Friday, July 31, 2009

Leading Military Historian Searching For Letters from Gallipoli

In April 1915, the men of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landed at Gallipoli to engage in a battle that would shape the culture of both nations for years to come. (Photo - Waiouru Army Museum)

Now, leading military historian Glyn Harper is seeking to recover the experience of ordinary New Zealand soldiers by editing the first collection of letters from Gallipoli.
Seeing the Gallipoli campaign through their eyes as the soldiers described it in their letters home reveals a great deal about this campaign. The letters tell us much about key events, like the landing and the seizure of Chunuk Bair in August 1915, and the terrible living conditions they had to endure,” says Harper.
Glyn Harper is a well-published military historian and is the Director of the Centre for Defence Studies and Professor of War Studies at Massey University, Palmerston North.
As well as working through letters already in New Zealand archives, Professor Harper is keen to hear from people who hold letters from soldiers who served at Gallipoli and that are currently in family collections.
This is an opportunity to deepen our understanding of these crucial events by hearing from the soldiers on the ground,” he says.

Those who contribute letters chosen to feature in the book will receive a free copy of the publication and will be invited to attend its eventual launch. Professor Harper will also provide advice on how these letters should be properly stored to avoid damage and on appropriate archives in which to deposit the original copies, should such advice be wanted.

LETTERS FROM GALLIPOLI will be published by Auckland University Press in April 2011 to coincide with the 95th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings on Anzac Day.

Professor Glyn Harper can be reached at The Centre for Defence Studies, Massey University, Private Bag 11-222, Palmerston North; T: (06) 350 5456; E:
Dave Eggers: My Generation
The American novelist champions irony and lost causes. Now cinemas are yielding to his curious view of the world. What makes him tick?
By Paul Vallely writing in The Independent, Saturday, 25 July 2009

The philanthropic US author has set up a centre where writers can pass on their skills to children under 18

Let us begin with a wise, witty, rather foxy and extremely artful intro. Come on, make an effort. We are not dealing today with someone who will offer you everything on a pre-postmodernist plate. This is about Dave Eggers, the voice of Generation X, the most influential man in contemporary American literary circles, and all the rest.
But before you dismiss Eggers as another Daedalean clever clogs with a impossibly long list of list of facile, self-referential, sarcastic and ever so coooooool achievements to his credit, take a look at this website
Bear with it past the first five or six minutes. This man may look like a flake. And his cultish autobiographical memoir A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius may be too clever by three-quarters with its hip self-deprecation and too-chic-to-be-comprehensible language games. Eggers is a force of nature, so sit up and take notice. But he can tell stories too – when he wants to – and plain, compelling and magical ones at that. Screenplays for Sam Mendes' Away We Go, co-written with his wife and released last month,and Spike Jonze's next film, out in October, are pricking Hollywood ears. So let us turn him into a story and shape some patterns of meaning out of the chaos of his hyper-sophistication.
Eggers burst upon fashionable literary consciousness barely nine years ago with the publication of his Heartbreaking memoir. In the US, the book was a huge critical and then commercial success. It reached No 1 in The New York Times bestseller list in 2000 and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Time magazine named it Best Book of the Year. It told the story of how, when Eggers was 21, both his parents died within a year, his mother from stomach cancer and his father from brain and lung cancer.
Read the full story at The Independent online.
Wellington Writers on Mondays:
3 August: This Place You Return To - Kirsty Gunn

Kirsty Gunn’s 1994 novella Rain catapulted her to literary prominence, and in 2007 The Boy and the Sea won Sundial Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year Award.
Although she has lived and worked for many years in the UK as a writer, reviewer and writing teacher, Kirsty Gunn’s work continues to be informed by her New Zealand past.

She’s back in Wellington as Creative New Zealand Writer in Residence at the Randell Cottage, and appears in conversation with Bill Manhire.

The Writers on Mondays series is presented by the International Institute of Modern Letters and The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. It is open to the public and free of charge.

Where: The Marae, Level 4, Te Papa, Cable Street (please note that no food may be taken onto The Marae).

Time: 12.15 – 1.15pm

An Open Letter From the President and CEO of The Association of American Publishers

Dear Industry Colleague:

In the countdown to the October 7 court hearing on the Google Book Settlement we are encountering heated rhetoric from opponents, much of it hyperbolic and misleading. My job at AAP’s helm is not only to shepherd our membership through the coming months but to remind the industry at large that the Settlement offers enormous benefits and represents our best hope of remaining competitive and vibrant in the digital environment.
Millions of copyright-protected books are out of print and largely out of reach, available only through the largest research libraries in the country. The Google Book Settlement announced in October 2008 – the result of 30 months of negotiations between and among authors, publishers, university libraries and Google -- changes all that, working a revolution in the access to knowledge. If approved by the court, the settlement will:·
Provide readers and researchers with access to millions of out-of-print books, many of which are currently difficult or impossible for readers to obtain, in a searchable online database.

· Turn every public library building in the U.S. into a world-class research facility by providing free access to the online portal of out-of-print books.·
Permit any college or university in the U.S. to subscribe to the same rich database of out-of-print books.·
Give new commercial life to millions of books, while protecting the economic rights of authors and publishers.
This piece was written by Kevin Chapman, CEO Hachette NZ, and was first published yesterday on the Book Brunch website.

The New Zealand book industry looks set for some shake-up after the Booksellers New Zealand conference last weekend.
Unusually, there is no traditional booksellers association in this country. There is an association for publishers, and also an association for both publishers and booksellers (Booksellers New Zealand), but no separate organisation for booksellers alone. This asymmetrical structure has bothered some in the industry since it was adopted around twenty years ago.

In 2008 a grouping of larger bookseller and multi-national publishers began meeting to discuss industry issues. During these meetings, where items such as reducing the cost of returns and national promotions were discussed, the participants decided that change was needed. So a motion was drafted for consideration at the Booksellers New Zealand AGM, held last Sunday.

In brief, the motion proposed that the board of Booksellers New Zealand write a new constitution for the organisation, making membership limited to retail booksellers, and that they hold an Extraordinary general Meeting to consider adopting that new constitution.
The motion was passed with overwhelming support, and it is hoped that the EGM will be held later in the year. If BSNZ turns into a normal booksellers association, then the next step planned is for the publishers and booksellers to form an umbrella organisation for the planning of industry promotion and dealing with government.

In other news from the weekend, the membership of Book Publishers Association of New Zealand (BPANZ), adopted a new name for the organisation. They voted to drop the word “Book” from their title in a move that aligns them with their colleagues in much of the English language world, and henceforth will be known as the Publishers Association of New Zealand.
NZSA tells writers not to ignore Google Settlement

The New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc.) is concerned that the publishing industry here seems to be ignoring the Google Book Settlement as if it doesn't matter to us. We believe that's because there seems to have been an assumption that it is only relevant to books published in the US.
Having been alerted to it by Rick Shera, an ICT/IP partner at Lowndes Jordan, we have become increasingly concerned about this controversial deal and are calling our authors to make sure they do not just ignore what will be a revolution in the way that books are made available.

