Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Publishers 'insulting' readers over e-book prices
30.06.09 Catherine Neilan reporting in The Bookseller

Publishers are "insulting" readers by expecting them to pay equivalent prices for e-books as for hardback versions, delegates at the inaugural Publishing Laid Bare conference heard last week.
As part of a panel discussion on what publishers could learn from other industries, The Friday Project publisher Scott Pack, author and editor Jonathan Reuvid, and director of manga publisher SelfMadeHero Emma Hayley, discussed the impact of digital versions of books on revenue. Pack warned that while it was inevitable e-book sales would begin to cannibalise print sales, publishers should price books at a more reasonable level.
"We are kidding ourselves if we think we can charge the same for an e-book as we do for a print copy," he said. "Most ridiculous of all is charging the same as a hardback - we are insulting our audience to do that. If, and they will, e-books start to encroach on print sales, we have to find another way of dealing with that."
Pack cited a recent TFP book, Blood, Sweat & Tea, the digital version of which had been made free under the Creative Commons Licence, at the author’s request. This generated an "enormous" word of mouth response, with "almost exclusively positive" media coverage and "goodwill", which could be channelled for future releases.
"I don’t think you could do this with every book... but perhaps with a writer’s first book, you could issue it as an e-book to get reviews, and build word-of-mouth responses, and then perhaps the second the book could be print," Pack said.
He also suggested "vanilla" e-books could be cheap, while publishers could charge more for "bells and whistles" digital versions. He said there were "myriad" options.
Hayley agreed e-books would begin to eat into publisher’s overall sales, but she warned about lowering the price of books too far. "You still have creative costs, and agents want a bigger royalty for e-books, so it can’t be dirt cheap or it won’t work financially," Hayley said.


From The Sunday Times
June 28, 2009
The joy of national hybridism
National stereotypes are dead, says the writer. Let’s revel in mongrelism

Remember the finer points of that giant model-kit installation called Entropa, which was unveiled in Brussels in January to celebrate the Czech presidency of the EU? Neither do I. But it made a splash at the time, in a lavatory-humour sort of way, because it managed to simultaneously offend and amuse — though not the same people simultaneously.
It depicted every European country as its most banal cliché: Italy as a football pitch; Romania as a Dracula theme park; Germany as swastika-shaped autobahns; and Bulgaria had a collective heart attack at being depicted as a bunch of Turkish squat toilets.

You may strain to remember what Britain looked like, and with good reason: it didn’t.
It was absent from Europe. The blank compliment was almost amusing — Britain doesn’t have to feature; it has always been special, with its Euro-scepticism. Either that, or the artist ran out of ideas.
Which is precisely the point of national stereotypes. A stereotype is the extent to which the collective imagination has run out of ideas. As someone who emigrated from one country that is a character in a children’s story to another country populated by hobbits and wizards, I’m vividly aware of the fine line between stereotypes and a form of cultural fascism. But more on this later.
First, I want to point out that Europe is becoming mongrelised. This is finally being reflected in our cultural life, and not just in who owns the corner shop or whether there’s a mosque in town. Here is an example.
A few months ago I was at the London School of Economics with two other thirtysomething writers, and we were supposed to talk about migrant voices — as if they were somehow a different pitch of voice. The Belgian writer was Turkish. The Dutch writer was Pakistani. They are second-generation, and I’m the half-generation of a migrant family, and all of us came from the easternmost margins of Europe or beyond. This explains the proposed subject matter of our discussion; but in the end we talked about how we don’t feel like migrants at all. They are both stars in their countries’ cultural firmaments, and not because they are exotic but because they have something to say about the human condition, migrant or not. In other words, they are ordinary European writers.

Then I went to a festival in Zagreb. The Dutch poet in the programme had a Moroccan name. I appear in the programme as being from Britain, and I’m a Bulgarian Kiwi, but I wouldn’t live anywhere other than Britain — isn’t that what you call patriotism?
Yes, and there’s my point. Multiple people like the British-born Pakistani/Dutch writer don’t have to be a freak show any more; they’re normal now. “Migrant” and “multicultural” society are terms worn out by their own stereotypes.
The rest of Kapka's piece at The Times online.
Debut authors dominate shortlist for Frank O'Connor award
Four out of six collections nominated for this year's short stories award are by first-time writers
Richard Lea writing in the guardian.co.uk,

The year of the debutant continues with today's announcement of the shortlist for the 2009 Frank O'Connor award with four of the six shortlisted authors nominated for debut collections. Notable casualties from the 57-strong longlist for the world's richest award for a collection of short stories include Kazuo Ishiguro, Ali Smith and James Lasdun.

The Zimbabwean author Petina Gappah said she had been "going around with a rather demented grin on my face" ever since she heard that her debut collection, An Elegy for Easterly, was on the list.
"I still can't believe I am on the shortlist ahead of all those excellent writers," she said. "It is too bizarre. At this rate, I may just start to be believe that I actually know what I am doing!"
She is joined on the list for the €35,000 (£30,000) award by three more debutants: the American Wells Tower for Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, the Malaysian Shih-Li Kow for Ripples and Other Stories, and Simon Van Booy for Love Begins in Winter. Philip O Ceallaigh appears on the shortlist with his second collection of short stories, The Pleasant Light of Day, while Charlotte Grimshaw, nominated for Singularity, is something of a veteran in this context, with two novels and a previous collection of short stories to her name.
The writer Vincent McDonnell, one of the judges for the 2009 award, pronounced himself pleased with the quality of the entries, showing that the short story was in "reasonably good health".
"There are some new voices on the scene as well," he added, "which is healthy."
He said there had been no "conscious decision" to favour debut authors, and was unaware of the preponderance of debut writers on the shortlist. While an unknown voice might stand out among the work of familiar writers, he continued, "that particular question didn't really crop up. Some of the collections from new writers were very strong indeed."

Shortlisted authors must commit to attending the award ceremony, which has been the culmination of Cork's annual Frank O'Connor International short story festival since 2005 – though McDonnell rejected the suggestion that a willingness to travel influenced the make-up of the shortlist.
Previous winners include Yiyun Li, Haruki Murakami, and Jhumpa Lahiri, who jumped to victory directly from the longlist last year after judges decided it would be a sham to place any other writers on a shortlist beside her.
The 2009 winner is due to be announced on 20 September 2009.
Check out the website here.

Anna Kavan’s New Zealand
- an invitation from Takapuna Public Library

Come along and hear Jennifer Sturm, author of Anna Kavan’s New Zealand, talk about Anna Kavan, an experimental writer and talented artist, who struggled with bouts of depression and insecurity, as well as heroin addiction and a stream of unconventional love affairs.

