Happy Birthday Dick Gregory!
|Richard Gregory (born October 12, 1932) – U.S. comedian, civil rights activist
Read about Dick Gregory here and here
Read the Guardian obituary for Dick Gregory here
“I walked into this restaurant and this waitress said ‘we don’t serve coloured people here’ and I said ‘that’s all right, I don’t eat coloured people. Bring me a whole fried chicken.’” The joke encapsulates the three careers pursued by Gregory, who has died aged 84 – comedian, political activist and diet expert.”
Dick Gregory performs standup and speaks to David Letterman about his life (1984)
Happy Birthday Ali Smith!
|Ali Smith (born August 24 1962) – Scottish fiction and nonfiction author – Winter (2017)
Read about Ali Smith here and here
Smith grew up in Inverness, the youngest, by some years, of five children, and had what she describes as “an ideal childhood”. Her parents had both left school prematurely, thrust into the world of work by the death of their parents and a shortage of money.
Her father founded a small contracting business, wiring up the houses that lined Loch Ness, including that of the writer of Ring of Bright Water, Gavin Maxwell (“He’s a bit funny, you know,” he told his daughter). Deprived of education themselves, they determinedly steered their children towards university, with the professions firmly in mind; Smith was to be a lawyer. “I knew I’d be terrible. I couldn’t argue to save myself, never mind save anybody else, and I knew there was something else I wanted to do.” She wanted to study English; her parents didn’t want her to. But there was never a row: “In a family of five, you learn to sit still as a stone sometimes, and just hold your position … there was a pressure and I exerted a similar pressure back, and at some point it was all right.”
(From the Guardian, September 6, 2014)
Ali Smith speaks at a 2012 conference on the task of writing a novel
Happy Birthday Kamila Shamsie!
|Kamila Shamsie (born August 13, 1973) – Pakistani novelist – Home Fire (2017)
Read about Kamila Shamsie here and here
“…it wasn’t until Shamsie moved to America as a student that she began to write about Karachi. ‘That came out of homesickness,’ she says. ‘It was a way of recreating the world on the page.'”
Shamsie gives a talk on Karachi culture:
“Urdu poetry… has always been very much more democratic in a way that it doesn’t even rely on literacy. Where there’s music, there’s poetry.”
[Reading from one of her books at minute 47:40]
Read about Shamsie’s nomination for the 2017 Man Booker Prize here