Friday, April 18, 2014

We Love This Book

The author of Bonita Avenue answers the ten questions we ask everyone, and talks about likeable characters, sex in fiction and coincidences. 
Where did the initial idea come from?
I wanted to depict a family in modern times and a clash between generations, the clash brought about by the internet. I was thinking about how young people experience their youth in comparison to mine in 1985 and how porn was then, it was something you saw once a year or so. In 2005 it was something that was there every day and it made me think that it was a public secret at the time that nobody talked about but everybody knew, and from that moment on I figured out this family and the plot.






Debut YA author Emily Murdoch talks about the inspiration for her book If You Find Me and how "The Patron Saint of Beans" was nearly its title.



Cara Hoffman, author of Be Safe I Love You, which tells the story of a woman soldier returning from Iraq, tells us about her favourite war novels.



by Mark Adler
This is fast-paced and absorbing but most of all it is as visual as a richly-coloured medieval tapestry packed with detail. Occasionally there is a degree of modern cynicism in the dialogue, which jars a little with the period but adds a welcome flash of humour. Adler's descriptions of rites and battles are vivid enough to transport you there, and "there" is a very scary place. Son of the Morning is the first in a trilogy, and if this is anything to go by the rest will be addictive must-reads.

Publishing needs to re-focus on gender

UK publishing has been slow in making progress towards gender equality in the top roles, industry figures say, with some suggesting that the preponderance of men working in the tech sector has influenced publishers’ recruitment.
But an increasing number of women in high-profile digital publishing roles shows the industry is in a good position to challenge gender imbalance, others argue.

In a session at the Publishing for Digital Minds Conference at the London Book Fair, digital entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox highlighted the massive male dominance within the technology industry, quoting statistics suggesting women could make up just 1% of the tech industry by 2040 if current trends continue.

However, Annette Thomas (pictured), c.e.o. of Macmillan Science & Education, told The Bookseller that the increasing importance of digital skills within publishing was not responsible for the fact that industry leadership was “unbalanced” when it came to gender.

She said: “It’s already the situation that women aren’t properly represented at the highest level of business—whether it’s publishing or any other. You don’t see 50% representation of men and women at the top of any industry.
“This situation will continue to exist for some time. We’re not making steps forward, at least not at the rate we’d expect, given the predominance of women up to the middle ranks.”
Thomas said the issue was being “actively discussed” at her own company.

Sue Townsend: A tribute

The bestselling author of the Adrian Mole books died on 10th April. 

Louise Moore, managing director of Michael Joseph, writes:

I first had contact with Susan Lillian Townsend in 1991 when she was writing The Queen And I. I was working as a (very) junior copyeditor for the great Geoffrey Strachan, Sue’s publisher at Methuen. I nervously wrote Sue a letter telling her what an anarchic, genius novel I thought it was and posted it off. Back came a funny, carefully composed three lines on a postcard—in Sue’s distinctive bold black handwriting—almost the next day. I now know this was typical of Sue: she was never interested in a person’s status, she took everyone she met on trust and with the same level of kindness and curiosity.

She was agented by the late Giles Gordon, whom she loved, and was already a literary superstar—Adrian Mole had taken the 1980s by storm. Even then, Sue seemed hardly to be affected by all the attention, plaudits and money—although she did love the literary world and its denizens, a night of good gossip at The Groucho, or a trip to Selfridges. (She never kept hold of her clothes or her handbags for long with two daughters, Vicky and Lizzie, and four granddaughters. Sue was always a ridiculously generous giver.) She had no false modesty and took pride in her work, but at the same time she was always far more interested in how you were doing, any news to be had, and talking through the possibilities she had in her mind for what her characters might do next.

EL Doctorow wins Library of Congress prize for American fiction

Fifty-year career wins over jury for 'chanelling the US's myriad voices' in novels such as Ragtime and Billy Bathgate

E L Doctorow
'Our Dickens' … EL Doctorow in his office at New York University in 2004. Photograph: Mary Altaffer/AP

America's "very own Charles Dickens", EL Doctorow, is set to be honoured with the Library of Congress prize for American fiction this summer.

Doctorow, whose career spans 50 years and whose acclaimed novels include Ragtime, Billy Bathgate and World's Fair, said that winning the award would help to – momentarily – soothe his "self-doubt".

