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2014 in books: turn over a new leaf


The return of Sherlock on TV, Wolf Hall at the RSC and Lord of the Flies: the ballet – plus new books from Dave Eggers, Sarah Waters, Stephen King and many more

January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December


1 Cumberbatch, Freeman et al return for a new series of Sherlock (BBC1). But surely there's no way that Holmes could have survived that fall at the end of the last series ...

7 The Costa award category winners are announced– best novel, first novel, biography, poetry collection and children's book. The writer to follow Hilary Mantel as overall winner will be revealed on 28 January.

8 On the subject of Mantel, the RSC adaptations of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies officially open today and run until the end of March.

12 The film adaptation of Markus Zusak's The Book Thief, set in Nazi Germany and starring Geoffrey Rush, opens. Other film adaptations this month include the Kenneth Branagh-directed reboot of Jack Ryan, based on Tom Clancy novels, and Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, based on the memoir of a Wall St conman.

14King Lear with Simon Russell Beale, directed by Sam Mendes, opens at the National Theatre.

28 On this day 75 years ago, WB Yeats died in Menton, France, prompting WH Auden's elegy ("He disappeared in the dead of winter: / The brooks were frozen, the airports almost deserted").


& Sons by David Gilbert (Fourth Estate). A Salingerishly reclusive writer tries to reunite with his estranged sons in a panoramic American novel that's been lavishly praised in the States and talked about as a possible Man Booker contender over here. Interview, page 10

Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas (Atlantic). In the follow-up to the much talked-about The Slap, a young, working-class Australian swimmer falls apart under the pressure of family and ambition.

The Days of Anna Madrigal by Armistead Maupin (Doubleday). The cult Tales of the City series continues, as transgender landlady Mrs Madrigal, now in her 90s, takes a road trip into the Nevada desert and back into her past.

The Thing About December by Donal Ryan (Doubleday). The Spinning Heart,  about an Irish village in the grip of recession, won the 2013 Guardian first book award. Ryan's new novel is set in rural Ireland a decade earlier, when the Celtic Tiger was still raging.

Dissident Gardens by Jonathan Lethem (Cape). Lethem's latest focuses on three generations of a radical New York family.

The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane (Sceptre). An impressive debut about old age, memory and the mystery that is other people.


Acts of Union, Acts of Disunion by Linda Colley (Profile). In the year of the Scottish vote on independence, the historian discusses what has held the UK together.

White Beech by Germaine Greer (Bloomsbury): on the challenge, taken by Greer and her sister, of rehabilitating 60 hectares of a dairy farm in south-east Queensland. The indefatigable Australian feminist critic also celebrates her 75th birthday this month.


5 Godfather of the Beats, William Burroughs, was born on this day in 1914: "Sometimes paranoia's just having all the facts."

7Ralph Fiennes's film The Invisible Woman, based on Claire Tomalin's biography of Dickens's mistress Nelly Ternan, is released today. Other February films include George Clooney's The Monuments Men, based on Robert Edsel's book about recovering artworks stolen by the Nazis, and In Secret, a version of Zola's Thérèse Raquin starring Mackenzie Crook and Elizabeth Olsen.

8 The stage version of Orwell's 1984 opens at the Almeida theatre, London.

21Christopher Marlowe's 450th birthday will be celebrated today. It may or may not be his actual birthday.

There has been no shortage of new Bond material recently. Expect no slowing down in a year that marks the 50th anniversary of Ian Fleming's death. A BBC mini-series kicks it off, with Dominic Cooper as Fleming.


Early Levy by Deborah Levy (Hamish Hamilton). Following her Booker shortlisting for Swimming Home, and with a new novel promised in 2015, Levy is back on the literary radar. This edition comprises two novels, Beautiful Mutants and Swallowing Geography.

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi(Picador). The latest novel from the author of White Is for Witching and Mr Fox.

