Sunday, May 6, 2007

Ruth Scurr

Ruth Scurr is an affiliated lecturer in the Department of Politics at Cambridge, and Director of Studies in Social and Political Sciences for Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge where she is a Fellow.

A prominent literary critic, she has written for the New York Review of Books and the Times Literary Supplement.

Her first book is the highly acclaimed Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution.

I recently asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
This year I am a judge for the Man Booker Prize, so I'm reading fiction, lots of it. Approximately 120 novels have been submitted for the prize, and I need to have read them all by the beginning of August, so that's one a day from now on.

So far this week I've read Esther Freud's Love Falls, Matthew Kneale's When We Were Romans, and Benjamin Markovits's Imposture. Freud and Kneale are authors whose previous novels I've reviewed and liked, but Markovits is a new discovery. The standard this year seems very high.

I'm moving on to Nicola Barker's Darkmans today. It is 838 pages long so I'll be up late.

When the prize has been awarded, I'm going to have a year off reading fiction and return to history. I'll be starting with Orlando Figes's new book: The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia.
Learn more about the Man Booker Prize and the judges for the 2007 award.

The Page 69 Test: Ruth Scurr's Fatal Purity.

--Marshal Zeringue