It’s almost November, this is disgusting, I know. But November also means that NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is here again, encouraging aspiring story-tellers to get those words down onto the page. You can sign up to the programme here and join a vast network of writers who are eager to share their stories. All you need to do is write 50,000 words in one month, that’s about 1,600 words a day. Easy. If you have a story that’s just itching to be blurted out and onto a computer screen then sign up and maybe you will be a NaNoWriMo winner.
NaNoWriMo veteran Elizabeth Njogu has written a blog post for the big launch saying: ‘I never really thought I could write a “real” story. For years I started and never finished… Tidbits littered the file where I horded them like treasures. Then, one year in October, a friend introduced me to NaNoWriMo. Too late to do anything about it, I vowed to try it the next year. Eleven years on, I am a NaNo veteran with wins all around and some manuscripts I actually love among the numbers.’
You can get inspiration from people just like Elizabeth, as the website provides pep talks and words of encouragement from well-known authors. You can also follow the blog and join forums to gain support when you just can’t eek out those final few words. You’ll even get badges as you progress, plus this sexy typewriter in the image above*. It might just make November wonderful.
*This is a lie, sorry.
JK Rowling Defends Decision not to Support Boycott of Israel
JK Rowling has defended her decision not to support the cultural boycott of Israel. She has explained that while she finds the actions of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ‘deplorable’ she does not believe a cultural boycott is the answer. ‘Cultural boycotts singling out Israel are divisive and discriminatory, and will not further peace… cultural engagement builds bridges, nurtures freedom and positive movement for change’.
Rowling was one of 150 signatories of a letter in response to a statement signed by 700 artists last February calling for such a boycott. ‘The sharing of art and literature across borders constitutes an immense power for good in this world’. No matter what your stance on this fractious topic may be, she makes an excellent point.
Annotated Map by J.R.R Tolkien
An annotated map of Middle Earth, scribed by J.R.R Tolkien has been discovered. The document was found in an old copy of The Lord of The Rings that had been handed into Blackwell’s Rare Books in Oxford. The copy belonged to Pauline Baynes, an illustrator who worked on a colour map of middle earth with Tolkien in 1970.
Annotated with painstaking detail, the map displays Tolkien’s obsession with precision. ‘The map shows how completely obsessed he was with the details. Anyone else interfered at their peril,’ remarked Sian Wainwright at Blackwell’s. Blackwell’s has referred to the map as ‘The finest piece of Tolkien ephemera in 20 years’.
They’re not wrong there, the map has gone on sale for £60,000. Blackwell’s is also selling a range of works by Baynes, who died in 2008, aged 85, including a range of her original signed drawings from the Narnia books.
Citywide Reading Campaign for Children
The Book of Learning by E.R Murray has been chosen for the 2016 Citywide Reading for Children Campaign. The aim of this initiative is to encourage children to read for pleasure. The author will visit public libraries and there will also be numerous city centre events to promote the campaign. ‘I’m delighted The Book of Learning has been chosen for this year’s Citywide Read campaign, especially since Dublin is so central to the story’. The Book of Learning is a story of mystery, featuring well known Dublin landmarks such as the National Library, Glasnevin Cemetery and the Botanic Gardens. The campaign will launch in early January, and details of events will be announced before Christmas. We’ll keep an eye on things and make sure the Lit Review has news of all these great events.
A new book show for children has launched on RTEJr Radio. The Word is hosted by doctoral student Rebecca Long who has said ‘Children deserve good stories. In fact, children deserve the best stories, and that’s what the show is all about – finding the best books in the world for the readers who are dying to read them’. The series will play every Tuesday evening at 7pm.
Read to your Babies
Everyone needs to read to their babies according to Sara Keating, who established the Baby Book Club in Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown in 2014, encouraging young families to join and use their local libraries. This autumn, libraries in the catchment area will facilitate Baby Book Clubs on a wider scale, in an effort to promote the initiative amongst even more families.
Granted it can be a struggle, I have had many a fraught evening babysitting youngsters where the child has a tantrum because s/he cannot swipe the picture book, or you get kids with a classic case of the drools, threatening to destroy beautifully illustrated pages. All of this aside, I promise you, it’s worth it. These challenges do not diminish the importance of a delightful bedtime story.
Here are some top tips from Sara, and book recommendations for all you parents out there.