Booker Longlist/Coleridge Portrait/Emergency for Poet – Poetry News Roundup July 25th

Today we bring you an article about the longlist for this year”s Booker Prize, we also have the long-lost portrait of Coleridge which fetched a startling amount at auction and the poet who rang the emergency helpline number.

2019 Booker Prize

The longlist for this year”s Booker Prize, which is to be sponsored for the first time by Crankstart, the charitable foundation, has been announced.

The poet and author Margaret Atwood has been longlisted for “The Testaments”. Salman Rushdie, a fellow former winner, has also been nominated.

The longlist for the £50,000 prize contains 13 entries and “My Sister, The Serial Killer is the sole debut novel to have made the cut.

Atwood’s nomination it for the long-awaited sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale” her classic tale. It has been 19 years since she won the Booker prize for” The Blind Assassin”. The judges were not able to pass comment on the book other than to say that it was exhilarating and terrifying due to a ferocious non-disclosure agreement and spoiler discretion that is in place.

It has been 38 years since Rushdie was nominated for “Midnight’s Children. His place on the long list has been secured with his reworking of the Don Quixote story “Quichotte”.

Lost Portrait of Coleridge Sells at Auction

A portrait of a young Samuel Taylor Coleridge which shows the poet as he looked when he was healthy – before the opium took hold of him – has just sold at auction for £51,000.

For decades the portrait was assumed to be missing, until it was put up for sale by the seller. The only clue to its existence was an engraved copy that is on display in the National Portrait Gallery.

The portrait is set in a gilt frame and measures 28cm by 24.5cm. There is an inscription on the frame which dates it to 1873 and gives the suggestion that the portrait was painted in Nether Stowey; Coleridge rented a cottage there between 1797 and 1800. It is believed that during this period of his life Coleridge penned some of his best poems including Kubla Kahn and the Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

The portrait is believed to be the work of the artist William Shuter. Estimates of between £500 and £1000 were placed on it by Wotton Auction Rooms which are located in Gloucestershire.

Much to everyone’s surprise, the painting, which was bought by a bidder from the UK who wishes to remain anonymous, fetched a staggering £62,000. That price includes the buyer premium.

Julia Fry, who catalogues for the auction house, says that she was able to identify the painting because it is very similar to a portrait of William Wordsworth. The painting was put up for auction by a local family who had owned it for a number of years without realising its significance.

Emergency Poetry Call

In cases of any emergency, residents in the UAE know that they can ring 993. The number receives calls regarding just about anything from complaints about runaway goats to those that are from people who simply need to talk to someone.

In fact, one man rang the emergency number just to recite poetry to the operator.

According to the official figures for the Sharjah municipality, only 15% of calls they receive are related to actual emergencies!

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