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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 And fairy tales are anything but outdated.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...

Beat Museum to host grand reveal of Neal Cassady letter
November 28, 2014 | 2:25 pm

iM7FTMQFollowing the recent news of the resurfacing of the near-legendary “Joan Anderson Letter” from Neal Cassady to Jack Kerouac, which gave us On The Road in its current form, Profiles in History, the auction house selling the letter, is hosting a media event on the morning of December 1st at "The Heart of The Beat Generation’s History in North Beach, The Beat Museum," showcasing the letter "This One and Only Time, to Select Media in its Newly Discovered Entirety." The Beat Museum, which rejoices in the URL www.kerouac.com, "is home to an extensive collection of Beat memorabilia, including original manuscripts and first...

Books on Tyne brings books in time to Tyneside
November 27, 2014 | 12:16 pm

The Books on Tyne Literary Festival, a.k.a. the Newcastle Book Festival, is convening a literary gathering in Newcastle upon Tyne, one of northern Britain's most unique and characterful cultural communities, for non-Brits out there. Cradle of the legendary Geordie dialect, Tyneside is also the nursery of British literary talents like Basil Bunting and Tom Pickard. "After a successful Festival last year, we have been working hard to produce an even bigger and better programme of events for as many people as possible to enjoy," runs the Festival's introduction. "With a general theme of “On the Edge”, we have brought together writers...

Blurred lines: Social media and news media feeding into each other
November 19, 2014 | 7:35 pm

On GigaOm, Matthew Ingram expresses fascination with the way that the news media and social media have collided and blurred the lines between each other, in the context of the recent Uber scandal. We’re increasingly seeing major news stories break and grow in social and new media—Twitter, Facebook, blogs—with the traditional media being relatively slow to catch on. Rather than issue press releases, public figures and companies are issuing quick responses via Twitter or Facebook. So is this a good thing or a bad thing? That depends a lot on your perspective. Obviously if you’re...

Cardiff gets horrifically horrible with Scardiff
October 20, 2014 | 3:34 pm

The Welsh capital received an horrific visitation last weekend in the shape of Scardiff, " the first Cardiff horror expo," and a celebration of "all things horror: books, comics, movies, cosplay, the works." And according to attendees, Cardiff Masonic Hall was overrun by a zombie-like horde of attendees, foaming with rabid enthusiasm for the events and attractions. The program at Scardiff included "horror-themed cosplay comps with prizes and custom-made trophies," an SFX scareoff, tabletop gaming, a low-budget filmmaking workshop, and - last but not least for budding horror writers - "a live pitching session for budding novelists, led by Scott Harrison...