Showing all posts tagged: books
26 August 2023
It seems like only last week the winner of the 2023 Stella Prize — Sarah Holland-Batt with her poetry collection The Jaquar — was announced, when in fact that happened four months ago.
The year is marching on.
Entries are now open for the 2024 prize, but only for about the next month and a half. There are a few cut-off dates for submissions, but Friday 13 October 2023 is the final day an entry can be made.
26 August 2023
We all know the drill. We send — unsolicited — the novel manuscript we’ve spent years toiling over, to a couple of publishing houses who accept them. From there they go into a kind of purgatory called a slush pile. How long manuscripts might spend in this limbo is unknown, but probably just about all of them end up going through the shredder eventually.
Nevertheless, we hold onto hope — hope above all else — of a different fate.
Because not all slush pile works go to pulp. Some Australian authors, including Abby Corson, Shannon Meyerkort, Natasha Sholl, and Mark Smith, have been plucked from the agglomeration and found their way onto a bookshop shelf. Perhaps then what happens in the movies is true. Book publishers have staff who sift through the slush pile, looking for that elusive diamond in the rough.
Take note then. Good writing separates the wheat from the chaff. Manuscripts with eye-catching premises, and engaging opening chapters, might reach the next rung of the ladder.
24 August 2023
The 2023 Readings Young Adult Prize shortlist was announced earlier today. Six titles are in contention for this year’s award:
- Dancing Barefoot, by Alice Boyle
- If You Could See the Sun, by Ann Liang
- Completely Normal (and Other Lies), by Biffy James
- Spice Road, by Maiya Ibrahim
- The Upwelling, by Lystra Rose
- Where You Left Us, by Rhiannon Wilde
Presented annually since 2014 by Readings, an independent Melbourne based bookseller, the Readings Young Adult Prize is awarded to the best contribution to Australian youth literature, by emerging Australian writers. The winner will named at a ceremony in late October this year.
22 August 2023
Sydney based Australian writer and artist Leslie K. Lau recently self-published a book, Pulling Weeds, Folding Laundry. These are tasks many people probably don’t care to think much about, let alone carry out, but Lau saw them in a new light — as moments between moments — while undergoing treatment for cancer:
Ultimately, it is a story of how a cancer diagnosis revealed the reality of life, how volatility and uncertainty was in fact the norm and not the exception.
It is the retelling of a journey of finding peace, contentment, and joy in the moments between moments.
It is a tale of navigating hard times, perceived or otherwise, and coming out the other end.
What a wonderful way to say slow down and appreciate those seemingly insignificant moments in life, since they are still very much a part of it.
Via Justin Fox.
21 August 2023
Entries for the 2024 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards (VPLA) are open until Sunday 10 September 2023. The VPLA is one of Australia’s most valuable literary awards, and the shortlists — which will likely be announced sometime in December — are always filled packed with quality titles.
14 August 2023
Book cover of Critic Swallows Book, published by the Sydney Review of Books.
Australian literary criticism journal, the Sydney Review of Books (SRB), has been online for ten years. To mark the occasion, SRB has published a book, Critic Swallows Book, containing twenty-two essays, written by contributors over the past decade:
It includes essays on decolonising Australian literature and revisiting the classics, on blockbuster fiction and book-length poems, on modernism in the Antipodes and reading during the pandemic. Essays on Susan Sontag and Rita Felski sit alongside critical considerations of the work of Murray Bail and Joan London, of new books by Evelyn Araluen and Samia Khatun.
Hmm… Critic Swallows Book, if you think the title is riffing on Boy Swallows Universe, the 2018 novel by Australian author Trent Dalton, I think you’d be right. Catriona Menzies-Pike, editor of Critic Swallows Book, wrote a scathing critique of Boy Swallows Universe for SRB in May 2022.
14 August 2023
Book cover of The Tetris Effect, written by Dan Ackerman.
Dan Ackerman, editor-in-chief of design and technology publication Gizmodo, claims in a recent court filing that Apple TV+, producers of the 2023 film Tetris, directed by Jon S. Baird, copied the storyline from his 2016 book, The Tetris Effect. Ackerman further alleges he sent a pre-publication edition of the book to Maya Rogers, CEO of the Tetris Company, and soon after received a cease and letter warning him not to adapt the story for film or television:
Ackerman accused Rogers of working with screenwriter Noah Pink to develop a screenplay using content taken from his book without his knowledge or consent. Apparently, numerous producers showed interest in adapting his book, but the Tetris Company refused to license its IP for the project. “This was done at the direction and behest of Ms. Rogers so that she and the Tetris Company could pursue their own project and opportunities based on Mr. Ackerman’s book without compensating him,” the lawsuit reads.
I wrote about the film last March, but still haven’t had a chance to see it. According to the film’s IMDb page, the screenplay was written by Noah Pink. No mention, at least that I can see, is made of Ackerman, nor The Tetris Effect, there.
10 August 2023
Australian authors Jess Scully, Kate Larsen, and Nardi Simpson, are among speakers at VOLUME, a one day symposium, taking place online, on Thursday 21 September 2023. Amidst concerns Australians do not read enough, VOLUME will explore strategies to encourage more people to read.
Despite its ability to enhance health, knowledge, and wellbeing, support for embedding reading in our daily lives is often overlooked. With national literacy and reading rates declining for children and adults alike, it’s time for urgent action. By exploring effective approaches to encouraging reading alongside insights into advocacy from other industries, VOLUME will provide a platform to untangle the issues affecting reading engagement.
Turn off the TV an hour earlier, put down the games console, and leave your phone in the other room (unless you use it to read e-books), a few of my suggestions to make for more reading time.
8 August 2023
The book publisher is said to have been bought for US$1.62 billion, reports The Guardian. This in the wake of the failed 2020 takeover attempt by Penguin Random House, which was blocked in late 2022, by a US court.
Late in 2020, Paramount had announced the sale of Simon & Schuster to Penguin Random House for $2.2bn, a deal that would have made the new company by far the biggest in the US. But the Department of Justice, which under the Biden administration has taken a tougher stance on mergers compared to other recent presidencies, sued to block the sale in 2021.
I don’t know a whole lot about the book publishing business, but US$1.62 billion seems like quite a bargain to me.
8 August 2023
The new book is based upon a 2018 partnership Hawking’s family had with the European Space Agency, along with the Greek composer Vangelis (“Blade Runner”, “Chariots of Fire”, “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage”.) The message used words adapted from Hawking’s book for adults, “Brief Answers to the Big Questions” (Bantam, 2018), set to music by Vangelis.
The book is co-written by Hawking’s daughter, Lucy, and illustrated by Li Xin. You and the Universe asks readers to imagine themselves as time travellers heading towards the future, and to work together to ensure the future will be a place free of the ravages of climate change.