Should writers only write what they know? What I learned from my research
theconversation.com – Tuesday September 4, 2018
As an academic in creative writing, I attend a lot of literary events. One question I can always count on being asked is, “can I write characters of other backgrounds?” This has been a growing concern since Lionel Shriver at the 2016 Brisbane Writers Festival unleashed a tirade against what she called “censorship” in writing – referring to criticism of her book The Mandibles.
The recent ABC Q&A episode, Stranger Than Fiction, in conjunction with the Melbourne Writers’ Festival, showed the many sides of the “write what you know” debate. Dr Michael Mohammed Ahmad and Sofie Laguna argued that space should be given for marginalised groups to represent themselves. Maxine Beneba Clarke pointedly discussed when appropriation can be harmful, as was the case with Shriver’s representation of Latino and African American characters. Meanwhile, Trent Dalton argued that appropriation leads to a good story, which also takes empathy and care.
Allingham Festival creative writing competitions now open
donegalnow.com – Monday September 3, 2018
Writers in Donegal and beyond are invited to enter the prestigious Allingham Festival writing competitions.
These competitions attract entries from all over the world, with writers in with a chance to win €300. The winners will be invited to read their stories and poems at an awards ceremony which will take place at the Literary Lunch during the festival in November.
The two categories in the adult competitions are Flash Fiction and Poetry. This year’s judges are Theo Dorgan (Poetry), Paul McVeigh (Flash Fiction) and Monica Corish. The closing date for entries is September 21.
West Side Publishing Will Launch Little Grasshopper Books
publishersweekly.com – Saturday September 1, 2018
Children's publisher West Side Publishing is launching a new imprint, Little Grasshopper Books, likely by the end of the year. The imprint will encompass a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction formats, from board books to books with virtual-reality components, primarily aimed for children five and under.
The new imprint marks West Side Publishing owner Lou Weber’s re-entry into the world of children’s books. As president and founder of Publications International (PIL), a publisher of automotive titles, cookbooks, inspirational formats, and brain games and puzzle books, Weber was long involved in children’s publishing—especially licensed sound books and interactive formats—until PIL sold its children’s publishing unit to Chinese-owned company Phoenix International Publications in 2014. The latter continues to operate the business under the PI Kids name.
Audiobooks Are Officially The Publishing Industry's 2018 Trend
forbes.com – Saturday September 1, 2018
Audible UK's 2017 revenues grew by 45% over the year prior and are now over £97 million. The news, out today from The Bookseller, aligns with similarly high audiobook sales and revenue numbers across the publishing industry. In 2018, digital audio is selling very well.
In 2017, downloadable audio revenues across the rest of the publishing industry grew 28.8% over the previous year — not as impressive as Audible UK's growth, but far beyond any other format. In the first quarter of 2018, the format continued to grow: Digital audio was up 32.1% in Q1 2018. Ebook sales fell 3.2% in the same quarter.
Traditional Publishers Are Selling Way More Non-Fiction Than Fiction
forbes.com – Friday August 31, 2018
In the publishing industry, adult non-fiction revenues are soaring above fiction revenues and have been widening the gap for the past five years. Adult non-fiction revenue totalled $6.18 billion across the publishing industry in 2017, while adult fiction revenues reached $4.3 billion, according to Penguin Random House, using data from Association of American Publishers (AAP), the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, and Bookscan.
2013 was the last year that the adult fiction category beat non-fiction in revenue (at $5.21 billion in revenue to non-fiction's $4.82 billion). Revenues for adult non-fiction have rapidly risen every year since: $4.97 billion in 2014, $5.59 billion in 2015, $5.87 billion in 2016, and finally $6.18 billion last year. In the same five-year period, adult fiction revenues dropped from a high of $5.21 billion in 2013 to 2017's low of $4.38 billion.
Women reveal the VERY irritating mistakes male authors make in writing female characters - including describing itchy tights as 'sexy' and thinking EVERYONE can run in heels
dailymail.co.uk – Thursday August 30, 2018
Authors have the ability to immerse their readers in fictional words, but women everywhere believe they're still not getting one thing right: female characters.
Tumblr users from around the world have been penning advice to male authors about the common mistakes they make when writing female characters - and they'll strike a chord with women everywhere.
The tips, compiled in a Bored Panda thread, include a request to describe tights as 'itchy' rather than sexy and the handy tip that almost no women can run in heels
OWN IT! founder launches literary agency
thebookseller.com – Thursday August 30, 2018
Multimedia publisher OWN IT! has launched a literary agency arm, signing author Courttia Newland as its first client.
Billed as a “storytelling lifestyle brand” spearheaded by founder Crystal Mahey-Morgan, the company already operates as a book publisher, a record label and an events arm. Mahey-Morgan will be OWN IT!’s main agent, helping to “diversify how it works with storytellers to include literary representation”. The company is currently negotiating with several sub-agents about a foreign rights partnership, according to a spokesperson for the organisation.
Mahey-Morgan's previous contract negotiation experience includes a year at PFD as well as a three-year stint in the contracts department at Penguin Random House between 2008 and 2012. She described setting up a literary agency as "an obvious next step for OWN IT!"
'Godfather of the industry' Michael Sissons dies
thebookseller.com – Wednesday August 29, 2018
Veteran literary agent and “godfather of the industry” Michael Sissons has died aged 83.
Various agents have paid tribute to Sissons who died on Saturday (August 24th), following a stellar career which saw him representing names such as Simon Schama, Margaret Drabble and William Hague, setting up the Association of Authors' Agents, and overseeing PFD for almost half a century before acting as a senior consultant for the agency for the last decade.
“I would say that he was the godfather of the industry,” said Caroline Michel, c.e.o. of PFD, who had known Sissons for 30 years, since before she entered the publishing industry.
New Magazine Listing
firstwriter.com – Wednesday August 29, 2018
Preferred styles: Literary
Considers unpublished poems only. Submit via online submission system. See website for more details.
Turning Pages: When it's good to break the writing rules
smh.com.au – Sunday August 26, 2018
Sometimes the writer doesn't need a gentle muse when facing a blank page. Sometimes the writer needs a pep talk from a coach, the kind that gets you out in the drizzly dawn doing push-ups and feeling good about it.
If that's your bag, then Catherine Deveny is your woman. The comedian and writer who describes herself as "Atheist, Feminist, Dyslexic" runs regular writing classes for her Gunnas (as in "I'm gunna write a book some day"). For her students, that day is today. And she'll do everything short of push-ups to motivate them and destroy their procrastination and fear.
Judging from the website testimonials, her Gunnas adore her. So I was intrigued to see her in action at the recent Bayside Literary Festival, talking about "The Twelve Things They Don't Tell You About Writing".
I was particularly struck by one piece of advice that was exactly the opposite of what most creative writing teachers tell their students: "You don't have to read a lot".