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Library news

November 2018

Welcome to the latest edition of your library newsletter.

You are receiving this newsletter because you told us you wanted to hear more about the libraries in East Sussex. You'll receive regular updates telling you all about the latest goings on across the Library and Information Service.

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Remember With Us

Soldiers sledging

East Sussex is marking the massive contribution and sacrifice that the country made during the First World War, commemorated on 11 November.

Visitors to Lewes Library may have seen the memorial to Sidney Woodroffe, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for heroism that cost him his life on the battlefield close to Ypres in Belgium in 1915. This is one of four memorials dedicated to East Sussex men awarded the Victoria Cross in the First World War, as part of ESCC’s WW1 centenary commemorations. The other memorials are to Nelson Victor Carter in Eastbourne and Hailsham, Claude Nunney in Hastings and Cuthbert Bromley in Seaford.

In Hailsham, Hastings, Lewes and Seaford libraries we will honour these recipients of the Victoria Cross with displays of local studies materials. There will also be displays across our libraries to learn more about the history and culture of the times with a range of materials such as novels, histories, music CDs, audiobooks, microfilmed newspaper, and materials about our communities at that time. 

Many of these resources can be found using our online catalogue and can be reserved and delivered to your local East Sussex library.  We also have a great range of free online information sources such as Ancestry, Find My Past, Britannica and the Oxford University Press to help you find out more. Visit our WW1 research page for tips on how to get started.

This photograph shows two soldiers sledging at the hospital at Filsham Park during the war. If you would like to see more local history photographs, including those from WW1, visit our Flickr page.


Man Booker Prize Winner Announced!

Milkman cover

Local East Sussex author Anna Burn was announced on the 16th October as the winner of the 2018 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

Born in Belfast, Anna's experience of Northern Ireland during the Troubles, inspired the writing for the winning novel Milkman.

In this unnamed city, to be interesting is dangerous. Middle sister, our protagonist, is busy attempting to keep her mother from discovering her maybe-boyfriend and to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with Milkman. But when first brother-in-law sniffs out her struggle, and rumours start to swell, middle sister becomes ‘interesting’. The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous… Milkman is a tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness. It is the story of inaction with enormous consequences.

Kwame Anthony Appiah, 2018 Chair of judges, comments: ‘None of us has ever read anything like this before. Anna Burns’ utterly distinctive voice challenges conventional thinking and form in surprising and immersive prose. It is a story of brutality, sexual encroachment and resistance threaded with mordant humour.

Judge it for yourself! Reserve your copy of Milkman from one our libraries now. Also shortlisted for the Prize were, Everything Under by Daisy Johnson, The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner, The Overstory by Richard Powers, Washington Black by Esi Edugyan and The Long Take by Robin Robertson.

Check out our collection of the Man Booker Prize shortlist on our eBook site or why not try listening with the eAudio version?

Can't get to us? Let the Library come to You!

Pile of books

If you can't get to the library due to ill-health, disability or caring responsibilities, the library can come to you. We can arrange for you to have your library books delivered to your home on a regular basis, at a time convenient for you.

This free service is delivered through our team of fantastic Home Library Service volunteers.  All you need to do is complete an enquiry form and we will contact you to discuss your needs.

Your volunteer will make sure you are given books that suit your interests and are tailored to your needs. As well as books in standard and large print, we also have a wide range of audio books on CD available.  Visit our website for more information, including how to apply.  If you’re interested in becoming a Home Library Service Volunteer, we’d love to hear from you – you can get in touch via our website.

Many of our online resources, including our eBooks, eMagazines and eAudio books are also free to use and can be easily accessed from home.

Penned Up

Mr Ghee

This month, from 5 -15 November, our library at Lewes Prison is hosting ‘Penned Up’, a two-week literature festival to celebrate writing. The prison library is funded by the Ministry of Justice and the festival is organised, promoted and facilitated by festival directors David Kendall and Mark Hewitt, along with the prison library team and prisoners themselves. 

As well as being the audience, prisoners at Lewes have served on the festival management committee and contributed ideas for programming and promotion. Events include visits by Ruth Ware, McMafia writer Misha Glenny, and Damian Las Bas, acclaimed author of Stopping Places, a history of travelling people in Britain. There will also be workshops for the prisoners, including one on employment, and a poetry/spoken word session by writer Mr Gee (pictured).

The Mass Observation Social Archive is also supporting Penned Up with a special event at The Keep on Wednesday 7th November 6pm. County Archivist Christopher Whittick will give a historical perspective on judicial custody in Lewes over the centuries, while author and journalist Erwin James, who served 20 years in prison, will reflect on the role of the artist in prisoner rehabilitation. An exhibition of artwork and writings by prisoners will be on display in the entrance hall of The Keep.

The Book I Have Loved...

Birdsong cover

With the centenary of the end of the First Wold War in mind, this month our librarian Rachel reviews Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks.

I have read this book twice; once as a teenager whilst I was studying the First World War at school and again as an adult when I was keen to rediscover this powerful and unforgiving story.

Birdsong follows Englishman Stephen Wraysford from a failed affair with married French woman Isabelle to the trenches of World War One in France. The descriptions of the claustrophobic tunnels, no-man's land, trench warfare, as well as the relationship with both enemy and allied soldiers is brutally shocking, causing you as a reader to question, along with Stephen, the purpose of war and the long lasting effects it has on its soldiers.

"This is not a war, this is a test of how far man can be degraded". 

The soldiers' trauma is real, as is the ignorance of it back home, and as the war in the story progresses, the tension between the two increases and is highlighted in the letters sent from the trenches.  The story goes beyond the war to Stephen's granddaughter Elizabeth, who is trying to find out more about her past. Her story not only brings Stephen's back to life, but illustrates poignantly how its effects are still with us today.

For all of its shocking, gruesome and heart-breaking description of war, Birdsong is nevertheless a compelling modern classic.  As well as move me to tears, I learnt so much about the War from this book; beyond the dates and number of soldiers killed, to the realities of the millions of men and women whose lives were tragically lost or changed forever.

Reserve your copy from an East Sussex Library or download the eBook now. 

One to Watch - New DVDs out this Month

DVD covers

With the nights drawing in and the weather getting colder, stay warm at home this month and catch up with one of our DVD films or box sets available to borrow from your local library.

DVDs can be borrowed from as little as £2, and from £3.50 for the latest releases.