Ironically it is the very useful international reciprocity afforded by one of the oldest copyright treaties, the 1886 Berne Convention, that extends the settlement to non-US authors and publishers. As a signatory to the Berne Convention, the US is required to afford rightsholders from other Berne Convention countries the same copyright protections that it affords its own. Since New Zealand is also a signatory to the Convention, the settlement is therefore also applicable to New Zealand authors and publishers. The important thing to be aware of is that the settlement applies to New Zealand authors and publishers not because they have published in the US but simply because they have published a book to which the settlement applies, ANYWHERE (including solely in New Zealand).

Unless New Zealand authors or publishers formally opt out of the settlement, or formally opt in but request Google not to digitize and/or display their books, Google will have the non-exclusive right to digitize any of their books that were published anywhere before 5 January 2009, whether it has digitized them already or not. Google will then be entitled to display snippets or substantial previews of the books via its Google book search site.
If your book is still generally available for purchase in the US, then Google will only be able to display those excerpts with the consent of the author and publisher. (If the publisher wishes to allow Google to display excerpts, it must notify the author, who then has 30 days to agree or not). However, if your book is not generally available for sale in the US, then it is considered out of print and Google can display excerpts without needing any consent. Those excerpts are far more extensive than would be allowed under New Zealand law.

It seems to us that the rightsholder has 4 options:

1. Negotiate a separate deal with Google under its partner program. For those that already have, the Partner Program agreement will take precedence although it may or may not cover all the rights that Google gets under the settlement agreement.

2. Opt out by formally notifying Google. Rightsholders can also request that Google does not digitize their books, but Google is under no obligation to agree to that request. The rightsholder then has the right to sue Google. The deadline for opting out has been extended to 4 September 2009.
3. Opt in. If they opt in and lodge a claim in respect of a book prior to 5 January 2010, rightsholders will receive a share of the $45 million that Google has put aside to pay rightsholders (the exact amount will depend on how many people claim but will be between US$60 and US$300). You will also receive 63% of any revenue received by Google (e.g. from advertising around your book search result or if it is made available on subscription to a library or other institution). Note however, that the Book Registry which oversees all this takes its cut first though.

4. Do nothing – in which case you will be bound by the settlement in the US anyway and will lose the right to sue Google in the US even if Google does digitize your book and publish excerpts. You will also not receive any revenue for that use.

The New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc.) feels that to do nothing is the worst option available to our authors, and we recommend that they carefully consider the best course of action for them to take. We are also calling the New Zealand Government Officials to conduct an enquiry into this Settlement to ensure that our authors and our literature are protected.

Further details about the Settlement will be made available through the New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc.). We are grateful to Lowndes Jordan for its continuing assistance.

For further comment contact
Rick Shera, Lowndes Jordan, Barristers & Solicitors, 09 309 2500
Maggie Tarver, CEO, The New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc.) 09 379 4801

Author/Blogger Tim Jones has posted an interview with award-winning New Zealand poet Joanna Preston on his blog - Check it out at:
Vincent van Gogh - the Letters project
Major publishing venture from Thames & Hudson

7 October 2009 marks the culmination of 15 years of research, a monumental collaboration of the Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam) and the Huygens Institute (The Hague), to transcribe, retranslate and annotate every single surviving letter to and from Vincent van Gogh.

The result, a six volume, slip-cased book, Vincent van Gogh - The Letters: The Complete Illustrated and Annotated Edition will be published worldwide on 7 October
(the UK edition by Thames & Hudson). On the same day a scholarly version of Van Gogh’s letters will be published on the world wide web.
To celebrate the Van Gogh Museum will present an exhibition Van Gogh's letters: The artist speaks.

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) gave the world not just an abundance of remarkable paintings and drawings but also the most intriguing and multifaceted correspondence of an artist ever known. The 902 letters, more than 800 of which are preserved in the Van Gogh Museum, tell the story of his eventful life in a direct, compelling style, detailing his close ties with his brother and confidant Theo, and the evolution of his work and thoughts on writers and artists such as Delacroix, Degas, Zola and Dickens. The many sketches of his own works that he made in the letters also create a special relationship between his art and his letters.

Vincent van Gogh died in 1890 and his brother, Theo, died six months later, leaving his widow Jo van Gogh- Bonger in charge of the estate of both brothers. The artist Emile Bernard was the first to bring the letters of Van Gogh to the public eye by arranging for a small selection of letters by Van Gogh to himself to be published in the leading art magazine Mercure de France. These were greeted with great interest and helped bring the still relatively obscure Vincent Van Gogh to the public eye.

In 1914 Jo Van Gogh-Bonger published the first edition of the letters in book form – an edited version of Van Gogh's letters – and this publication greatly enhanced the reputation of Van Gogh and brought his work to even greater audiences in Europe.
The Letters project is the most ambitious undertaking ever launched by the Van Gogh Museum. Every work of art to which Van Gogh referred to in his letters has been carefully tracked down by a dedicated team from the Van Gogh Museum and the Huygens Institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Art and Sciences (KNAW).

The years of research have yielded a more rounded, comprehensive and nuanced image of Vincent van Gogh. Rather than a deranged genius, the artist is revealed as a determined and forceful personality, able to express his views and the subjects occupying his mind with compelling force.
Van Gogh's letters: The artist speaks will be on view from 9 October 2009 to 3 January 2010 in the Van Gogh Museum.
The Database Dilemma: Managing the Publicity "List"By Chris Artis - Publishing Perpectives

A book publicist is only as good as his or her Rolodex. That was one of the first things I learned nearly two decades ago, when I was an assistant in a two-person publicity department in a small New York publishing house.
My boss's Rolodex was large and overstuffed with the business cards of editors, reporters, and producers, all of whom he'd developed professional relationships with during the course of his career. It sat next to his phone on an otherwise pristine - and yes, computerless! - desk.
His Rolodex was a totem to what he'd achieved, as well as an essential tool that he relied on to do business.
Likewise, a publishing house's publicity department is only as good as its List, that is, its shared media list. Like a massive Rolodex, the List includes contacts crucial to a book publicist on a daily basis - book editors at daily newspapers, guest bookers at the network morning shows, dozens of NPR producers. (read on...)
Sony plans to launch wifi Reader ahead of Kindle
30.07.09 Victoria Gallagher in The Bookseller

Sony is believed to be readying for launch a new version of its ebook Reader, which will include wifi access. According to industry sources in the UK the new device is being prepared for September sale in order to pre-empt the arrival in the UK of's Kindle device.
Publishers spoken to by The Bookseller refused to talk publicly because of non-disclosure agreements in advance of the launch.A flurry of reports about a possible new device has also broken out online, after a US chain store manager revealed that a new Reader was being planned for autumn release with "wifi, [a] bigger screen, and more memory".Sony refused to confirm or deny the reports when contacted by The Bookseller.
The Bookseller reported last week that a UK version of the Amazon Kindle e-book reader is now widely expected this autumn. Publishers suggested that the US-based retailer was actively planning an October launch for the device.
Earlier in the week the FT reported that book publishers were "in talks" with Apple over the launch of its "tablet" device early next year. There are suggestions that Apple could weave e-books into its iTunes Store.
Sarah Waters way ahead in Booker sales race
30.07.09 Katie Allen and Philip Stone in The Bookseller

Sarah Waters’ The Little Stranger is the most popular title of those books from the Booker longlist currently available, with sales almost double those of its nearest rival. The Booker 'dozen' was announced on Tuesday (28th July), with the trade hailing the list as "strong" and likely to draw "new readers into bookshops".
Waters’ latest historical novel, published in May by Virago, has already chalked up sales of 27,005, almost double the sales of its nearest rival Me Cheeta which has sold 14,305 since it release in October 2008. Third in line is Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, which has sold 14,092 since April this year, followed by The Children’s Book by A S Byatt with 12,202 since May. Brooklyn by Colm Toibin has so far picked up sales of 9,405, The Wilderness by Samantha Harvey 7,445, How to Paint a Dead Man by Sarah Hall at 1,221 and Adam Foulds’ The Quickening Maze with sales of 1,057.

