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Edinburgh International Book Festival 2015 lineup announced
June 13, 2015 | 5:06 am

67dac432The Edinburgh International Book Festival has announced what it claims is "its most international programme to date," under the title "Around the World in 18 Days." According to its advance notice, "the Book Festival welcomes voices from over 55 countries writing in a multitude of languages, many of whom are translated into English for the first time." These international names include Spain’s Jaume Cabré, Germany’s Jenny Erpenbeck, Helle Helle from Denmark, South Korea’s Han Kang, Alain Mabanckou from Congo, and Salla Simukka from Finland. The more familiar slate of authors and participants, meanwhile, includes David Hare, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Philippa Gregory, Pat Barker,...

Hungary’s very wonderful National Book Week
June 8, 2015 | 4:13 pm

IMG_20150605_160505 Hungary is a fiercely proud nation with a distinctive literature, thanks to its unique and ferociously difficult language. And the annual spring National Book Week is a correspondingly important event in the calendar. This year's National Book Week, running June 4th-8th, was the 86th, and also comprised the 14th Children's Book Fair - illustrated in these pictures. The Children's Book Fair took place in central Budapest's Vörösmarty square - and to give you an idea of how significant that is, imagine turning Piccadilly Circus or Times Square over entirely to children's books. Named after the poet Mihály Vörösmarty whose statue is at...

Lovecraft-fest: Time to go insane at NecronomiCon Providence 2015
June 3, 2015 | 5:37 pm

provid2015 This year's NecronomiCon Providence celebrates the 125th anniversary of the birth of Howard Phillips Lovecraft on August 20, 1890, in that fair city, and promises to be an insanely great fest of all things Lovecraftian. The regular Mecca (or should that be R'lyeh?) for HPL fans runs August 20-23, 2015, and despite the warm summer evenings, offers a dark and chilling program of events including "a special WaterFire event, radio theater productions, Innsmouth sea shanty sing-a-longs, Lovecraftian trivia, small theatrical productions, as well as the usual walking tours, films, games, art, vendors, etc." "NecronomiCon Providence is a...

British Academy Literature Week gets seriously fey
May 15, 2015 | 4:25 pm

14209  The British Academy Literature Week 2015, now under way, is offering a program heavily weighted towards fairy tales, ghost stories, fantasies, folk myths, and other deliciously imaginative genres. The British Academy, "the UK's expert body that supports and speaks for the humanities and social sciences – that rich variety of disciplines that study peoples, cultures and societies, past, present and future," and "funds research across the UK and in other parts of the world, in disciplines ranging from archaeology to economics, from psychology to history, and from literature to law," has put together a schedule including "Other Worlds... after dark,"...

World Horror Convention gets off to a really horrid start
May 8, 2015 | 12:25 pm

The 25th Anniversary World Horror Convention (a.k.a. WHC), also comprising the Bram Stoker Awards® Weekend, has just kicked off in Atlanta, running from May 7th to May 10th at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis Hotel. As part of the celebrations for the 25th anniversary of WHC, "Friday will be declared ‘Celebrate World Horror Convention’s 25th Anniversary Day’ and will feature a retrospective panel on the first 25 years of WHC. After the Mass Signing on Friday, we will hold the World Horror Convention 25th Anniversary Ball – there’ll be free entry to Convention members and partners." Sounds like a monster mash. Guests...

Fantastic fun at the York Pubmeet
May 8, 2015 | 10:25 am

For anyone wanting to down a few jars or five to get over the shock of the UK General Election results, or the conviction that they're now living in fantasyland, the British Fantasy Society (BFS) and British Science Fiction Association (BSFA) have organized their third York Pubmeet, for fans and aficionados of fantasy and science fiction. This will take place on Saturday, May 9th, from 5pm onwards, at the Brigantes Bar & Brasserie at 114 Micklegate in York. According to the event details, "our guest authors for the evening, reading from their own work and fielding questions about their careers and...

Cheltenham LitFest comes out in favor of fair pay for authors
April 7, 2015 | 2:25 pm

The topic of fair pay for authors and other speakers participating in literary festivals is one that simply doesn't ever seem to go away. I wrote a piece a couple of years ago highlighting how, in the words of Susan Hill, "litfests make a lorra lorra money for those who run them" - and those organizers and managers sometimes seem content to take that money off the table while letting little or none of it go back to the writers whose names crowd their programs. Now Jane Furze, the director of the Cheltenham Festival of Literature, has made a public...

Gen Con, other businesses displeased with new Indiana religious freedom law
March 26, 2015 | 2:36 pm

protestAs I’ve said before, Gen Con’s reputation as the largest gaming convention in North America eclipses its status as one of the largest writing conventions in North America, offering guidance on all aspects of writing and publishing. On Monday, March 23, Gen Con’s CEO sent a letter (PDF) to Indiana’s Governor Mike Pence, warning that a controversial religious freedom bill he was about to sign into law would affect Gen Con’s decision whether to stay in Indianapolis past the expiration of its contract in 2020. This morning, Governor Pence signed that bill. I covered the particulars in a post...

