Saturday, July 23, 2005

University of Nottingham Unveils DH Lawrence Collection Online
The University of Nottingham has put a wealth of material from its collection of D.H. Lawrence papers online, including letters, photos, manuscripts, newspaper clippings and "secondary sources," reports the Guardian.
Lawrence, author of Lady Chatterley's Lover, and Sons and Lovers, was born in Nottinghamshire and briefly attended the University of Nottingham.
See the D.H. Lawrence Collection Online.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

G √ľnter Grass in Gdansk
The Gdansk-born writer visits his home town and talks to writers he has influenced. Grass is known mainly as the author of
The Tin Drum, a powerful tale about living under the Nazi regime.
In his work, Grass has made the city of Gdansk/Danzig, which was fought over by Germans and Poles for decades, a central theme, reports Deutsche Welle magazine.
"...in the last chapter of my novel "The Flounder," I describe the insurgency in the Polish port cities, especially Gdansk, where the militia shot at the workers. That becomes part of the plot. At that time, I was the only writer who wrote about that. Polish writers couldn't write about it. The censors wouldn't have allowed it. I was a sort of surrogate writer for Polish literature. So, my relationship to Poland has been there for decades. And it is continuing."
Grass was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1999.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Woodward and Bernstein Watergate Papers are Online
The University of Texas at Austin purchased all papers, notes, and material relating to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's reporting of the Watergate story, and UT has launched an online exhibit of some of the material.
You can see the notes Woodward took at the arraignment of the five burglars in the Watergate break-in, notes taken during interviews with key figures in the scandal, and read newsstories from the Washington Post. Also available is the outline for All the President's Men the book which pulled the quagmire of corruption together, and see Woodward's notes to Robert Redford about the screenplay.
Just in case you forgot, the anonymous source that served to guide much of "Woodstein's" reporting, Deep Throat, came out from under 30 years of anonymity last month in Vanity Fair. Woodward's book about his relationship with his anonymous source, Mark Felt, The Secret Man, was released last week.
Turkish Novelist Shafak is World Citizen
Elif Shafak was born in Paris, raised in Spain, Turkey and Germany, and now works in Tuscon (as a professor) and Istanbul (as a writer).
"I don't stop being Turkish when I'm in the USA, and I'm also an American when I'm in Istanbul. I don't want to have to decide. Especially not between East and West. These are completely illusionary concepts. I love things that are multicultural, multilingual. I like to be able to combine things that are remote from each other." she tells the German Magazine Sign and Sight.com.
Shafak's latest work, The Saint of Incipient Insanities is set in the U.S.
A Writer on a Mission of Dissent
Duong Thu Huong, 58, the first Vietnamese writer translated into English, discusses her need to speak out against the current regime with The New York Times. No Man's Land is the latest in a series of novels in which Huong examines the effect of "a brutal and ignoble regime" on the Vietnamese people, manipulated by the government and still living in the shadow of the war.
Huong's book are banned in Vietnam and she has been imprisoned and branded "a dissident whore," but she persists in speaking out against the leadership, especially when she is abroad promoting her books. Acclaimed in Europe and America, Huong was offered asylum by the French government when she first visited there a few years ago. Huong declined, saying she had to return to Vietnam. "I return to do one thing: to spit in the face of the regime."