Anthony Cheetham is to join Atlantic on 1st September, to set up an "entirely new activity" within the publishing house. Cheetham will join the firm, which is part of the Independent Alliance, as an associate publisher and director on the board. He left his role as chairman and publisher of Quercus, which is also a part of the Alliance, in February. His gardening leave ends on August 10th.
Cheetham declined to give details on what area of the trade he would be focusing on, whether he would have a separate team under him or how many titles he anticipated publishing, but said he hoped to start commissioning "right away". He said: "I felt I would miss the cut and thrust of being at a publishing business – I don't feel I'm ready to retire – and obviously I am attracted to Atlantic because it's an independent , I've worked with Toby [Mundy, Atlantic c.e.o] before, at Weidenfeld & Nicolson, and of course because my son is there."
Anthony Cheetham's son Nicolas Cheetham left Quercus in January to set up a crime and thriller imprint at Atlantic, under the name Corvus. His first acquisitions were announced during this year's London Book Fair.
"The team at Atlantic is very talented, and they are very nice people – they do the sort of publishing I admire, which is both independent and has a real quality feel to it," Anthony Cheetham added.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sarah Waters Early Favourite For Man Booker

Opening Odds from William Hill for the Man Booker Prize Longlist:

4/1 Sarah Waters - The Little Stranger
5/1 Hilary Mantel - Wolf Hall
6/1 J M Coetzee - Summertime
6/1 Colm Toibin - Brooklyn
8/1 James Lever - Me Cheeta
10/1 AS Byatt - The Children's Book
12/1 William Trevor - Love and Summer
14/1 Ed O'Loughlin - Not Untrue and Not Unkind
14/1 Simon Mawer - The Glass Room
16/1 Adam Foulds - The Quickening Maze
16/1 Sarah Hall - How To Paint A Dead Man
16/1 Samantha Harvey - The Wilderness Room
16/1 James Scudamore - Heliopolis
Harry Potter and the Pint of Liquid Courage

Illustration - Stuart Bradford

Published, New York Times: July 27, 2009

Hermione is tipsy. Neville is serving drinks. Ron is sipping mead and Harry is partying with his professors.
Does Hogwarts have a drinking problem?
As Harry Potter fans crowd movie theaters to catch the latest installment in the blockbuster series, parents may be surprised by the starring role given to alcohol. In scene after scene, the young wizards and their adult professors are seen sipping, gulping and pouring various forms of alcohol to calm their nerves, fortify their courage or comfort their sorrows.
The movie, based on J. K. Rowling’s sixth book of the series, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” is as much about coming of age as it is about the wizarding world. Love potions and adolescent yearnings are central to the evolving story line, and Harry, Ron and Hermione enjoy new freedoms as 16-year-old students at the mythical boarding school Hogwarts, including unchaperoned trips to a pub in the nearby town of Hogsmeade.
But recreated on the big screen, the images of teenage drinking are jarring. Previous Harry Potter movies have shown drinking, but this one takes it to a new level.
In one scene, Harry, Ron and Hermione order butterbeers at the pub, and Hermione ends up with a frothy mustache. While it’s never been entirely clear whether butterbeer is alcoholic, it seems to have an effect on the normally uptight Hermione, who acts tipsy walking home as she throws her arms around the boys.

As the mother of a 10-year-old Harry Potter fan, I was taken aback by the reaction of the young people in the theater. They snickered at Hermione’s goofy grin and, later, guffawed when an inebriated Hagrid passed out. While I don’t think my daughter fully understood what was going on, I wondered how other parents, educators and addiction experts would react.

Liz Perle, a mother of two teenage boys and the editor in chief of Common Sense Media, which reviews books, movies and Web content aimed at children, said she was bothered by so many scenes showing alcohol as a coping mechanism.
“Hermione is such a tightly wound young lady, but she’s liberated by some butterbeer,” she said. “The message is that it gives you liquid courage to put your arms around the guy you really like but are afraid to.”
Read the rest.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Moon-walk mementoes a bonus for lucky lunar book buyers
July 28, 2009 Article from: The Australian

ONE of the most expensive books in history has gone on sale. Branded the ultimate in coffee-table chic, Moonfire, which chronicles the Apollo 11 lunar mission, enables its owners not only to read about the moon but also to touch it.
The extra-large tome features glossy photos of the landing from the archives of NASA and Life magazine and each copy is signed by Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon.
In total, 1969 copies of the book are being produced and most will be available online for about $US1000 ($1216). Only the final 12 copies come with pieces of moon rock that crashed to earth as meteorites.
The samples range from 0.4g slivers to a 30.34g rock.
"It will be thousands, hundreds of thousands, of dollars. Kind of like a diamond," said Creed Poulson, the public relations manager at Taschen America, the publishers.
The book, released to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the moon landing, narrates the event through the words of one of the most influential writers of the time, Norman Mailer.
His feature on the landing, written for Life in 1969 and subsequently turned into a book, Of a Fire on the Moon.
That has been hailed as a seminal work providing a cultural and philosophical analysis of the US space program and Apollo 11 story.
The new book includes copies of Mailer's notes and manuscripts as well.
Former Christie's director to sue Random House US in UK
29.07.09 - The Bookseller

A former director of auction house Christie's is suing Random House Inc for defamation of character, under UK laws, the Decanter reports.
Michael Broadbent, who is also a "longstanding columnist" for the magazine, is suing over the book The Billionaire's Vinegar, which is published in the US by Random, although is available in the UK.
The book tells of the 'Jefferson bottles affair', in which a cache of more than a dozen bottles engraved Th. J reportedly came to light in 1985. One of the bottles was sold for more than $150,000 - a record-breaking amount. But the person who first discovered the bottles, Hardy Rodenstock, is being sued by "billionaire businessman" William Koch for being the source of four allegedly fake bottles.
Broadbent claims the author Benjamin Wallace "accuses him of inventing a bid for the half-bottle of 1784 Margaux, to ensure the final buyer paid over the odds".
He also argues the author inaccurately portrays him "'colluding' with Rodenstock"
Samsung to challenge Kindle with new e-reader
29.07.09 The Bookseller
Korean manufacturer Samsung has said it aims to overtake the Kindle and the Sony e-Reader with sales of its newly-revealed device.
According to the English language Korean Herald, the company announced it would be entering the market next year. Details of the product are expected to be revealed in January.
Lew Jae-youn, vice president of Samsung Electronics, said: "We seek to become a bigger player than Amazon or Sony in the e-book market."
He told the Herald the Samsung device would "offer the best solutions".
Korean Herald
Announcing the Not the Booker prize prize
The judges of Britain's most prestigious literary award pick the wrong book far too often. But who could be trusted to make a better choice? Why, the readers of this blog, of course

Posted by Sam Jordison Wednesday 29 July 2009,

Left - the coveted Not the Booker prize prize trophy

The Booker Prize is a fantastic way to get people talking about books, to promote previously unknown authors and to reward some quality books. Many of the past winners have been stone-cold classics and have enjoyed a much longer shelf life thanks to the prize. But like any important national institution, it also comes in for a lot of stick … Especially on the internet.
These criticisms fall into three main camps:

1) Your favourite book didn't win. This is the most egregious error the judges make, and they make it again and again. Worse still, instead of your favourite book, they select one that is at best mediocre and at worst thoroughly dull. What's wrong with them?