Jennifer will provide an intriguing insight, not only into the life and writing of Anna Kavan, but also New Zealand of the 1940s.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009
6.00 – 7.30 pm

Upstairs at the Takapuna Library
The Strand, Takapuna
New Zealand author Charlotte Grimshaw’s latest collection, Singularity,
shortlisted for the 2009 Frank O'Connor Short Story Award

The shortlist for the 2009 Cork-City Frank O'Connor Short Story Award has been decided by an international jury. The award at 35,000 euro is the richest prize in the world for the short story form and is given annually to an original collection of stories judged to be the best.

Previous winners have included Haruki Murakami, Miranda July, Jhumpa Lahiri and Yiyun Li. The award is organised by the Munster Literature Centre with generous funding from Cork City Council.
Notable names edged out for a position on this year's shortlist include Booker winner Kazuo Ishiguro, Orange Prize winner Chimanda Ngozi Adiche, veteran short story authors Ali Smith, Mary Gaitskill and James Lasdun and reviewers' darling Sana Krasikov.

The winner will be announced in Cork on September 20th at the closing ceremony of the tenth Frank O'Connor International Short Story Festival which is the oldest annual short story festival in the world.

The shortlisted books are as follows (in alphabetical order):
1) An Elegy for Easterly by Petina Gappah published by Faber, London
2) Singularity by Charlotte Grimshaw published by Vintage, New Zealand
3) Ripples and other Stories by Shih-Li Kow published by Silverfish Books, Malaysia
4) The Pleasant Light of Day by Philip O Ceallaigh Published by Penguin Ireland
5) Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower Published by FSG New York and Granta UK
6) Love Begins in Winter by Simon Van Booy published by Harper Perennial New York.

Writer Julian Novitz about to take up Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship

Julian Novitz, the award-winning short fiction and novel writer, will take up his residency at the Sargeson Centre alongside Auckland University from 1 July 2009.
Novitz, one of the joint winners of this year’s Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship, will be using his five-month residency at the Sargeson Centre apartment to work on the second draft of a novel, as well as completing several further short stories.
His first book, My Real Life and other stories (Random House, 2004), won the New Zealand Society of Authors Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2005. His story Three Couples won the 2008 Katherine Mansfield Short Story Award late last year.
Holocaust Tours (Random House, 2006) was Novitz’s first novel, and his work has also appeared in several editions of The Best New Zealand Fiction.
As part of the Fellowship, Novitz and this year’s other winner, Steve Braunias, each receive a $20,000 grant, allowing them to write full time while using the apartment.

Buddle Findlay National Chairman, Peter Chemis, says both writers are following a tradition that has seen many of New Zealand’s most distinguished authors use the distraction-free space and facilities that the apartment offers.
Having sponsored the Fellowship since 1997, we are delighted at the contribution we have been able to make towards New Zealand’s constantly developing literary tradition, which is such an important element in our cultural identity.”
The Sargeson Fellowship was established in 1987 to commemorate Frank Sargeson and provide assistance for New Zealand writers. It aims to offer outstanding writers the opportunity to write full time, free from financial pressure. .
Past Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellows (from 1997 onwards) include: Shonagh Koea, Diane Brown, Catherine Chidgey, Sarah Quigley, Tina Shaw, Kapka Kassabova, Sue Reidy, James Brown, Charlotte Grimshaw, Vivienne Plumb, Chad Taylor, Denis Baker, Riemke Ensing, Toa Fraser, Debra Daley, Karyn Hay, Craig Marriner, Fiona Samuel, Peter Cox, Emily Perkins, James George, Brigid Lowry, Paula Morris and Steve Braunias.

News of three NZ writers from Ian Conrich in London

Session 108
Wednesday 22 July 2009
Centre for New Zealand Studies,
Rm. 330, North Block, Senate House,Malet St.,
London WC 16.30-8.30

Three Writers
Peter Bland, Barbara Ewing, and Jenny Pattrick

This special event is limited to 35 seats and we advise that if you wish to attend that you email your reservation to Tory Straker at <strakervictoria@hotmail.com>. The event is free and open to all and will be followed by a wine reception. Early booking is recommended. We are delighted to welcome these three writers to the Centre for a very special evening of readings.

Peter Bland is a celebrated poet and actor, whose film credits include Came a Hot Friday (1985). His books of poetry include My Side of the Story: Poems 1960-1964 (1964), Domestic Interiors (1964), Passing Gods (1970), The Man with the Carpet Bag (1972), Primitives (1979), Stone Tents (1980), The Crusoe Factor (1985), Paper Boats (1991), Ports of Call (2003), and Mr Maui's Monologues (2008).

Barbara Ewing is an actress and best-selling novelist. She is the author of The Actresses (1997), A Dangerous Vine (1999), The Trespass (2002), Rosetta (2005), and The Mesmerist (2007).

Jenny Pattrick is one of New Zealand's biggest selling novelists. She is the author of The Denniston Rose (2003), Heart of Coal (2004), Catching the Current (2005), In Touch with Grace (2006), and Landings (2008). Pattrick is the current holder of the New Zealand Post Mansfield Prize.

The Whole Day Through
by Patrick Gale
HarperCollins, $29.99
Reviewed by Nicky Pellegrino

Some books are main courses, great big ribstickers that take a while to digest. The Whole Day Through is more of a sorbet, refreshing and delicious while it lingers on the palate.
Gale’s forte is sensitive writing about relationships and this story, structured loosely around a single summer’s day, focuses on the fractured one between Laura and Ben. University sweethearts they meet again by chance when they are in their forties. By now Laura has a back catalogue of unsatisfactory love affairs and has had to abandon her life in Paris and return home to England to care for her elderly mother.

As for Ben, he’s fallen out of love with his wife Chloe and come back to his hometown to care for his brother who has Down’s Syndrome.
The pair meet by chance and sparks flare between them. But their falling in love for a second time is only one strand of the story. Gales meanders around the present day, constantly changing direction to follow the thread of a memory or explore an emotion. He takes us back to Laura’s odd childhood with her academic, nudist parents, and to her student fling with Ben and his abandonment of her. He winds through Ben’s past in much the same way.
There’s some slightly jarring sex and the odd secret revealed but essentially this is a nice, middle class book about nice, middle class people.
Gales’ last novel, Notes From An Exhibition, was catapulted up the bestseller charts after being chosen as a summer read by British TV couple Judy and Richard. The pressure must have been on to deliver another commercial success and so you have to admire him for choosing instead to write this quiet, thoughtful story about love, disappointments, and how the past constantly resounds in the present.
Elegance and subtlety are the hallmarks of Gale’s writing. Even when he underscores the story with contemporary issues (there’s a gay, disabled relationship in this one) he does so with the lightest touch. While in some ways there’s a slightness about this slice-of-life style novel, The Whole Day Through is tender, bittersweet and should resonate with many readers. Sometimes sorbet is exactly what you fancy.
Nicky Pellegrino, in addition to being a succcesful author of popular fiction, (her latest The Italian Wedding was published two months ago), is also the Books Editor of the Herald on Sunday where the above review was first published on 28 June.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Tom Waits pursued by “vermin”
29 June 2009 - Melville House Publishers