"I was a child who read everything I could get my hands on. Eventually, I asked of a story not only what was to happen next, but how is this done? How am I made to live from words on a page? And so I became a writer myself," said the author. "But is there a novelist who doesn't live with self-doubt? The high honour of the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction confers a blessed moment of peace and resolution."

You've Probably Been Thinking About Reading Totally Wrong

HuffPost Books

You've Probably Been Thinking About Reading Totally Wrong

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Standing Room Only for Sunday 20 April 2014 - Radio New Zealand National

12:43 Watch out Scotland

We meet members of the biggest ever Kiwi contingent to be invited to take part in the Edinburgh Festivals – the Fringe, the International Festival and the Tattoo.

12:55 Competition

We reveal the winner of this week’s public art appreciation competition.

1:10 At the Movies with Simon Morris

1:35 Ralph Fiennes

The multi-faceted Ralph Fiennes chats to Simon about the new film he’s directed and stars in as Charles Dickens, it’s called The Invisible Woman.

1:53 Laugh Until It Doesn't Hurt

It’s a cliché that every comic has a dark heart but this year’s NZ International Comedy Festival might just prove it once and for all. Death, divorce and life changing illness, it’s all in there. Justin Gregory talks to three different comedians whose shows take a walk on the not so sunny side of the street. First up is Brit Carey Marx whose show Intensive Carey is all about coming back from what doctors thought was a series of heart attacks.

Web-only audio

Jamie Bowen talks to Justin Gregory about his new show, Heart Goes Boom, written about the death of his father from cancer.

2:05 The Laugh Track:

Kiwi comedian Tim Batt.

2:26 Writers and Readers Week

Highlights from a panel recorded during Writers and Readers Week in Wellington in March, talking about turning New Zealand history into theatre productions. The playwrights are Michael-Ann Forster, Stuart Hoar, Briar Grace Smith and chair, Dave Armstrong.

3:05 The Drama Hour:  Dean Parker’s 25th of April: A True Fiction about a Gallipoli deserter who became a figurehead of a protest movement advocating New Zealand’s withdrawal from World War One.

Visit our webpage for pictures and more information:

Publishing: we can't see the right track for all the digital platforms

Woman reading Kindle on the tube
'Step on to any busy, plane or train. A majority will be engrossed in the written word, in some form.' Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

Hollywood screenwriter William Goldman's famous saying – "nobody knows anything" – might now equally be applied to the world of books. Every week brings yet more confusing news from the digital frontline.
From America, it's reported that screens are now so ubiquitous that handwriting is dead. In Britain, bookselling is said to be on the rocks, with alternative media all-conquering. No question: Penguin and Random House merged, defensively, to combat the threat of Amazon. No one yet knows the outcome of that manoeuvre.
There is, however, one certainty that book lovers can feel good about. Despite the prophets of doom, this is a golden age of reading in all media: from iPhones and iPads to Kindles and Nooks, to enhanced hardbacks and collectors' editions. Consumption of the printed word is at an all-time high

South Korea to Send Books North to Mark World Book Capital

Among several plans to promote literature, South Korea hopes to send children's books to the North as part of Incheon’s turn as UNESCO World Book Capital 2015.

"Up until now second serial rights for stories and articles have been an afterthought, but it is a huge opportunity," says Byliner's Richard Nash.
See you on April 24!
Hear from: Matt Dellinger (Digital Strategist and Archivist, New Yorker, Vogue, Byliner), Jason Ojalvo (SVP Content, Audible), Joe Regal (CEO, Zola Books), Adam Silverman (Digital Business Development, HarperCollins)
See the full program and register here!
More from PP:
At the Observer, writers Tom Lamont and Robert Muchamore sat down to discuss a very important topic: Should celebrities stop writing children’s books?
From the Archives:
Some bestselling novels are too culturally specific to resonate with an international audience. Those that are translated will always be subject to readers’ unpredictable whims.

30 Writers’ Invaluable Advice to Graduates

Graduation season is fast approaching, the time of the year when some of our favorite writers (and notable figures in film, media, business, and politics) are tasked with summing up the lessons learned and the wisdom to be accrued from the process of growing up in ten succinct minutes of witty truth.

These days, a successful graduation speech has the very real chance of going viral, and then living forever as a book: from David Foster Wallace’s This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, About Living a Compassionate Life to Neil Gaiman’s Make Good Art, the best graduation speeches are finding a new life.

 This crop includes the brand new Congratulations, By the Way: Some Thoughts on Kindness by noted author George Saunders, a pretty-in-print encapsulation of his 2013 Syracuse Graduation speech on “kindness.”