2) The books are always about post-colonial guilt, Irish poverty or English middle-class Islingtonians having Terribly Important Thoughts about their boring love lives … Where's the SF? Is that not literature? Where's the danger? Where's the challenge? Surely they are missing something.

3) The panel are unrepresentative. Who are these people? Who chooses them? Why should, say, James Naughtie be judging this year's prize? Are they really better judges than you or I?
Of course, it's only right that the Booker panels should tread on some toes when judging something as subjective as literature. Disagreeing with them is part of the fun, after all. Having read through a good proportion of the past winners now, I'd also say that on the whole, the Booker judges have managed to choose decent books. Even so, I have some sympathy with these complaints. It's not true that all the books are for and about the chattering classes. But lots of them are. The judging panel is (by its nature) remote and its deliberations mysterious. And much as I enjoy following the Booker, I often find the award itself a huge disappointment. Why didn't Linda Grant win last year? Why wasn't Joseph O'Neill's wonderful Netherland even shortlisted? Why did The Gathering win the year before? Why has Martin Amis never won and only been shortlisted once? Wrong. Bad. Silly. Dull. Absurd. You get the idea.
Read the rest of this entertaining post on Sam Jordison's Guardian blog.
The Little Bookstore that Could

Winners of the 2009 Classics Poetry Competition
First Prize $300.00 to Bruce Cowin for:

Carpet crop circles
suddenly appeared;
remnants of the
wine stained table
and crayon covered chairs,
the wheat coloured sofa,
that softened and absorbed
familiar lounge sounds.

An invisible megaphone
snds the scantest sound
swirling around the room
frantically looking
for somewhere to settle.

Second Prize
Mercedes Webb-Pullman for 'back at Schnapper Rock'

Third Prize
Emma Adams for ' Surrender Dorothy'

Approximately 75 entries from around NZ.

Organiser & sponsor:
Classics Books
41 Bank StreetWhangarei
Why does crime still have such unpardonably low literary status?
Speaking at the Harrogate crime writing festival, John Banville betrayed a prejudice we should have outgrown

Posted by Stuart Evers Tuesday 28 July 2009

About mid-way through their joint event at last weekend's Harrogate Crime Writing festival, there was a palpable crackle of tension between Booker prize winner John Banville (pic left) and Cartier Diamond Dagger recipient Reginald Hill.

Appearing as Benjamin Black – his crime writing alter-ego – Banville was asked to describe the difference between writing his literary novels and his genre work. His answer went to the heart of a debate that bubbled under in many of the seminars and panels: why isn't crime writing taken more seriously?
Writing under his own name, Banville manages around 100 sweated-over, teased, honed and polished words a day; but as Benjamin Black, he can manage a couple of thousand. The intimation was quite clear, "Black's" sentences simply weren't as important. Perhaps realising what he'd unwittingly said, he tried to backtrack, but the damage was done and there was more fuel for his critics. "He's slumming it," author Ruth Dudley Edwards said the following day. "He says he isn't, but he is."
Hill's reaction to this was not to defend the crime writing art, but to deliver a piquant rejoinder. "When I get up in the morning," he said dryly, "I ask my wife whether I should write a Booker prize winning novel, or another bestselling crime book. And we always come down on the side of the crime book." It got the biggest laugh of the weekend, but it did have a serious point. As author and critic Laura Wilson said later, Hill "should have won the Booker already".
And this is the crux of the matter. At its best, crime writing offers unique insights into society, psychology and human behaviour. It can be both engaging and literate; compelling and well-written. It can be innovative and surprising, but what it can't be, it seems, is fated in the same way as literary fiction. The most a crime writer can hope for is to be told, as Ian Rankin indeed was, that their novels "almost transcend their genre". Faint praise indeed.
Yes, much crime writing is formulaic, simply written and full of cheap thrills – and long may this be the case. Lee Child, who spoke with eloquence of the financial necessity of writing popular fiction after being made redundant, knows that his books are not high art, but neither are they worthless. His explanation of how his Jack Reacher series came into being showed how deeply he had considered what readers wanted from a thriller – and how he could keep the concept fresh long past book five.
It was something perhaps Banville might have thought about himself. "The problem is," he said with a rueful smile "that in Ireland in the 1950s [when his Quirke novels are set] there simply wasn't any crime."
Visit Stuart Ever's blog for his full piece.
Shaun Tan's unexpected details
The author of some of the most startling graphic stories of recent years is not what you'd expect of an artist, but then his are not your typical picture books
Michelle Pauli ,, Monday 27 July 2009

Shaun Tan. Photograph: Martin Argles

"Drawing a good picture is like telling a really good lie – the key is in the incidental detail," says Shaun Tan. Fortunately, the Australian artist's award-winning picture books are anything but short on detail. Each spread drops the reader into a surreal world of bizarre animals, skew-whiff buildings, dreamlike landscapes and invented languages, the magical realism and conceptual playfulness of Tan's paintings underscoring the simple language of the tales – "illustrated modern fables" as he calls them.

Tales from Outer Suburbia
by Shaun Tan
Templar (UK), Allen & Unwin (Aust/NZ)

In the stunning, wordless graphic novel The Arrival, sober-looking characters dressed in 1930s-style suits and bowler hats are accompanied on their journeys through a mysterious city by strange creatures reminiscent of Philip Pullman's daemons (only much, much weirder). The Lost Thing is a huge metal contraption from some other world, "hidden" by the boy who finds it in his parents' otherwise relatively conventional house; next to the words "nobody understands", the central character in The Red Tree is seen wearing a weighty diving mask, huddled in a glass bottle on a stormy shoreline, in one of the most unnerving insights into depression ever drawn.
"The detail adds an element of unexpected something," Tan explains. "All fiction is false; what makes it convincing is that it runs alongside the truth. The real world has lots of incidental details, so a painting also has to have that element of imperfection and irregularity, those incidental details. I'm constantly testing with the details. I go on a hunch and try it out. I might have a character and have a feeling that he needs to have a hat and so I put it in and it feels right and then I realise that he needs to have a hat because he's trying to hide something."
The result of this careful attention to detail is that Tan's worlds, however fantastical they may appear on first glance, have their own internal logic. It is what he describes as "groundedness", and he regards it as crucial to the success of the stories.
The full piece at The Guardian online.
And read more about it in The Bookman's earlier review here.
A New Page
Can the Kindle really improve on the book?
by Nicholson Baker, The New Yorker, August 3, 2009

I ordered a Kindle 2 from Amazon. How could I not?
There were banner ads for it all over the Web. Whenever I went to the Amazon Web site, I was urged to buy one. “Say Hello to Kindle 2,” it said, in tall letters on the main page.
If I looked up a particular writer on Amazon—Mary Higgins Clark, say—and then reached the page for her knuckle-gnawer of a novel “Moonlight Becomes You,” the top line on the page said, “ ‘Moonlight Becomes You’ and over 270,000 other books are available for Amazon Kindle—Amazon’s new wireless reading device. Learn more.”

