Posts in Literary events

Calling all unpublished novelists: here’s your break!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

How quickly can you put out an eBook?

So this morning Chinese writer Mo Yan was announced as the 2012 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Not having heard of him, I thought I’d go on Amazon and see if any of his work was available for the Kindle (I doubt there’s any of his work available in the bookshops here in Barbados). I discovered that his best-known work, Red Sorghum, is available, with a publication date of 12 October 2012. Coincidence? Possibly. Or did the folks at Cornerstone get the news of the award, think, ‘Shit,… Read More

On the wall at Foyles

An interesting thing happened to me this week. I ended up being featured in a photography exhibition at Foyles bookshop in central London. Before you ask – no, I haven’t suddenly developed a talent for the visual arts. I remain, as I always have been, pretty much visually illiterate. It’s actually one of my short stories that’s being hung on the wall, or at least an extract from it. It’s part of the photography/writing collaboration that I’ve written about on here before. The literary art book, Still, is being launched… Read More

Sophie Blackall at the Brooklyn Public Library

Like any nosy New Yorker, I first encountered Sophie Blackall on the subway. I most often ride the F line, and found myself pleasantly surprised one day by the depth of feeling in the illustrations above me. Blackall is a children’s book author, born in Australia but currently based in Brooklyn, and would likely not mind the neat line one might draw between her and Maurice Sendak.

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Book fairs are dangerous

Do you ever get carried away in bookshops or at bookfairs, and buy far more than you’d planned? Is it consumerism, or bibliophilia? I like to think that, because books are objects of learning, my book-buying binges are a positive thing. But am I deceiving myself? Am I really no different from those people breaking down the doors of Primark in the Boxing Day sales? Anyway, you can see what I bought at Saturday’s book fair, part of the Bim Literary Festival at Queens Park in Bridgetown, Barbados. Some were… Read More

Test of stamina at Bim Literary Festival, day two

Wow. That was intense. Three hours on a hard bench listening to poetry readings with no break and no refreshments. That’s a real test. Luckily it was an open-air event, on the boardwalk at Hastings (the Barbados one, not the UK one). It was easy to get up and stretch your legs occasionally, and the view helped. The occasion was an event called Bim Rock Variations, part of the inaugural Bim Literary Festival. (By the way, I should have mentioned earlier that “Bim” is an informal name that Barbadians use… Read More

Earl Lovelace at Bim Literary Festival

Trinidadian writer Earl Lovelace was the second attraction last night at Bim Literary Festival. For my report on the first part of the evening, with Austin Clarke, click here. Lovelace was asked about the themes of his writing and spoke about the search for selfhood, both on an individual and a societal level. He said that people in the Caribbean don’t always respect the abilities of ordinary people. We still look to ‘best practice’ of other people to tell us what to do. Not only are ordinary people not acknowledged,… Read More