The Last Word by Hanif Kureishi (Faber). No subject is out of bounds as a fading writer gets into a battle of wills with his young biographer.

By Blood We Live by Glen Duncan (Canongate). The last in his exuberant vampire trilogy.


John Burnside follows up his Forward and TS Eliot prize-winningBlack Cat Bonewith a new collection, All One Breath (Cape). Lavinia Greenlaw takes on Troilus and Criseyde in A Double Sorrow (Faber), and Paul Farley's Selected Poems (Picador).


Little Failure: A Memoir by Gary Shteyngart (Hamish Hamilton). The novelist's story, from Soviet childhood to neurotic New York adulthood.

The News: a User's Manual by Alain de Botton (Hamish Hamilton). More life lessons, this time on the subject of the news and what it does to our minds.

All That Is Solid: The Great Housing Disaster by Danny Dorling (Allen Lane). The prolific academic on class, wealth and what is, for him, the crucial issue facing Britain.

Ten Cities That Made an Empire by Tristram Hunt (Allen Lane). The new shadow secretary of state for education in his other guise as a historian.

Inside a Pearl by Edmund White (Bloomsbury). A memoir of the author's years among the cultural and intellectual elite of 1980s Paris.

Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot by Masha Gessen (Granta). Brought forward due to the amnesty and release, this is the story of the feminist post-punk collective told by the author of a much-admired book on Putin.


1 Author of The Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison, was born on this day in 1914.

2Oscars ceremony: novel adaptations were rare in 2013, leaving Saving Mr Banks (with Emma Thompson a best actress chance as PL Travers) as the most bookish film likely to be in contention. However, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, 12 Years A Slave, Philomena, Captain Phillips and The Monuments Men are all book-based, and August: Osage County reworks Tracy Letts's play.

7 The film adaptation of Nick Hornby's bleak comedy about suicide, A Long Way Down, stars Rosamund Pike, Imogen Poots, Pierce Brosnan and Sam Neill. Also this month comes Under the Skin, based on Michel Faber's novel about an extraterrestrial in Scotland, starring Scarlett Johansson.

10 The inaugural Folio prize ceremony. Will the panel, selected from an august "Academy", choose an American winner before the Man Booker gets the chance?

Parts two and three of David Hare's MI5 film trilogy, begun with the Emmy-winning Page Eight, will be screened this month with a starry cast that includes Bill Nighy, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Winona Ryder, Christopher Walken, Judy Davis and Olivia Williams.


Young Skins by Colin Barrett (Jonathan Cape). The perils of youth in rural Ireland are the subject of this powerful short-story debut.

Arctic Summer by Damon Galgut (Atlantic). The twice Booker-shortlisted South African novelist recreates EM Forster's travels to India and the inspiration he found there.

The Amber Fury by Natalie Haynes (Corvus). The first novel from the broadcaster and classicist uses Greek tragedy to underpin a psychological mystery about grief and troubled teens.

Frog Musicby Emma Donoghue (Picador). The followup to the bestselling Room is a novel of intrigue and murder.

Leaving the Sea by Ben Marcus (Granta). A new short-story collection set in a distorted world where disease strikes at random and people disappear without trace. From the author of the dazzlingly original Flame Alphabet and The Age of Wire and String.

The Haunted Life by Jack Kerouac (Penguin). This novella about the coming of age of a college track star, written when Kerouac was 22, comes into print 70 years after the handwritten manuscript was lost in a New York taxi.

Boyhood Island by Karl Ove Knausgård (Harvill Secker). The third in the author's epic, much-acclaimed series of autobiographical novels examines the parallel lives of children and adults in 1970s Norway. "I need the next volume like crack," said Zadie Smith.

What Was Promised by Tobias Hill (Bloomsbury). The new novel from this undersung talent focuses on three families in London in the decades after the second world war.

Kinder Than Solitude by Yiyun Li (Fourth Estate). Three friends are haunted by a childhood accident, in the new novel from the award-winning author of The Vagrants.

