Booker Bias?

Reader Logo by Scott Pack

I read something the other day that really pissed me off. Well, I say pissed me off, it left me mildly miffed for about the length of a train journey but that was still more emotion than normally emanates from me of a weekday.

What got my goat was this: in the Evening Standard there was a piece by David Sexton on Howard Jacobson winning the Man Booker Prize. This article/review (he didn’t think it was very funny, basically) picked out some comments made about the author’s relationship with the prize by prominent Jewish columnists. Giles Coren made the point that no Jewish man had won the award in its 40-plus-year history (neglecting to mention that two Jewish women had) and Jonathan Freedland was quoted for this nugget:

A Prompt Lesson On Writing

Reader Logo by Michael J. Kannengieser

When my latest manuscript became stuck at a comma, I had writer’s block for over a week. When that happens, I typically work another project. Yet, I had nothing.

There’s a website called Yahoo! Answers which I occasionally visit for inspiration. It’s a quasi-social networking site in the sense that you create a profile, accumulate points and associate with other users. However, as the name implies, one visits the forum to answer questions posed by others and you may present your own as well.

There are many categories to browse and one of my favorites is “Books and Authors.” Having written nothing for at least eight days, I got my juices flowing by posting lengthy responses to inquiries concerning fiction. That’s when I discovered writing prompts posted by a member who offered a “Best Answer” award for the most imaginative reply.  The challenge was worthwhile and I opted to write a short story based on the prompt “I never would have walked through the door.”

The book needs to be brave enough to face the real world

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Tom Chalmers

The book is still, I believe, the most bought online product. I was at the Cheltenham Literary Festival on Friday to see packed rooms, huge queues and general book-related excitement. Legend Press recently launched a project with Reading Partners offering free copies to book groups; there are now nearly 1,000 to send out.

The conclusion: despite the economic Armageddon, the book is still monstrously popular. But skulk in the corridors of publishers and on the shop floors of bookshops, and you may get the feeling the book is heading in the same direction of Eldorado. So, why the discrepancy?

The Day Job

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 by John Siddique

The writing life can be a strange thing, it has to be said. There are lots of parts to it which jump up and down demanding our attention. I’m sure you know the things I mean - They like present themselves as what the job is really about: writing, getting the editing done, earning money, marketing, building up the brand etc. The thing is that they are the job, in fact any one of these things is a job on its own, and the money thing certainly will do its best to be at the centre of things, especially in the current climate.

The question of ‘What the job actually is,’ is something which has fascinated me since I first picked up the pen. At first I thought it was the writing, surely in order to call yourself a writer you had to turn up to the desk, or go to the special little space in the attic or under the stairs and write. I guess that is a bottom line.


Reader Logo by  William Falo

Jelena hung the new rosaries on the hook above the table hoping they would catch the sunlight coming over the hill to make them enticing to people coming to Medjugorje seeking miracles, but she knew that the beads held no real power.

Clouds drifted in front of the sun making the rosaries look dull and lifeless when the first person approached the stand.

“Are you one of the visionaries who saw the Virgin Mary?” She remained silent hoping he would go away.

“Up there,” he pointed in the direction of Apparition Hill. She felt heat spreading in to her cheeks and clenched her fists.

“Do you understand me?” He slapped his hands on the table knocking over a statue of Mary. She knew what he said because her uncle made her learn English in school so he could stay home while she sold items to the tourists.

“This stand is closed.” She stood up so fast that she tipped the table over spilling the rosaries onto his head.

“Why? What did I do?”

“Nothing. Just leave me alone.”

“I’m sorry if I said anything wrong.” He put the fallen rosaries back on to the table.

“Just go away. I never saw any miracles. Is that what you want to know?”

“Do you know anyone who did?”

She continued to pack hoping that the man would disappear, but didn’t expect her wishes to come true.

Read More at The Front View

The Girl Who Played With Fire (but did not burn as bright)

Reader Logo by Brian Hutton

The Girl Who Played With Fire is the much anticipated sequel to last year's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and the second part of the film adaptations of the late Steig Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy.

As with the previous film, Noomi Rapace returns as the heroine Lisbeth Salander and Micheal Nyqvist returns as crusading journalist, Mikael Blommvist.

