riskingit

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Finno-Ugrian Vampire reaches New York!


13th May, 2013

We are now all back from the exciting times we had in New York at the Pen World Voices Festival. Our author, Noemi Szecsi, was invited to the festival, and her travel and hotel were supported by the Balassi Institute in New York, the Hungarian Cultural Association.

The first event (well, really is was a multiple event) was completely novel in format - the festival persuaded twenty or so apartment dwellers, all artists resident at the Bethune Street, Wesbeth Center for the Arts, to open their own homes to writers and their audiences. Noemi gave two talks at the home of Bea Kreloff, who introduced her, with Edith Isaac Rose, and despite interruptions from one very excited daschund, Lucy, the events went well. So in the space of two hours, the audience could rush to four apartments and hear four writers reading from their works, with a short time for questions. At the end there was a reception in the foyer.

A really novel and exciting format, which I hope we can bring to London - well done to Pen World Voices for achieving all the organisation.

Above are photos of Noemi with Bea, and with her translator, Peter Sherwood, who came to New York with his wife, Julia. Thank you also to Peter & Julia, for all their support and help, and for making the trip so worthwhile.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

http://www.pen.org/event/2013/02/14/literary-safari

We're delighted to celebrate the USA publication of The Finno-Ugrian Vampire by Noémi Szécsi. The author, the most prominent young Hungarian writing today, has been invited to join two events at Pen World Voices 2013, in New York. I shall be travelling there, along with the translator, Peter Sherwood.


Friday, 3 May 2013
A Literary Safari
Wesbeth Center for the Arts, 6.30pm
55 Bethune St New York, NY 10014
Explorers may discover a bedside reading, a dinner-table discussion, or a poet in the elevator at this event, where each participant is given a map and left to roam the halls of the city’s oldest and largest artist community; the notoriously labyrinthine Westbeth Artists’ Housing. The residents will again open their homes to PEN authors and the public for this intimate annual event, which ends with a reception and champagne toast in the gallery.
With Michal Ajvaz, Nadeem Aslam, Dror Burstein, Gillian Clarke, Mia Couto, Eduardo Halfon, Natalio Hernandez, Nick Holdstock, Randa Jarrar, Tararith Kho, Jaime Manrique, Margie Orford, Jordi Punti, Noémi Szécsi, Padma Venkatraman, and others

Saturday, 4 May 2013
Invisible Cities, Visible Cities
The Public Theater, 5.00pm
425 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10003
For many novelists, describing the city where a story takes place is as fundamental as providing a well-developed protagonist. The panel will look at how the city both limits and liberates, how it is informed by collective knowledge and individual exploration, and how, particularly in the era of globalization, it can be a place of imposing history and rapid reinvention. Moderated by Michael Miller. With Michal Ajvaz, Dror Burstein, Barbara Frischmuth, Noémi Szécsi



On another note, in March I was despairing at the news stories issuing forth from Syria - so many tales of bloodshed and lives in peril. In 2007, Riverbend, the anonymous blogger who wrote Baghdad Burning, which we published in 2003, moved to Syria, which at the time was a peaceful haven after the bombings in Baghdad.

I have not heard from her for a few years, so I emailed asking if she was safe.Then, this week, I received a reply. She is safe, living in the United Arab Emirates. Not everything in her life has gone to plan, but her email is of course confidential. She has added a post at the blog, riverbend.blogspot.co.uk, and it is worth looking at, as it is an angry post. She thinks her fellow Iraqis in exile, should not be living in the USA or in the UK, as they were invading nations. I can understand her reasoning - it is as if after the second world war, German Jews had decided to settle in Italy...or return immediately to Germany - which few did.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I just read on Book 2 Book this morning that Elif Shafak is to be the Market Focus Author of the Day at the London Book Fair in April 2013. Elif is now published by Penguin in the UK, and has been since The Bastard of Istanbul came out. Marion Boyars Publishers published The Flea Palace and The Gaze, and I worked closely with Elif, taking her to the Hay Festival for the first time, and to many other venues, including the Frontline Club.

So I felt proud when I read this, and with twelve books now published, I know that a large press has the resources to bring her books to a wide audience.

And, as someone who can appreciate writing, I know that Noemi Szecsi, whose book The Finno-Ugrian Vampire we publish in the USA and Canada in May 2103, is Hungary's most talented young author. Noemi will be visiting New York in April 2013 to do some literary events, and if you wish to see someone moving into their prime, like Elif, then keep a watch for her.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Bats and their habits

Bat Conservation News is still emailing me, a missive I read intently, because I have much to learn.

So, while I do not think bats have much to do with nuns or monks (habits), the current Bat Conservation Newsletter is all about the trunks bats pack when they go back to school. I think a vampire bat would pack extra vials in which to store blood sucked but not consumed - a sort of bat tuck shop.