Every Day Is for the Thief by Teju Cole (Faber). After years abroad, a young man returns to Nigeria to find a country in flux.

The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt (Sceptre). Another meditation on art and identity, in which a female artist hides behind male "masks" who exhibit their work as her own.

A Million Ways to Die in the West by Seth MacFarlane (Canongate). A comic debut from the creator of Family Guy.

Bark by Lorrie Moore (Faber). Her first new collection in 15 years contains eight stories exploring the passage of time.


Selfish Generation by Rod Liddle (Fourth Estate). The outspoken contrarian on why our society is rotten.

The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life by John Carey (Faber). A memoir from the celebrated literary critic and broadcaster.

The Road to Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead (Granta). The New Yorker writer revisits George Eliot's classic.

Courtney Love: The Autobiography (Macmillan). The title and publication date might change (yet again), but this book is bound to contain some hair-raising stories, of the "let's snort Kurt's ashes" variety.

No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald (Metropolitan Books). An account of Edward Snowden, the NSA and the surveillance state by the reporter who helped to break the story (The Snowden Files: The True Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man by the Guardian's Luke Harding will follow from Guardian Faber in April).

Roy Jenkins by John Campbell (Cape). A full biography of a man sometimes called the greatest prime minister we never had.


2 Loved for his irreverent interpretations of classics such as Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, Matthew Bourne's company New Adventures has ventured away from the ballet repertoire to take on William Golding's Lord of the Flies. It opens at the Lowry, Salford Quays, then tours.

4 4Marguerite Duras was born on this day in 1914.

8-10London Book Fair. This year's choice of Korea will ensure plenty of political, as well as publishing, interest.

14John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath was published 75 years ago.

23Shakespeare is 450 (or at least he was baptised on this date).

23 A more masculine edge to attract male readers for this year's World Book Night, when 250,000 copies of 20 books will be distributed by 20,000 volunteers. Among the authors on offer are Jeffrey Archer, Martin Cruz Smith, Armistead Maupin and Roald Dahl. Agatha Christie, Adele Parks and Bernardine Evaristo also feature.


Can't and Won't by Lydia Davis (Hamish Hamilton). This new collection of short stories is her first since winning the International Man Booker.

Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid (Harper Fiction). The queen of crime reimagines Jane Austen's gothic satire for the 21st century.

Animals by Emma Jane Unsworth (Canongate). A raucous tale of friendship and growing up, described by Caitlin Moran as "Withnail and I with girls".

Orfeo by Richard Powers (Atlantic). A composer's artistic experiments arouse the suspicions of homeland security in a new novel from one of America's most exciting novelists.


American poet John Ashbery's lifelong relationship with France is reflected in the dual publication of his Collected Translations of French poetry and prose (Carcanet). The Dylan Thomas centenary year (see October) sees the welcome arrival of Complete Poems (Weidenfeld & Nicolson).


You Hide That You Hate Me and I Hide That I Know: Living with It in Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch (Allen Lane). A suitably long-titled sequel to the acclaimed We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families.

The Valley: A Hundred Years in the Life of a Family by Richard Benson (Bloomsbury). The author of The Farm turns his attention to four generations of a Yorkshire mining family.


22 Early announced attendees at this year's Hay festival include Toni Morrison, Stephen Fry, Jacqueline Wilson, Francesca Simon and the latest author to join them on the bestseller lists, Jennifer Saunders.

30Angelina Jolie channels the Brothers Grimm in Maleficent, in which she depicts Sleeping Beauty's "Mistress of All Evil".


The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins by Irvine Welsh (Jonathan Cape). Welsh promises "swampy Floridian lesbian noir" for his ninth novel.

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes (Harper Fiction). Beukes continues to mash genres together, as a jaded detective discovers corpses that are a mixture of animal and human.

