The end of the world has come. Curtis Brown, one of the oldest and largest independent literary agencies has set up its own creative writing school. A conflict of interest, a cynical and desperate attempt to restore flagging revenues, a blurring of the lines…So I read on Twitter and on The Bookseller comment page.
Frankly, not the debate I anticipated. Should a writer write with the industry in mind? Will we be grooming a new breed of formulaic writers? These are the questions I expected to debate….read more
The Middle East has long been a source of fascination for artists and writers, especially in the West. The Bidoun Organisation has created a travelling exhibition that brings together some 1,000 posters, cartoons, catalogues and curiosities that show how distorted the clichés of the Orient were, even post-1945. Amira El Ahl reports from Cairo
Imperial political propaganda tool: Covers of The Sheikh series in the exhibition at the Townhouse Gallery |
A Treasure Chest of Oriental Pulp Fiction
Trashy novels are generally instantly recognizable by the garish picture on the cover. This usually depicts a gorgeous, scantily-clad maiden being rescued, or kissed, or clasped to the manly bosom of the posturing hero. Clearly, The Secret Son of the Sheikh is a cheap thriller of the same genre as thousands of other such romances…..read more
This day, or the moment of this day’s passing, has brought out the commemorative spirit in many. D. H. Lawrence’s “New Year’s Eve,” is from his book-length cycle of poems, Look! We Have Come Through, which documents Lawrence’s first years with Freida; though published in the same year as Eliot’s “Prufrock,” the poems offer a passionate alternative to measuring out life by coffee spoons….read more
The end of subsidies and a focus on ‘impact’-led research may force literary criticism to reconnect with the public imagination.
English should be communicated, as urged by Hector (Richard Griffiths, left) in The History Boys, not languish in obscurity.
The lamentations of English scholars suffering government cutbacks have echoed around the Comment is free and education pages recently. Having three English degrees myself, two of which were free, I feel an instinctive sympathy for this view. But further reflection into the way the subject has changed over the last few decades makes me wonder whether the removal of subsidies, and the introduction of new “impact”-focused research assessments, may not be in the long-term interests of the subject….read more
Writers are bypassing the traditional route to bookstore shelves and self-publishing their works online. By selling directly to readers, authors get a larger slice of the sale price.
Science fiction writers Greg Bear, left, and Neal Stephenson created a subscription-based historical novel about Genghis Khan’s conquests. (Kevin P. Casey, For The Times / December 18, 2010)
Joe Konrath can’t wait for his books to go out of print.
When that happens, the 40-year-old crime novelist plans to reclaim the copyrights from his publisher, Hyperion Books, and self-publish them on Amazon.com, Apple Inc.‘s iBooks and other online outlets. That way he’ll be able to collect 70% of the sale price, compared with the 6% to 18% he receives from Hyperion.
As for future novels, Konrath plans to self-publish all of them in digital form without having to leave his house….read more
Edith Grossman has translated Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes and Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. When translating an author's work, "you feel as if you are looking at the world through the eyes of someone else," Grossman says.
When Edith Grossman translates a book, she begins to feel a closeness to the author who wrote it. “The more talented the writer, the more open the door is into his or her mind,” she explains.
And Grossman should know. She is perhaps best known for her translation of Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote. Not only did Cervantes invent the modern novel, says Grossman, he was a cutting-edge writer 400 years ago. When Grossman talks about the author, it’s almost as if he is still alive.
“I dearly love him,” she says. “I would love to have a meal with him, I’d love to have a couple of drinks with him, to sit and chat and talk about literature and all the other things you talk about with someone you are really very fond of.”
But such affection and admiration can also be daunting. Grossman says she had a lot of fear when she began translating Don Quixote. She spent two weeks on the first sentence alone, because she felt everything else would fall into place if she could only do justice to Cervantes’ opening line.
The key to unlocking what the author intended, says Grossman, can always be found in the text itself….read more
The holiday break is a great time to put your nose in a book. The Herald’s literary editor, Susan Wyndham, lists 15 Australian classics for your consideration.
Don’t tell my editor but I’ve cheated on this assignment. ”Write about the 15 Australian books every Australian should read,” he said. But summer holidays are not a time for ”shoulds”, except that your reading should be a pleasure. And choosing just 15 books is almost impossible. We have moved way beyond the time 70 years ago when Marjorie Barnard wrote of Australian literature that ”there is not yet so much timber that we cannot get a clear view of the bush”.
So let’s call this ”15 Australian books – and some extra suggestions – that every Australian can enjoy if they want to understand our literature, our country and ourselves”. Culture is a conversation and knowing these books enables us to talk to each other….read more
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