Traditional Publishing

Writers' News

Deadline looming for entries to Neil Gunn Writing Competition – Tuesday February 22, 2022

The deadline is looming for entries to the 2021-2022 Neil Gunn Writing Competition.

The competition, which is being run by High Life Highland in conjunction with the Neil Gunn Trust, opened in September and closes on Friday, March 4.

Entries are invited from adult writers worldwide in two sections - adult poetry and adult short story. There is an entry fee of £8.

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The bks Agency stands by £649 one-day book deal course after price criticism – Sunday February 20, 2022

The bks Agency has stood by a £649 one-day course called "How To Get a Book Deal" after it was criticised over the price and accused of marginalising underprivileged writers.

Cheshire Novel Prize creator, writer and editor Sara Naidine Cox highlighted the event on Twitter, and said the price needed "calling out". Other users, including Bluemoose Books and Little Toller, said it was "outrageous" and "appalling". 

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Clarke steps up as Association of Authors’ Agents president – Thursday February 17, 2022

Catherine Clarke, managing director of Felicity Bryan Associates, has stepped up to the role of president of the Association of Authors’ Agents (AAA), praising outgoing president Isobel Dixon for leading the association with “poise, warmth, immense hard work and resolve, in probably the most challenging two years of any of our lives”. 

Clarke said: “Being vice-president for the past two years and working closely with Isobel has given me a lot of insight into what our members are interested in. I’ve seen first-hand how co-operation with other trade bodies in the book industry is vital for campaigning on all the urgent issues of our times, including copyright protection for the authors we represent, and sustainability. We’re also here to help build a truly representative and diverse workforce throughout this industry. With such an engaged and energetic committee, I am honoured to help drive that as president.” 

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Write Across scheme aims to find new BBC One drama writers – Sunday February 13, 2022

A scheme to "find and develop the people who will be writing BBC One dramas in five years' time" has been launched by the broadcaster's boss.

Director general Tim Davie said Write Across would be piloted in Liverpool, before similar projects were rolled out across the UK.

He said Liverpool was picked because it was "a city of stories".

Tony Schumacher, who wrote the recent Liverpool-set drama The Responder, welcomed the initiative.

He said starting a writing career was "hard and it's difficult to know where to begin".

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Greene Door mentoring scheme returns for crime and thriller writers – Saturday February 12, 2022

Greene & Heaton is bringing back its Greene Door mentoring scheme for writers from underrepresented backgrounds, and this year has opened submissions specifically for crime and thriller writers. 

The literacy agency launched the initiative as part of the Greene Door Project in November 2021. The project aims to discover writers and help increase diversity of representation in the publishing industry. This time, the opportunity is open to unagented crime and thriller writers who are underrepresented in terms of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability or socio-economic background.

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Long-standing literary magazines are struggling to stay afloat. Where do they go from here? – Wednesday February 9, 2022

The Believer was once at the top of the literary magazine game.

A leading journal of art and culture, The Believer published the work of icons like Leslie Jamison, Nick Hornby and Anne Carson. It won awards, it launched careers -- it created a home for off-beat, quirky writing. When the Black Mountain Institute at the University of Nevada bought the magazine, observers spoke of Las Vegas as a potential new hub for literary arts.

Then, in October of last year, the college announced it was shutting the magazine down in early 2022, citing the "financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic." In a statement explaining the decision, the dean of the school's College of Liberal Arts called print publications like The Believer "a financially challenging endeavor."

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'JK Rowling is a gold-plated hero': Author Anthony Horowitz blasts cancel culture and says writers are 'under siege' and should 'lead the agenda, not be cowed by it' – Monday February 7, 2022

Writers are ‘under siege’ from cancel culture and should be able to express their views ‘without the world falling in on you’, according to best-selling author Anthony Horowitz.

The man behind hit children’s book series Alex Rider and ITV series Foyle’s War said Harry Potter creator JK Rowling, who has been targeted by trans activists, was a ‘gold-plated hero’ who had done a lot for children’s literacy and charity.

Horowitz, 66, admitted that when writing a character who had a different ethnicity, sex or gender to his own he started ‘worrying’ what the reaction would be. 

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Tell this AI your story's themes, and it'll write the first paragraph for you – Saturday February 5, 2022

Writing, I can tell you as a professional, is the most important yet difficult thing anyone has ever done in the world. I am therefore extremely grateful for Narrative Device, a browser-based AI doodad which generates the opening paragraph of a story based on two themes or things you feed into it. Finally, some help for the writers of the world! It's potentially interesting and useful, or at the very least it is fun to make a computer say silly things.

Narrative Device offers to provide "inspiration for a story from an AI", eating the themes you suggest to write the opening paragraph. Its creator, Rodolfo Ocampo, explains, "I am doing this to explore creative augmentation using AI, and human-AI creative collaboration" (the topic of his PhD research). It uses the much-vaunted OpenAI GPT3 API, which is trained in natural language from terabytes of text from websites, books, and Wikipedia pages. You know, the AI behind the latest version of AI Dungeon. That one. But here it's used to help the poor, struggling writers of the world, who I think we can all accept are the real heroes.

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Paradigm Hires Voltage Pictures Film Exec Babacar Diene, Ups Four To Agent – Saturday February 5, 2022

Paradigm on Thursday said it has hired Babacar Diene, the veteran film financing, sales and production executive who had been a VP at Voltage Pictures. He will become a Content Agent at Paradigm, which also said today it has promoted four staffers to agents.

Diene, based in Los Angeles, was most recently VP Acquisitions & Development at Voltage, the international finance, production and distribution company he joined in 2012. During his tenure he co-produced titles including Ava, starring Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell, John Malkovich, Common and Geena Davis; Good Kids starring Nicholas Braun, Zoey Deutch and Julia Garner; Fathers & Daughters, starring Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried and Aaron Paul; and Pay the Ghost starring Nicolas Cage. His executive producer credits at Voltage include Time Is Up, Archenemy, Safer at Home, Redemption Day, Follow Me and Drive Hard.

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Interview: Publisher aims to revive short story market – Wednesday February 2, 2022

For new writers, short story anthologies are a wonderful way to explore a range of styles and get a sense of what editors are looking for in contemporary fiction. For spouses, Mark Wish and Elizabeth Coffey developing an anthology was a way to help keep the short story form alive and offer something new and interesting to readers. They created Coolest Stories Press and put out a call for Coolest American Stories 2022, which was just released. They share their process here:

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