This film comes with two problems, it’s the middle part of a trilogy and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo preceded it. As anyone who has seen the first film will know it came as a new kind of thriller: fresh and shocking in which complex family secrets were combined with the trappings of a fast paced crime story. That with the strange pairing of the ‘feral’ computer hacker, Lisbeth Slanader, and the middle aged journalist, Mikael Blommvist, made it the crime thriller of the year.

Can any idiot do an interview?

Reader Logo by Ann Giles aka The Bookwitch

Jacqueline Wilson was my first. If you are to do it, why not start at the top? Now, I have to point out that I didn’t just wake up one morning saying to myself “Hmm, I think I’ll take up interviewing authors from now on”.

No, it was much worse than that. A year earlier I had accidentally (how clumsy can you get?) arranged an interview slot for The Son to interview Philip Pullman. And having witnessed what my child did, I thought “I could do that”.

For a socially inept bore, that is a fairly silly conclusion to arrive at. Just as I knew from an early age that vegetarianism wasn’t for me on account of carrots being so awful, I have always known that the face-to-face aspect of journalism was so not me. I won’t claim that I now eat a raw carrot before every interview, but I have broken with both those childhood preconceptions.

Issue 28 of The View From Here on Sale Now

Digital edition: for your computer and the Sony Reader:
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From Traditional to Digital Illustration

Reader Logo by Richard Collingridge

The first drawing-related memory I have was when I was very young (so young I couldn’t even write the second R in my name the right way round). I remember wanting to draw a person and looking at everyone around me to see that they were drawing stick men… I couldn’t understand it, people didn’t look like that, why did everyone draw them like that? So, I decided to draw my person the way I thought people looked (as opposed drawing a stick man). Since then I’ve continued drawing and continued developing until today.

It was during this development that I thought I had reached my limit using traditional mediums and decided I needed to start working digitally.

I’ve always been someone who liked to work traditionally and even at the point when I was doing my foundation course in design (at the age of 18), I hated digital work and thought anyone who practiced it was cheating.  It was only while I was at university that I started to see its potential. For the first two years at university I worked very abstractly, not because I wanted to, but because I thought it would get me a good grade! That continued until the end of the first term in the third year where I achieved my lowest grade since I had started. In that moment I decided that I didn’t care what grade I was going to get I just wanted to work the way I most enjoyed it.

Google: A Force for Good or Bad?

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by Annette Green

These are undoubtedly interesting times in publishing. For years the industry seemed to shut its eyes and cross its fingers and hope that the impending digital revolution would see them emerge as winners. As it is, with ebooks and downloads now amongst us, profound uncertainty still exists.

At the recent ‘Big Publishing Debate’, speakers from both sides of the digital abyss assembled to argue the merits of their apparently irreconcilable positions. Google defended its new Google Book Search as a benign tool for allowing readers to find, preview and buy a wider range of books than could possibly be available in the high street shops. Crucially, the search facility enables the unearthing of long out of print books which their publishers have deemed no longer commercially viable. With one click you can buy and download something you might otherwise have to trawl through a hundred antiquarian bookshops for months to find, and even then come up with an empty net.

Big Names Join the New Web Team at The View From Here

Today we open the doors to a new format on our website and introduce you to some big names in the industry that are joining us to produce the content.

We've been in discussion with who we consider the best of the best out there in the industry and brought them all together under the umbrella of the View From Here so you can be inspired, informed and entertained.  From today you'll get a mixture from the likes of publishers, poets and literary agents all pitching in to bring you material especially written for the webpage here at TVFH.

All our normal material: our interviews, in-depth articles, reviews and guest articles will now be available exclusively only in our printed and digital editions and will be brought to you by the existing team who will now focus on these formats.

So joining us here at the magazine to form the new web team are ...

Literary agent, Simon Trewin
Scott Pack ( The Friday Project )
Alessandro Gallenzi ( MD Alma Books )
Luke Brown ( Editor at Tindal Street Press )
Tom Chalmers ( MD of Legend Press )
Poet, John Siddique
Literary agent, Annette Green
Ann Giles ( Bookwitch )
Illustrator, Richard Collingridge (WE, Trash)
Amanda Atwell
Film maker, Brian Hutton

We're going to need to get an extra packet of biscuits into the office!

Each member of the team will bring a monthly article with the first due up on site soon. And for an inside look at the discussions we mentioned above ...they went along the lines of, "We wish you to help us"  ...

11 magnificent men and women in one magnificent magazine!  ( Groan - sorry ! )

Photo credit( Modified): Mr T in DC