Tom Waits, free of vermin

The ex-manager of musician Tom Waits is suing Random House for $1 million in general damages and an undetermined amount in punitive damages, as well as corrections to be made in the book, over claims made about him in a biography of Waits released last month.
According to the law suite (pdf) filed by Herb Cohen, the book, Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits by Barney Hoskyns, says that he “robbed Waits of royalties for years” using fraudulent accounting practices; that he “helped himself” to income from his other clients, which included, over the years, Frank Zappa, Linda Ronstandt, Alice Cooper, Fred Neil, and George Duke; and that Waits considered him part of an unfortunate group of “flesh peddlers and professional vermin I’d thrown in with.”
As a brief report from Billboard notes, “Cohen has alleged that these statements are false and defamatory.”
Book trade wins new media awards
29.06.09 Victoria Gallagher reporting for The Bookseller

Harlequin Mills and Boon and Penguin's digital marketing director Anna Rafferty both won awards at the New Media Age Effectiveness Awards, held last week.
Mills and Boon picked up a gong for its newly redesigned website, while Rafferty won an award for the "Greatest Individual Contribution to New Media".Rafferty was applauded for her pioneering and innovative approach to social media and digital marketing at the NMA Awards. Since joining Penguin Books in 2003, she has spearheaded a variety of social media-driven initiatives, including Spinebreakers, an interactive site aimed at promoting the world of books and reading to teenagers, BlogaPenguinClassic, BlogaHolidayRead and the online dating site, PenguinDating.

Tim Cooper, director of direct and digital marketing, for M&B describe the firm's award in the Retail category as "fantastic news". "The new Mills & Boon website is a showcase for our new eBooks, and also offers an online community for romance fans." He added: "We are in an increasingly instant and on-demand world.
The new Mills & Boon website and eBook offering is our way of responding to the changing face of publishing and taking the lead - and we are receiving a fantastic repsonse from readers as a result."The new website launched in April this year with its own social networking site. The site now includes a variety of features, including blogs, forums and reviews. The site branches directly off Mills and Boon's main website and works in the same vein as Facebook, allowing users to create a profile.
Macmillan orders 85k reprint of Jackson biography
29.06.09 Philip Jones in The Bookseller

Macmillan is rushing through a reprint of 85,000 copies of J Randy Taraborrelli's Michael Jackson: The Magic and the Madness in anticipation of a surge in demand for Jackson products following the pop star's death last week.

The book, published in paperback 2004, is currently 28th in Amazon.co.uk's bestseller chart, despite being listed as 'out of stock'. The publisher, which said late Friday that it was still waiting orders and assessing quantities, is expecting delivery of the £8.99 paperback on Tuesday.
There have been numerous reports that sales of Jackson's albums, and DVDs, have gone through the roof since news of his sudden death emerged last Thursday (25th June).

However, no new book on Jackson appears to have been commissioned since Taraborrelli's book, and this is the only title on the singer in Amazon.co.uk's top 100 list.
The Bookseller reported on Friday (26th June) that independent publisher John Blake has commissioned a new biography of Jackson. Michael Jackson – King of Pop: 1958-2009 is being written by Emily Herbert, a long-time fan of Jackson, who has interviewed him "on several occasions" in the past.

It is scheduled for release on 24th August and will be a B-format paperback, priced £7.99.Omnibus Press is also looking into the possibility of creating a special 'memorial' edition of its Michael Jackson: The Visual Documentary of Jackson. Richard Hudson, sales director, said the publisher was "in discussions" with the author, Adrian Grant, about updating the book. The fourth edition of the title was published in 2005. Hudson added Omnibus was considering reissuing "two or three" other books on the singer.
Image above from The Michael Jackson website.
And another Michael Jackson story from the Canadian book trade.
Patrick Ness reveals exclusive short story for Booktrust website

The award-winning author Patrick Ness has written an exclusive short story for the reading charity Booktrust, where he is currently writer in residence.

The winner of the Booktrust Teenage Prize 2008 and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize 2008 began his role as Booktrust’s first writer in residence in March 2009. Since then he has produced a fortnightly blog, tips and advice for writers and a video of his work in schools.

The story, entitled ‘The New World: A story of Chaos Walking,’ is a prequel to his award-winning novel The Knife of Never Letting Go, the first in his bestselling Chaos Walking trilogy.
Set before the first meeting of the heroes Viola and Todd, ‘The New World’ tells the dramatic story of Viola’s arrival on the planet she’s spent her entire life travelling towards. Ness explores Viola’s relationship with her family as he reveals the trauma of her terrifying introduction to this alien world, which she must now face alone.

An extract from ‘The New World’:
‘There it is,’ my mother says, and what she means is that the dot we’ve been nearing for weeks, the one that’s been growing into a larger dot with two smaller dots circling it, has now become even larger than that, growing from a dot to a disc, shining back the light from its sun, until you can see the blue of its oceans, the green of its forests, the white of its polar caps, a circle of colour against the black beyond.
Our new home, the one we’ve been travelling towards since way before I was even born.
We’re the first ones to see it for real, not through telescopes, not through computer mapping, not even in my own drawings in the art classes I take on the Beta with Bradley Tench, but through just the couple centimetres of glass in the cockpit viewscreen.
We’re the first ones to see it with our own eyes.
‘The New World,’ my father says, putting a hand on my shoulder. ‘What do you think we’ll find there?’
Patrick Ness commented:
‘The story of how Viola first got to New World is one I'm constantly being asked about by young readers, so when the time came to write a story for Booktrust, I leapt at the chance to tell it. Hopefully, it casts a bit more light on the person Viola is and was, as well as maybe, just maybe, mentioning one or two things that might be important in Book Three. My lips are sealed otherwise.
‘The Booktrust writer in residency has been terrific so far, a great place to talk about writing with interested (and interesting) new writers. It was time to put my money where my advice is and offer a story of my own, a process just as scary for me as it is for anybody else.’

The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer are the first two novels in Patrick Ness' Chaos Walking trilogy. Both are published by Walker and available from all good booksellers now.
James Frey Collaborating on a Novel for Young Adults, First in a Series
By MOTOKO RICH, New York Times, June 26, 2009

James Frey, the author of “A Million Little Pieces” and “Bright Shiny Morning,” is working with another writer and anonymously shopping around a young-adult novel called “I Am Number Four.”

