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Chris Ward

Chris Ward

Chris Ward writes and says things about books and music and films and what have you, even when no one is reading or listening.
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.

Amazon launches ‘reader powered publishing’ with Kindle Scout

Amazon has launched what it describes as ‘reader powered publishing’ in the form of Kindle Scout, a crowdsourcing initiative to find unpublished authors and, uh, publish them. The hypermegaomnicompany outlines the venture as ‘a place where readers help decide if a book gets published. Selected books will be published by Kindle Press and receive 5-year renewable terms, a $1,500 advance, 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions and featured Amazon marketing.

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Action Comics #1 available to read, for free, online

A copy of Action Comics #1 – arguably the single most sought after issue in the history of the medium – recently sold at (eBay) auction for $3,207,852, the most money ever paid for a single comic book by a margin of about a million dollars. Its nearest competitor? Another, less pristine copy of Action Comics #1, sold in 2011 for $2,161,000. Only 50 or so unrestored first run copies remain extant, and at those rates, anyone who wants to read the first appearances of Sticky-Mitt Stimson, Scoop Scanlon the Five Star Reporter (perfect name for a reporter between the wars, A+) and some dude named Superman in their original form needs to have some serious capital behind them.

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Waterstones Piccadilly holding lock-in inspired ‘sleepover’

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.

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Twin Peaks novel to bridge 25 year gap between seasons

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.

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Kim Gordon memoir gets release date, cover

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.

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Women lead the field in 2014 Saltire Award shortlists

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).

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2014 Forward Prizes awarded

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.’

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Faber launching Modern Classics line in 2015

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.

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