E.L. Doctorow 1931-2015

15213777537_345c43d100_zThe award-winning American historical novelist E.L. Doctorow has died, aged 84.

Born in 1931, Edgar Lawrence Doctorow began his literary career as a script-reader for Columbia Pictures, and his first novel, Welcome to Hard Times, published in 1960, was inspired by the many western stories he had to read in this time.

He gained widespread critical acclaim for his fourth novel Ragtime, which won him the first of three US National Book Critics Circle Awards in 1975. Billy Bathgate (1989) and The March (2005) also received the award. In total Doctorow wrote ten novels, four of which were filmed. Ragtime was also successfully adapted as a stage musical in 1998.

We have copies of several of Doctorow’s novels in our literature section on Level 2, including Ragtime, of which we also hold a copy of the 1981 Oscar-nominated cinema adaption among our DVD collection in the High Demand section.

You can also find out a lot more about his life and works by visiting Literature Online, our popular English & American literature database which covers over 300,000 works of poetry, prose and drama from the 8th to the 21st century.

E.L. Doctorow at the PEN American Centre Literary Awards 2014, courtesy of Beowulf Sheehan, reproduced under CC License from Flickr.

Cricket, Lovely Cricket

9443235195_d706454c0d_kCricket fans rejoice – it’s an Ashes summer again, when England and Australia join battle in one of the oldest and most hotly contested sporting contests in the world.

We’re already two matches into the five Test series, and the play has proved scintillating; England gained an early advantage through a comprehensive 169-run victory in Cardiff, but then the Australians came roaring back this last weekend with a stunning 405-run annihilation at Lord’s – with a day to spare as well. With 3 Test matches remaining, everything is well set for another enthralling series.

‘The Ashes’ derived from a term used in mock obituary written in the Sporting Times newspaper when Australia beat England at the Oval in 1882, stating that “English cricket has died, and the body cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.” The following year England toured Australia and beat them, and England captain Ivo Bligh was presented with a small urn reputed to contain the ashes of the ball used by the English in the victory – and dubbed by the Australians as “the ashes of Australian cricket”. Thereafter, every Test match series between the two countries has been a contest to win or retain those Ashes. To the beginning of 2015, Australia hold a narrow advantage over England, by 32 series victories to 31 (with five drawn), with the Australians winning 126 individual matches to the English total of 103.

Loughborough University has a proud cricketing tradition itself – its male and female MCCU teams regularly win trophies – and can count several alumni from their ranks who have gone on to play international and Test cricket, including Sam Billings, Monty Panesar and Nick Knight.

We have a broad range of cricketing books on our shelves in the Library, including the controversial autobiography by former England captain Kevin Pietersen in our Leisure Reading collection upstairs on Level 4, and Scyld Berry & Rupert Peploe’s intriguing account of the story behind the genesis of the Ashes, Cricket’s Burning Passion: Ivo Bligh & the Story of the Ashes, which you can find among our other cricket history books downstairs in our sports section on Level 2. Why not have a browse?

The Ashes Urn image by David Holt, reproduced under CC License from Flickr.

Colours of Summer Exhibition

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If you’re enjoying the summer but the heat of the sun is a bit much for you, a new exhibition at the Loughborough Town Hall by local painter Lyn Armitage allows you to enjoy the splendours of the season indoors.

Colours of Summer is a collection of paintings that encapsulates the promise of Summer. Lyn leaves the dim darkness of Winter to travel to the freshness of newly planted and emerging early gardens and then onto the tropical colours of hot summer borders. From small pots of Auriculas to fields of flowers, her paintings sing with vibrant colours and the textures of plant life. This passion for flowers is reflected in a sympathetic blend of light and colour which she imbues in her paintings. Lyn creates loose, sensitive watercolours which, alongside spontaneous and strong acrylic canvasses, capture a sense of immediacy and isolate an unforgettable moment in time.

The exhibition is situated in the Balcony Gallery at the Loughborough Town Hall and runs until 26th September. Admittance is free.

Trying to Grasp the Sun at the Loughborough Town Hall

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A new solo exhibition by award-winning artist Mark Sheeky begins in the Loughborough Town Hall’s Sock Gallery this July.

Trying To Grasp The Sun is a journey, an examination and exploration of mastery in art, and the psychology of creativity. Arturo the white mouse is your guide in this exhibition of oil paintings and hand-crafted cabinets and surrounds that pull you inexorably from sleep to wakefulness, confusion to clarity, from darkness into light.

The exhibition runs from 2nd July to 1st August. The Sock Gallery is open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm and while the Town Hall is open for shows and events. Admittance is free. For further details visit the Sock Gallery webpage here: https://www.loughboroughtownhall.co.uk/sock_gallery

Magna Carta (An Embroidery) at the British Library

blA unique new work of art by Turner Prize nominated artist Cornelia Parker is unveiled in the British Library today to accompany their Magna Carta: Law, Liberty & Legacy exhibition.

Fabricated by many hands, from prisoners and lawyers to artists and barons, Magna Carta (An Embroidery) replicates in stitch the entire Wikipedia article on the Great Charter as it appeared on the document’s 799th anniversary in 2014. The Wikipedia article regularly attracts more than 150,000 page views each month and is constantly being amended by users of the website as the debate about Magna Carta and its legacy ebbs and flows.

One of Britain’s most celebrated artists, Cornelia Parker works in a variety of media and is well known for her sculpture and installation in which she transforms ordinary objects into compelling works of art. Magna Carta (An Embroidery) has been commissioned by the Ruskin School of Art at the University of Oxford in partnership with the British Library and in association with the Embroiderers’ Guild, Fine Cell Work, Hand & Lock and the Royal School of Needlework.