Below the picture of Clark’s physical paperback ($7.99) was another teaser: “Start reading ‘Moonlight Becomes You’ on your Kindle in under a minute. Don’t have a Kindle? Get yours here.” If I went to the Kindle page for the digital download of “Moonlight Becomes You” ($6.39), it wouldn’t offer me a link back to the print version. I was being steered.
Everybody was saying that the new Kindle was terribly important—that it was an alpenhorn blast of post-Gutenbergian revalorization. In the Wall Street Journal, the cultural critic Steven Johnson wrote that he’d been alone one day in a restaurant in Austin, Texas, when he was seized by the urge to read a novel. Within minutes, thanks to Kindle’s free 3G hookup with Sprint wireless—they call it Whispernet—he was well into Chapter 1 of Zadie Smith’s “On Beauty” ($9.99 for the e-book, $10.20 for the paperback).

Writing and publishing, he believed, would never be the same. In Newsweek, Jacob Weisberg, the editor-in-chief of the Slate Group, confided that for weeks he’d been doing all his recreational reading on the Kindle 2, and he claimed that it offered a “fundamentally better experience” than inked paper did. “Jeff Bezos”—Amazon’s founder and C.E.O.—“has built a machine that marks a cultural revolution,” Weisberg said. “Printed books, the most important artifacts of human civilization, are going to join newspapers and magazines on the road to obsolescence.”

Lots of ordinary people were excited about the Kindle 2, too—there were then about fifteen hundred five-star customer reviews at the Kindle Store, saying “I love my Kindle” over and over, and only a few hundred bitter one-stars. Kindle books were clean. “I’ve always been creeped out by library books and used books,” one visitor, Christine Ring, wrote on the Amazon Web site. “You never know where they’ve been!” “It has reinvigorated my interest in reading,” another reviewer said. “I’m hooked,” another said. “If I dropped my kindle down a sewer, I would buy another one immediately.”
And the unit was selling: in April, tech blogs had rumors that three hundred thousand Kindle 2s had shipped since the release date of February 24th. Bezos wrote a letter to shareholders: “Kindle sales have exceeded our most optimistic expectations.” He went on “The Daily Show” and laughed. (See the YouTube video called “Jeff Bezos Laughing Freakishly Loud on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”)
Read the full piece at The New Yorker online.

Barnes & Noble Stores Nationwide to Offer Complimentary AT&T Wi-Fi
NEW YORK, JULY 28, 2009 – Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world’s largest bookseller, announced today a strategic agreement with AT&T that will provide complimentary in-store Wi-Fi to any customer that visits a Barnes & Noble bookstore nationwide. All customers shopping in Barnes & Noble stores can now freely download and preview any of the over 700,000 eBook titles with hundreds of thousands of public domain titles available from Google. The company said its number of eBook titles is expanding everyday and expects to hit the one million mark soon.
“Barnes & Noble pioneered the concept of retail stores as community centers,” said Steve Riggio, CEO of Barnes & Noble, Inc. “By providing no-fee Wi-Fi access, we are not only meeting our customers’ needs, but extending the sense of community that has always been in our stores.”
Mr. Riggio added, “This is a natural progression of our digital strategy to provide customers with more choices in how, when and where they want to read.” The existing AT&T Wi-Fi network at Barnes & Noble has been available to customers since 2005. Now, anybody walking into a Barnes & Noble store anywhere in the country will have complimentary and unlimited access to the network at all store locations.

As a part of the Wi-Fi offering announced today, customers will soon be able to opt-in to receive personalized messages from Barnes & Noble — such as a coupon to the in-store café, notices on an author book signing or details on where to find a new book release in their favorite genre — on their Wi-Fi enabled devices when they enter the store.
“We are pleased to expand our relationship with Barnes & Noble as we work together to enhance and deepen customers’ overall experience within the retail stores,” said Ron Spears, CEO, AT&T Business Solutions. “We currently offer the majority of our AT&T customers Wi-Fi access throughout our more than 20,000 U.S. hotspot footprint, including Barnes & Noble, with their qualifying AT&T services. Now, we’re excited to be able to offer every Barnes & Noble customer the same great Wi-Fi experience at no extra charge whenever they enter a retail store.”

Customers can also download free Barnes & Noble Apps giving them access to the world’s largest eBookstore with over 700,000 eBooks titles and exclusive content, customer reviews, information about in-store events, store locations, and more.
The Bookman wonders when free Wi-Fi might become available in NZ bookstores? And hotels? Every where in fact?
During my current sojourn in the northern hemisphere we found it now a universal practice for hotels to provide free fast Wi-Fi connections, and free local phone calls. NZ hotels seem to regard the Internet and telephone as an additional opportunity to gain revenue rather than providing them as a service. Get in to the 21st century!
I intend to publicise all NZ hotels, motels, B&B's who provide free Wi-Fi to their customers so please let me know any you come across and I will compile a register and post it to the blog weekly.
2009 Man Booker Prize longlist announced

The judges for the 2009 Man Booker Prize for Fiction today, Tuesday 28 July, announce the longlist for the prize, the leading literary award in the English speaking world.
A total of 132 books, 11 of which were called in by the judges, were considered for the ‘Man Booker Dozen' longlist of 13 books.

The longlist includes:
Author - Title - Publisher

Byatt, AS - The Children's Book - Random House - Chatto and Windus

Coetzee, J M - Summertime Random House - Harvill Secker

Foulds, Adam - The Quickening Maze - Random House - Jonathan Cape

Hall, Sarah - How to paint a dead man -Faber and Faber

Harvey, Samantha - The Wilderness - Random House - Jonathan Cape

Lever, James - Me Cheeta -HarperCollins - Fourth Estate

Mantel, Hilary - Wolf Hall -HarperCollins - Fourth Estate

Mawer, Simon - The Glass Room - Little, Brown

O'Loughlin, Ed - Not Untrue & Not Unkind - Penguin - Ireland

Scudamore, James - Heliopolis - Random House - Harvill Secker

Toibin, Colm - Brooklyn Penguin - Viking

Trevor, William - Love and Summer - Penguin - Viking

Waters, Sarah - The Little Stranger - Little, Brown - Virago

The chair of judges, James Naughtie, said today:
"The five Man Booker judges have settled on thirteen novels as the longlist for this year's prize. We believe it to be one of the strongest lists in recent memory, with two former winners, four past-shortlisted writers, three first-time novelists and a span of styles and themes that make this an outstandingly rich fictional mix.
"We considered more than 130 novels (including the work of nine former winners) and found ourselves travelling in a fertile landscape. We kept discovering new talent as well as reacquainting ourselves with familiar writers, and emerged with a feeling that we were part of an exceptional year.
"Our fiction is in the hands of original and dedicated writers with fresh and appealing voices. This is an eclectic list, taking us from the court of Henry VIII to the Hollywood jungle, with stops along the way in a nineteenth century Essex asylum, an African warzone and a futuristic Brazilian city among other places.
"These are books that readers will want to get their hands on."

