On 7 February 2015 the premier of The
Glass Room, in Czech, was a roaring success. All
thanks, and admiration to Stanislav Moša, the director,
the wonderful cast of actors and actresses and the whole production
team. 55 scenes, 75 minutes of specially composed music, brilliant
sets, heartfelt acting... I was overwhelmed. Here I am, congratulating
Stanislav after the performance:
Publication day for The Girl Who fell From The Sky,
greeted with an excellent review in the Spectator.
"Gripping and moving in equal measure, his story, Marian’s
story, is unforgettable."
Trapeze, the US edition of The Girl
Who Fell From The Sky, comes out today. The
Daily Beast - there's a good literary reference
- has just chosen it as a "hot read". Booklist
says, "With its lyrical yet spare prose and heart-pounding
climax, this is a compelling historical thriller of the highest
The Daily Mail seems to like The Girl
Who Fell From The Sky. "Radiating an atmosphere
of tense suThe Gspicion and claustrophobia, it is utterly gripping
from start to finish"
Copy editing and proof reading for The Girl Who Fell From
The Sky now completed. And all but proof reading done
for the US edition, Trapeze.
More foreign rights deals: Editions Cherche Midi
are buying the French rights of The
Girl Who Fell From The Sky. This follows DVA
Verlag who are buying the German rights. The French
language edition of The Glass Room is to be
published in May by Cherche Midi,
as Le Palais de Verre.
More news of The Girl Who Fell From The Sky:
already sold to Neri Pozza for an Italian language
edition and Ambo Anthos for Dutch, there is
now a German offer on the table and a French
offer in the pipeline. People seem to like it...
Sunday 25th September, BBC Radio 3
at 12 noon British time (GMT) I will be divulging
my Private Passions on the popular music programme
of that name. Music from Hildegard of Bingen to George Antheil,
from Mozart to Janacek. And voices from Emma Kirkby to Juliette
Greco. Listen up! You'll be able to dowload the programme for
some time afterwards.
The Girl Who Fell From The Sky (in UK) or
Trapeze (US) is just about done. The jacket
illustration for the UK edition will be out soon. Publication
is scheduled for May 2012 for both of them.
Mendel's Dwarf is out today (Abacus Books),
although Amazon UK has had it available for some days. Ever
at the cutting edge of things, the leading scientific journal
Nature is carrying a brief review of it by
their senior European correspondent, Alison Abbott.
She calls it "one of science-in-fiction's great love stories".
"This piece of literature works on many levels: historical,
moral and scientific," she writes. "There
is no authorial voice insisting the reader acquires an education
in genetics; that happens subtly. For all its depth, Mendel's
Dwarf is a rollicking read."
At the same time, news comes that The Glass Room
is on the shortlist for the Boeke Prize. This
is not a joke.
The new novel, provisionally entitled Trapeze,
has already been sold in Britain (Little, Brown)
and the United States (Other Press), and to
Ambo Anthos in Holland for Dutch translation.
Expect to see it on the shelves some time in 2012. In the meantime
the reissue of Mendel's Dwarf is already available
in both paperback and Kindle edition.
have recently been presented with my portrait, painted
by Robert Hales, as a leaving present
from St George's British International School,
Rome, where I worked for over thirty years. Click
on the image to see a larger version - not for the glorification
of the sitter but to show the artistry of Robert
Mendel's Dwarf is due to be reissued on July
7 2011 under the Abacus imprint. This novel, which
made the last ten for the Booker Prize in 1998, has not been
in print in the United Kingdom for more than a decade!
The Glass Room has been nominated for the
IMPAC Dublin Literary Award - along with 162 other
novels! The list of nominees is announced today. Another piece
of news: Mendel's Dwarf, long out of print
in Britain, is going to be republished. The book first came
out in 1997 to fantastic reviews,
but fell victim of the failure of Anchor Books, a literary imprint
of Transworld that only lasted eighteen months. The US edition
of Mendel's Dwarf was published in 1998 and
has never been out of print since. More details about this new
UK edition later.