If I was a bat going back to school, I would want to suck up to my teachers. However, my teachers may not wish me to suck up to them, so I would have to clever. Any animal that can hang upside down all day and still manage to fly the right way up has life fairly sussed, or should that be sucked.


Monday, August 06, 2012

6th August 2012

Marion Boyars Publishers is currently receiving email updates from Bat Conservation News. Why this new Inbox event is happening will become apparent very soon, but in the meanwhile I thought I would share some fascinating facts with you.

The newsletter starts in quite a peppy way. It boldly states:

"Sex can be a risky business if you're a fly," carrying a snippet from the New South Wales, Australia, Great Lakes Advocate, an eminent news journal, I am led to believe. It goes on, 'Scientists have demonstrated that a bat callled a Natterer myotis locates and attacks mating flies by listening to the buzzing sound made by the males", when in a state of passion, I assume, brought on by the presence of female flies. The result is a supersised meal for the bats. The mind boggles. And those clever bats simply ignored the shy, chaste flies simply walking on the ceiling in their roosting shed.

(Additonal info from Wikipedia, the publisher's secret friend:
Natterer's bat (Myotis nattereri) is a European bat with pale wings. It has brown fur, also seen on the leg wing membrane, tending to white on its underside. It is found across most of the continent, but is considered scarce.)

Monday, April 09, 2012

LONDON BOOK FAIR

It's coming up to the time of year where editors and publishers, production managers and agents, start to pack their bags for the London Book Fair, and we will be exhibiting on the Central Books stand, G920 in EC1. I will be there, Monday to Wednesday, and look forward to meeting people there.

As the book world changes with the challenge of keeping print books as a proper currency along with the digital version, it will be interesting to join in with this very sociable gathering over a few days. And it is nice it is in our home town, London, although I would love to spend more time in New York again.

I have to say that I think the printed book will always exist, and grow in popularity, just as the CD has managed to survive despite I - versions of everything under the sun. And I love seeing new books, and having the time to read some of them too, now I am involved in publishing fewer myself. But the backlist sems to be made of strong stuff and is very much in print and surviving.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The Alchemy of E-Books


Et voila! - a little logo I knocked up today to go on the back of printed books from now on – feel free to email me for it. Actually, Photoshop would not do what I wanted it to do, and I had a terrible morning - but after an hour of yoga, (yes, there was a tiny chanting session at the finale), I returned to the chains around my office chair, and resorted to InDesign.


Thankfully, it all fell into place as if the morning’s turmoil had never happened….

We are nearly at the point of going live with 28 e-books through Faber Factory, powered by Constellation, a digital platform developed by our American distributors, Consortium Book Sales in Minneapolis.

It has been an exciting process, and my eyes are now agog at the advantages of e-books - for students, and anyone with a curious mind.

So I will now take complete liberty and digress, using the subject of alchemy, which as we know, is all about turning the most unpromising substances to gold. And that is what e-books seem to do, by making it oh, so much easier to browse through interesting books, and find fascinating nuggets of information.

So, The Alchemy of Paint by Spike Bucklow – an erudite book on the history and origin of paint pigments. And then, one of the bestselling Social Sciences books on the list, Decoding Advertisements by Judith Williamson, which is all about the power that advertisements have over our desires and image of our own bodies, and our appetites, which include fashion, food and sinful things like cigarettes and alcohol. What on earth has alchemy to do with in Judith’s book? Well, she uses it to explain the process of turning unpromising looking granules into edible potato.

In Chapter Six, we have alchemy in the chapter title – then the e-book search function gets you to her paragraph of lengthy persuasion that the potato microcosm – the atom of artificial potato. Is in fact called ‘Wondermash’. We are not shown the fluffy potato with the water added, because that would be prosaic, no, the ad. shows us the magic granule, and the ad. makes us believe we can perform the alchemy to turn it into real mash.


Now, in Spike’s book, you may want to know more about Tyrian purple, which is extracted from Murex snail shells, found in abundance around the Eastern Mediterranean. These are carnivorous snails, or should I call them snarls, as I am now starting to fear the snails in our back garden may add threatening snarls to their slime producing. Spike tells us Tyrian purple was discovered when Hercules was wooing the nymph Tyros. Not getting on well with her one day, Hercules turned to playing with her dog on the beach. He found that the dog had picked up some snails for a tasty (possible meaty scented) snack, and the dog’s nose had gone purple. Tyros picked up the snail, as maidens interested in fashion are wont to do, and pleaded with Hercules to dye some material purple for her, which of course, he promptly did by crushing the shells of the Murex snail, and Bob’s your uncle, Hercules and Tyros became romantically inclined. In the e-book, in Chapter Six, next to the word snail is a small superscript 5, which if you click on it, takes you to the end notes of the chapter, and references that will lead you to more discoveries about snails and pigments. No arduous turning of pages, or making of notes – it is all there at a click of the mouse, or flick of a finger.

So I think e-books and alchemy have earned their place in the world, indeed they are making more alchemy possible.