Briefs: NEA Grants, Warren's Memoir, Samsung for Kindle, and More

Publishers Lunch

The National Endowment for the Arts announced nearly a thousand grants totaling roughly $75 million for the second half of their fiscal year.

Literature claims just a small slice of that largesse, with 56 grants comprising $1.42 million. Among the larger recipients, receiving grants of between $30,000 and $90,000, are: 826 National; Association of Writers & Writing Programs; Council of Literary Magazines and Presses; Grub Street; The Loft Literary Center; PEN American Center; PEN/Faulkner; Poets & Writers; and Small Press Distribution.
The full list (if you scroll down) is posted here.

The Boston Globe "obtained" a copy of Elizabeth Warren's embargoed memoir set for release next Tuesday, A FIGHTING CHANCE, and reports on it. "Warren portrays herself as an idealistic outsider, persistently fighting the excesses and political power of Wall Street."

Separately, Delacorte announced it will publish a young adult adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken on November 11: Unbroken: An Olympian’s Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive. The book lands in advance of the planned Christmas Day release of a movie version of the original book, directed by Angelina Jolie.

Samsung and Amazon "announced a broad agreement to launch Kindle for Samsung, a custom-built eBook service" accessible via an app for Samsung devices. Galaxy device owners who use the new app are promised a free ebook every month, chosen "from a selection of four different titles."

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Saturday Morning with Kim Hill: 19 April 2014 - Radio New Zealand National

8:15 Francis Spufford: books, boffins and Christianity
9:05 Lee Dugatkin: evolving goodness
9:45 Classical Music with Davinia Caddy: texture
10:05 Alice Walker: dashed dreams and hope
10:35 Jonathan Mills: Edinburgh Festival
11:05 Playing Favourites with Sharon O'Neill

This Saturday's team:
Producer: Mark Cubey
Wellington engineer: Shaun Wilson
Auckland engineer: Ian Gordon
Research by Anne Buchanan, Infofind

More information follows on Saturday's guests, repeats of previous interviews, next week's programme, and this email list. As this is live radio, guests and times may change on the day.

8:15 Francis Spufford
Francis Spufford is a writer working in many different genres. His books include the memoir The Child That Books Built (2002), the novel Red Plenty (2010), and non-fiction books Backroom Boys: the Secret Return of the British Boffin (2003), and Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense (2013, Faber, ISBN: 978-0-571-22522-4).

9:05 Lee Dugatkin
Dr Lee Dugatkin is Professor of Biology and Distinguished Scholar at the University of Louisville, and one of the world's leading experts on the subject of the evolution of behaviour. He will tour New Zealand during April and May as the first guest in the Allan Wilson Centre's 2014 International Speaker Series with his presentation, The Evolution of Goodness, exploring why humans and animals show altruistic, self-sacrificial behaviour, and speaking in Nelson (28 April), Christchurch (29 April), Dunedin (1 May), Wellington (2 May), Tauranga (5 May), and Auckland (6 May).

9:45 Classical Music with Davinia Caddy
Dr Davinia Caddy is a senior lecturer at Auckland University's School of Music, a flautist, and the author of How to Hear Classical Music (Awa Press). She will discuss texture in music.

10:05 Alice Walker
American author and activist Alice Walker is best known for her 1982 novel The Color Purple, which won her the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Her new collection of meditations, many previously unpublished, is The Cushion in the Road (The New Press, ISBN: 978-1-59558-872-2), and her new collection of poems is The World Will Follow Joy: Turning Madness Into Flowers (The New Press, ISBN: 978-1-59558-876-0). She makes one guest appearance at the Auckland Writers Festival, in discussion with Dr Selina Tusitala-Marsh (18 May).
(During the interview, Alice Walker mentions the book Indaba My Children by Credo Mutwa.)

10:35 Jonathan Mills
Sir Jonathan Mills has been Artistic Director of the Edinburgh International Festival since 2007. He is in New Zealand for the launch of Creative New Zealand's major new international initiative, NZ@Edinburgh, which will see around 200 leading New Zealand artists taking part in the world's most high-profile arts festivals in Edinburgh this August.

11:05 Playing Favourites with Sharon O'Neill New Zealand singer and songwriter Sharon O'Neill rose to fame in New Zealand and Australia during the 1980s, and worked with a number of artists including Robert Palmer and When the Cat's Away. She has been based in Australia for 30 years, and returns here next week for the release of a remastered career retrospective, Words: The Very Best of Sharon O'Neill.

