Posts in Literary events

Literature and Empathy

As a (very) part-time journalist, I get inundated with press releases, most of which I delete. But one email subject line today caught my eye: “Step into the shoes of a migrant in the UK with groundbreaking audio experience.” In the current political climate, I think that stepping into others’ shoes—especially those of migrants—is about the most important thing we could be doing. One of the things I’ve learnt from travelling around Europe these last four years is that hate and fear come from distance. You can’t demonise someone when… Read More

New Opportunity to Get Started in Fiction Translation

I’ve always wondered how you get started in fiction translation. I mean, translating a novel seems like such a huge endeavour, and how do you get commissioned to do that? I guess you could translate short stories or something, but how many of those get published? So becoming a literary translator seems like one of those Catch-22 situations in which you need a body of work to secure a publisher, but you can’t build up a body of work because you don’t have a publisher. I wonder how many people… Read More

New Bitmead Bursary Winner Announced

Winning the Luke Bitmead Bursary back in 2008 changed my life in many ways, some of which I’ve detailed on the blog before. One thing I haven’t written about so much is the wonderful people it introduced me to, most notably Luke’s mother Elaine Hanson. Losing a son is one of the hardest things for a human being to experience, and losing that son to suicide at a young age must be even harder. Elaine has had the strength to create something wonderful from the wreckage: an annual prize that gives money and a… Read More

Q&A with the founders of new indie publisher Dodo Ink

Dodo Ink is a new independent publisher in the UK, promising to publish “bold, daring, risky but accessible literary novels”. They’re currently running a crowdfunding campaign to fund their first three novels, with incentives ranging from free books to getting your own dedication page. One of the founders, Sam Mills, is a writer (I reviewed her 2012 novel The Quiddity of Will Self on this blog), and another, Thom Cuell, is a book blogger/reviewer (of Workshy Fop fame). I interviewed the two of them recently to find out more about how… Read More

London Fiction: a Reading List

A couple of years ago I was involved in a panel event on London fiction. As part of my preparation I decided to put together a list of novels that are set in London and shed some interesting light on the city. Here’s what I came up with: Londonstani by Gautam Malkani The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon Brick Lane by Monica Ali Brixton Rock by Alex Wheatle (also The Dirty South and others) Last Orders by Graham Swift The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi Incendiary by Chris Cleave Mother London by Michael Moorcock… Read More

Latest UK book stats

Came across some interesting stats on UK book sales in the latest issue of The Author magazine from the Society of Authors, and thought I’d share a few of them with you: Sales of physical books fell 5% in 2013, while sales of digital products rose 19% Digital now accounts for 33% of fiction sales and 7% of non-fiction/reference (and 15% of publishers’ total business) Paperback sales have fallen 23% since 2008 The average selling price of a paperback was £5.46 in 2013, compared with £5.83 in 2008 UK publishers’ total… Read More