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  • Poem of the week: Godhuli Time by Srinivas Rayaprol
  • An anglophone Indian poet, mentored by William Carlos Williams in the US, considers an Indian sunset in a voice that spans centuries and continents

    Godhuli Time

    It is the cow-dust hour
    And smoke lies heavy over my head
    As I walk across these earthen paths
    And smells of burnt milk from inside
    Mingle with those from the fields outside.

    See the poet Dom Moraes for some interesting additional comments.

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  • Owen Sheers selects 10 writers shaping the UK's future
  • The author explains his choice of writers meeting the challenge of giving literary shape to the climate crisis, sexism, racism, inclusivity, and still making good art

    What is the role of a writer in times of transition and change? How might their work contribute at a turning point in history when the choices we make will so significantly affect the kinds of lives we live tomorrow? Perhaps the answer to these questions is no more than a continuation of the primary duty of any writer – to write as well as possible.

    But what if that isn’t enough? What if a writer also wants to illuminate the fault lines of the moment, characterise an injustice or humanise an issue burning within them? Then the challenge becomes more complex and, I’d say, considerably more demanding. To give literary shape to the climate crisis, sexism, racism, inclusivity, yet still make good art. To avoid didacticism or polemic and create a poem or story that carries us effortlessly – through craft, imagination and empathy – into the beating human heart of a matter.

    Owen Sheers is an author, poet and playwright and professor in creativity at Swansea University. The International Literature Showcase, run by the British Council and National Centre for Writing, sees five guest curators focus on different aspects of writing from the UK. Previous curators include Jackie Kay and Val McDermid. Sheers’s podcast on his choices is available now.

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  • From Harry Potter at Home to the National Shelf Service: bookish fun for the lockdown
  • An updating list of online treats for bibliophiles of all ages, including Hogwarts quizzes, Simon Armitage and a star-packed reading of James and the Giant Peach

    The best arts and entertainment during self-isolation

    Gruffalo artist Axel Scheffler has put out a free new picture book explaining the coronavirus to children, Marian Keyes has invited readers to sit down with her for a virtual cup of tea, and Cressida Cowell is reading How to Train Your Dragon aloud for confined children. For the book industry is pulling out all the stops to help keep Britain’s locked down masses entertained, whether that’s expert librarians – now unable to work at their branches – offering reading tips, JK Rowling launching Harry Potter at Home, or a digital version of the cancelled Hay literary festival.

    Here are some of the best free activities now available for the bookishly minded, which we’ll continue to update during the lockdown:

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