James Frey

A source familiar with the project said that Mr. Frey, who was famously caught embellishing details in “A Million Little Pieces,” his memoir of drug addiction and recovery, came up with the idea of what is proposed as a six-book series. He and the other writer, whose name has not been disclosed, are working together on the text of the books.
In addition, DreamWorks Pictures has bought film rights to the series, with no less than Michael Bay, the director of “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” signed on to produce and possibly direct the first installment, according to a DreamWorks spokesman. “Transformers” broke a box office record on its opening day Wednesday.
A manuscript of the first book in the series has been circulating among editors at several large New York publishing houses. In a cover letter, Eric Simonoff, a literary agent at William Morris Endeavor, says the series is a collaboration between an unnamed New York Times best-selling author and a young up-and-coming writer.
Full story at NYT.
Moveable Feast’ Is Recast by Hemingway Grandson

Hemingway with his first wife, Hadley Richardson, left, and his second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer.
Story by MOTOKO RICH writing n The New Yorker, June 27, 2009
Besides its tart portraits of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway’s posthumous memoir of his early days in Paris, “A Moveable Feast,” provides a heart-wrenching depiction of marital betrayal.
Ernest Hemingway and his fourth wife, Mary, who edited the first edition of “A Moveable Feast.”
The final chapter, “There Is Never Any End to Paris,” is a wistful paean to Hadley Richardson, Hemingway’s first wife, whom the writer left for her best friend.
The friend, Pauline Pfeiffer, the wealthy woman who became Hemingway’s second wife, is portrayed as something of a wily predator, and it is Hemingway’s “bad luck” that he falls for her.
It turns out that the story behind the editing of the book is nearly as juicy as the tales within it, and has become something of a multigenerational custody battle over how to cast the larger-than-life author’s stormy romantic history.
Mary Hemingway, the writer’s fourth and final wife, was the one who edited the first edition of “A Moveable Feast,” published by Scribner in 1964, cobbling it together from shards of the unfinished manuscript he left behind. She created a final chapter that dealt with the dissolution of Hemingway’s first marriage and the beginning of his relationship with Pauline, building some of it from parts of the book he had indicated he did not want included.
Early next month, Scribner, now an imprint of Simon & Schuster, is publishing a new edition of the book, what it is calling “the restored edition,” and this time it is edited by Seán Hemingway, a grandson of Hemingway and Pauline.
Among the changes he has made is removing part of that final chapter from the main body of the book and placing it in an appendix, adding back passages from Hemingway’s manuscript that Seán believes paint his grandmother in a more sympathetic light.
Read Motoko Rich's full piece here.

Will Holden Caulfield be Hijacked?
By David L. Fox - Writing in Publishing Perpectives

The pending U.S. publication of 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye, a self-described "sequel to one of our most beloved classics" that portrays the adventures of an aged Holden Caulfield of The Catcher in the Rye, has brought a court challenge by the famously litigious J.D. Salinger. Each side is accusing the other of hijacking the Holden Caulfield character. Salinger is contending that the new book violates his copyright to control his Caulfield character.
The new book's Swedish author, Fredrik Colting, is contending that enforcement of any Salinger copyright to prevent publication would violate U.S. free speech rights to criticize the Caulfield character.Last week, a judge initially sided with Salinger, temporarily prohibiting publication of the new book in the U.S. The judge found that in his 1951 novel Salinger described Holden Caulfield sufficiently to copyright the character under U.S. law.

This was significant because characters described in a single work of fiction usually cannot be copyrighted, as opposed to those described graphically (e.g., Mickey Mouse), or in serial works (e.g., James Bond). The judge concluded Salinger's description of Caulfield was sufficient because Caulfield was presented in "a portrait of words.

i'm not sure when I last pullled on the swimmers and took a plunge? Probably three years ago when I was last up this way? I never swim in NZ or Australia, the water is never warm enough for me, it takes me hours to recover, but here the air temperature is 31C (and humid) the water temp must be 27C or so, like a luke warm bath really, and I can happily swim up and down the gorgeous pool here at the Twin Palms Resort Hotel (it should really be called the 1000 Palm Resort Hotel) for half an hour or so and not a sign of getting cold. Love it!

Carrying out an an informal surbvey around the pool I can tell you that about 60% of the guests have a book with them, most of the others have magazines, almost all the books are A format paperbacks (mass market) and almost all appear to be thrillers or crime fiction.

I am currently reading two fiction titles, unusual for me, I often read one fiction and one non-fiction but I do not ever recall reading two fiction titles at the same time previously. There is a reason.

The kind folks at Hachette NZ have oaned me a Sony eBook reader and have loaded it with six fiction titles of my choice from their forthcoming publishing. So on "my" eBook reader I am reading The Arms Maker of Berlin by Dan Fesperman , set in contemporary USA & World War Two Berlin & Berne while in paperback I am reading Inspector Singh Investigates by Shamini Flint. I'll report back on both titles, and of my experience with reading an eBook later on this journey.

Well it was quite a journey - we left Auckland International Airport at 2.00pm Sunday (NZ time) with Thai Airways and after an easy and mostly smooth flight, (except for the first hour when we were buffeted around by gale force winds and crew and pasengers were confined to their seats), we arrived in Bangkok at 2.00am (NZ time), a two and a half hour wait for our flight to Phuket, half an hour to get luggage and clear customs at Phuket, a half hour drive to our beautiful resort (Twin Palms Resort Hotel at Suren Beach), half an hour to check in, shower and fall into bed at 6.00am NZ time. The time difference between Thailand and New Zealand is five hours, that is Phuket is five hours behind NZ so when we got into bed here it was 1.00am local time. Six hours sleep and we woke at 7.00 am feeling bright and cheerful, a delicious breakfast (think mangoes and paw paw) and off for a walk on the beach.

Whenever I am in Asia or Europe the wonderful International Herald Tribune becomes my daily news and newspaper fix. I have stablished that t arrives here in Phuket between 12 noon and 1.00pm each day so the copy I got this morning was actually the weekend edition but I didn't mind as it has a significant arts section and a great round up of world news, even some from NZ - French rugby player lies over incident in New Zealand!
And here is Alan Cowell writing on page two:

Is Free News Really Worth the Price?
'While business managers ponder when digital news will overtake printed news as a money earner, champions of good journalism must insist that their message is not sacrificed on the altar of a changing medium.' By ALAN COWELL

PARIS — If you are reading this, I am doing my job.
Roughly speaking, that is the compact that has underpinned the ties that bind those who write the news to those who read it.
But as the world hurtles into a digital era, other questions intrude: if you are reading this on paper printed with ink, are we both dinosaurs; and, if you are (still) reading this on your laptop, or P.D.A., or mobile phone, who is paying for it?