The 2009 shortlist will be announced on Tuesday 8 September at a press conference at Man Group's London headquarters. The winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2009 will be revealed on Tuesday 6 October at a dinner at London's Guildhall and will be broadcast live on the BBC Ten O'Clock News.
Chaired by broadcaster and author James Naughtie, the 2009 judges are Lucasta Miller, biographer and critic; Michael Prodger, Literary Editor of The Sunday Telegraph; Professor John Mullan, academic, journalist and broadcaster and Sue Perkins, comedian, journalist and broadcaster.
To celebrate the longlist announcement, the 2009 Man Booker Prize will be showcased as part of the One & Other project on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, London. On Tuesday 11 August at 11am, a Man Booker Prize enthusiast will give readings from all 13 longlisted titles and then give away copies of the books.
For further information about the prize visit

And for comment on the shortlist in The Guardian link here.
And the following:
Times item
Independent item
Telegraph item

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The mystery of the Nancy Drew following
Published in the International Herald Tribune: July 28, 2009

(read at Charles de Gaulle Aiport)

WHO was your Nancy Drew?

“She was a team leader,” said Susan Silbermann, 47, who, as a Baltimore tween, painstakingly collected the series about the Girl Sleuth and her sidekicks. Ms. Silbermann became a team leader herself — president of Pfizer’s pharmaceutical business in Latin America.
And who was your Nancy Drew?
“I didn’t connect with her,” said Sara Paretsky, 62, the crime writer, whose own female gumshoe is the cranky smart mouth, V. I. Warshawski. “She had so much domestic support and I grew up in a fractured household without support.”
But the imprint was inescapable, Ms. Paretsky said. In middle age, she gave herself a roadster “and I do feel so tough and a little Nancy Drewish.”

Nancy Drew was invoked last week during the Senate confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor. She has said that her Nancy Drew represented boldness and intelligence, the books a gift from a hardworking single parent. In recent years, Laura Bush, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Gayle King and Diane Sawyer have described themselves as fans.
Touchstone, pole star, reflecting pool. Often what women remember about the books speaks to who they were — shy girls seeking inspiration; smart girls seeking affirmation. The series even gave voice to girls who rebelled against the Girl Sleuth’s pearl-necklace perfection.
All told, the women’s recollections capture the impact of a formulaic, ghostwritten series approaching its 80th year.
“I’m amazed by how people can read the same book and have different perspectives,” said Jenn Fisher, 35, an Arizona-based former lawyer who runs Nancy Drew fan conventions. “She’s a good role model and she brings the great nostalgia of remembering your childhood.”
Since its debut in 1930, the series has thrived in a germ-free bubble, scarcely brushed by time and social upheaval. Nancy Drew, 16 or 18, depending on the edition, is a daddy’s girl, living with her father, Carson, a lawyer — her mother conveniently died when she was 3 — and housekeeper, Hannah Gruen, in a comfortable home in River Heights where the words “Amber Alert” have never been heard.
Read the full story online.

Penguin restructuring to cost publisher £10m in second half
28.07.09 Benedicte Page in The Bokseller

The Penguin Group will take a £10m profit hit in the second half of its year because of the restructuring announced earlier this month at its UK headquarters. Yesterday (27th July) Penguin unveiled a 23% downturn in operating profits but Penguin chief executive John Makinson said he thought the market had "flattened" since the worst of the autumn, though he admitted illustrated reference and first time novelists were still having it tough.
The decline in profit to £21m followed sales that rose to £452m thanks to favourable exchange rates, but which fell 8% at constant rates. The result pushed the group's first-half profit margin down to 4.6%, compared with 6.4% achieved over the same period last year. In its last full-year Penguin made a profit of £93m on sales of £903m, pushing it above its double-digit target for the first time in five years.
Makinson would not say whether Penguin would be able to meet that target for a second consecutive year. The publisher announced at the beginning of July that 100 jobs would go at its UK headquarters, with Makinson saying that the cost of this to be taken against Penguin's second-half profits. Makinson said: “The cost of redundancies and reorganisation will make an impact of about £10m on operating profit in 2009 but we will get the benefits of the reorganisation to the business in 2010.”Penguin pointed to a strong second half of the year, with a new Jamie Oliver, Jamie’s America and Ant and Dec’s autobiography Oh What a Lovely Pair! It also has new fiction titles from Marina Lewycka, Nick Hornby, Clive Cussler, Marian Keyes, Jane Green, a new Adrian Mole from Sue Townsend and Eoin Colfer’s Hitchhiker sequel And Another Thing.Makinson, though, suggested that the worst of the recession could be over. "We have now been trading through this difficult climate since October last year and there is a bit more visibility in the market than there was, and a bit more confidence in how the trade market has responded [to the downturn]." He added that a "fall of 2-3% is not bad, as an industry". He said: "The rate of decline has slowed and the market has flattened, compared to a year ago."But he warned that consumers were being "more price conscious and risk averse, which is good for repeat bestseller authors, practical books, books explaining the downturn, children's books, and books which offer exceptional value such as the classics". But added: "The same pattern means that first-time novelists are harder to break through and is bad news for illustrated reference, which is relatively expensive and relatively discretionary because of competition from free material on the internet."
Jacqueline Wilson to publish historical novel
28.07.09 Caroline Horn writing in The Bookseller
Jacqueline Wilson will turn her hand to full-length historical fiction for the first time this autumn, with a book set in London's first home for abandoned children. Hetty Feather will be published in hardback on 8th October, priced £12.99. The novel is set in the Victorian era and focuses on the character Hetty Feather, who is abandoned by her mother and grows up in the Foundling Hospital.
Random House Children's Books is aiming the book at Wilson's typical audience of girls aged nine plus. However, it is taking the unusual step of sending out proof copies to retailers, something it does not typically do with Wilson's novels. RHCB senior editor Kelly Hurst said: "We're very excited about Jacqueline Wilson's move into historical fiction—she's ventured into it before with The Lottie Project but Hetty Feather is her first full-length novel set in the past. We knew booksellers and reviewers would be keen to set eyes on this new direction as soon as possible."
RHCB will launch a high-profile campaign to promote the title and online support will include a "new improved fan club website" that will coincide with publication. Marketing director Barry O'Donovan said: "We've already started to ‘tease' Jacqueline's vast army of fans with early visuals and information about the book." Video content will include author interviews and extracts read by actresses in Victorian clothing.
Foundling Hospital is now the Foundling Museum, London's first public art gallery. Wilson is the inaugural Thomas Coram Fellow of the Foundling Museum and is charged with developing creative initiatives for children.
Wilson said she initially planned to write a short story for the Foundling Museum and Coram Society. She said: "I had a breathing space and started to think about a story set in the Victorian age, which I love, so I have a lot of books about that period."
She added: "Historical novels may not look easy or gripping so while Hetty Feather has a Victorian flavour, there are no anachronisms in her speech and the story is immediate and exciting. It was such enormous fun to have something that stretched me a bit but is still in my subject matter of single mums and unhappy, feisty children."
Tolkien’s Heirs Want Production of ‘The Hobbit’ Film Stopped
By Rocco Staino -- School Library Journal, 7/28/2009