Back from Boston, New York City and Chicago and pausing before
setting off for New Orleans in two weeks time. Meanwhile an
that I did for the Czech Arts magazine Host
in English on theEurozine
website. Eurozine is worth watching. And here's a slide show
from the event at the Center for Fiction in Manhattan
Booker Prize night at the Guildhall. Yesterday I
was talking to first year students at Imperial College,
London and tomorrow there's another session with a different
group. The day after, it's off to Boston for the Boston Book
Festival, then the Center for Fiction in New York and onwards
The Jewish Quarterly is carrying an
article that I wrote for them on the city of Brno.
Two events at the West Cork Literary Festival
over, the second one with writer and adventurer extraordinary
Tim Severin. Both events seemed to go very
well and the rain did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of participants.
Today the Guardian carries
a review of the audio version of the The Glass Room.
Sue Arnold thinks the book "much, much
more than a historical novel – it's a brilliantly plotted,
beautifully told story about love, cruelty, betrayal, survival
and, above all, the complexity and power of sex" and Jefferson
May's "cool, understated reading... perfectly
The audio book, 15hrs unabridged, is available from Whole
Story Audio, £24.99
At the Hay Festival I was interviewed by Jame
Naughtie about The Glass Room. At
Charleston Ed Hollis (The Secret Lives
of Buildings) and I managed an entirely spontaneous double
act on architecture and its significance that seemed to make
the audience happy.
a visit to Brno, and more particularly, the
Tugendhat House which is in the midst of restoration
work. A thrilling experience to see the building stripped down
and people at work on returning it to its former splendour.
You can see Czech
TV coverage of our visit here (scroll down for
the video). Better if you understand Czech but at least you
can see something of what the house looks like at the moment.
The evening before, I was interviewed
on Czech TV late night news. Again, it's in Czech.
Again, you'll have to scroll down for the video link.
A film contract for The Glass Room
has just been signed with Rudolf Biermann's
production company IN FILM Praha. That's just
the beginning of the beginning. The next step will be getting
a screenplay done.
From Monday 10 May I'm in the Czech Republic
on a week-long book tour of the country. I'll be in various
places throughout the week but the high point will probably
be Tuesday 11 when I'll be seeing round the
Tugendhat House (currently closed to the public
for restoration) and taking part in a press conference with
the mayor of Brno.
The paperback edition of The Glass
Room came out two days ago, and today there's a good
in the Observer - the one major newspaper
to miss reviewing the book when it first came out. "Mawer's
finest work so far" is James Purdon's opinion.
The paperback edition of The Glass Room (Abacus)
comes out on Tuesday and there's a brief review in today's Sunday
Telegraph. Ophelia Field thinks that "Written
so intelligently and seriously that it avoids all traps of sentimentality,
it explores the impossibility of perfect vision even as the
author displays his own."
Another shortlist. The Glass Room is on the
shortlist for the Jewish Quarterly Wingate Prize,
winner to be announced in June.
Stop Press! The Glass Room is on the shortlist
for the brand new Walter
Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. The winner
will be announced on June 19 at the Borders
Book Festival in Melrose. There's a certain déjà
vu about the shortlist which, besides The Glass Room, contains
two others from the Man Booker shortlist. At a cool £25,000
for the winner, the Walter Scott immediately goes into the top
ranks of British literary prizes. Of course there are other
ways by which such prizes may be ranked. The Goncourt is worth
a mere €10...
The Glass Room paperback gets a review in
Published by Abacus, it is due on the shelves on 22 April.
"This extraordinary book..." The
Glass Room is reviewed in today's The Boston
Globe. Read the full review here.
Restoration work on the Tugendhat House in
Brno has just begun, with the removal of furniture
from the living room and the cladding of the onyx wall and the
chrome pillars. See pictures and get a progress update here
The Glass Room is to be published in French
Le Cerche Midi. That makes 14 different language
rights so far.
articleon Theo van Doesburg (friend
of Piet Mondrian and mover and shaker on the Avant-Garde in
the 1920s) is online.
It was in the print edition of the Guardian on 23rd January.
If your interest is stirred, visit the exhibition at Tate
Modern which starts on 4th February
and runs until 16th May. The seriously eccentric Theo van D.
is worth knowing about.