Saturday, July 09, 2005

How Stella Got Played
You may have heard that Terry McMillan, 53, bestselling author of Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back,is divorcing the young stud she wrote about in that book. Turns out he's gay.
"It was devastating to discover that a relationship I had publicized to the world as life-affirming and built on mutual love was actually based on deceit," she said in court papers. "I was humiliated," states McMillan in court papers.
There is a pre-nup, although the husband, Jonathan Plummer, 30, has asked the court to set it aside and McMillan has been ordered to pay $2000 a month in spousal support.
In a column earlier this week, Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post poses a question many readers have. How do you spend 10 years with a man, six of them married, and not know he is gay?
Robinson speculates part of it is due to the "down-low" phenomenon which has gained increased attention in recent years, in which gay black men marry and have families but secretly have sex with men.
"In 10 years with this guy she didn't have a clue? In the bathroom cabinet, no stock of overly metrosexual hair products? No hint when the business he got her to finance turned out to be a dog-grooming salon? Terry McMillan, such a keen observer of love and war between the sexes, and nothing ever showed up on her "gaydar?" asks Robinson.
Down-low or no, we wish Ms. McMillan the best in this difficult time, and may there be many straight hunky guys in her future.
As for the Down Low, it is not limited to African-American men, as a new study by the Centers for Disease Control discovered (duh).
French Nobel Novelist Dies
Claude Simon, the best known of the nouveau roman (new novel) writers in France, characterized by stream of consciousness prose, interior monologues, and lack of punctuation, died last week in Paris, reports Agence France-Presse. He was 91.
In 1985 Simon was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. "Claude Simon's narrative art may appear as a representation of something that lives within us whether we will or not, whether we understand it or not, whether we believe it or not - something hopeful, in spite of all cruelty and absurdity which for that matter seem to characterize our condition and which is so perceptively, penetratingly and abundantly reproduced in his novels," announced the academy.
Simon's best known novel, and the one he called a turning point in his career, is Le Vent (The Wind).

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Ed McBain/Evan Hunter Deat at 78
As Ed McBain he wrote the 87th Precinct crime novels, and as Evan Hunter he wrote books including The Blackboard Jungle (1954) Last Summer (1968), which were both made into films, and Candyland (2000). The author died yesterday at his Connecticut home of throat cancer, reports the New York Times.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

A Writer Who Won't Quit His Day Job
Rick Mofina, an award-winning crime writer is doing well. His last book sold half a million copies in his native Canada and the U.S. His latest book, The Dying Hour is his sixth book and launches a series. But the bespectacled Mofina, a former reporter, continues to toil away at his day job as a media advisor to federal bureaucrats in Ottowa.
"I'm just a regular guy," he told CJAD online. "I take the bus to work. I work in the basement like a lot of guys in the suburbs. I'm just doing something I like to do."
A New Author's Magical Mystery Tour
Just who is Salvador Plascencia? According to those who have read his debut novel, The People of Paper, the 28 year-old novelist is the heir apparent to Italo Calvino, Jorje Luis Borges and Garcia Marquez all rolled into one. He's also been called "a once in a generation talent," reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
Plascencia, whose novel was rejected by all the big publishers, has written a fantastical, magical and picaresque first novel that despite being called "confusing" by editors who rejected it, shows some serious writing chops. Not bad for a kid who didn't speak English until he was eight years old.
Readers, Lend me Your Ears
More and more people are reading the hottest titles on audiotape or disc, reports the Buffalo News.
In this multi-tasking, overscheduled society, those who don't have the time to sit down for a relaxing read are increasingly turning to audio books. In 2003 audio books were an $800 million dollar business, and it keeps growing, reports the News.
Listening to books while driving, cooking, knitting or performing a slew of other tasks is increasingly popular. The downside of course is when the reader doesn't do justice to the story. Check out these audio bestsellers
Stephen King and John Irving in New Hampshire
Two of the most prolific and successful writers in America, John Irving (The World According to Garp, The Cider House Rules) and Stephen King (The Stand, Carrie) make regular appearances to raise money for causes close to their hearts. The two met at a fundraiser in the 1980's for writer Andre Debus Sr., who had been injured in an accident and had no health insurance. In Manchester, NH this weekend the two writers did readings for a school committed to diversity by providing scholarships to a third of its students.
During an interview following the event, both King and Irving talk about causes close to their hearts -- and King describes the birth of Wavedancer, his foundation which provides health coverage for artists, which he started when his close friend and the orginal reader of his books on tape Frank Muller, had a catastrophic motorcycle accident and had no insurance to cover his care.
"There are all kinds of artists: there are writers, actors, and performance artists who don't have any kind of a safety net or anything, so we founded Wavedancer Foundation to help. Wavedancer is the name of Frank's sailboat," King tells the Manchester Journal.
The two writers also talk about their writing process, losing manuscripts and riff on reviewers.
To donate to the Wavedancer Foundation, click here.
The Wavedancer Benefit CD, a recording of the first benefit for the foundation, was recorded at New York City's Town Hall and features readings by King, Irving, Peter Straub and Frank Conroy. Buy it here.
King's next book, out this fall is a hard-boiled crime novel The Colorado Kid for Hard Case Crime. Irving's Until I Find You comes out next week.