The questions have sharpened in recent days, honed by a blizzard of Twitter and Facebook messages and images on YouTube and Flickr from the protests in Iran, demonstrating the limits of the old and the immediacy of the new, all the more evocative for their blurriness and brevity — 140-character dispatches from the front lines of a putative and possibly doomed revolution.
In Tehran, the authorities may have been able to close down mobile-phone and Internet networks, expel or jail correspondents, enforce crude regulations to prevent traditional reporting by traditional reporters as much as they have moved brutally to quell the protests themselves.
But they have not stemmed a flood of video and words from the demonstrators on the streets — the same dark tide as bore the grim image of the dying Neda Agha-Soltan, a 26-year-old Iranian woman shot and killed last weekend. Her staring eyes and spilled blood produced an instant global emblem that no amount of repression or media restriction could deny.
It may be tempting, perhaps, to argue that, finally, that oft-reviled beast — the mainstream media — has been left in history’s wake. After the demise of typewriters and Telexes, the time of the tweet has arrived. The view is not universal, even among tech-friendly journalists.

Read Cowell's full piece here.

More from me anon about what I'm reading etc.
here at Phuket it is presently 31C and very humid. I'm off to the pool. No swimming allowed at the beach at this time becaise of strong rips.
We are here by the way to attend the 50th birthday party of London-based NZ friend.
Adam Art Gallery to showcase nine dynamic New Zealand artists and their thoughts on the future

The Adam Art Gallery has invited nine New Zealand artists, designers and writers to produce new works that respond to our uncertain times – and speculate on the future.

Using the unique architectural structures of the Adam Art Gallery – situated at Victoria University’s Kelburn campus – and the online space of the gallery’s website, the artists have been asked to produce works that speculated imagine the future – in the context of the political realities of our contemporary world.

Exhibition curator Laura Preston says the exhibition will showcase fresh and innovative ideas from nine young artists, each responding in their own way to the current socio-political climate.

“The artists’ projects will act as a series of propositions for embracing this time of uncertainty, where structures and systems that we have come to know are being brought into focus and re-defined—from the mechanisms of the capitalist system and the imminent risks to the environment, to the modernist idea of progress,” she says.

She says the exhibition will consider the potential of both the gallery and the web to act as sites that reflect on the shape of power, and to consider alternatives to present institutions.

“The exhibition will also respond to the university as a site for research and critical thinking, and as a forum for the re-visioning of art histories,” says Preston.

One of the more spectacular of the works on display will be a pyramid structure created by Wellington artist Peter Trevelyan. When completed the work will be made entirely out of approximately 20,000 0.5 millimetre mechanical pencil leads.

Trevelyan says the work draws on utopian visions of the future – but a future that is still fragile and uncertain.

“Public sculptures are usually solid and iron cast – but this is more fragile, tentative and drawn, rather than real – it’s so fragile – like a utopian ideal.”

He says bringing together nine of New Zealand’s most dynamic artists is bound to produce exciting ideas.

Accompanied by a public programme of night talks, a workshop and sound event, the Adam Art Gallery will become an active site of discussion and a resource for the future.

The Future is Unwritten
11 July – 30 August 2009
In the building: Fiona Connor, William Hsu, Daniel Malone, Kate Newby, Martyn Reynolds, Peter TrevelyanOnline: Amit Charan, Narrow Gauge, Kelvin SohCurated by Laura PrestonOpening and website launch: Friday 10 July, 6pm

For a full programme please check the gallery’s website: www.victoria.ac.nz/adamartgallery


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Unique visitors came from:

New Zealand 50%
USA 15%
UK 8%
Australia 6%
Canada 4%
India 2%
Germany 2%

Remaining 13% from 46 other countries.
Thanks for dropping by.
Illustration by Stuart Goldenberg - NYT
Book Of A Lifetime: Tropic of Cancer, By Henry Miller
Reviewed by Ewan Morrison writing in The Independent
Friday, 26 June 2009

The only book in my parents' bookcase which was turned the wrong way round with the spine hidden was Tropic of Cancer (1934) by Henry Miller. Their idea was, no doubt, one of caring parental censorship: they didn't want the novel that led to the rewriting of US laws on pornography to fall into my 13-year-old hands. Copies had to be illegally smuggled into the US until the 1960s and a publisher did ten years in jail. Given that my parents were liberal leftists and their bookshelf also included texts by Erica Jong, Aldous Huxley, Jean-Paul Sartre and Vance Packard, I realised that the hidden book had to be pretty radical. I stole it and hid it under my bed.
One might worry that I would have been corrupted by the book. Thankfully, at that point I found it totally incoherent; the page-long sentences unwinding like the ramblings of some drunken poet, wandering from meal to meal, drink to drink, from one sexual adventure to the next through the streets of Paris and Brooklyn. The surrealist stream-of-consciousness style, the impossible mixture of social commentary and autobiographical rantings, did not provide me with the tools I required from so-called pornography. The behaviours described were no more extreme than those that happened weekly in my hippy household. I mentally filed it away under "pretentious modernist experiment".

It took me 20 years to come back to Miller, and when I found him again, he was a life-saver. Ironically, I found myself living within a mile of his old home in Brooklyn, wandering from drink to drink and bed to bed, dangerously close to total collapse. In many ways, I blamed my downfall on the permissive society that Miller had helped spawn through his influence on the Beats.
Read the full Morrison piece at The Independent online.
From The Telegraph:

Nina Bawden misses the applause at Carrie's War first night

Mandrake was sorry not to see the 84-year-old Nina Bawden at the first night of the stage adaptation of her best-seller Carrie's War at the Apollo Theatre in the West End.
She is a plucky old girl and great company, but, seven years after her husband, Austen Kark, was killed in the Potters Bar rail crash, in which she was also seriously injured, she tells me that she still finds crowds and confined spaces daunting.
"The project is very close to my heart and I am determined to sneak in and see it on a quieter night," she adds. "I'm thrilled with the reviews. Funnily enough, when I wrote the book, I was told it wouldn't sell." It hasn't been out of print in 36 years.

Literary festivals: a survivor’s guide
Martin Jarvis on the characters to avoid, and the top five festivals you should not miss

June 27, TheTimes

An author confided to me recently that, however much we tell ourselves that the Lit Fest is all about culture, it’s equally about sales. Well, certainly a signed book is a sold book.
Hay-on-Wye is a biggie. My first appearance there was damp. As in rain. And, to some extent, squib. I arrived at a sodden country hotel at dead of night having been driven from London after a performance at the Donmar.
The front door would be left unlocked, I had been assured, my room key on a table inside. I tried the door. It didn’t move. Nothing. What to do? The driver splashed up the steps with my overnight bag, lifted the iron knocker and slammed it down.
We listened. Walter de la Mare would have appreciated the dilemma.
Suddenly the door swung outwards, and a tousled Terry Jones (Python and medievalist) stood blinking on the threshold. Courteously, but with voice of steel, he said: “It opens the other way.”
I grabbed my bag, groped past him, located the key and slunk soundlessly to bed.

