Readersforum's Blog

November 23, 2012

Life of Pi author Yann Martel: “Overall, I think it’s a wonderful companion piece”

Suraj Sharma as Pi Patel in a scene from “Life of Pi.”

By Mark Medley

Piscine Molitor Patel, better known as Pi to his friends and family, spent 227 days on a lifeboat, floating across the Pacific Ocean, his only company a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. The film version of Life of Pi floated aimlessly for ten times as long. Rumours about a possible film adaptation began to swirl almost as soon as the novel won the Man Booker Prize in 2002. Directors M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense), Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men) and Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amélie) were all attached at one point or another, before Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain) came aboard. His film opens in theatres on Wednesday, and it was worth the wait. Mark Medley recently chatted with the book’s author, Yann Martel, from his home in Saskatoon.

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September 29, 2011

Rockin’ reads

Neil Young attends 'Neil Young Life' Premiere at Princess of Wales during the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival on September 12, 2011 in Toronto, Canada. Photograph by: Peter Bregg/Getty Images

By Ben Kaplan

News that Neil Young would be penning his autobiography took the Canadian book world by storm Tuesday. Hot on the heels of the bestselling Life by Keith Richards, Young’s autobiography might be the only Canadian rock memoir to present any kind of sales rival to the skull ring-wearing Rolling Stone.

“A memoir coming from Neil Young – if, in fact, he’s written it, he’s honest, he can write, he has a good editor and lots of photos – will sell tons,” says Jack David, publisher of ECW Press, a 37-year-old Canadian publishing house that specializes in pop-culture books, including a memoir from Rush drummer Neil Peart. “We turn down two celebrity memoirs for each one that we publish because either they can’t write, their story isn’t interesting or else they aren’t willing to be honest. Keith’s book did all those things, and we have to expect the same from Neil.”

“Uncle Neil” has already been featured on the pages of a book, most famously in James McDonough’s 2002 biography Shakey, which included in-depth interviews with Young, his family and friends. Although Young, the Toronto-born son of legendary sports writer Scott Young, agreed to McDonough’s biography, the men had a falling out that ended in court and the tome was shelved for three years.

Young’s new book, tentatively titled Waging Heavy Peace and expected to be published in 2012 by Blue Rider Press, an imprint of Penguin, is touted as being written solely by the iconoclastic rock star. (Signing Young to a publishing deal was hailed as a coup by Blue Rider president David Rosenthal, who recently secured a similar publishing deal with Dylan.)

“I started and kept going,” Young said in a news release. “I felt like writing books fit me like a glove.”

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September 27, 2011

‘Bill of rights’ for writers seeks bigger share of e-book revenue

Greg Hollingshead Photograph by: Jean Levacthe Ottawa Citizen, File, Postmedia News; National Post

By Mark Medley

The Writers’ Union of Canada has released A Writer’s Bill of Rights for the Digital Age that addresses challenges writers face as the publishing industry moves to a digital model.

Demands in the 12-point document released Thursday include that “the publisher shall split the net proceeds of e-book sales equally with the author” and “when a book is out of print in print form, continuing sales in electronic form shall not prevent a rights reversion to the author.”

Edmonton author Greg Hollingshead, chairman of the Writers’ Union of Canada, answered some questions about the bill of rights. more

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