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Posts tagged United Kingdom

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...

Book review: Cold Hand in Mine: Strange Stories, by Robert Aickman, Faber and Faber
November 18, 2014 | 2:25 pm

Robert_Aickman_7Regular TeleRead readers will probably have tumbled by now to the recent series of Faber and Faber reprints and recompilations of stories by the brilliant, enigmatic, and influential British writer of strange stories, Robert Fordyce Aickman. Cold Hand in Mine is probably the jewel of the series, as well as perhaps the best single-volume introduction to the writer's work. Originally republished in the Faber Finds series, these eight stories from the middle period of Aickman's career, selected by him, showcase some of his most diverse and imaginative productions, including "Pages from a Young Girl's Journal," which won the World Fantasy Award with...

Dylan Thomas notebook find may help clarify creative process
November 17, 2014 | 8:25 pm

A private notebook of Welsh giant Dylan Thomas, dated to 1934-35 but left forgotten in his mother-in-law’s house before being saved from burning by her maid and kept among her effects for some 70 years, has now gone on sale through Sotheby’s of London and may shed light on his personal creative process - long a puzzle because of the young poet’s striking precocity. Thomas composed most of the poems he is famous for while in his teens, and up till now, many of those, some 200 verses, were preserved in just four notebooks from the period 1930-34. And now there...

Victory for author, people power as Liverpool libraries stay open
November 16, 2014 | 2:27 pm

Public demonstrations and a campaign involving some 500 writers and creative figures have staved off, at least for now, the threat of closure hanging over 11 out of 19 libraries in Liverpool, following a 58 per cent cut in the funding the city receives from Central government. Authors involved in the campaign included Malorie Blackman,  Cathy Cassidy, Jonathan Coe,  Carol Ann Duffy, Alan Gibbons, Caitlin Moran, and Meg Rosoff, while local citizens took to the streets in protest. In the Liverpool Express, Mayor Joe Anderson announced that: "I can confirm today that none of our libraries will close. There is much to be proud about our library...

UK Goldsmiths Prize goes to Ali Smith
November 14, 2014 | 2:25 pm

The UK's Goldsmiths Prize 2014, managed by Goldsmiths College of the University of London, and "established to celebrate the qualities of creative daring associated with the University and to reward fiction that breaks the mould or opens up new possibilities for the novel form," has gone to Scottish author Ali Smith for her time-spanning, genre-defying novel How to be both, which Kirsty Gunn describes on the Prize shortlist website as "a stunning example of literary inventiveness, idiosyncratic presentation of character and her charming, disarming way with plot." This year, the Prize has also been coordinated with the Goldsmiths Writers’ Centre, established...

UK Education Secretary warns against arts, reading, thinking …
November 13, 2014 | 2:25 pm

Reading, speaking, and thinking in general apparently can damage your career choices, according to the UK Conservative-led government. Their Education Secretary, no less, has got up to warn British schoolkids that arts subjects "will hold them back for the rest of their lives." UK Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan was speaking at the launch of the Your Life campaign, which in itself has the laudable objective of encouraging British students to focus more on the STEM subjects - science, technology, engineering, maths. The campaign aims "to raise participation in science maths and physics A levels by 50 per cent...

Stevenson’s lost The Hair Trunk appears after 130 years
November 12, 2014 | 12:25 pm

After over 130 years in hibernation, a lost unfinished work by Robert Louis Stevenson has resurfaced, and is now appearing for the first time in book form, with Scottish newspaper of record The Scotsman publishing an extended extract. The Hair Trunk, or The Ideal Commonwealth: An Extravaganza is an extended but ultimately abortive draft of a comic novel, running to 30,000 words but left unfinished, dating from Stevenson's youth. The characterization of it in some reports as a "missing masterpiece" is rather an exaggeration, as it was begun in 1877, when Stevenson was 27 years old, and broken off two years later,...

UK government cuts threaten closure of Imperial War Museum Library
November 12, 2014 | 10:25 am

Most TeleRead readers should need no reminding that this year marks the centenary of the outbreak of World War 1 in 1914. Unfortunately, the UK government's memory of that fact seems highly selective - not least when it comes to one of the UK's most significant repositories of national memory concerning that conflict and war in general. For the library of the UK Imperial War Museum (IWM), itself refurbished this year at a cost of £40 million ($63.5 million), as well as other important research and educational services, are now threatened thanks to government cuts of up to £4 million ($6.35 million)...

UK prisoners no longer quite so screwed by government political games
November 10, 2014 | 4:25 pm

GraylingThe UK government's decision to crack down on reading material for prisoners has been showcased as one of the most conspicuous, damaging, and brutal exercises in political grandstanding through books in (admittedly, more and more congested) recent memory. Fortunately, as a result of across-the-board campaigns ranging from authors to prison governors, some of the relevant restrictions have been relaxed - although others remain very much in place. The Howard League for Penal Reform, the UK's most prominent and respected activist organization on this topic, shared a news release on the subject, explaining how: The Howard League Books For Prisoners campaign won an important...

Helen Mort wins Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection prize 2014
November 10, 2014 | 2:25 pm

Division StreetHelen Mort, a 29-year-old British poet, has won this year's Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection prize, conferred at the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, for her collection Division Street. Helen Mort is already a multiple prize winner, five times winner of the Foyle Young Poets Award, recipient of an Eric Gregory Award in 2007 and winner of the Manchester Young Writer Prize for 2008. Division Street has already attracted some glowing reviews elsewhere. According to the conditions of entry, "any first collection of at least 40 pages with primary publication in the UK and Republic of Ireland between 1 August 2013 and 31 July...