On Saturday 19 April 2014 during Great Encounters between 6:06pm and 7:00pm on Radio New Zealand National, you can hear a repeat broadcast of Kim Hill's interview from 12 April with Don Brash.

Next Saturday, 26 April, Kim Hill's guests will include Jim Al-Khalili, Linda Colley, and the musical trio behind the Wheel of Experience tour.

Martin Amis describes arguing with Prince Charles over Rushdie fatwa

Author recalls dinner party contretemps with Charles over death threats to Satanic Verses author

Martin Amis composite
Fatwa row … Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie and Prince Charles. Composite: Murdo Macleod/Reuters
Alison Flood

Martin Amis "had an argument" with Prince Charles over his refusal to support Salman Rushdie after a fatwa was issued against him, the author has said.

Amis told Vanity Fair he argued with Charles "at a small dinner party" following the worldwide storm that ensued after publication of Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses in 1989.
Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini issued the fatwa against Rushdie, who was accused of "insulting" Islam in the novel, saying that every Muslim must "employ everything he has got" to kill him.
Copies of the book were burned around the world, Rushdie's Norwegian publisher was shot, his Japanese editor murdered and his Italian translator stabbed, with many people dying in riots protesting the novel's publication.

According to Amis, Prince Charles "said – very typically, it seems to me – 'I'm sorry, but if someone insults someone else's deepest convictions, well then,' blah blah blah" said the novelist. "And I said that a novel doesn't set out to insult anyone. 'It sets out to give pleasure to its readers,' I told him. 'A novel is an essentially playful undertaking, and this is an exceedingly playful novel."

Two Editors, One Novelist

The Slate Book Review author-editor-editor conversation with Emma Donoghue.

From left, Judy Clain, Emma Donoghue, and Iris Tupholme
Photos by Beowulf Sheehan, Nina Subin, and Kate Cassaday
As is the case with many novelists with an international profile, Emma Donoghue has more than one editor. Her newest novel, Frog Music—her first since the best-selling Room—was edited by both Judy Clain, editor in chief of Little, Brown in the U.S., and Iris Tupholme, editor in chief of HarperCollins Canada. The Canadian novelist and her two editors talk about sharing responsibilities, resolving disputes, and the long list of ideas Donoghue has waiting for the novels to express them.

Judy Clain: Emma, what is it like working with two editors on your books? When I came aboard for Room, I was the new girl stepping into an old relationship. So I was very conscious of the fact that the two of you might have had systems and ways of working together in place.

Emma Donoghue: Well, I think Iris and I had worked together on only one book ahead of you, so it’s not as if she had been my editor for 20 years and you were intruding or anything. I suppose it was less scary for me because I knew one of my editors (Iris) already. But Room felt like a new experience anyway—there was so much excitement about its publication worldwide from the start. So I had no sense that you were the new girl, Judy.

Clain: Well, that’s good. What helped for me, just in terms of process, was that you, Emma, were very clear from the start that you wanted to hear from both of us separately.  And I think with some authors where there are two editors working on a book, they get together behind the scenes and communicate about the edits and combine them into one editorial letter. And you wanted to hear from me, what I thought, and from Iris, what she thought. And I suppose we’re lucky, or maybe it’s not luck that neither of us said anything that completely contradicted the other!

National Poetry Month Poem of the Day: ‘The Ectoplasmic D’Ubervilles’ by Gina Abelkop

National Poetry Month Poem of the Day: 'The Ectoplasmic D’Ubervilles' by Gina Abelkop

To celebrate National Poetry Month, Flavorwire will be posting a poem a day. Today’s poem comes from Gina Abelkop, founder of Read More

Best Translated Book Award Shortlist

Book2BookWednesday 16 Apr 2014 

All 25 titles on the 2014 Fiction Longlist are spectacular, so I'm sure this was a pretty brutal decision making process. Anyway, here are your final ten books . . .

Literary Saloon

Dymocks Planning Growth in Hong Kong

Shelf Awareness

Australian bookstore chain Dymocks, which "sees room for expansion" in Hong Kong, "is seeking to bring back the number of stores to about 12 after three were closed last year when their rental contracts expired," South China Morning Post reported. Dymocks operates more than 70 stores in Hong Kong and Australia, many of which are franchised.