My “event” next morning took place in a sort of tented sauna. I refrained from any jocular reference to the venue as a “big top”; I had been warned that organisers are sensitive. It’s a marquee.
I read from Acting Strangely. The rain beat down. I told a true story about playing George VI in an American mini-series and my approach to his speech difficulties. I mentioned “Monty” and Churchill. They also had impediments. I did impressions.
The audience shifted uncomfortably. I heard whispers of “non-PC”. Or was that hissing? Oddly, though, when I moved on to Just William and a full-blooded characterisation of Violet Elizabeth (“I’ll thcweam an’ I’ll thcweam ’til I’m thick), they rocked with laughter. Fictional lisps OK at Hay.
Read the full story here. to see which Festivals Jarvis names as the best.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Here in New Zealand we seem to be on a roll with remarkable first novels, mosty from women writers.
In the past 12 months we have seen, amomg others, Misconduct by Bridget van der Zijpp, The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton, Butterscotch by Lyn Loates, and now the latest, being published this coming week, As the Earth Turns Silver by Alison Wong.

I have just finished the last-mentioned, read in three long sittings, and I must say I am feeling somewhat devastated. While this historical novel (early 20th century) deals with racisim, sexism and cross-cultural issues it is above all else a love story. A love story superbly told, a love story that caused me grief, an utterly beautiful, totally compelling love story which as you follow it you sense it's failure is inevitable. Gut-wrenching, distressing stuff and I know it will be a long time before I will be able to let go of the two protagonists.
Set from the late nineteenth century to the 1920s, from Kwangtung, China to Wellington and Dunedin and the battlefields of the Western Front — this is the story of two families.
Yung faces a new land that does not welcome the Chinese. Alone, Katherine struggles to raise her children and find her place in the world.
In a climate of hostility towards the foreign newcomers, Katherine and Yung embark on the love affair mentioned above.
Geoff Walker, Publishing Director of Penguin Group (NZ), clearly delighted to be publishing this first novel had this to say:
This is one of those very special first novels that comes along only every now and then. We predict that this will be one of the big New Zealand novels of the year. It is written with a poet’s eye for language and is simply a delight to read. This is rich, rewarding fiction of the highest quality.
“It is also about a subject virtually untouched in New Zealand fiction, the plight of the tiny Chinese immigrant community in New Zealand in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
“Alison has spent many years researching her subject, producing a novel which is quite unique. And it is also a beautifully told love story, which reaches across the racial divide in fascinating ways.”
Raised in Hawke’s Bay and a resident of Titahi Bay, Porirua, Alison Wong is a graduate of Bill Manhire’s Original Composition class at Victoria University and a past recipient of the Robert Burns Fellowship at the University of Otago. She is a published poet — Alison’s collection of poetry Cup was shortlisted for the Best First Book for Poetry at the 2007 Montana NZ Book Awards — and this is her first published book of fiction.

International rights and some foreign language editions have already been sold to the UK, Australia, France and parts of Asia. The list of countries that As The Earth Turns Silver will be published in continuously grows as Alison’s London agent Toby Eady gathers great interest in the book from around the world. Eady says: “When the manuscript for As The Earth Turns Silver first came in to my office, I knew I had to go to New Zealand and meet its author. It was one of those special moments when one hears a confident new voice speaking from the very first sentence. Alison has written a truly beautiful book about the sadness of racism and why we allow ourselves to be hurt by love. I have been lucky enough to work with some great writers exploring Chinese culture around the world — Alison Wong is one of those.”
I agree with both the publisher and the literary agent, this is a major piece of wonderfully researched fiction, in Alison Wong we have a major new writer emerging.
I cannot recommend this new book warmly enough. It is a stunner!
And I must not close without applauding the cover design, back and front, by Keely O'Shannessy.Truly impressive.
published by Penguin Group (NZ) on 29 June 2009; $37.00

1. The Michele Hewitson interview with legendary southern man poet Brian Turner.
Great interview, and superb photo of the curmudgeonly Turner with his beloved alps in the background.

Turner's latest book, Into the Wilder World: A Back Country Miscellany, (Random House), is shortlisted for the MOntana NZ Book Awards.

2.David Hill's deservedly enthusiastic review of Dorothy Butler's autobiography, All This and a Bookshop Too, (Penguin). Also a great photo of the "grande dame of children's books".

3. John Roughan's column in which he speaks of the difficulty in finding a good book, and the importance of the role of the independent bookseller and gives Doris Mousdale a plug at the same time. Doris is opening her new bookshop, Anthology, in Newmarket's Teed Streeet in August.
And in The NZ Listener dated July 4-10, out today, 11 pages of book news and reviews, including the opportunity to win all the finalsits in the Montana NZ Book Awards. And the Cultural Curmudgeon on Auckland City's appalling record with the treatment of public art.
Don't miss the Weekend Herald or The Listener.
Transformers Rule iPhone Paid Book Apps
Report from Galley Cat

As "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" steamrolls the box office this weekend, iPhone readers are lining up to buy .99-cent digital comics in the Apple iPhone store.
Transformer tie-ins now occupy the #2, #4, #6, #7, and #11-14 slots on the "Top Paid Apps" in the books category of the App Store.

Produced by IDW Publishing, the apps are digital versions of a comic book prequel to the film. The robot movie reaped $60.6 million on opening day alone, and readers are paying to read these special e-books as well. If you want to read more, one UK blogger reviewed the digital comics.
Here's more from the promotional materials: "Can't wait for the Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen movie? Get a head start on with the film's official prequels, Revenge of the Fallen: Alliance and Revenge of the Fallen: Defiance! Delve into the Transformer's recent and ancient past as these stories lead up the the events in this summer's blockbuster."
Fourth Estate and Bloomsbury score at Food Writers Awards
26.06.09 Katie Allen REORTING IN tHE bOOKSELLER

Fourth Estate and Bloomsbury were the big winners at last night’s Guild of Food Writers Awards, which took place in Lincoln’s Inn, London. Food critic Egon Ronay presented the awards.
Guy Watson and Jane Baxter’s Riverford Farm Cook Book (Fourth Estate) won two awards, the Michael Smith Award for Work on British Food and the Jeremy Round Award for the Best First Book.

