Thursday, 19 May 2011

happy birthday mr d

novel experiments

I like this analogue Kindle/iBook shelf but I've lost the link to the article about it so can't tell you who it's by. Sorry!

I did go to the culminating event of A Novel Experiment by Tom Abba, a piece of immersive digital fiction which began with a large tube being posted anonymously to a list of readers a few months ago.
The tube contained a rather beautiful print and a link to a website. Those who received them were fascinated and eager for more, those who didn't clamoured to be included. Then we received a memory stick with lots of writing on.

And that's when I and others realised we were not prepared to put lots of time into reading an anonymous text that seemed fragmented and liable not to make much sense. There were links to lovely imagery and movies, intriguing snippets of story, but nothing to tempt me to plunge in.

The trouble is that if an experience begins with a huge print through the post, I feel it should end with a mysterious stranger knocking at my door. A reception at the Wellcome trust was very pleasant but somehow a bit of a let down after all those raised expectations!

I've always wanted to make reading experiences that include real objects as well as online text, so this was a valuable experiment revealing what did and didn't work. Full marks to Tom for making it happen.

Read more from Tom HERE

Sunday, 15 May 2011

with common people like you

Thanks to Joel Stewart for finding this nice music which you can listen to as you read how enjoyable the past week has been, exploring the issues around power and corruption in the company of the Roundhouse Group and Free Word friends and colleagues, artist in residence Ruth Franklin, an array of hugely experienced and fascinating speakers and participants. Roundhouse group members will be blogging about the whole experience at over the next few days.
Thanks to all involved in HOW POWER CORRUPTS. 

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

occupying free word (gently)


Here's a clip of Ricardo Blaug and Lord Owen in action at our launch event last night, which was full and fascinating. 

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

spitting images

I hope our guest speaker tonight won't mind if I put up this reminder of alliances of yore.

now #powercorrupts

Here's a longer piece of Ricardo Blaug on How Power Corrupts. Hear him tonight with Lord David Owen of Labour, SPD, LibDem, Bosnia, No Vote fame, author of a book on Hubris which he'll be signing tonight. And we'll be selling copies of Ricardo's book - and a new pamplet written specially for the event.

See you later I hope. Book a place at (or turn up on the door and mention Bookfutures for free admission).  Places are limited at the Drama Workshop on Wednesday though, so you must book for that.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

book xylophone

I love books and drums - so love this use for the paperback, found by Bob (Stein).

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

ifsoflo friday

Dear Literature Sector friends and colleagues,

The final day of HOW POWER CORRUPTS, our curated book event at the Free Word Centre is IFSOFLO FRIDAY, 13th May (lucky for some!), a chance for literature organisations, writers, publishers and others to meet and talk about the changing landscape of arts funding, digital platforms and the new political goalposts in austerity Britain. 

I'll be at the Free Word all day and we're holding 2 sessions, one at 11.30 on the politics of localism, one at 2.30 on academic publishing, but unconference rules will apply and you are welcome to discuss other issues too. We've got some special guests who have already agreed to come along, and members of the Roundhouse Group will be there to help give our thinking a critical and radical edge.

Writer Kate Pullinger, publishers Timo Hannay, Frances Pinter, my fellow Unlibrarian and social media coach Anke Holst are amongst those who have already agreed to attend as well as Dr Ricardo Blaug and members of the Roundhouse Journal group.  

Please do come along and, if you've already decided to, please pass on this message to others you'd like to meet there.

You'll be able to buy books from our 18th booksellet Robin of the including Ricardo Blaug's How Power Corrupts at half price (a mere £25 then!) and we'll be making Unlibrary profiles too. (See for more on what they are) .
Following the event we're revamping the website, thanks to funding from Arts Council England, and aiming to provide more active support to literature organisations and professionals exploring digital possibilities in these challenging times. 

As the commercial sector rushes headlong into flogging its newly digitised wares, those whose first allegiance is to the readers and writers of imaginative literature need to think together about a bigger vision of the future of the book. 

Please let me know if you'd like to come along, or be involved via an online debate, or would be interested in a portable if:book salon nearer to you over the coming months. You can book (free) tickets at and join the debate at

All the best