The discussion of The Glass Room went pretty
well on the Diane Rehm Show on National
Public Radio. You can catch up with it here.
It features Ron Charles of the Washington Post,
the architect Susan Piedmont-Palladino and
attorney Bernard Lambek, who just happens to
be the grandson of Greta Tugendhat. A measure
of the effect of the show is that immediately following it The
Glass Room shot up to #27 in the Amazon.com sales rank,
and #5 in the literary fiction rankings.
Romanian rights to The Glass Room
are being sold to Art Grup Editorial, and some
stray questions are answered on the New
York Times website.
Books of the Year: 11 writers and critics in 8 different publications
have picked THE GLASS ROOM as a best book of
2009, and it’s back in the top 50 Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers.
Read what they have to say
The Sydney Morning Herald has published a
good review of The Glass Room. Stella
Clarke thinks it "a joy, suggesting the transcendence
in art of the worst ruinations of time and history".
She finds that "the storytelling is characterised by
lucidity and understated elegance" and "speaks
gently and insightfully about its intriguing subjects".
Both Sadie Jones and Melissa Katsoulis
have chosen The Glass Room as Book of the Year
in the Sunday
The Prague Post, the Czech Republic's English
language newspaper, features an
interview with me about The Glass Room.
Jane Shilling chooses The Glass Room
as her book of the year in today's Daily
Jeremy Paxman and Peter Conrad
have chosen The Glass Room as book of the year
in today's Observer.
Pleasing, because the Observer was the one major newspaper not
to review the book when it first came out. And The Glass Room
also appeals to Dr. Anna Grmelová, a
professor of English at Charles University in Prague. You can
find her thoughts in an interview on the Prague
Radio website. At the same website there's also
an interview I gave in October.
Both Rachel Cooke and Alison Roberts
include The Glass Room in their "best
books of the year" in the London
First major US book review for The
Glass Room, in the Washington
Post today. "The Glass Room
works so effectively," Ron Charles says, "because
Mawer embeds... provocative aesthetic and moral issues in a
war-torn adventure story that's eerily erotic and tremendously
The Glass Room is BBC
Radio 4 Book at Bedtime from Mondy 9th to Friday
13th and Monday 16th to Friday 20th November. Greta
Scacchi is reading it. If you can't hear it as it is
broadcast, you can always catch up with the listen again feature
on the BBC
Radio 4 webpage.
The Glass Room is now out in bookshops in
the US. Published by the Other
Press. You can also see a brief
video clip of the author reading from the book
and discussing it. This was done by the BBC
for Newsnight Review and the Man Booker
The Glass Room is to feature as a BBC
Radio 4 "Book at Bedtime" from 9th to the
13th November, with Greta Scacchi reading.
The US edition of The Glass Room is available
now, published by The
Other Press. Its actual date of publication is
An interview with Radio Praha of Czech
Radio can be heard, and read, here.
If you want to see the BBC Newsnight Review
piece on The Glass Room, then you can watch
Last night BBC2's Newsnight Review ran a big
item on all the Man Booker shortlisted books.
In a discussion afterwards the studio pundits decided, as more
or less everyone except the bloggers has already decided, that
Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall will win. Today there's a major feature
on me in the
Guardian by Sarah Crown.
It's good - I don't mean complimentary, I mean interesting and
There was an interview with me on BBC Radio 4's
Today programme this morning. Hear it on the
internet at the Today
website here (scroll down to 8.23)
It looks as though there is going to be a Chinese
translation of The Glass Room. Publishers will
be Shanghai 99.
The US deal has been confirmed. The Glass Room
will be published in the United States by Other Press.
The Polish rights of The Glass Room
have just been sold to Swiat Ksiask, who have
published my previous books in Polish. And there's a
US deal in the pipeline. Watch this space...
Writing in today's Independent,
Boyd Tonkin seems to think that a copy of The
Glass Room should be sent to the Palace as an education
in the ideals of modernist architecture...
