More madman than hero?
Part of Short Books’ excellent Great Victorians series.
More madman than hero?
More madman than hero?
Part of Short Books’ excellent Great Victorians series.
“As more-is as caramel wafers” Sunday Times
I first began being invited to publisher events and parties when I was reviewing for The Scotsman (teenage fiction), Literary Review (adult biographies and general children’s books) and the TES, so my name label would read variously Michael Thorn TES, Michael Thorn The Scotsman or plain Michael Thorn reviewer. Once the website was established, it gradually became a toss-up as to whether my badge description would name TES or ACHUKA as my credential. Eventually ACHUKA took hold, and it is a long while since I reviewed for TES or anywhere else for that matter.
Last night was the first time I arrived to find my badge had been printed as Michael Thorn, Freelance Journalist. I have been wondering what that means. Certainly the number of people I meet at events who are aware of ACHUKA is diminishing year on year. For that reason it’s quite useful to have ACHUKA on my badge, as it prompts people to ask and allows me to explain.
Anyway, your ‘freelance journalist’ was delighted to be included on the guestlist once again for what is always one of the most pleasant events of the year. Last night’s was especially so and had something of the atmosphere of Puffin Summer Parties of old, in the time of Philippa Milnes-Smith (who can be spotted in the photogallery) when they were held on the Kensington Roof Gardens. Here, just as there, when the gathering crush diminished somewhat with the onset of the twilight hour, small groups of four or five found somewhere to sit together on the perimeter of the garden, or in one of the interior rooms.
As always when I go through the snaps (and very much just ‘snaps’ they are this year, taken with my tiny RX100) I see people I regret not having had the chance to speak with. It was a gloriously warm evening – this summer looks set to equal that of 1976 – so inevitably nearly everyone moved immediately to the outside courtyard, making it very difficult to move around. I was delighted early on to spot Anne Fine and determined to speak with her, but the opportunity didn’t arise. I’m embarrassed to admit my failure to have read a book sent to me especially by another of the guests last year limited me to a friendly acknowledgement but not the usual catch-up chat we generally have.
It was good to meet Kyoko Nemoto, author illustrator of How To Fly Like An Elephant, and to hear about her recent 25-day Camino de Santiago trek (a walk she plans to comnplete next year). Check out the photos on her Instagram @kyoko_nemoto_illustration
It’s always a joy to meet Natalia and Lauren Ohara and I can’t wait to see their second picture book due this autumn.
Just before leaving I spoke with a BBC writer who has been part of the team working with a YouTube star that PRH have high hopes for, so I’ll be watching that space with interest.
According to one agent I spoke with, publishers are not as excited as they have been for YA. They’re now mainly looking for younger fiction but placing it is really difficult as everyone wants something that’s going to have instant appeal, so representing new writers who may need a book or two to build a reputation is really tough.
The event was held at Home House, a Georgian property that once housed the Courtauld Collection (before its move to Somerset House), now a private members’ club.
Here’s a link to the Snaps Gallery https://goo.gl/w4dEt4
latest Guardian roundup from Imogen Russell Williams:
The stand-out title this month is a picture book, Julian Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love (Walker). When Julian sees three women dressed as mermaids, he wants to be one too; but how will his Nana react? In this bravura feat of understated storytelling, the richness of Julian’s day-to-day reality and free-floating imagination is caught in images layered with colour, movement, muscle and life, celebrating black and Latin experience. Julian invents a tail and flowing hair, and Nana’s acceptance, as she accompanies him on a wild parade of mermaids, will leave the reader filled with joy.
[Shaun Tan] believes his books are a “visual and verbal screenplay” and “the real creative director” is the reader.“It’s not my job to animate the story or to invest it with meaning. That all happens in the mind of the reader and I like to allow space for that. People make the books their own.”Tan’s reference to screenplay is no surprise. In 2011 he won an Oscar for the animated adaptation of his 2000 book The Lost Thing, a dystopian story about a Melbourne boy named Shaun and a strange creature, part crab, part octopus, part robot.There are similarities between The Lost Thing and Cicada. There are links, too, with Tan’s award-winning, wordless 2013 book The Arrival.Cicada opens with an illustration of the titular character. His/her gender is not specified but I’m going with he, as he’s wearing a grey suit, white shirt and black tie. His office ID, pinned to his chest, has a barcode and his name: Cicada.
