Credit where it’s due to Waterstones’ PR staff: following a potentially embarrassing incident last week, in which an American tourist had to tweet and post on Instagram for help (#nofilter) after being locked inside the chain’s Trafalgar Square branch for two hours when staff closed up without realising he was still there, they’ve spun what could be a clammy nightmare into a dream come true for a certain kind of book lover. Realising that being locked inside a bookshop for several hours isn’t necessarily so unappealing a prospect, the shop is this Friday hosting a ‘sleepover’ for ten guests and their plus ones.
He was chief hack and music editor of webzine Brazen from 2006 to 2010, and hosted Left of the Dial on Subcity Radio from 2008 to 2011.
He can be heard semi-regularly on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae ('20th best website in Scotland!' - The List), and in 2011 founded Seen Your Video, a film and music podcast and blog based in Glasgow. He has a Masters degree in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow that will never have any practical application. You are on a hiding to nothing if you follow him on Twitter expecting any kind of hot publishing scoop.
If you haven’t already started affecting a veneer of cool disdain as a reaction to everyone else losing their minds, you may be mildly excited by the recent news that David Lynch and Mark Frost’s seminal TV show Twin Peaks will be returning to TV screens in 2016 for a third season, 25 years after the end of its second.
Though, predictably, Lynch has been the focal point of most coverage of the show’s return (given his far higher profile during its hiatus than that of his co-creator), Frost also played a key role in developing Twin Peaks‘ unique tone and – as if to reinforce that this isn’t just The David Lynch Show – has revealed that he is writing a novel detailing the lives of the town’s residents over the 25 years between episodes.
This year’s Man Booker Prize has been awarded to Richard Flanagan for his novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North. The Australian author’s sixth book took the £50,000 award over work from three time nominee Ali Smith, past winner Howard Jacobson, Neel Mukherjee, and the prize’s first ever American nominees, Joshua Ferris and Karen Joy Fowler.
Little over a year ago we reported that Kim Gordon – co-founder of Sonic Youth, visual artist, feminist hero – was to release a memoir with HarperCollins imprint It Books and… that was all we knew at that point. No title, no release date, no idea of the period covered, nothing. That’s changed this past week, with the release date confirmed as 24 February 2015 (almost exactly 30 years after the release of Sonic Youth’s second LP, Bad Moon Rising), and further details revealed about the book’s contents, including the title – Girl in a Band – and the below cover art.
This year’s Nobel Prize for Literature has been awarded to Patrick Modiano. The 69 year old Frenchman was recognised ‘for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation’. Peter Englund, the Swedish Academy’s permanent secretary, compared him to Proust.
The shortlists for this year’s Saltire Literary Awards – widely held to be among the most prestigious literary prizes in Scotland – were revealed this past weekend as part of the annual Wigtown Book Festival, with women leading the field for the Literary Book of the Year. Five of that category’s six nominees are female: A L Kennedy (All the Rage), Anne Donovan (Gone Are the Leaves), Sally Magnusson (Where Memories Go), Rona Munro (The James Plays) and Booker nominee Ali Smith (How to Be Good), with the lone man Martin MacIntyre (Cala Bendita ‘S aBheannachdan).
Ahead of this year’s National Poetry Day (happening this Thursday, 2 October), the Forward Arts Foundation has awarded its annual prizes for poetry. Regarded, in terms of its ability to make writers’ reputations, as the Booker of the poetry world, the £10,000 Forward Prize for Best Collection went to Kei Miller’s The Cartographer Tries to Map A Way to Zion, in which a mapmaker ‘is gradually compelled to recognise – even to envy – a wholly different understanding of place, as he tries to map his way to the rastaman’s eternal city of Zion.’
Early next year Faber will reissue several titles from throughout its 85 year history as part of its new Modern Classics line. Focusing on work that is at least 25 years old, be it fiction, non-fiction, drama or poetry, the paperbacks will contain supplementary material including readers’ notes, introductions and reproductions of articles of note from the Faber archives, and will be adorned in their own livery designed by Faber art director Donna Payne. The initial line-up of ten will be published in April 2015, joined by six more in June.
In what’s turning out to be quite the week for internet-based publishing innovations, Amazon has brought its Kindle Unlimited service to British shores. The subscription service, billed as a literary equivalent to Netflix and Spotify, allows users unlimited access (as the name implies) to over 650,000 Kindle books and an extensive library of Audible audiobooks for £7.99 a month (at current exchange rates nearly £2 more, incidentally, than the $9.99 a month charged by the American service, which launched earlier this summer). Amazon is offering a free 30 day trial of the service to all those who sign up.
This week sees the launch of Advance Editions, a platform for crowdsourced editing allowing readers early access to soon-to-be-published books in the hope that they’ll spot any previously missed errors – factual, linguistic or otherwise – or be able to provide any other suggestions on how to improve. The idea is that, having already been professionally edited, books will be uploaded to the site for three months ahead of their official release, with the site’s users able to download either the first half for free or the complete book for a 60% discount on the RRP. Readers can then suggest changes through the site for the authors to make prior to final publication.