty by Zadie Smith (2006)
- We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver (2005)
Poet Kevin Young's newest collection of poems focuses on the death of his father and the birth of his son. In today's interview he reads some of his newest pieces and discusses how music, especially the blues, influences his work:
"I think music is poetry in the sense that I think the condition of poetry I’m going for has some qualities of music that it aspires to. I also think what I love about poetry is the way that music is in the poem, is in the words themselves. It’s not behind it, it’s not in front of it — it is it. Music and the blues, they have taught me a lot. I think in this book, Book Of Hours, there is this blues sensibility. There are moments of humor even in the sorrow and I’m really interested in the way that the blues have that tragic-comic view of life — what Langston Hughes called ‘laughing to keep from crying.’”
image of Kevin Young via mylastsupper by Melanie Dunea/CPI