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Writers' News

In the #MeToo Moment, Publishers Turn to Morality Clauses

publishersweekly.com – Saturday April 28, 2018

Until recently, the term “moral turpitude” is not one that crossed the lips of too many people in book publishing. But Bill O’Reilly, Milo Yiannopoulos, Sherman Alexie, Jay Asher, and James Dashner changed all that.

A legal term that refers to behavior generally considered unacceptable in a given community, moral turpitude is something publishers rarely worried themselves about. No longer.

Major publishers are increasingly inserting language into their contracts—referred to as morality clauses—that allows them to terminate agreements in response to a broad range of behavior by authors. And agents, most of whom spoke with PW on the condition of anonymity, say the change is worrying in an industry built on a commitment to defending free speech.

[Read the full article]

Researchers built an AI capable of writing poetry that's equal parts woeful and impressive

mashable.com – Saturday April 28, 2018

As if the world weren't already full enough of awful human poetry, now the robot overlords want in.

Researchers from Microsoft and Kyoto University were interested in whether they could invent an AI that writes poetry inspired from images, "generating poems to satisfy both relevance to the image and poeticness in language level." Some of the poems produced are pretty objectively abysmal. Others, surprisingly passable.

Here's one inspired by a photo of a dead crab:

[Read the full article]

Lovegrove launches magazine for Caribbean writing

thebookseller.com – Monday April 23, 2018

Sharmaine Lovegrove has launched an online magazine dedicated to Caribbean literature.

Pree offers new contemporary writing from and about the Caribbean, including fiction, non-fiction, essays, interviews and experimental writing giving the authors “international visibility far beyond the islands”.

Lovegrove is publisher of the magazine and also publisher at Little, Brown imprint Dialogue Books, which is dedicated to inclusivity. Joining her at the online magazine is editor-in-chief Annie Paul, who is based at University of the West Indies, and editors include Jamaican writer and environmental activist Diana McCaulay, cultural analyst Isis Semaj-Hall and New York-based essayist Garnette Cadogan. The magazine’s creative director is designer Nerys Hudson.

[Read the full article]

Richard & Judy 'Search for a Bestseller' competition returns

thebookseller.com – Thursday April 19, 2018

Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan are launching their third “Search for a Bestseller” competition to find a promising first-time writer. The prize is a £30,000 publishing deal with Bonnier Zaffre with specialist advice from literary agency Furniss Lawton.

The competition is supported by W H Smith and will open to unpublished writers today (19th April 2018). Writers must submit 10,000 words, plus a synopsis of the novel and the work must be a piece of original fiction aimed at adults. The full terms and conditions can be found on the Richard and Judy website.

[Read the full article]

Former Rogers president Ken Whyte launches non-fiction publishing house, acquires small press

theglobeandmail.com – Saturday April 14, 2018

Kenneth Whyte, former president of Rogers Publishing Ltd. and past editor of Maclean’s and the National Post, announced this week that he is launching a publishing venture that represents a departure from his decades in journalism: Canada’s newest publishing company, The Sutherland House, will release its first books in early 2019.

The press will be devoted to the publication of literary non-fiction, with books already under contract including We, The Meeple, an examination of culture, history, society and relationships through the medium of board games by former Walrus editor Jonathan Kay and board-game expert Jonathan Moriarty, and Perfect City, a guided tour of the world’s great cities by urban strategist Joe Berridge.

[Read the full article]

Man Booker International Prize shortlist a boon for small publishers

theconversation.com – Friday April 13, 2018

Six books, six languages, two former winners and a bonanza for independent publishers: the Man Booker International Prize – the UK’s most prestigious prize for translated fiction – has announced its 2018 shortlist. Whittled down from a longlist of 13 titles spanning the globe, the six titles to make the cut are translated from Arabic, French, Hungarian, Korean, Spanish and Polish.

This year’s nominations have been selected by a panel of five judges, chaired by novelist Lisa Appignanesi with fellow writers Hari Kunzru and Helen Oyeyemi alongside poet and translator Michael Hofmann and journalist Tim Martin. The shortlist includes Han Kang and Deborah Smith – who won the prize in 2016 for The Vegetarian – and László Krasznahorkai – who won the prize in its former iteration in 2015 – when it was awarded for an achievement in fiction evident in a body of work.

[Read the full article]

There's no female conspiracy in publishing – your book might just not be good

theguardian.com – Wednesday April 11, 2018

When I first saw the #MisandryInPublishing hashtag, I assumed it was a joke. How could anyone actually believe that there is a bias against men in an industry that has historically prioritised the work of men, and paid them more for it? How?

I soon realised the hashtag was the work of a male author who was complaining about female agents and writers who had spurned him — myself in particular. Though I had not yet read his book, I had retweeted a meme about male authors being bad at writing female characters, which he didn’t like. It was enough to put me in his crosshairs.

[Read the full article]

‘Misandry in Publishing’: Author David Kearns’ Epic 37 Tweet Rant in Full

sludgefeed.com – Saturday April 7, 2018

David Kearns, author of such classics as Dance Hall Girl and Where Hell Freezes Over, went on an audacious Twitter rant Thursday after Lauren Spieller, an associate literary agent for Triada US, retweeted Whitney Reynolds’ tweet challenging women to “describe yourself like a male author would.” The retweet apparently set off feelings Kearn was harboring toward female literary agents, as weeks earlier he described an agent from #500queries as having “real vinegar in her heart.”

Kearns has been railing against #500queries, a free service, since mid-March, describing the agent reviewing queries as “some snarky twenty-something bashing on writers with a little smirk on her face,” who he claimed wasn’t worth submitting his manuscript to for review.

[Read the full article]

Best of London Book Fair 2018: we pick some of the highlights

list.co.uk – Saturday April 7, 2018

Every year the great and the good of the literary world descend upon London for three intensive days of author talks, panel discussions and seminars on the most pressing issues facing publishing today. With nearly 200 events taking place, the LBF's behemoth programme is daunting to even the most seasoned of industry professionals. But this year, we've got your back. Whether you're an aspiring scribbler or simply an ardent bookworm, our guide will help you make the most out of the LBF.

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How Trump Is Shaking Up the Book Industry

politico.com – Saturday April 7, 2018

Donald Trump’s election victory plunged America’s elite, liberal and coastal circles into an identity crisis, as journalists and pundits who had been so sure of a Trump loss grappled with charges of insularity and willful disregard. They penned introspective essays and took deep dives into the statistics only to conclude that they were indeed elite, liberal and coastal.

But in sleek SoHo penthouses, Brooklyn brownstones and Upper West Side cafés, a community that is perhaps the ultimate bubble—the New York fiction publishing industry—is still struggling to come to terms with its isolation. They are asking themselves how literature became so detached from the contours of American life in so many parts of the country. The perspectives of the white working classes and the rural poor, the demographics that handed Trump the presidency in 2016, have been largely absent from the novels printed every year. And as these demographics become increasingly central to the country’s political conversations, the publishing industry is wondering what it needs to do to change.

[Read the full article]

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