Month: July 2004

  • The Memoirs of Big Watermelon

    Clinton’s memoirs have been sanitised by China’s translators and book pirates. The counterfeit edition of Clinton’s book, My Life, starts with a memorable line: “The town of Hope, where I was born, has very good feng shui.” Another story reports: Out went: “I was concerned about China’s continued suppression of basic freedoms” and “I went […]

  • Honour, Lost and Found

    Several people have claimed that Norma Khouri’s deeply affecting tale of honour killings in Jordan, Forbidden Love or Honour Lost, is a fabrication. Malcolm Knox broke the story. In interviews and at book readings before the allegations were made, Khouri spoke emotionally about her friendship with ‘Dalia’, who was murdered by her family when they […]

  • Why I voted for this man

    “I asked him about the Nile and what the river meant to him in his personal life and as a part of the Egyptian collective unconscious. ‘The Nile,’ he said, pointing to the river, ‘was the very source of life. You see that great river. It rolls on and on. This is our culture.’ I […]

  • Baby talk

    Two new hypothesis about language: “Do we learn to think before we speak, or does language shape our thoughts? New experiments with five-month-olds favor the conclusion that thought comes first.” And a far more controversial theory suggests that babies learn their language from their mothers. “It was the gibberish that foraging mothers were crooning to […]

  • It happens in Nigeria too

    After Arundhati Roy won the Booker Prize with God of Small Things, Indian publishing houses were inundated with manuscripts from hopeful authors–many clearly people who were seeing writing, for the first time, as a potentially respectable, potentially lucrative profession. You could “be a writer” just as you could be a doctor, or a lawyer, or […]

  • The Little Prince and The Sea

    “Many in France would prefer Saint Exupéry’s grave to remain a mystery – including his wealthy and secretive family, the literary establishment that has implacably guarded his reputation, and a political establishment keen to retain its wartime hero. ‘Legends like Saint Exupéry’s should not be tinkered with,’ pronounced his nephew, Jean D’Agay, in the French […]

  • Peck Decked

    I see I’ve just linked to stories that rove from readers to writers to agents. No fair leaving critics out; some of them seem to be having a rougher time. Like Dale Peck (the Lizzie Borden of critics), whom Stanley Crouch (writer who resented his shoulderblades being at the receiving end of Peck’s hatchet) smacked. […]

  • Scenes from the writing life: Dead Bodies 101

    “…[This] is a seminar run by Allan Jamieson, director of the Forensic Institute in Edinburgh, aimed at writers of crime novels and television thrillers. People are here to brush up on bruises, strangulations, decaying bodies and false identifications: the ins and outs of forensic procedures.…. Fullerton writes political thrillers (his fourth, Give Me Death, came […]

  • The Dark Side of Publishing, nth sequel

    From Stephen Policoff’s ‘The Polite Screed of a Publishing Cliche’ (courtesy The Elegant Variation): “My agent was thrilled. He was convinced the James Jones First Novel Prize would help sell the novel quickly. Shortly after that, he dropped dead. The young agent to whom many of Clyde’s clients were assigned had no interest in representing […]

  • Misreadings?

    The Washington Post has a nice piece on “reading Reading Lolita in Teheran in Teheran”. “There were two issues here, the bookseller explained at length. One was obvious. ‘It’s dated,’ she said of ‘Reading Lolita.’ ‘It’s what the Americans think it’s still like here. Wearing lipstick and putting a scarf on is not a major […]