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Scots poet 'hounded' by Scotland's snobby literary elite for her views on toxic trans debate – Saturday May 13, 2023

Jenny Lindsay says Scotland's proud literary culture is in danger of being destroyed because too many well-paid authors are afraid to speak out – or even join in with the trans bullies

One of Scotland's leading writers has warned the country's literary culture is being "destroyed" by the failure to stand up to extremist trans activists.

Ayrshire poet Jenny Lindsay weighed into the debate following the high-profile row over SNP MP Joanna Cherry's cancellation by The Stand comedy club.

The venue – owned by fellow Nat Tommy Sheppard – was forced into a humiliating climbdown on Friday after she threatened legal action.

But Lindsay, who was abused by a "seemingly endless army of misogynists" after being labelled a "terf" by trans activists in 2019, said the "damage has already been done".

Writing in the Daily Mail, she said: "This is a systemic issue, affecting hundreds. As the knock-on effects of the Cherry episode show, 'cancel culture' affects more than just the person targeted. This is not a healthy atmosphere for any literary culture in a democracy."

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George R.R. Martin Addresses Mini-Rooms, Calls Them An “Abomination” – Wednesday May 10, 2023

George R.R. Martin has no patience with mini-rooms and how they make it impossible for new writers to succeed.

In his latest blog post, the author talks about how he got his start in TV by writing for The Twilight Zone in 1985. Had it not been for the old system where writers worked their way up, he never would have learned how to actually make a series.

“For the first fourteen years of my career, I wrote only prose; a few novels, and lots of stories for Analog, Asimov’s, and various other SF magazines and anthologies. Much as I enjoyed television, I never dreamt of writing for it until 1985, when CBS decided to launch a new version of The Twilight Zone, and executive producer Phil DeGuere invited me to write an episode for them. A freelance script; that was how you began back then. I decided to give it a shot… and Phil and his team liked what I did. So much so that within days of delivery, I got an offer to come on staff. Before I quite knew what had happened, I was on my way to LA with a six-week deal as a Staff Writer, at the Guild minimum salary, scripts against. (In the 80s, Staff Writer was the lowest rung on the ladder. You could tell, because it was the only job with “writer” in the title).”

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What Teaching Shakespeare Taught Me About Writing Horror – Monday May 8, 2023

Titus Andronicus May Be Bloody, but the Scottish Play and Othello Are Psychological Horror Perfection

A desolate moor, haunted by incomprehensible supernatural beings. Chains rattling in a dark castle, ghosts prowling the ramparts. A grisly corpse, hands chopped off and tongue sliced out. For any horror-lovers, whether the Gothic classics or the contemporary greats, these tropes will ring familiar.

They come, of course, from Shakespeare.

In fact, after more than a decade of teaching his work, I’ve come to see Shakespeare—at least when he’s writing tragedies—as primarily a horror writer. He might perhaps be the most significant influence in the entire English language to the Gothic, and consequently the modern, horror tradition.

On the surface, no play epitomizes this more than his first tragedy, the grisly Titus Andronicus. It is the Saw franchise of Elizabethan theatre, filled with as much shock and gore as Shakespeare could possibly have packed into a single play. As well as a full complement of stabbings, hangings, and beheadings, the audience is treated to Aaron being buried up to his neck until he starves to death, seeing Lavinia’s hands removed and tongue cut out, watching on as Alarbus’s arms and legs are cut off and he is thrown into a fire, and finally, Shakespeare delivers the coup-de-grace as Chiron and Demetrius are baked into a pie and then fed to their mother. Let it not be said that gore is a new thing in popular entertainment.

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Asked to Delete References to Racism From Her Book, an Author Refused – Monday May 8, 2023

The case, involving Scholastic, led to an outcry among authors and became an example of how the culture wars behind a surge in book banning in schools has reached publishers.

It was the most personal story that Maggie Tokuda-Hall had ever written: the tale of how her grandparents met and fell in love at an incarceration camp in Idaho that held Japanese Americans during World War II.

