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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...

Russell Brand to give Reading Agency lecture
October 14, 2014 | 10:25 am

The ever-more-serious UK comedian Russell Brand will deliver this year's Reading Agency lecture, "'a manifesto on reading" and the third lecture since the inception of the series in 2012, as well as the first one to be open to ticket-holding members of the public. "The Reading Agency lecture is a fundraising event, proceeds from which support the charities' core mission, to get and keep the nation reading," as The Reading Agency's materials declare. Previous speakers in the series were Jeanette Winterson and Neil Gaiman, who gave a highly praised talk also on the importance of reading. Brand couched the theme of...

Edinburgh International Book Festival holds autumn event for Marilynne Robinson
October 10, 2014 | 2:25 pm

The Edinburgh International Book Festival, more familiar as an August fixture, is hosting an exceptional out-of-season event on the occasion of a visit by American author Marilynne Robinson, recipient of many awards including the 2005 Pulitzer Prize, the 2009 Orange Prize for Fiction, the 2008 LA Times Book Prize and the 2004 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, as well as the 2012 National Humanities Medal. Marilynne Robinson is best known for her three novels Housekeeping (1980), Gilead (2004) and Home (2008), as well as numerous essays and works of non-fiction. Her National Humanities Medal citation hailed: "her grace and intelligence in writing. With moral strength and lyrical clarity, Dr....

British Fantasy Society wants to make your Hallowe’en
October 7, 2014 | 12:40 pm

The British Fantasy Society, in conjunction with renowned London-headquartered science fiction, fantasy, and horror emporium Forbidden Planet, is bringing together a pumpkinfest of feted horror authors for the Mass Hallowe’en Signing & BFS Open Day Social on Saturday October 25th, at Forbidden Planet's original 179 Shaftesbury Avenue chamber of horrors, kicking off at 10.00 am. Afterwards, there'll be a sociable get-together at The Bloomsbury pub on Shaftesbury Avenue for book and horror talk, with free entry to both events. Modestly titled "The Greatest Hallowe'en Signing of All Time," the event assembles the following writers, illustrators, and editors, according to Forbidden Planet's...

The Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014: Some concluding images
August 28, 2014 | 3:30 pm

IMG_20140825_184414Here is a montage of shots from the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014 - just to give you all a taste. And here's to next year - in another country, perhaps ? ...

Edinburgh International Book Festival ends on sustained high with independence referendum looming
August 25, 2014 | 12:46 pm

IMG_20140824_200415 The Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014 wrapped up its three-week run in Edinburgh's Charlotte Square Gardens on Monday August 25th with a strong finish and scant sign of any slackening off in numbers or enthusiasm among attendees. Ticket sales kept up with last year's record numbers, according to the Festival press team, and the whole series of events picked up fresh pertinence and energy from a topic seldom far from anyone's lips on or off the podium: the independence debate and the referendum less than a month away. "Over the last 17 days, the Book Festival has welcomed over 800 authors...

Just arrived for Edinburgh International Book Festival!
August 19, 2014 | 7:15 pm

IMG_20140819_171154I made it to Edinburgh once again this year for the 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival, and will be reporting from now on until its end in a week's time. And just in case anyone still needs reminding, this is a critical month in a critical year for Scottish nationhood, cultural and otherwise, with the referendum on Scottish independence less than four weeks away. And yes, I missed George R.R. Martin, but there's a real-life game of thrones happening right here right now - though with far more ink spilt than blood. So far it's as buzzy and lively as you'd...