The work is displayed in the British Library entrance hall and is free to visit until 24th July. For further details visit the British Library website.

The John Ruskin Prize 2015

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Budding artists may be interested in participating in this year’s John Ruskin Prize, a showcase run by the Campaign for Drawing for emerging talent and established artists from all reaches of the UK with a top prize of £5,000.

This year artists are being asked to respond to respond to the theme: Recording Britain Now: Society, to re-assess their practice and focus on the prevalent social issues of 2015/16 and to engage with a society in rapid transition.

The winners, alongside 15 shortlisted artists will be included in a high profile exhibition at The New Art Gallery, Walsall in early 2016 closely followed by a London showing at The Electrician’s Shop Gallery set within the unique surrounds of Trinity Buoy Wharf, London. The exhibitions will be accompanied by a series of talks and events linking with the V&A’s fascinating ‘Recording Britain’ collection and all shortlisted artists will be invited to feature on a free online catalogue featuring both collections exploring visions of Britain through to the present day as seen through the eyes of established and emerging UK artists.

In 2012 The Guild of St. George, the charity founded by Ruskin in 1871, renewed its links with the Campaign for Drawing to inaugurate The John Ruskin Prize open to all artists over 18 working in the UK. It aims to uphold Ruskin’s belief that drawing helps us see the world more clearly and be more aware of its fragility. The Prize allows the Campaign to promote and give exposure to the work of emerging artists using a wide range of media and techniques.

For further details about how to enter, visit the Campaign’s website below:

http://www.thebigdraw.org/ruskinprize

History & Heritage Community Day

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Loughborough University and Charnwood Museum are inviting members of the local community to attend their History and Heritage Community Day which is taking place in Burleigh Court later this month (Sunday 21st June).

The ‘Future of the Past’ event will include fascinating short talks from local authors and historians, a guided tour of the historical Loughborough University campus and also panel discussions.

Stands and displays from local history and heritage groups including Charnwood Roots, Kegworth Museum, Leicestershire Industrial History society and many more will also be present.

Confirmed speakers include former County Archaeologist Peter Liddle, authors Dave Postle and Marianne Whiting, East Midlands History Archive manager Colin Hyde and Professor Alison Yarrington. Accredited Leicestershire Tour Guide Ernie Miller will also be leading the tours across the University Campus.

The event is free to attend and everyone is welcome, refreshment and bar meals will be on sale throughout the day. A full programme of events can be found on the Loughborough History & Heritage Network site here:

http://www.lboro-history-heritage.org.uk/loughborough-history-and-heritage-day-programme-announced/

Picnic in the Park with Charnwood Arts

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Charnwood Arts is hosting its annual Picnic in the Park event in Loughborough’s Queens Park from 12 noon this Saturday (13th June), where among a wide variety of stalls and performers and entertainment you can purchase a copy of a new anthology written by Loughborough students past & present on the theme of holidays.

You can also purchase copies of other books written by Loughborough alumni, including Sophie-Louise Hyde’s award-winning You is for University and Ines Varela-Silva’s The Maya: A Living Culture of the 21st Century, which was launched in this very Library last summer.

Further details of the event can be found on the Charnwood Arts webpage here:

http://www.charnwoodarts.com/events/2015/06/13/picnic_in_the_park_2015

World Environment Day 2015

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Today is World Environment Day (WED), the United Nations’ principal vehicle for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment. Over the years it has grown to be a broad, global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated by stakeholders in over 100 countries. It also serves as the ‘people’s day’ for doing something positive for the environment, galvanizing individual actions into a collective power that generates an exponential positive impact on the planet.

The WED theme this year is “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care.” The well-being of humanity, the environment, and the functioning of the economy, ultimately depend upon the responsible management of the planet’s natural resources. And yet, evidence is building that people are consuming far more natural resources than what the planet can sustainably provide. Many of the Earth’s ecosystems are nearing critical tipping points of depletion or irreversible change, pushed by high population growth and economic development. By 2050, if current consumption and production patterns remain the same and with a rising population expected to reach 9.6 billion, we will need three planets to sustain our ways of living and consumption.

Consuming with care means living within planetary boundaries to ensure a healthy future where our dreams can be realized. Human prosperity need not cost the earth. Living sustainably is about doing more and better with less. It is about knowing that rising rates of natural resource use and the environmental impacts that occur are not a necessary by-product of economic growth.

Loughborough University is committed to doing its bit for the environment too, with a dedicated Sustainability team that runs a range of initiatives on campus and within the local community, including the ‘Better Off Campaign’ and the popular ‘Fruit Routes’ initiative. You can find out more by visiting their new-look website here.

Spare Rib Online at the British Library

front_cover_issue1_0001The British Library have just completed the digitisation of the classic feminist magazine Spare Rib and have just launched a dedicated site hosting 300 specially selected pages alongside articles written by former contributors and leading academics about the history of the magazine.

Spare Rib was an active part of the emerging women’s liberation movement in the late 20th century. Running from 1972 – 93, this now iconic magazine challenged the stereotyping and exploitation of women, while supporting collective, realistic solutions to the hurdles women faced. Spare Rib became the debating chamber of feminism in the UK, and it now provides a valuable insight into the lives of women in this period. Visitors to this site can explore selected highlights from the magazine; and examine how the magazine was run, why it was started and the issues it dealt with.

The full run of Spare Rib magazines can be accessed via Jisc: https://journalarchives.jisc.ac.uk/britishlibrary/sparerib