Posts in Literary events

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

Calling all unpublished novelists: here’s your break!

In February 2008, I was in despair. I’d given up a good job as a reporter at The Wall Street Journal in New York to pursue my dream of writing fiction, and all I had to show for it was a stack of rejection slips. Exactly a year later, I was standing outside a branch of Borders in Islington, looking at dozens of copies of my debut novel neatly stacked up in the window display. What happened? The Luke Bitmead Bursary happened. The bursary was set up in honour of… Read More

The book launch

Thanks to everyone who came to my book launch on Wednesday night! It was a wonderful evening, by which I mean that lots of people turned up and I didn’t botch my speech or reading 🙂 For those of you who couldn’t make it, due to minor inconveniences like living on different continents, here are the edited highlights: As you can see from the final photo, while some people just mingled and chatted, others couldn’t wait to start reading 🙂 If you were there and have any photos of your… Read More

Different kinds of writer

I have a bad habit, sometimes, of generalising about what “writers” are like, mostly based only on my own experience. Last night I got a good reminder that there are many different kinds of writer. I was performing at an event called “Stand up for Books“, organised by the Society of Authors and the Society of Young Publishers. I was one of six authors reading from their work. Not only was the writing itself very varied in style and subject matter, but the way we behaved on stage was very… Read More