Jannie Tam, general manager of Dymocks Franchise Systems (China), said changing reading habits, digital competition and soaring rents have created a challenging environment: "It's no longer a purely book business. It has evolved into a cultural business with entertainment elements." Tam added that Dymocks has recorded a "double-digit" rise in sales per square foot so far this year compared with the same period last year. "Hong Kong is small and readers still like visiting bookstores flipping through books."

Once Upon A Time There Was A Clever Bookseller Called Waterstones

Book2Book Wednesday 16 Apr 2014

Time to remind book readers about the unmistakably warm feeling of holding and reading a real book, and help them remember that Waterstones is the home of the book experts. It wasn't looking to sell lots more books straight away, as that relies on big launches from famous writers but was looking to be the friend of the British book-buying public again. It had a fight on its hands, but was ready to lead the crusade.

Trade News from PW

Apple Loses Another E-book Decision
You can add another line to Apple’s list of issues for appeal in its e-book price-fixing case. Late Monday, Judge Denise Cote rejected Apple’s November 2013 motion to dismiss the states’ class action claims for lack of standing. more »

Indies Test 'One Book, One Store' Campaigns
This year several independent bookstores have tried putting their weight behind a single title in an effort to see if they can move the sales needle through strong, but quick, promotional efforts. more »

After a brief stint at #1, Michael Lewis's "Flash Boys" fell four spots to #5 on Apple's iBooks bestseller list. more »

Burmese Bookseller to Receive Freedom to Publish Award
Dr. Thant Thaw Kaung, founder of the Myanmar Book Center and executive director of the Myanmar Book Aid and Preservation Foundation, will receive, in a ceremony at BookExpo America, the 2014 Jeri Laber International Freedom to Publish Award. more »

Brilliant Ways to Build Buzz : Buzz doesn't happen by itself. Here's how to earn an audience, team with others, and give your fans tools to work for you.

Are Men Giving Up on Reading?: A new study, which was conducted by OnePoll with input from 2,000 British men and women, saw 63% of men admit they don’t read as much as they think they should.

Amazon's Unintentional Guide to Dealing: Amazon the corporate entity doesn't actually produce a guide for dealing drugs, but its purchase-recommendation algorithm sure seems to have done just that.

A History of Love (of Bookstores): From Janet Potter, in the Millions.

The Dickens of Detroit : The sound and style of a city through the eyes of Elmore Leonard, its foremost author.

Nottingham Hopes To Become United Nations City Of Literature

Book2Book Wednesday 16 Apr 2014

Nottingham hopes to celebrate its literary past by becoming a United Nations City of Literature.
Writers, experts and the city council have come together to submit an application.
It aims to celebrate Nottingham's past - which includes links to Lord Byron, DH Lawrence and Alan Sillitoe - as well as current and future writers.
Other cities which already hold the title include Edinburgh, Dublin and Norwich.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

JK Rowling writes Quidditch match reports for Pottermore

The Harry Potter author, in the voice of Ginny Weasley, Harry's wife, has been reporting on the 2014 Quidditch World Cup in the Patagonian desert

Jumping or flying? … Bowling Green State University's Sam Roitblat at the Quidditch World Cup VI in Florida in 2013. Photograph: Scott Audette/Reuters

Seven years after JK Rowling's fans tore themselves reluctantly away from the end of the last novel in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the author has provided a fresh insight into life as an adult for Harry's wife, Ginny Weasley.

After having enjoyed a career as a Quidditch player – the sport invented by Rowling for the novels, in which competitors ride broomsticks – Weasley is now married to the series' hero, Harry Potter, and working as a sports journalist for the Daily Prophet. Rowling has written a series of "live" reports by Ginny, from the 2014 Quidditch World Cup in the Patagonian desert, in which she explains why more than 300 crowd members have been injured.


How Writers Can Work with Games Developers

At the London Book Fair last week experts in video games development shared their insight on how writers can break into the lucrative and growing industry.
Many writers would like to try their hand at writing for the video games. Here are a few top tips on how to get started.
Have you registered yet?
Hear from industry experts like Ira Silverberg (Open Road) and Jacob Lews (Crown), along with new ideas from companies like Riffle, Byliner, Beneath the Ink and Publishing Technology.
See the full program and register here!
More from PP:
The Bangkok Post looks at how Thai publishers are leveraging social media and online video to promote titles to younger readers and reach a wider potential audience.
From the Archives:
Storydrive Frankfurt speaker Cory King describes how his ambitious game "Clandestine: Anomaly" aims to define augmented reality storytelling.