Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lit news: Big authors charge hefty fees for preface/blurbs.

                                                        IS IT RIGHT?

It seems to be turning into a tidy side-business for award-winning and internationally known authors—some of them charge as much as Rs 8-10 lakh to write a two-page preface for a new book. Back-flap recommendations cost less but many of these are written by publicists, the credited author is just shown the final text.
via Outlook magazine

Saturday, July 28, 2012

James Meek interview

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Booker longlist 2012: Triumph of the New!

The 2012 longlist, just announced, has interesting features: it includes four debut novels, three small independent publishers and one previous winner(Hilary Mantel). 
Of the twelve writers, nine are British, one Indian, one South African and one Malayasian. The eldest on the list Michael Frayn is 78, and the youngest Ned Beaumen is 27. 
Curiously, the longlist has snubbed the old guard with Zadie Smith, Ian McWan and Martin Amis failing to make the cut.
According to Peter Stathard, Chair of judges, "goodness, madness and bewildering urban change are among the themes of this year's longlist."

Monday, July 23, 2012

Martin Amis interview

Vulture publishes a pretty long interview with Martin Amis, in whom I've grown  a little interest recently (Truth to tell, I've not yet read any of his novels yet). Despite my occasional boredom,  I read through the whole interview. I must admit Amis is well-read, intelligent and great to listen to. But in the end I could not discern if he is a real writer, and if I should add him on my reading list.

I’m not interested in making a diagnostic novel or a concern. I’m 100 percent committed in fiction to the pleasure principle—that’s what fiction is, and should be.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Literary classics as cash cow!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

How Sartre and Camus viewed the United States

The  Opinionator has an interesting article on Sartre and Camus : their life and experiences in NewYork.
In December 1944, Albert Camus, then editor of Combat, the main newspaper of the French Resistance, made Jean-Paul Sartre an offer he couldn’t refuse: the job of American correspondent. Perhaps, in light of the perpetual tension and subsequent acrimonious split between the two men, he was glad to get him out of Paris. What is certain is that Sartre was delighted to go. He’d had enough of the austerities and hypocrisies of post-liberation France and had long fantasized about the United States. Camus himself would make the trip soon after, only to return with a characteristically different set of political, philosophical and personal impressions.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Toni Morrison interview

" Do you really think that your life is bigger, deeper, more profound because your life is on television? And they do. I really want some meaning. It used to be easy to toss it off. Now it’s harder and harder. You have to navigate just to find something that has nourishment. It’s the absence of nourishment. What do you do in place of nourishment? It’s usually junk. Either it’s junk food or junk clothes or junk ideas.” 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Amitava Kumar on Indian writing in English

"Every week I receive notice of new titles brought out in English by Indian publishers — some with titles so trivial that it’d be embarrassing to repeat them here — and the question that arises is about the ambition of such art. Where’s the desire to touch on life’s sufferings and its meanest pleasures?
If I had money to bet, I’d put it on our vernacular literatures. On reading Morrison, I am reminded of Ismat Chughtai, whose portrayal of tragedy is marked by tender intimacy with life’s small consolations. Those familiar with other literatures — particularly from the South — would name many more contemporary voices. How different they must sound from our Chetan Bhagat wannabes — and, in fact, from Chetan Bhagat himself!"

Friday, July 13, 2012

Shalom Auslander interview

      Q: How did you become a writer?
    A: A lot of really bad shit happened to me when I was younger, and I can’t rap. Also, I don’t likepeople very much, and there aren’t many jobs whose description includesspending long hours alone in a dark room with the blinds drawn.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Alex Miller interview

“One of the pleasures of writing fiction is that if you get the setting right, and if you get the story right – the situation blowing up like a beautiful big storm cloud – characters arrive fully formed.  And you think, Yes, I’ll have that one, and that one; thanks, mate. It’s a wonder. And a great delight to see them. They come in out of the mists of nothing, with gestures already developed.”

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Now, an English literary Journal from Bangladesh: Bengal Lights!

  "We plan in the future to expand on this initial groundwork and be a forum that can act at least as a region-wide network for writers. We are planning to have seminars and symposiums in the future, to set up a translation center – from Bengali to English – and a press with a limited imprint for outstanding works. We want everybody with us. Come publish, be with us, we Bangladeshis are also eager to sail on the big creative boat of literature."

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Lit News: Garcia Marquez "suffering from dementia".

"He has problems with his memory. Sometimes I cry because I feel like I'm losing him,"

I had just dropped out of the faculty of law after six semesters devoted almost entirely to reading whatever I could get my hands on, and reciting from memory the unrepeatable poetry of Spanish Golden Age. I already had read, in translation, and in borrowed editions, all the books I needed to learn the novelist's craft, and had published six stories in newspaper supplements, winning the enthusiasm of my friends and the attention of a few critics. The following month I would turn twenty three, I had passed the age of military service and was a veteran of two bouts of gonorrhea and everyday I smoked, with no foreboding, sixty cigarettes made from the most barbaric tobacco. I divided my leisure between Baranquilla and Cartagena de Indias, on Colombia's coast, living like a king on what I was paid for my daily commentaries in the newspaper El Heraldo, which amounted to almost less than nothing, and sleeping in the best company possible wherever I happened to be at night. As if the uncertainty of my aspirations and the chaos of my life were not enough, a group of inseparable friends and I were preparing to publish without funds a bold magazine that Alfanso Fuenmayor had been planning for the past three years. What more could anyone desire?
--From Garcia Marquez's memoir Living to Tell the Tale.

Bizarre, the success of Fifty Shades of Grey!

"It is a terrible turning back of the clock for a book like this to have such enormous success. It is as if women are now trying to apologise for the success they have had in a man's world. It is a sort of response to the modern age, but a very primitive response."
-- Estela Welldon, forensic psychotherapist 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Shimmer Chinodya interview

“I perpetually seek a harmonious fusion of theme and style. I’d hate to write a single boring paragraph. I believe a good book should exalt the heart and mind of the reader and not punish him/her and that lazy, boring writers should be dragged out to the market place and flogged in public!’’   

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