The book, called “Love in the Library,” is aimed at six- to nine-year-olds. Published last year by a small children’s publisher, Candlewick Press, it drew glowing reviews, but sales were modest. So Tokuda-Hall was thrilled when Scholastic, a publishing giant that distributes books and resources in 90 percent of schools, said last month it wanted to license her book for use in classrooms.

When Tokuda-Hall read the details of the offer, she felt deflated — then outraged. Scholastic wanted her to delete references to racism in America from her author’s note, in which she addresses readers directly. The decision was wrenching, Tokuda-Hall said, but she turned Scholastic down and went public, describing her predicament in a blog post and a Twitter post that drew more than five million views.

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New Magazine Listing: CBeebies Art – Wednesday May 3, 2023

Packed with hours of craft fun, mini-makers can learn a new art skill every month from collaging, painting, printing, constructing, sticker art and more. With an amazing craft kit to make, plus plenty of art tips to follow and space for crafty kids to make their own creative choices too!

[See the full listing]

New Literary Agency Listing: The Theseus Agency Ltd – Wednesday May 3, 2023

We help brands and writers pin-point, protect, and harness what makes them matter to the wider world.

We manage rights, brand and dealmaking. And we do it for any idea that lives in the public imagination, whether it started life as a book or script, a product, or a person.

By bringing together management, representation, and strategy, we balance long-term goals and short-term opportunities. We map plans for the future, while seeking out and striking innovative deals in the present, knowing that each is integral to the other.

[See the full listing]

New Literary Agent Listing: Philip Gwyn Jones – Sunday April 30, 2023

Thirty-three years of experience as an editor and publisher, just over half of them in corporate publishing and just under half in independent publishing.

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Jaime Green on Writing with Research – Saturday April 29, 2023

I realized early on that what I loved about writing nonfiction was the finding. Digging some marvel out of a dusty corner and giving it a good wipe-down, holding it up so the reader can see how it catches the light. Look at that!

The item is always in the light, not me. The thrill of the jackpot in research entranced me, as did the satisfaction of setting the artifact in the perfect frame of an essay. Instead of puzzle pieces with only one solution, the research was mosaic tiles, making a different picture if you placed them this way or that. I thought, for a while, that was my art.

But it’s a choice, of course, how visible a writer makes their research. Not the information found, but the act of finding. And not the credit and citation—that’s not a flexible requirement—but whether the sourcing lives in your prose instead of just the back of the book. You do get to decide.

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New Literary Agent Listing: Maria Brannan – Friday April 28, 2023

Has very wide ranging tastes in fiction and is interested in writing for adult, new adult/crossover and YA readers. She loves character-driven novels with a commercial bent that spark imagination or discussion. In particular she has a passion for genre fiction - especially fantasy with memorable characters and great world-building; horror with a unique concept or perspective; and softer, genre-crossing science fiction. She is also keen on voice-led and emotive reading group fiction; love stories and rom-coms that make you fall for both of leads; unnerving, twisty crime writing; thrillers with a great hook; and anything with a high concept or speculative edge.

[See the full listing]

I'm a poet. And I celebrate the days I write nothing – Friday April 28, 2023

During the 30 days of April, poetry, normally not-in-the-limelight, earns a hashtag: it’s #NationalPoetryMonth. It's as though Emily Dickinson has won a Publisher's Clearinghouse prize. There's a major uptick in poems studied, written, performed, and published as poetry becomes the focus of national educational organizations and local community arts counsels, heralded by U.S. Presidents and English language arts teachers alike.

I've been writing and publishing poetry since I was 15. It's usually a quiet gig. Come April, though, my day planner is flooded with readings, public appearances, online events, interviews and contests to establish or judge — and I'm only a state poet laureate. I can't imagine what U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limon's calendar looks like for those four weeks. All this fanfare for a genre that won't be touched by most literary agents.

[Read the full article]

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