Shan Tan’s Cicada will be published in the UK this November (2018).
via Shaun Tan’s Cicada: only scary if you think it is.
It was while reading to her own children, she says, that the idea of authorship came to her. “I got very interested in children’s books, I still am. I began to think, ‘Perhaps I could do that?’ ”So in 1970 she wrote Astercote, about a deserted village in a wood that guards an ancient secret, the first of some 30 books for children that spanned her career until 2001. Just three years later came her Carnegie Medal, for The Ghost of Thomas Kempe, a fantasy complete with poltergeist and 17th-century spook, which she still describes as her favourite among her own books.
Hip Hop artist and debut poet Karl Nova was announced the winner of CLiPPA 2018 at the Olivier Theatre on the South Bank this afternoon, to a great cheer from the young people in the audience – clearly a highly popular winner.
Rising Stars, a poetry collection including young poets and performers from under-represented communities, was highly commended.
Grace Nichols, Poet and Chair of the CLiPPA 2018 judges praised the winning book: “This book really stood out for me with its refreshing use of the rap genre, its musicality, its immediacy and thoughtful reflections on the creative process. Karl Nova’s poems ring true with a sincere charm that children and young people can relate to and that may inspire their own writing.”
Rhythm and Poetry, Karl’s debut collection, includes poems drawn from his extensive work as a poetry educator and the many workshops he holds in schools. It has a refreshing directness, honesty and authenticity which encourages children to see poetry in the everyday, explores the musicality of the medium and demonstrates the currency and significance of rap as an art form. The book is published by Caboodle, the publishing arm of Authors Abroad, which operates on a 50/50 share of costs and profits with published authors.
This year, with the support of the Siobhan Dowd Trust, CLPE have ensured 350 free copies of the shortlisted poetry books will be sent to teachers nationally to celebrate poetry with children.
Karl Nova received the award and a cheque for £1,000 in front of a packed audience of poets, educators, publishers, hundreds of shadowing school children and media at The National Theatre. The shortlisted poets all performed on stage alongside children from the CLiPPA Shadowing Scheme, whose winning performances were selected from hundreds of competition entries. Everyone who attended received an advance copy of the new anthology from National Poetry Day, Poetry for a Change.
CLiPPA is made possible by the generous support of ALCS, Siobhan Dowd Trust and St Olave’s Fund.
Films of the shortlisted poets performing and teaching resources are available at www.clpe.org.uk/poetryline
The Times reports:
A historical fantasy set on St Kilda and in the Borders has become the first young adult book to win the Times/Chicken House award for children’s fiction.
Its writer, Trudi Tweedie, a former beer researcher and a mother of two from Aberdeen, wins the prize of a worldwide publishing contract and a £10,000 advance. Chicken House aims to publish the book in 2020.
The thriller, set in 15th-century Scotland, involves a teenage girl who is whisked away from her remote island home to be a governess in a grand but strangely sinister house on the mainland.
The annual competition is open to unpublished writers who don’t have an agent. In the nine years since the first winner was announced, the prize has launched the careers of many established and successful children’s authors, such as Sophia Bennett, Kerr Thomson, and Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison. The publishing house endeavours to continue working with all shortlisted writers in some capacity, often leading to publication — in addition to last year’s winning novel, Jasbinder Bilan’s Asha and the Spirit Bird, Chicken House signed two of the shortlisted authors and one who was longlisted.
Freelance illustrator Emma Chadwick has been revealed as the winner of the inaugural Templar Illustration Competition. … The Bookseller reports:
Templar launched the competition in December to mark its 40th anniversary and asked entrants to submit materials on a dragon-related theme. Submissions could be either fiction or non-fiction and aimed at pre-school children up to 12-years-old.
Chadwick won the prize with her entry entitled ‘Douglas in the Land of Faraway’, which is about a dragon called Douglas who longs to visit the magical lands he reads about in his stories.
Chadwick was presented with her £750 prize at [a] party to celebrate Templar’s 40th birthday.
Student Brittany E Lakin came in second place with ‘The Dragon that Swallowed the Moon’ and retail assistant, Ann MacLeod, came in third with ‘Danni and the Dragons’.