Lost for Words by Edward St Aubyn (Picador). A satire of literature, celebrity culture and ambition, as writers and judges jostle over the ultimate accolade – the Elysian prize for literature.

Sally Heathcote: Suffragette by Mary and Bryan Talbot, illustrated by Kate Charlesworth (Jonathan Cape). The duo who won the Costa biography prize with their graphic memoir Dotter of Her Father's Eyes tell the inside story of the campaign for votes for women.


Simon Armitage translates and retells The Iliad in The Last Days of Troy(Faber). A stage version of his poem will be performed at the Royal Exchange theatre, Manchester. This month also sees Tom Paulin's New Selected Poems (Faber).


Penguin relaunches Pelican, its non-fiction imprint with five new paperbacks, one of which will be Revolutionary Russia, 1891-1991 by the ever-controversial Orlando Figes.

Why Can't a Woman Be More Like a Man? by Lewis Wolpert (Faber). The biologist launches into the sex and gender debate.

Think Like a Freak by Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner (Allen Lane). More thoughts on how to make better decisions from the authors of Freakonomics.

A Curious Career by Lynn Barber (Bloomsbury). Following the success of An Education, turned in to an award-winning film starring Carey Mulligan, the famed and sometimes ferocious interviewer again becomes the subject in this frank memoir.

I Put a Spell on You by John Burnside (Jonathan Cape). From Cowdenbeath to Cambridge, a coming-of-age memoir, beginning with a brutal murder, by the Scottish poet and novelist.


4 The Baileys Women's fiction prize– formerly the Orange – will crown a successor to last year's winner, AM Homes.

5Brian Friel's stage adaptation of Turgenev's novel Fathers and Sons opens at the Donmar in London.

6 John Green's harrowing young adult novel featuring the relationship between a teenage cancer patient and a teenage amputee, The Fault in Our Stars, was a huge bestseller. Now comes the film version starring Willem Dafoe.

16 This year's Bloomsday will be an occasion for multiple celebration with this month also marking the 100th anniversary of the publication of Joyce's Dubliners.

26Laurie Lee was born on this day in 1914.


I Am China by Xiaolu Guo (Chatto). Chinese folk legends merge with contemporary life in a story that travels from a Dover detention centre to smalltown America. From one of the 2013 Granta best of young British novelists.

Mr Mercedes by Stephen King (Hodder). A retired cop, a race against time, an insight into the mind of an insane killer … King follows Dr Sleep with what he has described as his "first hard-boiled detective novel".

Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey (Viking). Memory – or the lack of it – continues to be a big theme in fiction. The manuscript of this debut mystery narrated by an 81-year‑old who can't quite remember what she's investigating created a buzz at the London book fair in 2013.

Portrait of a Man by Georges Perec (MacLehose Press). The first novel by the author of Life: A User's Manual, buried in a drawer in the 1950s and recently discovered by his biographer, features a forger – and a killer.

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris (Viking). A case of online impersonation leads Ferris's latest baffled anti-hero to a disturbing possibility – what if his virtual self is a better version of the real thing?


Hugo Williams's new collection, I Knew the Bride (Faber).


The Message by Naomi Klein (Allen Lane). The Canadian darling of literary political activists turns her attention to climate change.

Independence by Alasdair Gray (Canongate). The author of Lanark makes the case for Scottish independence.


It is the 200th anniversary of Mansfield Park this month. The Austen bicentenaries are coming thick and fast – Sense and Sensibility (1811) and Pride and Prejudice (1813) – but, as we learn from Mansfield Park, "nobody minds having what is too good for them".

7Sir Walter Scott's debut novel, Waverley, was published, 200 years ago, anonymously. Scott thought writing novels might adversely affect his reputation as a poet. By the time the 20-odd books in the series were completed, he was one of the most famous men in the world.

23The Commonwealth Games open in Glasgow. Related literary events include an Alexander McCall Smith opera and the Julia Donaldson reading marathon.

