Tuesday, 22 June 2010

russia again

One last interview made in Moscow: Joanne Harris, bestselling author of Chocolat and many more books for adults and teenagers, on the potential for curated communities and whether or not publshers have a future.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

russia now and then

More documentation from my Russian trip: first an interview with the marvellous illustrator and writer Andrzej Klimowski, one of the group of us brought over from the UK, including Doug Wallace of Self Made Hero whose logo Andrzej designed. Andrzej produced iconic covers for Milan Kundera's novels and many other wonderful things including graphic novels and adaptations of classics. He introduces himself here then talks about the allure of the digital, his love of surfaces and his hopes for Russian graphic digital fiction.

Second is an interview with Ksenia Petrova, writer and Tolstoy lover, who toured me around Moscow sites including Leo's old home where she explained more about his view on copyright and the tensions caused when he declared he wanted his work to be free to distribute after his death.

Finally, music from the amazing Gagarin Brothers mixed with other souvenirial bits and snippets of others at the book fair include Cat Weatherill, storyteller.√

Thursday, 17 June 2010

salamanca yesterday

Here are a few touristic clips from my visit to Salamanca recently to speak at the FUNDACIÓN GERMÁN SÁNCHEZ RUIPÉREZ as part of a conference for Spanish teachers and librarians.
It was a pleasure to meet Javier Gomez and Luis Gonzalez who invited me over; we talked about the potential for future collaborations around helping teachers and reading promoters to stretch their digital imaginations.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

russia today

An interesting interview from Russia Today with author Joanne Harris, one of the UK team brought to the Moscow Book Fair by the British Council. We've been having a fascinating and enjoyable time here. More to follow.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

all of these things are true and not true

I'm just back from the launch of the anthology and digital sampler produced by Toni and Sasha with the nine writers who were chosen as this year's Arvon Jerwood mentees. I'm delighted by if:book's contribution: take a look HERE

Here's one of the films, poem by the wonderful Maitreyabandhu, visuals by Toni Le Busque.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

books and gadgets

Noga Applebaum has participated in if:book salons and her research on how technology is portrayed in children's books is important and exciting - but the book costs a staggering £80.  I'm wondering if we could host an if:book experience around it. Hmm....

Representations of Technology in Science Fiction for Young People
Noga Applebaum, New York and Abingdon: Routledge, pb. 978 0 4159 8951 0, £80.00,
2010, 214pp.

Extract from a review by Pat Pinsent in the IBBY newsletter:

"It has been a matter for concern for some time that, in literature for young people,
computers and information technology in general appear often to be represented in a
negative way, reflecting adults’ ambivalence towards children’s interaction with the
internet and computer games. In this study, which involves the analysis of a very wide
range of post-1980 novels and short stories, digital fiction, films and computer games in
the context of an impressive list of theoretical works, Noga Applebaum finds evidence
to support this assertion, and confronts readers with the need for changing attitudes
towards technology...

'Applebaum voices her concern about the extent to which literature for young readers
displays a degree of technophobia, making more vivid the fears that adults hold of
technologies, which they see as dangerous rather than beneficial. Her meticulous and
thorough study has the well-justified closing words: ‘The gatekeepers of children’s
literature – parents, educators, authors and publishers – must come to terms with this
savvy audience by offering a wider range of literary perspectives on technology or
potentially face a further decline in the relationship between young people and the
printed book."

Monday, 7 June 2010

On Writers and Livings

Until recently there has been a miserable ecology for most writers in which they earn a pittance from their writing and also feel they're failing to make the grade, little realising how few of their peers do any better financially. Creative writers get by on running workshops, writing reviews, giving readings, and/or have day jobs, in academe or what's known as the Real World.

There's a new model emerging in which all have the right to write and put their words in public for free via blogs etc. Ripples of interest form around some, others remain essentially private documents.

The Amplified Author learns how to find the support and skills they need to improve their writing, to spread the word about it, to print some of it if they wish, to curate the ensuing relationship and, yes, to make some money from their writing and/or from the public profile it brings them. Instead of giving publishers the power to decide who is or isn't a 'real writer', there's a growing conversation between readers and writers with publishers and other respected sources helping to build reputations but not owning them. Writers have so much more control over their own destiny now, little to lose and much to gain. Having said that, many are also fixated on whatever goal (seldom involving much money) signifies success in their genre.

We need a Writers Liberation Front to help them cast off the shackles of the past and realise how the world's changed now we all got wifi access to the means of production.

Thanks to Pete Law for spotting this hymn to mums and gardening which has nothing whatsoever to do with books or futures or nuffink.