Kinneret-Zmora are acquiring the Hebrew
rights to The Glass Room. US interest has finally
woken up with a number of publishers in the running. Watch this
The Glass Room is on the shortlist
for the Man Booker Prize, announced at 11 am
today. Open the champagne!
Kniha Zlin, who bring out the Czech
language translation of The Glass Room
next month, will also be publishing a Czech translation of Mendel's
Strange man reads from The Glass Room while
standing on the fourth plinth of Trafalgar
Square. It's literature, but is it art? Gilly Cooke
took the photo...
The Glass Room appears to be sold out... and
it's being reprinted.
Booker listing has certainly done something
for sales. From the doldrums of 135,000th on the Amazon sales
ranking The Glass Room shot to somewhere under
200th. It's now reprinting.
The Glass Room has made the Man
Booker Prize longlist, announced today. Previously
(1997) Mendel's Dwarf reached the last ten, but that was in
the days before the longlist was made public, so this is a big
The Glass Room is featured in the Daily
Holiday Reading List.
"...(a) gripping portrait of a home, a country and its
people. Exhilarating and utterly absorbing." said Amber
In today's Sunday
Telegraph, Melissa Katsoulis has
included The Glass Room in her recommended
summer reading. "Truly stunning", she calls it. "A
spectacular edifice of a novel, as tightly structured as it
is beautifully written."
A new online literary journal called The
Literateur has just launched. Find it at www.literateur.com,
along with a review
of The Glass Room, which the reviewer considers
an "excellent new novel", talking about the "taut,
precise writing" and finding moments when the book is "piercingly
intense in its use of language". "...Mawer creates
in the ‘Landauer House’ an almost perfect realisation
of its multiform inhabitants’ actions and motivations,
as well as of the political and social changes unravelling around
All of this is flattering enough. At bit harder to take is
the accusation that the ‘Note on Pronunciation’,
‘Author’s Note’ and ‘Afterword’
are there to "to force the work into being a viable pseudo-historical
document". Not true, I'm afraid. The Notes on Pronunciation
are there to help the reader with... er, pronunciation (of unfamiliar
Czech words); while the Afterword is there because it's a shame
that a reader without German might miss the expanded meaning
of the compound word Glassraum; and the Author's Note
is there precisely to make it clear that this is neither an
historical document nor (a far greater danger) a roman-à-clef,
but rather a work of fiction.
In June I am due to speak on Gregor
Mendel and the beginnings of quantitative genetics
at Bristol University. More details later.
Giovedì 5 marzo,
La Casa di Vetro, l'edizione italiana di The
Glass Room, è pubblicata da Neri Pozza.
Già ci sono interviste, su Venerdì di
Repubblica il 6 marzo e su D Repubblica
di oggi. Anche la rivista Flair prossimamente
dovrebbe averne una.
"...a passionately detailed portrait of individuals
struggling to snatch order and happiness from frightenng, irrational
times." Read an
extract from the review in the Sunday Telegraph.
"... a fiction of many remarkable qualities..."
Read the excellent review
of The Glass Room by Jane Shilling in the Daily
The Glass Room comes out this month. It has
already had its first
review in the Financial Times.
Greek publishers Modern Times are purchasing
the Greek translation rights of The
The Brazilian publishers Grupo Editorial Record
have bought the Brazilian Portuguese translation rights of The
Glass Room. Meanwhile the Frankfurt Book Fair is looming,
where Jessica Craig of United Agents
will be representing the book.
It does seem that the Mendel's
Dwarf film project has received new impetus following
the involvement of Jason Gould of Barwood
Films and Endeavor, the front line
talent agency. Watch this space...
The Czech rights of The
Glass Room have been bought by Czech publishing
Zlin. This sale is a something of a triumph, giving
a seal of authenticity to a book that is largely set in the
former Czechoslovakia. All this good work with translation rights
is down to Jessica Craig and Lettie Ransley, the foreign rights
team at United
The Girl Who Fell From The Sky
Abacus, May 2013
Mendel's Dwarf, Abacus edition, 2011
The Glass Room paperback, published by Abacus in
UK, April 2010
The Glass Room is published in the US
by the Other Press, October 2009
"Exciting, profoundly affecting and altogether wonderful"