Sunday, 30 October 2011

occupation library

I took a walk around St Paul's yesterday and browsed in the pop up library there. The UnlibraryCafe sends solidarity!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

social bob

Bob Stein on Social Book at TOC Frankfurt

Thursday, 20 October 2011

poetry workshop saturday 2.00 (mis)guided tours

We're holding a poetry workshop with the Young Poets Network online and at the Unlibrary Cafe THIS Saturday at 2.00 with poet Richard Tyrone Jones on writing (mis)Guided Tours like the one Richard does in Crouch End
Any young writers who would like to join in, please email chris@futureofthebook dot org dot uk for instructions on logging in. 
You need to be online with a laptop and webcam - and/or to be in the Cafe at Hornsey Library.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011


On holiday in Suffolk I bought for £20 an Olympia Splendid 66 
portable typewriter and overwhelmed with memories from the days of carbon paper and tippex and more besides, wrote this on it.
We've started a song making workshop run by Carl Hodson at the Unlibrary Cafe on Wednesday lunchtimes and this was homework.

And did those feet that I once kissed 
In lazy Sunday bath and bed 
And danced beside in student haunts 
And marched behind where protest led 
Did they now, though worn and sorely 
Marked with maps of calloused lands 
One autumn afternoon and beach walk 
Press fresh impressions in the sand: 
Subtle footprints, moist as when 
You barefoot, light and lithe, 
A force of heat and liberation 
First kicked love into my eyes? 

Thursday, 6 October 2011

national poetry day at the unlibrary cafe

Here's what we did on National Poetry Day - Fang donated a ukulele to us, Annalouise Oakland drew him, Brian Docherty and members of Hornsey Library writers' groups wrote poems for our fridge and Robin made crumpets. Reasons to be cheerful. 

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

the magic of reality - review

The Magic of Reality iPad App

iPad app   

Features: Unique visual navigation and intuitive gesture controls...

Production credits: Transworld Publishers by Somethin' Else

Launch date: 23 September 2011

Reviewed for the Literary Platform 

The Magic of Reality by atheist almighty Richard Dawkins is an excellent concept beautifully executed: to present genuine scientific fact alongside the myths and legends which humans have created to help them explain the inexplicable before science found out more. So while it celebrates the narrative power of these ancient tales, Dawkins emphasizes that what actually happens is always more exciting and… well, true.

App and book mix illustrations by Dave McKean based on stories from many cultures with infographics explaining how rainbows work, what earthquakes are and even why bad things happen and where we came from. Personally I’d have like more images direct from the cultures he discusses, rather than re-rendered by McKean, but he covers an amazing range of styles and animated touches. Between each chapter is a little game to play, for instance involving firing a cannon out of the earth’s atmosphere. The game element seemed a bit daft to me, but the app version is very slick, with nice typographical tricks. As you swipe from page to page, sometimes the text moves and pictures remain, sometimes it’s the other way round. Animated touches are elegant and the app format is especially good at showing scale – push the slider and watch the earth shrink away into pinprick insignificance alongside the sun.
The Magic of Reality is aimed at older children and the general reader. As a book it’s the kind of tome I might have been bought for Christmas by a scientific uncle, would flick through sometimes and read odd bits of, but would seldom read from start to finish. That’s partly because of my shallowness, but also in part because of the difficulty of heaving a hefty hardback about or propping it up in bed. The iPad allows us to handle highly illuminated text as easily as a light novella. But once downloaded, time will tell how tempting it is to revisit Uncle Richard’s box of appified tricks for further exploration. With no connection to the web, no space for note taking or social reading, this is the book transferred to tablet, not transformed by it. There’s still something strangely old fashioned about these lavish, coffee table apps, Boys Own annuals for the digital age, as sleek and as enclosed as ponies in paddocks.

Monday, 3 October 2011

 The Future of the Book Place
 Upstairs @ Hornsey Library
 THURSDAY OCT 6TH 11-00 till whenever

the sound of one hand snipping

Another beautiful piece of paper art recommended by Alain Pierrot, co-Director of if:lire, our french partners in bookfuturism. It's by Sachiko Abe and there's more about it here:

Sunday, 2 October 2011

rewriting the future - digital publishing day

EMMTEC, University of Lincoln, Brayford Pool, Lincoln, LN6 7TS

Date: Wednesday 26th October 2011

Time: 10:00am – 4:30pm

A powerful and provocative day of discovery, insight and debate looking at the future of writing and publishing and arming you with the pervasive opportunities and challenges that ‘digital’ provides in this ever-changing world.

Hosted in partnership with Writing East Midlands, the University of Lincoln and Threshold Studios, Rewriting the Future won’t ‘rewrite’ the book, but will broaden your horizons and challenge your perceptions of what it means to be a writer or a creative in the digital age.

On the day:
learn about business models for the future and gain practical insight into how to diversify your creative talents
discover more on how to make the web your friend
understand what it means to exist as a writer in a  trans-media and trans-literal world
examine the impact of digital on the publishing and selling arenas
… and much more.

We have a packed line-up for the day including leading speakers ranging from Chris Meade, Director of if:book uk, to Sophie Rochester, founder of The Literary Platform to Sue Thomas, Professor of New Media at De Montfort University, Leicester.

Places are strictly limited and demand for this event is high.

To register, please email with the subject "Rewriting" to

A link will be sent imminently to take your booking in due course.

Fees: Full Rate - £40; Concessions - £25

This event is taking place during the Frequency festival, the inaugural digital culture festival. This day is not only a platform for fostering insight and discovery, but 2011 is the beginning of what we hope will be a biennial event for the county with an international presence.
We would also like to draw your attention to our EXPO on Friday 28th October, a day of talks and seminars including futureproofing and upskilling (full £30/concession £20).
For further information on the many exciting events taking please during Frequency, please visit our website:

The line up.

We are delighted to bring to this event an exciting line-up of world-class speakers and specialists from the literary, digital and cultural worlds, including:

Chris Meade is Director of if:book uk, the think and do tank linked to the Institute for the Future of the Book in New York, if:book Australia and if:lire in Paris.
if:book makes digital reading experiences; undertakes research in schools; gives training courses and talks on digital publishing and the amplified author; runs the Unlibrary Cafe at Hornsey Library, an experiment in the future of the book place. Chris has an MA in Creative Writing & New Media and blogs at He was previously director of the Poetry Society and Booktrust.

Sue Thomas, Professor of New Media at De Montfort University, Leicester
Sue is the author of several books, most recently the internet travelogue ‘Hello World: travels in virtuality’, and is currently writing a study of nature metaphors in cyberspace. She founded the trAce Online Writing Centre, an early online community for writers which ran from 1995-2005, and now co-directs the Transliteracy Research Group. She will offer insights into the ways new media has helped to change the way we think about writing and publishing.  @suethomas

Sophie Rochester, Founder of The Literary Platform
Sophie worked for five years at 4th Estate and Jonathan Cape (Random House) before moving to the digital agency GT London in 2000. In 2002, she joined Colman Getty working for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction and the Guardian Hay Festival. Since 2007 she has worked as an independent literary consultant and in 2010 founded The Literary Platform, a website dedicated to exploring new platforms for literature.