What We Are Reading Today: Workers’ Tales

Updated 24 October 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: Workers’ Tales

  • In Workers’ Tales, acclaimed critic and author Michael Rosen brings together more than 40 of the best and most enduring examples of these stories in one beautiful volume

Edited by Michael Rosen

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, unique tales inspired by traditional literary forms appeared frequently in socialist-leaning British periodicals, such as the Clarion, Labour Leader, and Social Democrat.
Based on familiar genres— the fairy tale, fable, allegory, parable, and moral tale— and penned by a range of lesser-known and celebrated authors, including Schalom Asch, Charles Allen Clarke, Frederick James Gould, and William Morris, these stories were meant to entertain readers of all ages — and some challenged the conventional values promoted in children’s literature for the middle class. In Workers’ Tales, acclaimed critic and author Michael Rosen brings together more than 40 of the best and most enduring examples of these stories in one beautiful volume.
Throughout, the tales in this collection exemplify themes and ideas related to work and the class system, sometimes in wish-fulfilling ways. In “Tom Hickathrift,” a little, poor person gets the better of a gigantic, wealthy one. In “The Man Without a Heart,” a man learns about the value of basic labor after testing out more privileged lives.
And in “The Political Economist and the Flowers,” two contrasting gardeners highlight the cold heart of Darwinian competition. Rosen’s informative introduction describes how such tales advocated for contemporary progressive causes and countered the dominant celebration of Britain’s imperial values.


The Six: World-famous authors at Emirates Literature Festival

The Emirates Literature Festival is set to run from March 1-9, 2019. (Shutterstock)
Updated 48 min 41 sec ago
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The Six: World-famous authors at Emirates Literature Festival

DUBAI: Set to run from March 1-9, 2019, the festival boats a stellar lineup of authors, including these famous faces.

Ian Rankin
Ian Rankin is best known for his “Inspector Rebus” detective series, the 22nd of which, “In a House of Lies,” was published in 2018. He is set to speak on stage on March 8 and 9.

Jane Hawking
Stephen Hawking’s wife for more than twenty years, Jane Hawking is a writer and lecturer. Her 2002 memoir, “Traveling to Infinity,” was turned into the critically-acclaimed 2015 movie, “The Theory of Everything.”

Frank Gardner
The renowned British correspondent was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for his services to journalism in 2005 and is set to give a talk on March 9.

Zeina Hashem Beck
The Lebanese poet’s most recent collection, “Louder than Hearts,” won the 2016 May Sarton New Hampshire Poetry Prize.

Aziz Mohammed
The Saudi writer and poet published his debut novel, “The Critical Case of ‘K’,” in 2017 and it was shortlisted for the International Prize for the Arabic Fiction in 2018.

Dubai Abulhoul Alfalasi
The author of “Galagolia,” the first Emirati fantasy novel in English, she is currently writing a series of children’s books on Emirati folklore.