Will The Hobbit (Houghton, 1938) make it to the big screen? Not if the heirs of J.R.R Tolkien have it their way. Tolkien’s estate has filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of Los Angeles that may block film production of the fantasy novel.
J. R. R. Tolkien's heirs have filed a lawsuit that may stop The Hobbit from appearing on the big screen.
In order to pay to pay a $250,000 tax bill, Tolkien in 1969 sold the rights to The Hobbit and his Lord of the Rings (HarperCollins, 1950)—as well as a percentage of film profits to United Artists. Tolkien died in 1973.
Over the year’s, however, the copyright has changed hands with New Line Cinema, owned by Time Warner, which produced the three Lord of the Rings live-action fantasy films: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002), and The Return of the King (2003) .
The plaintiffs, which include Tolkien’s son Christopher, 84, and daughter, Priscilla, 80, claim they’re owed $220 million dollars from those films and are asking that film rights be returned to the estate. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, the parent company Tolkien’s publisher HarperCollins, and the Tolkien Trust (a British Charity) are also plaintiffs in the case.
“Should the case go all the way to trial, we are confident that New Line will lose its rights to The Hobbit,” says Bonnie Eskenazi, an attorney with Greenberg Glusker, the Los Angeles firm representing the estate. And in that case, production of The Hobbit would be halted.
The Hobbit is already in pre-production in New Zealand. And New Line Cinema has a 2010 production schedule for the film, with Guillermo del Toro as director and Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, and Hugo Weaving reprising their roles as Gandalf, Gollum, and Elrond, respectively.
According to Bloomberg Media, the three Lord of the Rings films have generated almost $3 billion in worldwide box-office receipts, and another $3 billion from DVDs, merchandise and other sources. The case is scheduled to be heard in October.
Read the rest at the School Library Journal.

Frank McCourt and the American Memoir
By JENNIFER SCHUESSLER in The New York Times, July 25, 2009

When Frank McCourt died last weekend at age 78, we were momentarily transported, it seemed, to a more innocent age of the American memoir.

Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press

MEMOIR MAN Frank McCourt wrote of his miserable Irish childhood in his first book, which set in motion a boom in memoirs, including some fakes.
For once, public discussion of a best-selling memoirist didn’t involve the words “fabrication,” “apologize” or “James Frey.” Instead, publishing insiders and ordinary readers alike recalled being captivated by the poetic intensity and rueful humanity of Mr. McCourt’s “Angela’s Ashes,” while former students fondly recalled the brilliant New York City public school teacher who waited until his mid-60s to finally grow up into a world-famous, Pulitzer Prize-winning author by writing down the amazing stories of his hardscrabble Irish childhood he’d been spinning out loud for years.
The memoir genre has taken plenty of hits from moralists, fact checkers and freelance scolds in the 13 years since “Angela’s Ashes” sold four million copies in hardcover and spent more than two years on the best-seller lists. But it endures as perhaps the dominant genre of contemporary literature — and an easier route to fame and fortune than the novel (as Mr. Frey, who has said he originally submitted the discredited “A Million Little Pieces” to his publisher as fiction, has surely come to appreciate).
Today, bookstores are clogged with memoirs, not just about abuse and addiction, but about parenting, cooking and dog rearing. There are B-list (and C-list) celebrity memoirs. There are memoirs about dedicating a year to reading the Oxford English Dictionary, living without toilet paper or having as much sex as possible via the personal ads in The New York Review of Books (a subgenre sometimes mocked as “shtick lit”). The first-person confessional approach is an easy way for writers to add drama and voice to the most improbable subjects, while increasing their odds of getting booked on talk shows that shun the average novelist.

For the full piece - NYT.

Bookselling in a Pacific Island Paradise
By Andrew Wilkins writing for Publishing Perspectives

NUKU'ALOFA. TONGA: With an economy based on farming, fishing and some tourism, there's not a huge demand for consumer books in Tonga, although the country has the highest literacy rate in the Pacific (over 98%) and a good primary and secondary education system. Still, it's enough to support a handful of small publishers and a bookstore chain - the Friendly Islands Bookshop - which has outlets on each of the country's four main islands.Unlike the early European explorers of the Pacific, such as Abel Tasman and Captain James Cook, it's hard these days to stumble across Tonga by accident. (read on...)
Mourning the Death of Handwriting
By Claire Suddath , TIME, Monday, Aug. 03, 2009

Laurence Mouton / Corbis

I can't remember how to write a capital Z in cursive. The rest of my letters are shaky and stiff, my words slanted in all directions. It's not for lack of trying. In grade school I was one of those insufferable girls who used pink pencils and dotted their i's with little circles. I experimented with different scripts, and for a brief period I even took the time to make two-story a's, with the fancy overhang used in most fonts (including this magazine's). But everything I wrote, I wrote in print. I am a member of Gen Y, the generation that shunned cursive. And now there is a group coming after me, a boom of tech-savvy children who don't remember life before the Internet and who text-message nearly as much as they talk. They have even less need for good penmanship. We are witnessing the death of handwriting.
People born after 1980 tend to have a distinctive style of handwriting: a little bit sloppy, a little bit childish and almost never in cursive. The knee-jerk explanation is that computers are responsible for our increasingly illegible scrawl, but Steve Graham, a special-education and literacy professor at Vanderbilt University, says that's not the case. The simple fact is that kids haven't learned to write neatly because no one has forced them to. "Writing is just not part of the national agenda anymore," he says.
The full story at TIME.
An implausible publishing success story?

Worth a read............


I've had a go at making a trailer for my book. To watch it and get some tips on how to make one yourself, go to
Stephen King to release limited edition copy of Under the Dome

Story from - Long Island Books Examiner

There’s some big Stephen King news reported in today’s Wall Street Journal. King’s latest book, Under the Dome, is scheduled for release on November 10, 2009. A special, signed, limited edition cop y of the 1,120 page tome will be available at both the Simon & Schuster website and King’s own website for $200 a copy. A sell out of the 1,500 copy limited run will generate $300,000 for King and Simon & Schuster’s Scribner imprint.

King’s website allows a glimpse at the premise of Under the Dome:
On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester’s Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener’s hand is severed as “the dome” comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when—or if—it will go away.
Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens—town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician’s assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing—even murder—to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn’t just short. It’s running out.
To some, it may sound like a page out of the Simpson Movie handbook, but King's been working on the story on and off for 25 years. He’s indicated that Under the Dome deals with some of the same issues as The Stand, but in a more allegorical way.
The magical, mystical path linking book and reader
Julia Keller CULTURAL CRITIC - Chicago Tribune
July 26, 2009
Every book tells a story. Sometimes the best story it tells -- enthralling, astonishing, unexpected -- has nothing to do with the narrative concocted by the author. Surrounding every book is a meta-story, a radiance that shifts and changes with each set of hands that picks it up, flips impatiently through the opening pages and finally finds the page labeled "Chapter 1."The extra story is how that book made its way to you in the first place.

Do me a favor. Take a look at the books on your shelves or your coffee table or your nightstand, in your purse or your backpack or your back pocket. Recall, if you can, how you first became aware of each one and, once aware, how you acquired it. Try to pinpoint the moment when a certain book intersected with your consciousness. Some books, no doubt, were recommended by friends or colleagues or critics. Or maybe you found the book in the basement of your house when you first moved in, stuck in a dusty old cardboard box left by the previous owners, back by the hot water heater.
The tale of how a certain book came into your life is, in effect, a courtship story: The chance encounter, the first shy glance, the recognition of a shared sensibility and finally -- ah, bliss! -- the consummation.

