DESPITE the huge row going on in the UK on whether to stay in Europe or not, it seems that book readers are lapping up European fiction.

The Guardian reports on research commissioned by Man Booker International (MBI) prize from Nielsen Book which showed that overall sales of translated fiction in the UK were up last year by 5.5%, with more than 2.6m books sold, worth £20.7m – the highest level since Nielsen began to track sales in 2001.

Nielsen said that UK readers are “overwhelmingly” reading translated fiction from Europe, with French literature accounting for 17% of volume sales, the biggest language represented.

Norwegian and Swedish writing, represented by authors including the Norwegian thriller powerhouse Jo Nesbø and the Swedish bestseller Jonas Jonasson’s The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, was also popular over the last year.

Royal Ascot, one of the most prestigious events in the British horse racing calender is to allow men to wear dresses for the first time in a bid to appeal to transgender racegoers, reports the Daily Star.

And women will also be allowed to come in a tuxedo and a top hat as part of the l new dress code.

Britain’s first transgender jockey Victoria Smith commented: “Racing is really starting to become more accepting of difference, so any changes that help really are welcome.”

Royal Ascot in Berkshire – which takes place in June – has operated a strict dress code since the early 19th century, dictating that men must wear black or grey morning dress with a waistcoat and tie and that ladies are not allowed to wear strapless and off-the-shoulder dresses, while midriffs have to be covered and fascinators are also banned.

According to The Guardian, the National Army Museum is to repatriate to Ethiopia, two locks of hair taken from the head of the 19th-century emperor Tewodros II.

Apparently Tewodros chose to kill himself rather than give himself up to the British after the capture in 1868 of Maqdala, his mountain capital, in order to rescue Europeans who had been taken captive.

At the time, hundreds of treasures were taken by the British.

The National Army Museum said the locks of Tewodros’s hair were given to it in 1959 by the family of an artist who painted the emperor on his deathbed.

Terri Dendy, head of collections at the museum, said: “Having spent considerable time researching the provenance and cultural sensitivities around this matter, we believe the Ethiopian government claim to repatriate is reasonable and we are pleased to be able to assist.

“Our decision to repatriate is very much based on the desire to inter the hair within the tomb alongside the emperor.”

Reference list

The Guardian (

Daily Star (www.daily