Heston Blumenthal picked up the Food Book of the Year Award for The Big Fat Duck Cookbook (Bloomsbury).The Cookery Book of the Year Award went to Mark Hix for British Seasonal Food (Quadrille) and the Kate Whiteman Award for Work on Food and Travel went to Fuchsia Dunlop for Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper (Ebury).
Ronay and cookery writer Mary Berry were presented Lifetime Achievement Awards by Guild president Jane Suthering.
Guild of Food Writers

Borders UK courts suitors for sale of the business
Retail Week - June 26, 2009

An information memorandum is understood to have been sent out for book retailer Borders UK, which could result in a potential sale of the troubled retailer.
Sources said the memorandum has been sent to “selected private equity houses and trade buyers”.
One interested party said it was “all about to kick off” as potential investors examine the business and mull over the possibility of buying the bookseller.
Retail Week (June 12) revealed that Borders had appointed Clearwater Corporate Finance to “seek new funding”, which could result in a possible sale of the business.
Planet Retail analyst Paola Montealegre said: “The company has shown its commitment to overcome the difficult market. However, its plan to revitalise the business may not be enough to compete with new channels such as supermarkets and internet retailers.”
She added that another private equity firm could see a “possibility to transform its specialist focus into a wider-entertainment store” but that it would have to be “willing in this climate to increase its capacity in bricks and mortar and take on a proportion of possible debt”.
Borders, owned by Luke Johnson’s Risk Capital Partners, declined to comment.
Artoholic Saatchi bares all for Phaidon
26.06.09 Catherine Neilan reporting in The Bookseller

Phaidon is to publish a book in which art collector and advertising guru Charles Saatchi answers "with brutal frankness" some 200 questions put to him by journalists, critics and members of the public. Famously reclusive, Saatchi will address all areas of his life. The full title of the book is My Name is Charles Saatchi and I am an Artoholic: Everything you need to know about Art, Ads, Life, God and Other Mysteries—and Weren't Afraid to Ask.

Editorial director at Phaidon Amanda Renshaw, who commissioned the title, said: "Charles is one of the most influential shapers of the age we live in, through his role in advertising, and his enormous force in the contemporary art world, but he has always shied away from making his opinion publicly known. This book is insightful; it's not only interesting to hear his views, but it is a witty, clever and a really fun read."
Questions will include "How do you rate political advertising today?" and "Do you think you have messed up anyone's life by flogging off all of their work?"
Renshaw said Saatchi's "unflinching" responses had created "an extraordinary first-hand account" of the man who has become one of the world's most influential art collectors.

The illustrated book is due out on 8th September as a £5.99 paperback, to coincide with a BBC2 programme with the working title "Saatchi's Best of British" which is being billed as "the art world's answer to ‘The X Factor'".
Phaidon is planning a "huge" press campaign, including serialisations, around publication.
Sainsbury’s expands HC book club offer with children's club
26.06.09 Graeme Neill in The Bookseller

Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s is to relaunch its adult book club and introduce a children’s book club as part of its increased focus on books. The chain will also unveil a three-for-two offer across children’s books and has secured its book supply by signing up entertainment distributor Technicolor.
All three initiatives were due to launch this week. In April, the supermarket increased instore space devoted to books by 10% as part of a move to generate a double-digit sales uplift. As part of the adult book club promotion the supermarket will select a mass market, literary and key backlist title each month with one being highlighted as "Book of the month" and the other two as "Recommended". The books will sell for £3.99. Barbara Delinsky’s While My Sister Sleeps is the first book of the month, with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus and David Wroblewski’s The Story of Edgar Sawtelle recommended.

The book club—run in conjunction with HarperCollins—first launched in January with a book a month promoted instore and online, alongside author interviews and reading material. Book department manager Phil Carroll said: "We were keen to revamp it and we challenged HC to come up with something completely new. As it was, it wasn’t really a club but what they have come up with now is more than we asked them for."
Key accounts director at HC Wendy Neale said the change was made following customer feedback. She said: "They were very interested in being offered a choice of titles as well as a similar children’s campaign."
As part of the children’s book club, the supermarket will select three titles a month, for children aged 3+, 5+ and 7+. As with the adult book club, one title will be "Book of the month" and the other two will be merchandised under "Recommended". The first book of the month will be Darcey Bussell’s Magic Ballerina: Summer in Enchantia. The two recommended reads are Michael Bond’s Paddington and the Marmalade Maze and Michael Morpurgo’s Private Peaceful.
The three-for-two offer on children’s books will only exclude those that are part of a "buy one, get one free" campaign.
Pricing on the children’s books will vary, but all book club selected titles will be in the three-for-two offer. Carroll said: "It’s an important part of our offer to drive sales."
Carroll also revealed that Sainsbury’s has signed a one-year contract with entertainment distributor Technicolor to fulfil its book offer. It had previously been using a mix of Gardners and Technicolor following the collapse of wholesaler Entertainment UK last November. The distributor already supplies Sainsbury’s with DVDs and games.

Friday, June 26, 2009

J.D. Salinger strikes back
The author's legal action to stop a book about Holden Caulfield seems a little too extreme
Meghan Daum in the LA Times, June 25, 2009

J.D. Salinger, as you may have read over the last few weeks, is inveighing against "phonies" yet again. Fifty-eight years since the publication of "The Catcher in the Rye" -- indeed, 44 years since he published anything -- the famously reclusive and litigious author, now 90, recovering from hip surgery and totally deaf, has taken legal action to stop the U.S. publication of a Swedish novel called "Sixty Years Later: Coming Through Rye." Subtitled "An Unauthorized Fictional Examination of the Relationship Between J. D. Salinger and His Most Famous Character," the novel depicts a 76-year-old Holden Caulfield, who meets his author and revisits various locations and characters featured in the original book.Salinger's suit calls the book "a rip-off pure and simple."

Lawyers representing "Sixty Years Later" claim that the book engages in criticism and parody and therefore constitutes "fair use" of copyrighted material. A judge in New York, who agreed to temporarily block the book's publication (it's already been released in Sweden and Britain) is expected to make a final ruling in the next few days.On certain levels, there's something heartening about Salinger's famous unwillingness to allow any derivations of his work -- he has turned down film adaptation offers from Steven Spielberg, Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson, to name just a few, and has blocked a BBC stage production of "The Catcher in the Rye."
By standing up for the integrity of his own material, Salinger also stands up for the notion that books and stories are fully integrated objects; that they are not a means to an end but the end itself. And in a culture in which books are increasingly thought of as merely source material, the idea of books as whole and finite entities is, sadly, a little bit radical.

But, as I am hardly the first to point out, Salinger's protectiveness of his work isn't just stand-up, it veers into the paranoid, mercurial and even delusional. What we've heard about Salinger in the last four decades has mostly to do with his eccentricities and cantankerousness. He's rumored to have experimented with many forms of spirituality and dietary philosophies (among them Zen Buddhism, Dianetics and -- use your imagination -- "urine therapy") as well as making efforts to block virtually any form of derivation or dissemination of his work.

