Monday, August 28, 2006

First Annual Brooklyn Book Festival to Celebrate Local Talent
Brooklyn's Borough Hall and Plaza will host the first annual Brooklyn Book Festival, a day-long celebration of the city's writers taking place on Saturday, September 16.
The festival will "celebrate Brooklyn's thriving and diverse literary community and its rich history as a home and inspiration for authors. From Williamsburg to Bedford-Stuyvesant, Park Slope and Brighton Beach, Brooklyn is home to many authors, literary magazines and publishers," said Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn's Borough President and a sponsor of the event.
Multiple stages will present entertainment for adults and children, spoken word performances including the Secrets of the Street Lit Match, a spoken word competition for teens that will include poetry, rap and prose. Panel discussions, author signings, publishers and literary organizations will also be showcased, and of course, books will be available.
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Trouble in Surbubia is Key to Coben's Success
Harlan Coben, writer of such heart-pounding thrillers such as Tell No One, has made a career of exploring the secrets and disasters that can destroy or up end the American Dream. In an interview with Atlantic, Coben discusses his metier in books like his latest, Promise Me: "This is where you're supposed to be in life. You're supposed to have 2.4 kids and a house in the 'burbs and the barbecue in the yard and a two-car garage. Now your life is perfect. You build a fence so everything is protected - and, of course, you're not."
The Jersey born and bred author usually uses the Jersey suburbs as a jumping off point in his books, but thereafter the action can go anywhere. In his latest, he resurrects his detective Myron Bolitar, whom he had retired five books ago, and is anticipating the completion of the first film based on one of his books, currently being shot in France.

The New Revolution in Chinese Literature
The Age of Australia examines the new crop of internationally acclaimed Chinese authors, none of whom is writing in Chinese or live in China. Despite a 5,000-year literary tradition, the most powerful voices in contemporary Chinese literature (according to this piece) are writing in English, including Ha Jin, Li Yiyun and Fan Wu.
The frenetic new capitalism in China has made self-help and get-rich-quick books national bestsellers, while writers of fiction struggle to get noticed.

Musings of a Booker Nominee
The Wood and Vale interviews the Scottish writer Andrew O'Hagen, whose third novel, Be Near Me, has made the long list for Britain's Man Booker Prize.
O'Hagen, a native of Glasgow who lives in London, discusses the controversy surrounding the novel -- about an insufferably snobbish pedophile priest whose victim is equally unlikeable. O'Hagen also comments on the impact of his work on his home turf and the writers who inspired him.

Another Independent Bites the Dust
The Des Moines Register reports on the demise of Big Table Books in Ames, Iowa, a beloved independent bookseller that was community-owned (shareholders included local author Jane Smiley). The store is a casualty of the big chains in the area including Waldenbooks and Borders. Customers at the clearance sale were in tears.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Fairytale Success Follows a Harsh Life

You will hear much about Baby Halder in the coming months, but not from her. During the day, Halder works as a maid in New Delhi, catering to the needs of the upper class. After a grueling day, she tends to her three children and after they're asleep, she sits down to write. Her first book, A Life Less Oridinary, is a sensation across India and has just been translated into English.
The unassuming Ms. Halder, profiled in today's New York Times, was encouraged to write by one of her bosses, a retired anthropology professer who caught her browsing his library when she should have been dusting it.
When the professor, Prabodh Kumar, read some of what she had written, a gut-wrenching, horrifying tale of poverty, abuse, misogyny and servitude, he encouraged her to write more and started editing. Abandoned by her mother, beaten and neglected by her father, Halder was sold into marriage at the age of 12 and had her first child at 13. To escape the cycle of poverty and abuse (her husband almost strangled her), Halder took her children and ran away to Delhi, where she found work, and a better future for her kids.
A Life Less Ordinary has opened a dialogue in India about subjects that are usually taboo, poverty and the treatment of women, especially the lack of support for women who flee abusive marriages.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

HarperCollins in Production Deal with Fox TV
In the first deal of its kind, HarperCollins publishers has agreed to provide current and back listed books to Fox for TV programming, reports the Book Standard. The agreement covers mystery and romance titles initially, but could expand to other genres.
Fox, which produces the series Bones, based on the forensic detective series by Kathy Reichs, has a dearth of successful fiction programming of late.
The first novels to be adapted into a series will be Lisa Scottoline's legal thrillers set in Philadelphia.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Watercooler Booksignings Have Booksellers Protesting
In an effort to reach book buyers who wouldn't attend a 7 p.m. reading at their local bookstore, and those who rarely go to bookstores at all, publishers have come up with a new marketing strategy: The Corporate Book signing. Authors are being booked to read and sign their new books in corporate conference rooms, lounges and auditoriums across the country. Starbucks headquarters, Google in New York and many other companies bring in authors who read, and their books.
Sounds great all-around except for one thing: bookstores don't like the competition.
Books That Triggered Writers' Wanderlust - New York Times
A great idea -- well-known writers share the books that made them want to visit far-flung or completely invented destinations.