28 After much anticipation, not least from publishers, the real centenary of the start of the first world war has arrived with the anniversary of Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia.


To mark Moomins creator Tove Jansson's centenary year, her first collection of stories, The Listener, is republished for the first time (Profile).


The great historian of the Spanish speaking world, Hugh Thomas, turns his attention to the 16th-century global empire of Philip II in World Without End (Allen Lane).Some of the detail of 1914-18 begins to emerge in Russia in the First World War by Dominic Lieven (Allen Lane).


9The Guardian-sponsored Edinburgh international book festival runs until 25 August. In the month before the Scottish independence referendum, you can expect Charlotte Square Gardens to echo to much discussion.


The Zone of Interest by Martin Amis (Jonathan Cape). The title refers to the outer perimeter of the camp at Auschwitz, as Amis returns to the imaginative territory of Time's Arrow with a love story set amid Nazi horrors.

How to Both by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton). Verbs optional, with a new novel from the author of There But For The and The Accidental.

Their Lips Talk of Mischief by Alan Warner (Faber). "A darkly comic tale of hope and humanity" set in Thatcher's Britain.


The Moth, introduced by Neil Gaiman (Profile). The product of a not-for-profit organisation, this collection comprises real stories written by ordinary people, as well as established writers such as Malcolm Gladwell, Sebastian Junger and Nathan Englander.

Forensics by Val McDermid (Profile). Yes, her again. The bestselling crime writer uncovers the secrets of forensic medicine.

The Marches by Rory Stewart (Cape). The maverick and eye-catching young Tory MP walks a thousand miles, crossing and recrossing the English-Scottish border.

The Village Effect: Why Face-to-Face Contact Makes Us Truly Human by Susan Pinker (Atlantic). A psychologist tackles the neglected subject of proxemics.


22Alain-Fournier died in action in northern France 100 years ago today, just a year after the publication of his only novel, Le Grand Meaulnes.


The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (Sceptre). The first novel in four years from the Cloud Atlas author is the "rich and strange" story of one woman's life, from the 1980s to ecological disaster in the mid 21st century.

The Mark and the Void by Paul Murray (Hamish Hamilton). Bittersweet Dublin schooldays comedy Skippy Dies was one of the highlights of 2010. Here's Murray's followup, set in and around a Dublin investment bank.

Elite Fighting Forces by Jesse Armstrong (Jonathan Cape). The debut novel from the co-creator of Peep Show, in which a group of idealistic young people go to Bosnia to put on a puppet performance.

Mr Bones by Paul Theroux (Hamish Hamilton). A short-story collection from the globetrotting novelist and travel writer.

Outline by Rachel Cusk (Faber). A writer who has drifted into teaching a course in Athens hears the life stories of her students in a "novel of ideas" that is "channelled through a central character who seems to have lost her agency".

Since his untimely death in 2004, Michael Donaghy has become one of the most memorialised of poets in elegies written by his surviving contemporaries. Now his work is comprehensively memorialised in a Collected Poems (Picador).

This is the mega-month for publishers, perhaps especially for prestige Penguin imprint Allen Lane, and among the titles to appear from its presses this month are On Liberty by Shami Chakrabarti;The Establishment by Chavsauthor Owen Jones;Snags by Nudgeco-author Richard Thaler;and The Sense of Style by Steven Pinker.

The Trials of Oscar Pistorius by John Carlin (Atlantic). The South African sprinter is due in court in March for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Modernity Britain: A Shake of the Dice, 1959-62 by David Kynaston (Bloomsbury). The latest volume of Kynaston's hugely admired social history.

Talking to Terrorists: How to End an Armed Conflict by Jonathan Powell (Bodley Head). The diplomat and Tony Blair's former chief of staff, who spent years talking to the IRA, is now a professional mediator.

The Story of the Jews: When Words Fail, 1492-Present Day by Simon Schama (Bodley Head). The second part of an ambitious work; the first part, helped by the accompanying TV series, was a bestseller.


