|The redesigned cover|
- Jubilation and joy all round, as Literary Review (where I am a Contributing Editor) launches its redesign with the October issue. It's a simple, elegant style that is both striking and subdued. The reviews look inviting and uncluttered, practically leaping off the page in their eagerness to be read. It is a joy to behold. Of course the quality of the contributors remains excellent - in this issue we have Anne Somerset on Francis Walsingham; John Sutherland on Charles Dickens; Sam Leith on J G Ballard; Katherine Duncan-Jones on Shakespeare; John Gray on humanity, and many more, including a fabulous essay on puppets by Steven Connor, and reviews of Michel Houellebecq, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Barry Unsworth, Jeffrey Eugenides, Esi Edugyan, and my own review of Carol Birch's Booker-shortlisted Jamrach's Menagerie, which I believe a strong favourite to win the gong (although whether this is a list that one should be proud of being on is another matter). I think it's really now between Barnes and Birch - at least, it ought to be. You can't read the review online, so you must go out NOW and get your hands on the extremely smart new issue of the magazine. You'll enjoy it, I promise.