19
May
08

Incredible Journey

Goethe.  Painting by Luise Seidler (Weimar 1811).Image via Wikipedia

Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther is often quoted in literary courses as an example of ‘Bildungsroman’. Bildungsroman’ refers to a novel which charts the education and development of its hero or heroine as she/he comes to maturity. An English example of this kind of novel would be Dickens’ David Copperfield. There is often no requirement to read The Sorrows of Young Werther you just need to know that it is a fine example of ‘bildungsroman’.

However, at my local flea market on Sunday I came across a paperback copy for 20p, I thought I would give it a go. When I got hope and inspected the paperback I found that it was from an American publisher called signet classics with a cover price of 60 cents. But this is not the interesting part of the story.

There was once a social experiment where books were left on trains and buses for people to read and they where encouraged that when they read the book they were to call a number which was written inside the cover, so the boffins could chart the journey of the books, then leave the book on a train again for somebody else to read and restart the cycle over and over again. This book reminded me of that experiment because written inside was an inscription – “Shiela Collins, April 11th 1964, Hempstead, New York.”

Well Shiela if your reading, I have your book on the East coast of England. New York to Lowestoft in 44 years. Now that’s some journey.

04
May
08

Scottish Writers Cut-off at the Knees

Red SquirrelImage by Donald Noble via Flickr

More on the Scottish writers funding from Brian Morton in the Observer. Brian calls this like “…telling the low paid that the hourly rate has been cut again”.

“Literary fiction in Scotland is in the same precarious position as the red squirrel. Time to support it against the encroaching greyness”.

02
May
08

The James Tait Black Memorial Prize

The Reluctant FundamentalistImage via Wikipedia

I tipped Mohsin Hamid, for the 2007 Man Booker Prize with his novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist, unfortunatley he didn’t win. However he has been shortlisted for the fiction category of the James Tait Black Memorial Prizes. The James Tait Black Memorial Prize although not as prestigious as the Booker, does have a good pedigree. Previous winners include: DH Lawrence, Graham Greene and Salman Rushdie. The winner will be announced at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August 2008.

02
May
08

RSC Hamlet – David Tennant

Got my Ticket for The Royal Shakespeare Company’s performance of Hamlet. My daughter is a big Hamlet fan and a big fan of David Tennant, so she thinks all her birthdays have come at once. The performance is not until October but it will be worth the wait. I have not seen the RSC before, or been to the The Courtyard Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, so it should be a blast. Actually I got the tickets last November, an early Christmas present if you like. I am only posting this now as I have just got to grips with my web cam, and can’t think of anything else to do with it. So this is me showing off!

02
May
08

£100,000 cut from Scottish Literature Funding

The Scotsman ' s offices in EdinburghImage via Wikipedia

It’s not only actors who are complaining about cuts in Arts funding. Due to further changes made by the Arts Council England to its arts and literature budgets earlier this year, the funding body’s Scottish sister organisation has quietly axed £100,000 from its grants to Scottish publishers, reports the guardian.

Hugh Andrew, chief executive of the Berlinn/Polygonn group, one of the largest publishing houses in Scotland, earlier told the Scotsman that the block funding cuts would also harm the ability of larger publishers to invest in new Scottish writing.

(Ever wondered how the Scottish government were going to be able to afford personal care for the elderly when the English and Welsh can not).

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02
May
08

10 Steps to becoming a better writer

I have just read Stephen King‘s On Writing which is a pared down version of a how to write fiction with an element of biography thrown in for good measure. I highly recommend it, it’s like a creative writing course with the bullshit thrown out. I’m not usually a fan of King’s writing. However, he is a master story teller and has the chinks to prove it.

To Pare down the craft of writing even more take a look at the Brian Clark video.

02
May
08

All Story’ Short Fiction Contest

Larry MarksonImage via Wikipedia

The ‘All Story’ Short fiction contest opens July 1st 2008. First Prize of $1,000 is offered with a second prize of $500 and $250 for third. If you would like to see the standard required for entry. Click Here for last years winning entry.

It’s not all about cash though. The winners and honourable mentions will be considered for representation by such esteemed agencies as the William Morris Agency, ICM, Regal Literary, the Elaine Markson Literary Agency, Inkwell Management, Sterling Lord Literistic, and the Georges Borchardt Literary Agency.

For more details see their website or email contests@all-story.com

If you want to submit a story for publication; they get around 12000 submissions a year, so competition is tough. see the submission guide lines HERE




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