The Lit Review |33|Independent Bookshop Week
Very Independent Books
Independent Bookshop Week is running all this week as part of the Books Are My Bag campaign, a nationwide initiative in the UK and Ireland to celebrate, well, independent bookshops, if the name hasn’t given it away already. The campaign derives from Indiebound, which began in the US in 2008. The IBW website recommends some great books here and guides you to all your local bookshops and events here. The highlight of the week is happening this Saturday 27th where book lovers are invited to take part in the #bookshopcrawl. All you need to do is visit your nearest independent bookshop and #giveabook away, to whoever you please, but choose carefully, and be sure to pay for it first!
Winner of Miles Franklin Award
Sofie Laguna has become the fourth woman to win The Miles Franklin Award, Australia’s most prestigious fiction prize, for her book The Eye of the Sheep. Laguna’s book makes a pleasant departure from the usual suspects, which tend to be set in rugged rural landscapes, and written by men. This is despite the fact that the award is dedicated to and named after one of Australia’s greatest loved female authors, Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin, who altered her name in order to gain literary respect amongst peers. The Eye of the Sheep is a story about family, social disadvantage and love. Nice to see a change of (rugged, rural) scenery.
Man Asian Literary Prize Winner Apologises for Denial of Plagerism
Shin Kyung-sook, who was awarded the Man Asian Literary Prize four years ago for her book Please Look After Mother, has apologised publicly for denying accusations of plagiarism in 1996. This follows a revelation by novelist Lee Eung-jun, who cited lines from Shin’s short story Legend which are identical to lines from Patriotism, the book by Japanese author Yukio Mishima. Shin addressed these accusations saying: ‘I sincerely apologise to the literary writer who raised the issue as well as all my acquaintances, and above all, many readers who read my novels … Everything is my fault.’ Shin’s collection of short stories The Strawberry Field, and her novel The Train Departs at 7, were accused of plagiarism back in 2000; she also denied these claims. She told South Korean newspaper Kyunghyang Shinmun, after making the comparison between the sentences cited by Lee, that she ‘thought that it might be right to raise the plagiarism allegation’. God, I’d say she needed a stiff drink after that ordeal.
An Embargo on Sexy Books
Set times now apply for any Germans wishing to download adult-themed e-books. The books will only be available for download between the hours of 22.00 and 06.00 and booksellers face fines of up to €50,000 if they do not abide by these rules. This decision is due to a complaint following the release of the German book, Schlauchgeluste, which, despite the incredibly unsexy choice of title, has been deemed inappropriate and far too easy to obtain. I can’t imagine there is much outrage over these restrictions; the majority of people are hardly downloading raunchy novels in their 9-5 jobs or over brunch with friends. Although you never can tell.
Go Over the Edge
Over the Edge Poetry Competition is now open for submissions and will be judged by poet Dave Lordan. The competition includes both poetry and fiction categories, and winners will be selected in each. An overall winner will then be chosen as the Over The Edge New Writer of The Year 2015. Both winners will be featured at the Over the Edge Open Readings in Galway City Library, and Salmon Poetry will read, without commitment to publish, a manuscript submitted to them by the winner of the poetry submissions. Similarly, Doire Press will read the winning piece of fiction. But hang on, wait for it, the best news for the overall winner is that they will receive an entire hamper of books from Kenny’s Bookshop in Galway. An actual hamper of books. Imagine. The closing date for submissions is 5th of August.
This article by Amanda Craig is gushing with love for children’s books. It explains why books are so important and lists an abundance of honourable, adored children’s writers over the decades, amounting to what is now the Third Golden Age of children’s literature, ‘ripe with an extraordinary amount of talent… an enormous field, and… publishing vastly more books of all kinds’.
Craig encourages young children to read, and explains that although reading involves a bit of sitting down, something children aren’t massively fond of, ‘once you master this, everything changes.’ She uses a quote from The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss which describes the sense of frustration in children being made to sit when all they want to do is play and run around: ‘so all we could do was to sit! sit! sit! sit!/and we did not like it. not one little bit.’
‘People who love reading are often called bookworms – but that’s the wrong way around. It’s not you that worms into a book, it’s books that worm into you.’ The joyous experience of reading a book as a child is wonderfully described: ‘They [books] are the first real visual and literary culture that an unformed person receives, and this is one reason why we tend to remember children’s books as our favourites. But they also give a child a lever with which to prise open the world.’ What a beautiful way to put it. Read the full article here, it may encourage you to ‘sit! sit! sit! sit!
The Stinging Fly in London
The Stinging Fly will launch in London on July 30th, when a London-themed issue of the Dublin-based literary magazine will be published. The Stinging Fly, which has been publishing new writers and new writing since 1998, has brought a different angle to this issue, looking at how different Irish writers have adopted the city of London as their home and how it inspires them to write. The issue will also reveal some new work based on the dynamics of the city. Stories, poems and music are to be showcased on the evening.
Shift Your Mind to Children’s Stories
A great workshop is happening in Cork this weekend to give writers a boost in writing for and about children. Mindshift will help writers to build on their knowledge of how to design their own book events for children, and give insight into how to engage with young readers in as meaningful a way as possible. This event is supported by Words Ireland. If you wish to meet with some of your fellow aspiring Children’s writers after the workshop, you can attend the social event that is happening afterwards. More information on the event is available here.