London Book Fair introduces cross-media business matching
March 1, 2015 | 12:25 pm

The London Book Fair has issued a statement about its first "Creative Industries Day," designed to create partnerships "to open up new rights opportunities for publishers at the fair across film, TV, interactive media, games, comics and graphic novels." The event, scheduled for Thursday April 16th, will involve "a host of visitors, speakers and delegations drawn from the worlds of film, interactive, games and app developers, as well as publishers of comics and graphic novels. These creative industries professionals will share their expertise on how intellectual property can be extended into new areas of the media." Bodies like the Children’s Media...

National Tell A Fairy Tale Day: The most charming unofficial national holiday?
February 26, 2015 | 2:25 pm

On February 26th, the U.S. celebrates National Tell A Fairy Tale Day, which could displace International Talk Like A Pirate Day as my favorite unofficial holiday. Although its origins appear shrouded in almost complete mystery, National Tell A Fairy Tale Day is widely attested, as the occasion to "snuggle up in your corner chair or sofa with the children sitting near you or maybe all gather around a campfire as it is a day to celebrate by telling your favorite fairy tale or making up one of your own." And fairy tales are anything but outdated. As Marina Warner remarks in her...

London Book Fair to follow publishing Around The World in 8 Hours
February 20, 2015 | 12:25 pm

The London Book Fair has just issued a release to announce that it "will be holding the first ‘virtual conference’ for the world of publishing on 18 March 2015. Around The World in 8 Hours will follow the world of publishing across the globe in a day-long series of social media events, culminating with a focus on publishing in the US. These will examine the similarities and differences in the world of book publishing’s key markets, covering everything from the Chinese love of serialised fiction to India’s mania for contemporary fiction that reworks the country’s ancient epics." This event series is...

Burns Night burning a poet into a nation’s memory
January 25, 2015 | 8:44 pm

Burns Night, held on January 25th every year to commemorate the memory of Robert Burns, has succeeded in identifying a single poet with a whole nation more than perhaps any other country on earth. How? Well, they began soon after the poet's death in 1796, informally among hs friends and acquaintances, but then on a more organized basis after the meeting of "nine gentlemen of Ayr," at the poet's birthplace in 1801, when a haggis formed part of the meal in his memory. The first established Burns Club, the Alloway Burns Club, formed as a result of this dinner, and the Greenock...

Edinburgh International Book Festival announces special spring event with Kazuo Ishiguro
January 20, 2015 | 6:25 pm

The Edinburgh International Book Festival, which hosts the Scottish capital's key literary event of the year every August, has further expanded its program of all-year outreach events with the announcement of a special spring event starring renowned Anglo-Japanese novelist Kazuo Ishiguro. The event, to be held at Edinburgh's Royal Lyceum Theatre on Thursday March 5th, 2015, presented in association with Ishiguro's Faber & Faber and supported by the recent grant from the People’s Postcode Lottery, "will see the celebrated author discuss his highly anticipated stunning new work, The Buried Giant," his first new novel for ten years. "We are thrilled and proud to...

Intelligence Squared audience decide Amazon isn’t the reader’s friend
January 20, 2015 | 4:25 pm

IQ2 As heralded in Teleread earlier, self-publishing poster child Joe Konrath and Matthew Yglesias, Executive Editor of Vox, appeared against Franklin Foer, former editor of The New Republic, and attorney and author Scott Turow, in the Intelligence Squared debate in New York , last weekend, arguing the motion: "Amazon is the reader’s friend." And whatever one thinks of the merits of the arguments on both sides of the fence, the outcome was fairly conclusive: before the debate 41 percent were for the motion, 28 percent against, and 31 percent undecided; afterwards, 42 percent were for, 50 percent were against, and 8 percent undecided....

IQ2 heralds non-controversial debate in NYC: Amazon Is The Reader’s Friend
January 12, 2015 | 2:26 pm

New York-based debating circle with Intelligence Squared U.S. (IQ2US), bringing you "Oxford-style debates live from New York City," has put up an alert for a soporific and unprovocative little debate to open 2015, on the topic of: "Amazon Is The Reader's Friend." That ought to elicit absolutely no controversy or attention whatsoever ... The IQ2 introduction to the proposition reads: In late 2014, Amazon and the publishing house Hachette settled a months-long dispute over who should set the price for e-books. In Amazon’s view, lower prices mean more sales and more readers, and that benefits everyone. But for publishers, the price of an e-book...

British Library’s Terror and Wonder show throws open its portals
December 16, 2014 | 8:25 pm

Spectral TimesAs many will know, the British Library has been hosting a great show on the Gothic tradition, "Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination," since October. It's the ideal show for the Christmas period, given the well-known British propensity for linking the festive season to ghost stories, horror movies, and dark and hideous imaginings of all kinds. And now, the British ghost hunter's favorite free magazine, Spectral Times, is holding a giveaway of tickets for the show in its latest issue, with two entry passes available in return for answering a simple question. The issue of the magazine is readable in full...

Edinburgh International Book Festival gets lottery grant support for further outreach
December 15, 2014 | 4:25 pm

Edinburgh International Book FestivalThe Edinburgh International Book Festival has just announced a  £175,000 ($275,000) grant that will enable it to branch out from its normal remit of organizing the summer Festival events at Charlotte Square Gardens "to give greater numbers of people access to authors and live literature events across Scotland." The grant comes from the People's Postcode Lottery, which donates to a range of charitable causes from the proceeds of lotteries based on UK postal codes. Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, spoke of "a vibrant and wide-reaching new outreach and learning initiative which will focus on engaging adults, young people and...

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