3 The film version of Gillian Flynn's 2012 must-read psychological thriller Gone Girl stars Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck.

14 The winner is announced of the first Man Booker prize under new rules that allow entries from non-Commonwealth countries. Will an American win it? The panel that will decide is chaired by AC Grayling and comprises profs Jonathan Bate and Sarah Churchwell, neuroscientist Dr Daniel Glaser, former British Council director of literature Alastair Niven and journalist Erica Wagner.

27Dylan Thomas was born on this day in 1914. If you have missed hearing Under Milk Wood or A Child's Christmas in Wales, now will be your chance.


Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami (Harvill Secker). Murakami's latest, already a smash hit in Japan, will arrive. The story of an isolated thirtysomething struggling with traumatic memories of high school, it is Murakami in realistic and sombre mood, according to transaltor Philip Gabriel.

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters (Virago). An autumn release is also promised for Waters's follow-up to The Little Stranger. In 1922 London, a genteel widow, bereaved by war, takes in lodgers of the "clerk class" – and finds her house and family shaken to the core.

Lila by Marilynne Robinson (Virago). Lila is the wife of John Ames from Robinson's previous books, Gilead and Home; now her story will be told.

Nora Webster by Colm Tóibín (Viking). Set 10 years after the events of Brooklyn, in which a young woman escaped 50s Ireland for the US, this new novel returns to the small town she left to unfold the story of a woman coping with widowhood.


Performance poet Kate Tempest follows up her Ted Hughes-prize-winningBrand New Ancients, an hour-long "spoken story" with orchestral backing, with a new, and as yet untitled, work (Picador). Clive James's translation of Dante has been shortlisted for the Costa prize. He gives some of his thinking about poetry in his Notebooks (Picador). Michael Longley, who is 75 this year, has had a career of rare consistency of quality. His new collection is The Stairwell (Cape).


Joan of Arc by Helen Castor (Faber). The historian of the Paston family takes on The Maid of Orleans.

Discontent and Its Civilizations by Mohsin Hamid– essays about politics, identity and home, from the author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Hamish Hamilton).

The Churchill Factor by Boris Johnson (Hodder). The London mayor is to highlight how one man can make a political difference. Draw no parallels.

Fields of Blood: A History of Religion and Violence by Karen Armstrong (Bodley Head). The former nun on an always topical subject.


The Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction, won last year by Lucy Hughes-Hallett for The Pike, is awarded this month.

18Margaret Atwood celebrates her 75th birthday.


The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber (Canongate). His first full-length novel since 2002's Victorian epic The Crimson Petal and the White begins with a missionary's perilous journey.

Frog by Mo Yan (Hamish Hamilton). The first new book from the controversial Chinese novelist since winning the Nobel prize in 2012 explores China's one-child policy.


Visitants by Dave Eggers (Hamish Hamilton). The first book of travel writing from the feted American writer.


Rowan Williams was a poet before he became Archbishop of Canterbury and it is gratifying that he is still one now he has retired. The Other Mountain (Carcanet) is his sixth collection.


The Guardian first book award is announced.

2 The Marquis de Sade died 200 years ago today. There will be much conflating of this fact and the new, as yet unscheduled, Fifty Shades of Grey film. Nothing will say Christmas quite like them …

12Patrick O'Brian was born on this day in 1914.

Autumn film releases

Far from the Madding Crowd. Adapted by David Nicholls, dir Thomas Vinterberg, with Carey Mulligan and Michael Sheen.

Suite Française.The adaptation of Irène Némirovsky's posthumously discovered novel about German-occupied France, starring Kristin Scott Thomas.

Autumn TV releases

Three-part adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's Jamaica Inn (BBC1).

Series based on Susanna Clarke's novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (BBC1).

BBC adaptation of JK Rowling's novel The Casual Vacancy.

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