Fifty years ago a poster of Bergman’s film ‘Summer with Monika’ inspired McGough to write a sequence of love poems, now illustrated by Chris Riddell

Summer with Monika is an honest and touching portrait of a romance, charting the progress of a love affair from the delicious intimacy of the honeymoon, with the milk bottles turning to cheese on the doorstep, through the stage of quarrels, jealousy, recriminations and boredom, to the point where love is as nice as a cup of tea in bed.Re-issued for its 50th anniversary, Summer with Monika is a hidden gem of British love poetry featuring beautiful illustrations from Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell. (Description from the Guardian Bookshop)

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‘Fiction takes its time’: Arundhati Roy on why it took 20 years to write her second novel

Indian writer and political activist Arundhati Roy

She began her second novel, she thinks, 10 years ago, but isn’t sure (“I don’t really remember; I mean, it’s so esoteric”) “the fiction just takes its time. It’s no hurry. I can’t write it faster or slower than I have; it’s like you’re a sedimentary rock that’s just gathering all these layers, and swimming around. The difference between the fiction and the non-fiction is simply the difference between urgency and eternity.

When Arundhati Roy completed her new novel, her first in 20 years, she told her literary agent, “I don’t want all this bidding and vulgarity, you know.” She wanted interested publishers to write her a letter instead, describing “how they understood” her book. She then convened a meeting with them. “OK,” her agent prompted afterwards. “You know what they think. You’ve met them. Now decide.”

“Oh no,” she told him. “Not yet. First I’ll have to consult.” He was puzzled. “You consult me, right?” “No, I have to consult these folks. You know, the folks in my book.” So the author and her agent sat together in silence while she asked the characters in her novel which publisher they liked the best. When Roy announced their choice, her agent pointed out that his bid was half what other publishers were offering. “Yes,” she shrugged. “But they like him.”

See the complete article here.