Leicestershire MP accuses James Bond publishers of censorship over classic novel rewrites
leicestermercury.co.uk – Tuesday February 28, 2023
Andrew Bridgen has hit out at rewrites to the classic James Bond novels, claiming it is “censorship”. The MP for North West Leicestershire has added his name to the vocal critics to the move, but publishers have defended their decision.
Mr Bridgen, who is still suspended by the Conservative Party for spreading misinformation on Covid-19 vaccines, spoke out after it emerged that Ian Fleming Publications were making alterations to classic Bond novels ahead of the 70th anniversary of Casino Royale’s publication this spring.
Blake Friedmann literary agency launches second online open week for writers
thebookseller.com – Tuesday February 28, 2023
The Blake Friedmann Literary Agency will run a week dedicated to demystifying publishing and agenting, and supporting writers seeking representation. From Monday, 6th March, the agency will share agent blogs on a variety of agenting and publishing topics. It will also run book giveaways across its social media accounts until 10th March.
The aim is to offer insights into what an agent does, how to navigate the submission process to find an agent, and how an author and agent work together. There will also be a focus on understanding the publication process, earning income as an author through rights sales, as well as getting into the agenting or publishing industries.
Roald Dahl publisher to release original versions after backlash
reuters.com – Sunday February 26, 2023
LONDON, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Roald Dahl's famous children's books including "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "Matilda" will be published uncensored later this year said publisher Puffin, bowing to pressure after a public outcry over modernised versions.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was among those to have criticised the "airbrushing" of literature on Monday after a report in The Daily Telegraph showed 2022 versions of the children's books had removed or changed references to gender, race and physical appearance to avoid causing offence.
The "enormously fat" Augustus Gloop from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" was just "enormous" in last year's version, while Mrs Twit from "The Twits" was no longer "ugly". News of the changes sparked a national debate.
Andlyn founder Andrew-Lynch joins Curtis Brown
thebookseller.com – Thursday February 23, 2023
Davinia Andrew-Lynch, the founder of boutique agency Andlyn, has joined Curtis Brown.
Andrew-Lynch ran Andlyn for seven years, representing mainly children’s content and adult commercial fiction across all genres. Among her clients are Annabelle Sami, Malcolm Duffy, Bex Hogan, Faye Brann and Adam Douglas-Bagley.
Prior to this, she worked as a film and TV agent and freelance editor. She also helped to co-create the FAB Prize alongside Faber Children’s. The prize aims to discover Black and minority ethnic authors and illustrators.
As she joins Curtis Brown, Andrew-Lynch is looking to grow a list of commercial adult fiction alongside her existing list in children’s and YA. She will be based in London, joining the Curtis Brown team at their new offices on Regent Street.
Sci-fi publisher Clarkesworld halts pitches amid deluge of AI-generated stories
theguardian.com – Wednesday February 22, 2023
One of the most prestigious publishers of science fiction short stories has closed itself to submissions after a deluge of AI-generated pitches overwhelmed its editorial team.
Clarkesworld, which has published writers including Jeff VanderMeer, Yoon Ha Lee and Catherynne Valente, is one of the few paying publishers to accept open submissions for short stories from new writers.
But that promise brought it to the attention of influencers promoting “get rich quick” schemes using AI, according to founding editor Neil Clarke.
In a typical month, the magazine would normally receive 10 or so such submissions that were deemed to have plagiarised other authors, he wrote in a blogpost. But since the release of ChatGPT last year pushed AI language models into the mainstream, the rate of rejections has rocketed.
In January, Clarke said, the publisher rejected 100 submissions, banning their “authors” from submitting again. In February to date, he has banned more than 500.
Publisher of Roald Dahl books in French has ‘no plans’ for rewrite
theguardian.com – Wednesday February 22, 2023
The French publishers of Roald Dahl have ruled out any changes to the late British author’s translated books after it emerged that English editions were being rewritten for modern audiences.
