Wednesday, 28 July 2010
Exciting stuff always happens when you're away eating redcurrents and pizzas topped with foie gras (separately). UNESCO has just designated Dublin as a City of Literature, one of only four in the world (the others being Iowa City, Melbourne and Endinburgh). So well done Dublin, well done you, well done us! For more info and events, check out the dedicated website.
Saturday, 17 July 2010
Friday, 16 July 2010
It's been a good few weeks reading-wise and I've managed to do some (marginal) damage to my mountain of 'To Read' books. Among which...
Thursday, 15 July 2010
new website yet? Type or paste a sample of your prose, close your eyes, hold your breath... and discover if you write like James Joyce or Haruki Murakami. Here's how it works:Have you heard of this
Check what famous writer you write like with this statistical analysis tool, which analyzes your word choice and writing style and compares them to those of the famous writers.Now, I tried it with a few paragraphs of Mad Cap and, apparently, well, you've seen the pic at the top of this post... I suppose a great carrier awaits me. Even if the page announcing my result also included an ad that went:
Become a better writer!You'll be impressed to know that this blog was composed in the style of HP Lovecraft!
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Wednesday, 14 July 2010
And here are some of my princesses from an earlier book (10 Histoires de Princesses):
Left: Tidy-Your-Palace(they must have had some fun translating my Scottish pea pun...)
Tuesday, 13 July 2010
here. And if you're a total fan, the Enid Blyton Society (where this post's pic is from) is for you!
Friday, 9 July 2010
very interesting article about their creator, Tove Jansson, and the great hippo-like troll family, read in the Guardian. Six new Moomin books – four picture books, and a sticker and colouring book – are published by Puffin this year. Finn Family Moomintroll also features in Nuffin Like A Puffin, an exhibition at Seven Stories, Newcastle from 17 July until June 2011 (more details here). I definitely have to go to Newcastle one of these days... Meawhile, I can just dream about the aforementionned Moomin Cookbook...
Based on the historical events that shook Russia between 1916 and 1919, Blood Red Snow White takes an unusual angle on the Russian revolution by focusing on the amazing story of children’s writer Arthur Ransome. Living in Saint-Petersburg, where he was researching Russian folklore, Ransome became a war correspondent, then a chronicler and first-hand witness of the revolution, a trusted interlocutor of Lenin and Trotsky, a spy for Britain and, perhaps, a double agent. In the midst of this political whirlwind, Ransome managed to write Old Peter’s Russian Tales and fall in love with Trotsky’s secretary, Evgenia Petrovna Shelepina. This is, in short, the story Marcus Sedgwick ambitiously sets out to tell. The result is an impressive mixture of history, spy novel, fairy tale and love story.
The look of the book is resolutely old-fashioned, stressing the historical aspect of the novel. The pages look like they have just been roughly cut open and the end-papers are made of old maps of Western Russia; real maps from an atlas, this is no fantasy. And yet, these maps seem to invite the reader to a game of Risk, flagging both the themes of politics and make-believe. Throughout the book, the text is printed in dark (blood) red ink, blurring the boundaries between concrete and abstract, and announcing the conflict between reality and fiction.
Part One is told as a fairy tale, Ransome’s Old Peter Russian Tales style, with its use of imagery and its assumption that everything is possible, from magic to talking bears. Part Two, titled ‘One Night in Moscow’, belongs to the tradition of spy novels. Here, names are named, time is minutely indicated and the use of present tense creates a sense of immediacy and conveys the impossibility for the hero (Arthur) to look ahead. This section is anchored in realism. In the final part, the text switches to a first person narrative by Arthur Ransome himself. The accent here is on romance (with its fair share of adventure), but it is also the section of the book where realism and fairy tales are brought together. But this is not escapism. It is fairy tales barging into the real world and the real world adjusting to the fairy tale. Great stuff!
Wednesday, 7 July 2010
"The city of Yerevan was selected “for the quality and the variety of its detailed, realistic, grass-roots programme, focusing on universal issues, and linking all the aspects and actors of the book chain” .... Yerevan built an exciting programme focusing on freedom of expression, copyright, and activities for children who will be tomorrow’s readers, authors and publishers." (more info here and here)
Friday, 2 July 2010
Children's fiction can be affectionate, social, mythic or simply playful. This course will focus on breaking new ground rather than work in progress. It will be a shared experience of rapid exercises which celebrate language and the imagination. It will also examine how to tell, retell and use motifs from traditional tale.
Kevin's course will take place from the 8th to the 10th of October. All the details on this and other classes (starting to write, poetry and fiction) can be found here.