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Posts tagged United Kingdom

UK prison books crackdown overturned, Grayling disgraced
December 6, 2014 | 4:25 pm

GraylingThe widely castigated UK government policy of imposing heavy restrictions on prisoner access to books, as part of an Incentives and Earned Privileges scheme, has been ruled unlawful by the UK High Court, in a humiliating defeat for Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling,  In his ruling, Mr Justice Collins said “I see no good reason in the light of the importance of books for prisoners to restrict beyond what is required by volumetric control and reasonable measures relating to the frequency of parcels and security considerations," and that he did not "regard access through the [prison] library services as sufficient.” “The...

Book review: The Loney, by Andrew Michael Hurley, Tartarus Press
December 4, 2014 | 4:25 pm

Tartarus Press is becoming one of the most diverse as well as the most accomplished and fastidious independent UK presses devoted to horror and dark fiction, and The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley is absolutely off their ordinary beat and all the more striking for it. Instead of the society and theatrical pieces of Reggie Oliver, or the decadent horrors of Mark Samuels, we have the grim, bleak realm of poor man's English Roman Catholicism, and a chilling coastal setting in the remote Lancastrian preserve of the title - "a dangerous place. A wild and useless lenght of English coastline. A dead...

UK libraries protest copyright restrictions with empty spaces
December 1, 2014 | 12:25 pm

copyrightThe Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals and other libraries and library associations in the UK are in the midst of a campaign to move unpublished individual works to the current copyright regime of the author's life plus 70 years, instead of the British "Orphan Works" category, which restricts their exhibition until 2039. And they have now moved their campaign from petitions to displays with empty spaces to make the point. CILIP explains: Up to 50% of archival records in the UK are ‘orphan works’. This is when the rights holder cannot be identified and/or traced. The Imperial War Museum has an...

Amazon adds UK post offices to bricks-and-mortar footprint
November 27, 2014 | 4:42 pm

British Booksellers AssociationAmazon has just expanded its distribution and delivery network in the UK by partnering with the Royal Mail to deliver Amazon packages to British post offices - an arrangement that observers say could help to support the ailing UK postal service, already under attack from private sector competitors in the parcels and door-to-door delivery space. The UK post office network, spun off from the delivery network in April 2012 as Post Office Ltd., gives Amazon around 10,500 new points of presence across the country, "taking the total number of Amazon pickup points across the UK to more than 16,000," according...

UEA, Writers’ Centre Norwich launch joint online creative writing courses
November 27, 2014 | 2:25 pm

NorwichThe University of East Anglia and the Writers' Centre Norwich have just announced the launch of "Online and Face-to-Face Creative Writing Courses," commencing in 2015. "This is your chance to benefit from the UEA’s world renowned expertise and give your creative writing a real chance to progress," the introduction states, and the online offering includes a "specially developed online learning environment using course materials designed by your tutor," as well as bespoke criticism and individual feedback. "This partnership between UEA and Writers’ Centre Norwich gives you the opportunity to work either online or face-to-face in 10, 12 or 24 week courses...

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...

YouTube celeb Zoella shows author power of social media promotion
November 26, 2014 | 8:17 pm

UK YouTube video blogger (a.k.a. vlogger) Zoella (a.k.a. Zoe Sugg) has become the poster child of near-instant social media auto-stardom - and now authorial success through the pre-sales of her book Girl Online, which as at the time of writing is Number One in the UK Amazon Best Seller charts, after "92 days in the top 100." This echoes the previous point that YouTube celebs are now becoming hot property for hungry publishers. As the author blurb describes her, Zoella "is a 24-year-old vlogger from Brighton, UK. Her beauty, fashion, and lifestyle vlogs have gained her over 5 million YouTube subscribers,...

The Real Story pushes the boat out for non-fiction in Manchester
November 26, 2014 | 1:25 pm

UK literary site The Real Story, "a celebration of creative non-fiction" supported by you by Openstories, "a Manchester-based arts organisation that runs digital literature projects," is looking for local non-fiction writers and prose poets for a series of nights or reading events devoted to the non-fiction writer's craft. "Essayists, creative non-fictioneers, prose poets… we want to hear from you!" states the intro. "If  you’re based in or near Manchester and like the idea of getting up onstage and reading your work in front of people, make yourselves known to us." Seeing as Friedrich Engels wrote The Condition of the Working Class in England...

Scotland’s winter wonderland showcased in stunning freebie
November 24, 2014 | 6:25 pm

A to Z of Winter ScotlandYes, this is a shameless puff on behalf of my beloved homeland - but it's also a chance to pick up a beautiful and useful travel guide for zero cash, and to enjoy some superb state-of-the-art digital destination marketing. For VisitScotland, Scotland's national tourism organization, has just shared "The A to Z of Winter in Scotland," a beautifully produced 76-page PDF guide to the best options in winter visiting to the land of Burns, Bruce, bairns, brains, and beauty - liberally sprinkled with hyperlinks to follow up the destination tips online (albeit mostly to its own site). Burns Night, on January...

Library A to Z shows how to crowdfund library advocacy
November 21, 2014 | 2:25 pm

One of the more heartening initiatives by advocates of the UK's library system in the face of devastating - and ideologically dictated - "austerity" cuts, is the Library A to Z, which "has created a visual A to Z celebrating the wide range of services, resources and facilities that make libraries so fantastic." The site contains: "materials, including illustrations, book, posters, cards and other advocacy materials that you are free to share and re-use,"as well as "links and information about what you can do to support libraries." But its own story is almost as important and encouraging as the resources...

Neil Gaiman talks for UK Arts Council
November 20, 2014 | 6:25 pm

011711-neil-gaiman.jpgThe newly launched Arts Council of England magazine Create, for all the issues around its basic premise, has garnered material from some very significant creative figures, Neil Gaiman being one of them. He took the opportunity, in the course of a long interview with Toby Litt in the magazine (available to read in full here), to speak about writing, reading, and libraries, and the importance of the latter in education and general development. After recounting his love of libraries from his first experiences of them at age three or four, Neil Gaiman noted "I’ve probably been in about six or seven hundred libraries...

UK Arts Council launches new advocacy magazine for arts
November 19, 2014 | 6:20 pm

Perhaps mindful of some of the current UK government's attitude towards the arts and creative disciplines, the Arts Council of England, the country's top creative and arts funding body, has just launched a new magazine called Create, "a new journal that aims to stimulate discussion about the true value of art and culture to our society" - though one suspects that in this context, they're talking about monetary value. The first issue is available to read in full here. Create bears the subtitle "A journal of perspectives on the value of art and culture" - not an especially strong indicator of confidence in...