Many and various are the ways that books spring into our hands. It's rarely a straightforward process, a fact that must give publishers fits. They spend millions on marketing, but in the end, books come to us through routes that are so specific and chance-ridden that even the savviest advertising strategy must, of necessity, be frustratingly imprecise. Two events brought this home to me: The death a week ago of Frank McCourt, whose 1996 memoir "Angela's Ashes" became a success beyond the wildest dreams of McCourt or his publishers; and the fact that I recently stumbled upon "The Painter of Battles" by Arturo Perez-Reverte, published in paperback this year by Random House.

Read her full piece at the Chicago Tribune online.
Perkins Writes Story of her Wife to Win Montana Medal
Emily Perkins has won the 2009 Montana Medal for Fiction or Poetry for her taut and chilling book, Novel About My Wife.
The work - published by Bloomsbury - is described by 2009 Montana New Zealand Book Awards Judges’ Convenor, Dr Mark Williams as highly assured fiction by a writer working at the height of her powers.
Novel About My Wife is sophisticated and urban, with characters that inhabit crabbed and threatened worlds. It registers the minute nuances of class, concealment and reserve in domestic English life.
‘Perkins has in a sense re-colonised English literature.’
Wellington curator and writer, Jill Trevelyan has won the 2009 Montana Medal for Non-Fiction for a biography about one of our most celebrated artists: Rita Angus: An Artist’s Life (Te Papa Press).
The Awards’ judging panel, comprising English literature academic Dr Williams, journalist Margo White and novelist Jane Westaway, said Rita Angus: An Artist’s Life is a book to use and treasure.
‘Trevelyan’s writing is elegant and lucid and the book’s scholarship is exemplary.’
Philip Norman, the Awards Biography category advisor said Trevelyan’s book helps establish Angus’s rightful place as a principal figure in the history and development of New Zealand art.
Kate De Goldi’s endearingly told tale of Frankie Parsons, The 10PM Question (Longacre Press) was the stand-out winner of this year’s Reader’s Choice Award.
The Awards were presented last night at a gala dinner ceremony at Auckland War Memorial Museum.
The winners of the country’s most prestigious awards for contemporary writing were chosen from more than 220 books submitted.

The complete list of 2009 Montana New Zealand Book Awards winners is as follows:
Montana Medal for Fiction or Poetry winner and Fiction category winner: Novel About My Wife by Emily Perkins (Bloomsbury).
Fiction runners-up: The 10PM Question by Kate De Goldi (Longacre Press) and Acid Song by Bernard Beckett (Longacre Press).
Poetry category winner: The Rocky Shore by Jenny Bornholdt (Victoria University Press).

Montana Medal for Non-Fiction winner and Biography category winner: Rita Angus: An Artist’s Life by Jill Trevelyan (Te Papa Press).
Environment category winner: A Continent on the Move: New Zealand Geoscience into the 21st Century edited by Ian J. Graham (Geological Society of New Zealand).

History category winner: Buying the Land, Selling the Land by Richard Boast (Victoria University Press).
Reference and Anthology category winner: Collected Poems 1951–2006 by CK Stead (Auckland University Press).
Lifestyle & Contemporary Culture category winner: Ladies, A Plate: Traditional Home Baking by Alexa Johnston (Penguin Group New Zealand).

Illustrative category winner: Len Castle: Making the Molecules Dance by Len Castle (Lopdell House Gallery).
Each category winner was presented with a prize of $5,000. The winners of the Montana Medal for Fiction or Poetry and the Montana Medal for Non-Fiction were each presented with an additional prize of $10,000. The runners-up in the Fiction category received $2,500. The Readers’ Choice Award carries a monetary prize of $1,000.

Māori Language Award
He Pātaka Kupu te kai a te rangatira, the first-ever dictionary written entirely in te reo Māori, has won this year’s Te Reo Māori Literary prize at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards.
Compiled by Te Taura Whiri i te Reo (the Māori Language Commission) and published by Penguin Group New Zealand, the dictionary that translates to ‘A Storehouse of Words - the food of chiefs’ contains some 24,000 head-words from the old world through to the idioms of modern Māori.
Te Reo Māori Literary Award Judge, Hone Apanui says He Pātaka Kupu is a ground-breaking work that has a major role to play in the ongoing renaissance of te reo Māori.
‘Never before have we had a dictionary conceived and delivered wholly in Māori.
‘He Pātaka is imbued with the vigour and spirit of today, while maintaining links to the past. I warmly congratulate the team at Te Taura Whiri i te Reo on an impressive and much-needed work.’
This is the second year in a row that a prize for a book written in te reo Māori has been made at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards.
The winner’s of the te reo Māori Literature Award received a $5,000 prize.
New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) Best First Book Awards
The Best First Book Awards for Non-Fiction, Poetry, and Fiction were established by the New Zealand Society of Authors with the aim of encouraging new writers and their publishers.
The NZSA Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction goes to: The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton (Victoria University Press).
‘Catton’s The Rehearsal is a world where emotion is physical and sex is as ubiquitous in thought as scepticism about adult codes. Catton’s trick is to have made the discourses of adult concern about sex, abuse, success, family and ethics seem strange, alien languages, as they are to the young,’ says Dr Williams.
Sam Sampson wins the NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry for his collection, Everything Talks (Auckland University Press).
The Awards’ judging panel says the best poetry newcomer displays an uncompromising effort to make language work intensely.
‘Sampson has succeeded magnificently in generating excitement and involvement in the reader.’
The NZSA E.H. McCormick Best First Book Award for Non-Fiction goes to Mates & Lovers: A History of Gay New Zealand by Chris Brickell (Godwit).
The Awards’ judging panel says Brickell’s winning book is a fascinating and pioneering exploration of a significant part of our social history.
‘Mates and Lovers finds a balance between serious and popular history that does justice to both.’
Each NZSA Best First Book Awards category winner received $2,500.

Book Publishers Association (BPANZ) Reviewer and Review Page or Programme Awards
The BPANZ Review Awards recognise the importance of articulate, responsible, independent and informed criticism in maintaining a vital, healthy literary culture. The two judges for these awards in 2009 were literary festival co-ordinator, director of Hagley Writers’ Institute, book critic and broadcaster, Morrin Rout, and editor, author and book critic, Stephen Stratford.
New Zealand Listener reviewer David Eggleton won the BPANZ Reviewer of the Year Award ahead of Sunday Star-Times reviewers and finalists, Helen Watson White and Clare McIntosh.
The judges said that David Eggleton’s reviews were a joy to read ‘he brings an impressive depth of knowledge to his unfailingly perceptive reviews, especially in the visual arts and poetry.’
A special acknowledgment was given to Iain Sharp’s intelligence and wit in his Landfall reviews, and to Mick Ludden for his skill with short reviews in the Wairarapa Times-Age.
The BPANZ Reviewer of the Year received a $1,000 prize.

The overall winner of the BPANZ Best Review Page or Programme Award goes to the New Zealand Listener.
The judges said the best Listener reviews are mini-essays, “serious but never dull, the writing is consistently engaging and stylish”, with a pleasing balance maintained between New Zealand and international books.
Special acknowledgements went to the Otago Daily Times and literary magazine Landfall.