It's not just movie adaptations he eschews. In 1986, Salinger stopped the author of an unauthorized biography from including in his book letters that Salinger had sent to friends and colleagues. A decade later, Salinger put the brakes on the release of his last published work, a novella that had appeared in the New Yorker but had not yet appeared in book form. Apparently put off by the inevitable tide of publicity, he asked his publisher, a small press in Virginia, to withdraw the book.

But the "Sixty Years Later" suit, while not surprising, seems somehow sadder than the previous legal actions. There's a sense that Salinger might not have a grasp on exactly what he's objecting to and why. And I suspect a lot of people are asking the same question that I am: "Doesn't the great J.D. Salinger have bigger fish to fry?"
The full story at LA Times online.
Thursday, June 25, 2009

Digitisation Is All About The Money
From the Brave New World Blog:

Some 10 years ago an 18-year-old Shawn Fanning released his Napster file-sharing program on the internet and started to destabilise the business models that had supported media over the best part of the last century - a digital revolution that continues today. Fanning turned the computer into a media and entertainment player and created ‘free’.
At its peak in February 2001, more than 60 million people worldwide used Napster and in that month downloaded 2.79 billion songs.Putting the cat back in the bag was going to be hard.Speaking at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, Steve Ballmer, CEO Microsoft, warned that all media companies should not plan for revenues to bounce back to pre-recession levels, that traditional media business would continue to see their share of the advertising revenue move to digital. He stated that newspaper publishers have failed to generate new revenues from the digital opportunity and predicted that within 10 years all traditional content will be digital and online. He claimed that the old approach of simply trying to replicate a print newspaper online is doomed to fail. He failed to say where the money was.

Earlier this year, US Congress made permanent a requirement that all research funded by the National Institutes of Health be openly accessible, and others are following. Academic and scientific publishing is being challenged by online, free and searchable open access. Newspapers face meltdown as they attempt a digital transition and find that their ad revenues have left the room without them. Music is moving from the album and track to live and the musicians are taking back control. Music prices are in ‘free’ fall.The challenge we face is not digitisation, but the business model or models to support digital media, be it books, films, music, TV, games, podcasts, whatever.
We now have to also ask whether we are focusing on the right part of the value chain, or merely trying to prop up the traditional one? Yesterday, all creators, artists, authors were ‘lost’ and needed a publisher or intermediary to shape them and present them to the channel. Publishers understood the packaging and production of the media and also had the relationships to maximise its exposure to the market and its distribution through trusted channels.

The consumer, creator and the reseller, all required the intermediary. However , does that translate to the digital world? Will all today’s players make it to the Brave New World, or just as with previous major changes,will some become victims of the change in business models and value?
Who do you think has a place in the future; the author, the agent, the publisher, the wholesaler/distributor, the reseller, the library, or a different player? More importantly, where’s the money and who gets it?

Turkish Court Acquits Author
'A court in Istanbul on Thursday acquitted Nedim Gurse, a Turkish writer who was accused of inciting religious hatred in a novel based on the birth of Islam.'
Published, New York Times, June 25, 2009

A court in Istanbul on Thursday acquitted a Turkish writer who was accused of inciting religious hatred in a novel based on the birth of Islam. Nedim Gursel’s “Daughters of Allah,” was published last year in Turkey. The case came to trial after Ali Emre Bukagili, a member of a group that has campaigned against the theory of evolution, said that Mr. Gursel used inappropriate language against the Prophet Muhammad, his wives and the Koran that could not be interpreted as freedom of expression. Mr. Gursel, who holds French citizenship, could have faced at least a year in prison. He has said such trials damage Turkey’s chances for membership in the European Union
Bonus Material: The World Loses Michael Jackson
By Hannah Johnson in Publishing Perspectives

OK, today's bonus material is not entirely about books, but as members of the media and entertainment sector, publishers cannot ignore it. Michael Jackson died of sudden cardiac arrest yesterday on June 25 in Los Angeles, California. MJ, the "king of pop," defined pop culture around the world for years. People immediately gathered in Harlem at the Apollo Theater and in Los Angeles at Michael Jackson's home to mourn his death.
The BBC broadcast a live streaming video for hours after MJ's death. His Wikipedia entry was updated in minutes with details of his death.
Apple iTunes raised the price of his hit songs from 99 cents to $1.29. Moon Walk was Michael Jackson's first autobiography. The book was published in 1988 by Doubleday.
In the book, Jackson talks about plastic surgery on his chin and the various environmental factors that altered his facial structure. Doubleday, might this be a good time to release a commemorative edition of Moon Walk?When can we expect the first book about Michael Jackson's life and death?
READ: Michael Jackson's Wikipedia entry
SEE: Michael Jackson through the ages
BUY: (while the price is still low) Michael Jackson's first autobiography, Moon Walk
Parsons Bookshop Auckland - Newsletter

Writers on Mondays - Lunchtime Winter Series 2009
No. 3 Monday 29th June, 12 noon.

Art Lounge, Auckland Art Gallery. Next to Parsons Bookshop Auckland City.
Helen Sword & Gabriel White in discussion with Jack Ross.
Organised by the Auckland branch of the NZ Society of Authors events committee and the Auckland Art Gallery
Louise Johnstone from Parsons Bookshop will have a range of books for sale.

Helen Sword (a selected listing):-
Ghostwriting Modernism PB $59.95
Writer’s Diet $29.95

Gabriel White (a selected listing):-
Adrift: Nomadic New Zealand Art $19.95; Brief 37: The Writers’ Group $29.95;
Landfall 214: Open House $29.95; Tongo Fantasia DVD $65.00

Jack Ross (a selected listing):-
Emo: 3rd vol of the REM trilogy $69.95; Orange Roughy:Poems for Tazey $39.95; JAAM 25 $15.00
Our Own Kind; 100 New Zealand Poems about Animals $$36.95; Je Donne a Mon Espoir $30.00

Parsons Bookshop Auckland
26 Wellesley Street East
Auckland 1010
New Zealand

Items this coming Sunday of particular interest to booklovers:

1:50pm New Zealand Poet Laureate
Lucy Orbell looks at the role and importance of the New Zealand Poet Laureate, which is about to change hands.

2:25pm Censorship
In some ways we are a permissive society and in others, deeply conservative, when it comes to what we read and watch. Chief Censor Bill Hastings, John McIntyre from the Children’s Bookshop in Wellington and Professor Mark Williams from the University of Victoria.

2:30pm Chapter and Verse
Poet Alison Wong discusses her first novel, As The Earth Turns Silver, published here (by Penguin), and overseas.