Shortlist announced for this year’s Melita Hume Poetry Prize

Back in February, we reported that the Melita Hume Poetry Prize was open for submissions for its second year of discovering young UK poetry talent. Five months later, publishers and award backers Eyewear and judge Jon Stone have whittled entries down to a shortlist of thirteen nominees which was announced late last week. Having initially predicted a shortlist of between six and ten, the publisher says the number of nominees is down to the year, so for better odds we’d suggest holding off entering as long as you can whilst still being eligible to participate.

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Arthur C. Clarke’s hair to be launched into space

In slightly more optimistic news of sci-fi death than we’ve been accustomed to of late, a strand of Arthur C. Clarke’s hair is set to be launched into space on the Sunjammer solar sail next year. Named after Clarke’s eponymous 1963 short story, the sail will be launched by aerospace funeral company (definitely a thing) Celestis on a memorial flight into deep space, bearing that one piece of the revered author’s remains alongside ash samples from Star Trek creator Gene Rodenberry, his wife Majel Barrett Rodenberry and James Doohan, who played Scotty on the original Star Trek series. Somewhere out there, several fanboys are currently mulling over some decisions about their future.

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R.I.P. Richard Matheson

In what has been an exceptionally cruel twelve months for beloved authors of science-fiction, following the deaths of both Ray Bradbury and Iain Banks, word has now also come that Richard Matheson has died aged 87 after a long illness at his home in Calabasas, California. Perhaps best known as a writer of short stories and novels – several of which were adapted into well-known films and episodes of television – his body of work also spanned screenplays, teleplays and even a piece of spiritual philosophy, all of which proved hugely influential to subsequent dabblers in the realm of the fantastic

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Tom Hanks reteams with Cloud Atlas director for Eggers film

Having already acted as hard as his wigs, dentures and sundry other facial prosthetics would allow in the big screen version of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, Tom Hanks is to reteam with one of that film’s three directors for a cinematic adaptation of Dave Eggers’ National Book Award nominated novel A Hologram For The King. That director, Tom Tykwer – whose CV also includes the cultishly adored Run Lola Run and his nutzoid, go-for-broke adaptation of Patrick Süskind’s Perfume – has already written a script based on Eggers’ book and it now appears to be a simple case of securing funding for a prestigious literary adaptation starring one of the most popular movie stars on the planet, so shooting should be underway by the time you read this.

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Finding Feminism: A Woman In Publishing

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If I Was A Car, I Would Run You Down

Four years ago, I would have probably said we don’t need feminism anymore. I would have said we’re doing ok as a culture and don’t sweat the small stuff like discrepancies in wage, promotion opportunities, and people yelling ‘nice tits’ when you’re walking down the street in the middle of the day. I would have said this stuff will disappear with time, or possibly denied they even happened. Of course, this was before I knew page three existed (because, no, it’s not normal and where I grew up it wasn’t a thing), before Robin Thicke, and before last week’s news that two of the biggest jobs in publishing, previously held by women, are going to men.

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5 Questions for Jamie McGarry of Valley Press [INTERVIEW]

Jamie_in_the_frame__cropped___edited_Earlier this year, Valley Press published an anthology of short stories by writers under 25 featuring yours truly called Front Lines (here’s a review and here’s a buy link, if you should so care), which is how I met Jamie McGarry. I’ve had a soft spot for small independent presses since working at Voiceworks when I was in university – they take risks on new and exciting writers in a ways which larger publishing houses may not (eg: anthologies of short stories and poetry) and are, from my point of view, an incredibly important part of our publishing landscape. With this in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to interview Jamie about what it’s like running an independent press in this day and age.

Jamie McGarry was born in Norfolk, raised in North Wales, and has lived in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, since 2006.  He likes to think of himself as a ‘creative entrepeneur’, and is currently proving it by running a small publishing house called Valley Press. Visit VP at www.valleypressuk.com, or find tweets @valleypress.

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5 Questions for Arantxa Mellado, speaker at BookMachine Barcelona [INTERVIEW]

Arantxa MelladoArantxa Mellado is our top speaker at BookMachine Barcelona on 3rd July. Amongst other things she is CEO of the Spanish Digital Link and Director of Actualidad Editorial.

Arantxa will be talking about globalisation, and how she thinks that this is the best way to succeed in business in the digital age. We wanted to find out more, ahead of the event.

 

Eventbrite - BookMachine Barcelona with Arantxa Mellado

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Fifty Shades film finally confirms director

In further news of cinematic adaptations of novels that may entail extensive use of prosthetics, it appears that the Fifty Shades of Grey film – which feels like it’s been in production since before the books were actually written even though it still hasn’t started filming – may finally have a confirmed director. Disappointing all those who had hoped Gus Van Sant may have chased his feted ‘Death trilogy’ of Gerry, Elephant and Last Days with a petite mort trilogy, Variety is reporting that the position has been filled (fnar fnar, etc.) by Sam Taylor-Johnson, formerly Sam Taylor-Wood, celebrated visual artist turned director of John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy and spouse of Aaron Taylor-Johnson, star of that film, Kick-Ass and Anna Karenina.

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1984 enjoys sales boost from shocked, ill-read populace

In light of the revelations earlier this week that America’s National Security Administration totally cares what you thought of Man of Steel, no really, post some more statuses and links to back up your theory because it’s fascinating, it follows that anyone genuinely surprised that this has been going on for years would immediately go out and buy a copy of George Orwell’s 1984 because they clearly haven’t read it already. And that is indeed what has happened these past few days, with Amazon in the US reporting a sales rise of 5,771% for the novel as of this past Tuesday. Hopefully all those who bought the book as a reaction to the news will read it over the coming days and then be able to laugh at the irony of their act of groupthink.

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