Gallimard said on Tuesday the original texts would “remain intact” after the UK publisher Puffin hired sensitivity readers to remove language deemed inappropriate.
“This rewriting only affects Great Britain. We have never modified Roald Dahl’s writings and we have no plans to do so today,” a spokesperson for the publisher’s children’s department said.
The changes to characters and language in the author’s popular children’s books provoked a wave of debate. The author Sir Salman Rushdie wrote on Twitter: “Roald Dahl was no angel but this is absurd censorship/ Puffin Books and the Dahl estate should be ashamed.”
These authors are using ChatGPT to write books and sell them on Amazon
nypost.com – Wednesday February 22, 2023
Until recently, Brett Schickler never imagined he could be a published author, though he had dreamed about it. But after learning about the ChatGPT artificial intelligence program, Schickler figured an opportunity had landed in his lap.
“The idea of writing a book finally seemed possible,” said Schickler, a salesman in Rochester, NY. “I thought, ‘I can do this.'”
Using the AI software, which can generate blocks of text from simple prompts, Schickler created a 30-page illustrated children’s e-book in a matter of hours, offering it for sale in January through Amazon’s self-publishing unit.
Brian Cox and Salman Rushdie lead backlash against 'absurd censorship' of Roald Dahl's classic books to remove 'offensive' language - as 'woke' publishing censors are accused of 'McCarthyism'
dailymail.co.uk – Monday February 20, 2023
Sir Salman Rushdie and Brian Cox have led an angry backlash against 'absurd censorship' of Roald Dahl's classic children's books after 'woke' publishers removed 'offensive' language and are accused of 'McCarthyism'.
Cox, who has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company, said the censorship is a form of 'woke culture' which wants to reinterpret everything.
Rushdie, who was stabbed, losing the sight in one eye, for protecting free speech and 'attacking Islam', said the changes were 'absolute censorship'.
The intervention comes as hundreds of changes have been made to the beloved children's books, including no longer referring to Augustus Gloop as 'fat'.
Other characters have had their genders changed and words like 'mad' and crazy' have been removed by sensitivity readers.
People are Flooding Magazines With AI-Written Fiction Because They Think They’ll Make Money
themarysue.com – Saturday February 18, 2023
Neil Clarke, editor of the science fiction and fantasy magazine Clarkesworld, recently reported an unsettling trend: a huge increase in the number of fiction submissions plagiarized using AI.
The essay Clarke links to goes into more detail about would-be contributors using AI programs to scrape existing published stories and repackage them as original works. AI writing tools have proliferated in recent years, claiming to write original stories but delivering mixed results. In one Clarkesworld submission, Clarke writes, someone submitted a story with the following sentence: “Sitting on its three years’ experience, the fittest Shell was originally the size of more android subliminal observations than any other single subject in the Grandma.” The submission was reconstituted from a story published in 1956.
Clarke writes that he bans plagiarists from submitting again, but at least one has complained that they “need the money.” As his graph shows, the amount of Clarkesworld submissions has ballooned over the past few weeks, and many of them are AI-generated.
Woof. Where to start?
British independent publishers thrive despite Brexit and Covid pandemic
theguardian.com – Thursday February 16, 2023
Small presses across the UK and Ireland have had a “year of exceptional sales and profit growth in the face of Brexit and escalating running costs”, according to the British book awards’ chair of judges.
Independent presses have also told the Guardian they are optimistic about the future, a very different picture from just three years ago, when research found that more than half of the UK’s small publishers feared they could be out of business by autumn 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which led to the cancellation of author events, delays in titles being released and poor bookshop sales.
These smaller publishers are “showing that even in a toughened climate, grassroots book making is alive and well”, said Philip Jones, chair of judges for the British book awards, which on Wednesday announced the regional and country finalists for the Small press of the year award, which celebrates those presses delivering diverse, innovative and risk-taking publishing.
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