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Sunday, December 10

Reporting From Paris Philip Gourevitch is bringing more reporting to the Pais Review. "We're living in complicated and dramatic times, and I feel that our literature, especially the periodical fiction, is rarely up to the wildness and boldness of the times, that it seldom expresses the outlandishness and range of the actors and actions that are shaping our world. Without trying to run a timely publication I feel it's exciting to see what gets thrown off at a glancing angle from the actual headlines: not only as non-fiction narrative, but as fiction, as poetry, even as interview." The Guardian (UK) 12/09/06

Friday, December 8

Amazon Teams With HP For On-Demand Upgrade Amazon.com is betting that on-demand publishing will be a big part of its future, installing high-quality digital presses made by Hewlett Packard at several of its distribution centers nationwide so as to make on-demand orders more easily deliverable. "The Indigo digital presses used by Amazon offer quality similar to traditional offset presses, and can print maximum orders of about 5,000." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (AP) 12/08/06

Do Novelists Need To Cite Sources? "Should a novel end with a bibliography? And if it does, is it pomposity or an effort to come clean about oneís sources? ...Even a thorough bibliography will not protect a novelist against baseless charges of plagiarism founded on a narrow understanding of how the creative imagination works. [But] the only real risk [in having] a bibliography for a novel is that it will come to be a kind of obligatory disclosure." The New York Times 12/08/06

Thursday, December 7

A Classic Turf War Random House UK is squaring off with traditional British publishing power Penguin in what promises to be a high-stakes battle for control of the classic literature market. "This war is partly provoked by chain booksellers, who have reduced stock ranges and made it harder for new writers to gain the shelf space guaranteed to classic authors. Such writers are also mercifully free of advance payments, royalties or prima donna tendencies." The Guardian (UK) 12/07/06

McEwen's List Of Supporters Grows Much of the literary world is lining up behind novelist Ian McEwen as he defends himself from allegations of plagiarism. At the heart of the solidarity seems to be the idea that the international game of gotcha that has ensnared so many authors in the past few years has finally gone too far, sullying the reputation of a much-admired author who was merely using another author's work as inspiration, and who gave credit to that author besides. The New York Times 12/07/06

Wednesday, December 6

The Book As Technology The Sony eBook is the latest "book killer" to hit the market. It won't replaced the traditional book. "Yet it is useful to remember that the printed book is just that ó a technology, a tool designed for a specific purpose, no less than the shiny new Sony Reader. And the prospects for the book's survival do not depend on mere nostalgia, a fogeyish attachment to dusty shelves, and the smell of moldy paper. No, the reason why the printed book is likely to survive, at least for our lifetimes, is that it is the best tool we have for reading works of literature." New York Sun 12/06/06

Tuesday, December 5

Thomas Pynchon Steps Up To Defend McEwan From Plagiarism Charges "In a move described by his British publisher as 'unknown', Pynchon, an American who is never seen in public, does not give interviews and whose whereabouts are a closely guarded secret, sent a typed letter to his British agent yesterday to say that McEwan "merits not our scolding but our gratitude" for using details from another author's book." The Telegraph (UK) 12/05/06

Book Prize Winners To Get Publishing Deals "A division of Simon & Schuster has agreed to publish the top three winners of the Sobol Award, a new literary contest that offers a $100,000 first prize, but also has been criticized for charging entry fees and requiring that it serve as the winners' agent." Yahoo (AP) 12/05/06

The Bibliography Invades Fiction "Traditionally confined to works of nonfiction, the bibliography has lately been creeping into novels, rankling critics who call it a pretentious extension of the acknowledgments page, which began appearing more than a decade ago and was roundly derided as the tacky literary equivalent of the Oscar speech. Purists contend that novelists have always done research, particularly in books like 'Madame Bovary' that were inspired by real-life events, yet never felt a bibliography was necessary." The New York Times 12/05/06

Monday, December 4

Is There Any Point To Literary Prizes? "The truth is literary prizes are a very blunt instrument. Judges will never get it 'right' because there is no such thing as an objective judgment about which book is 'best'. All one can hope for, really, is that in the process of drawing up the long- and shortlists the judges will have scooped up a goodish proportion of goodish books out of which they pick a winner which is, well, goodish." The Guardian (UK) 12/04/06

Stealing Words (Join The Club) "Ian McEwan, the most successful novelist of his generation, has been dogged by imputations of fraudulence. He is not alone. In the past several years plagiarism rows have swirled round Zadie Smith, Jonathan Coe, PD James, Beryl Bainbridge and Graham Swift. McEwan has suffered more than most." The Observer (UK) 12/03/06

Sunday, December 3

In The New South Africa, Black Novelists Emerge -- Slowly "Twelve years after the end of apartheid, the South African literary scene remains as fragmented as ever, with writers exploring their own ethnic experiences. Although more books are published than ever before, few create a national conversation.... Since the end of apartheid, the national and international spotlight has been shifting to black writers, driven by an expectation that this is their moment to write the next chapter of South African history: the political, social and economic coming-of-age of the 80 percent of the population that was formerly disenfranchised." The New York Times 12/03/06

NaNoWriMo: Embrace The Mediocrity November was National Novel Writing Month, a seven-year-old extravaganza of wordsmithing in which participants attempt to complete a 50,000-word opus in thirty days. "The secret to writing a novel in a month is just to do it ó and itís a good idea to accept from the start that, barring miracles, it will be very, very bad." The New York Times 12/02/06

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