Now well into its second decade, the Women’s Prize for Fiction is firmly established, is respected throughout the world and has made a major impact on the literary landscape in the UK and beyond. Here are some reviews of books that have been longlisted this year –
Eleanor Oliphant lives a quiet, isolated life and sticks to her routine. She eats the same things, wears the same clothes and keeps to herself. Then one day she helps a stranger and her world opens up. As she learns there is a lot more to life, we learn there is a lot more to Eleanor Oliphant.
Despite its sad subject matter, this was an entertaining and sometimes hilarious read. Eleanor is a perfect character: you laugh with her, you despair at her and you route for her the whole way.
Florence is eighty-six and living in Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. She is trying to behave herself and not forget so many things, helped all the time by her best friend Elsie. We learn two important things about Elsie quickly but it’s the third thing about her that makes this novel exceptional.
You can tell Joanna Cannon has a background in psychiatry as we really get to see inside the minds of the characters and she has some great insights on human nature.
Mina A is H(a)ppy. Her and the rest of The Young live in a world without pain, want, fear or death. They all strive to remain in balance and avoid an excess of emotion. But when Mina A starts writing her own narrative, she struggles to maintain her feelings.
This was unlike anything I’d ever read before. The story argues with itself, desperately trying not to be told. It has a unique and unpredictable layout, where every page is a surprise.
The shortlist is due to be announced tomorrow, Monday 23 April.
Adult Learners’ Week is the UK’s largest annual festival of learning, inspiring thousands of people to discover how learning can change their lives.
It is the perfect opportunity to raise awareness of the benefits learning can bring, and to inspire adults of all ages to try something new. We have events in five of our libraries during Adult Learners’ Week -we hope to see you there!
What makes people happy?
Sharing the practical lessons from well-being research – Birkbeck academics have put together a series free of workshops which unpack cutting-edge research from a range of disciplines to help you better understand the science behind the smile, as well as giving you practical tips to increase your well-being.
Please book your free place for these sessions on Eventbrite.
How to be happy: some quick wins (and losses)
Saturday 18 May, 10 to 11.30am, Brompton Library
This workshop will focus on what psychologists have learnt about the science of happiness, in particular the characteristics that allow people to remain hopeful and optimistic in the face of challenging and busy lives. We will also explore how this knowledge has been translated into practical interventions that increase hope and optimism. Participants should leave with ideas around how to translate this information into small and meaningful improvements to their own levels of hope and optimism and those in their care.
Using positive psychology to stay healthy and happy in your work
Monday 20 May, 10 to 11.30am, Brompton Library
Find out how to safeguard and improve your happiness and well-being in professional settings. This workshop will help you better understand the science behind the smile, as well as giving you practical tips and strategies to increase your well-being.
Saturday 18 May, 10.30am to 1pm, Notting Hill Gate Library
Friday 24 May, 12 noon to 1.30pm, Brompton Library
Learn, chat and make with the Crocheting Divas. All materials and equipment will be provided – all you need to bring is your enthusiasm and creativity. There’s no need to book a place – just come along.
Online taster sessions
Want to do more online? Please book your free place for any of these sessions at Chelsea Reference Library.
Social media: how to make the most of Facebook, Twitter and more
Tuesday 21 May, 2 to 4pm, Chelsea Reference Library
Beyond Google: high quality learning materials available free from your library
Wednesday 22 May, 10am to 12 noon, Chelsea Reference Library
Career information online: finding the best career and training information for you
Thursday 23 May, 12 noon to 2pm, Chelsea Reference Library
Colville Community History slideshow and talk
Tuesday 21 May, 5.30 to 7.30pm, North Kensington Library
Colville Community History Project’s Tom Vague presents a slideshow and talk about the history of the area. Come along to join in the discussion, share your experiences and find out more about the Colville Community History Project. Please book a free place for this event at North Kensington Library.
Writing Creatively in Kensington – a creative writing workshop
Wednesday 22 May, 1.30 to 4.30pm, Kensington Central Library
Using photos and other artefacts from our Local Studies Library to inspire creativity participants will be encouraged to write their own pieces. Please book a free place for this event at Kensington Central Library.
Deep Recording Studios – information stall
Wednesday 22 May, 12 noon to 4.30pm, Chelsea Library
Want to find out more about music technology or sound engineering? Then come along to our information stall run by Deep Recording Studios in West London. They run Levels 1,2 and 3 City and Guilds accredited Music Technology and Sound Engineering Courses (no qualifications required). Deep has a fully operational recording studio facility near Ladbroke Grove tube station in West London, running Logic Pro and Pro Tools music software .
Hand Sewing Workshop – make a felt badge with Eithne Farry
Thursday 23 May, 2 to 4pm, Kensington Central Library
Are you passionate about clothes and accessories? Would love to create something of your own, but are unsure of how to get started? Then come along to our hand sewing workshop with Eithne Farry, where you will create your own badge out of felt.
Please book your free place for this workshop at Kensington Central Library.
How to Use Skype – over 50s session with Open Age
Friday 24 May, 10am to 12 noon, North Kensington Library
Are you over 50? Have you heard about Skype? Skype allows people to talk for free to friends and family around the world via a computer using the internet. Come along to this session to learn how to use Skype. Places are strictly limited for this class, so please book your place early at North Kensington Library.