“I still think you could do something that no one has ever done before.” - the story of Kit Williams and Masquerade, a children's book of illustrations that also served as clue to the location of a golden hare, and, despite an ignoble end to the competition, kicked off a crazy off treasure hunting books and videogames in 1980s Britain.
RIP Barry Hines, author of A Kestrel for a Knave that was adapted into the British film classic Kes. He also wrote the screenplay for Threads. [more inside]
Skinhead Farewell a BBC documentary on the controversial cult novelist James Moffat aka Richard Allen
Colin Wilson has passed away at the age of 82. He rose to fame in the 50s with The Outsider, which made him a figure amongst Britain's Beat movement and Angry Young Men. His writing has spanned the fiction and non-fiction, with an interest in the paranormal and the occult, his thoughts on which he blended with HP Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos to produce The Mind Parasites. A TV series based on his The Space Vampires, also the basis for the movie Lifeforce (previously), is currently planned. Wikipedia page, 2004 Guardian interview, Times Obituary (subs only).
A Guide to Writing Sherlockian-Tea Habits. In which EnigmaticPenguin (of death) schools fanfiction authors in correct English tea theory and practice. Follow up: Biscuits.
The Guardian has a new series of webchats with various people in the publishing industry starting with literary agent Karolina Sutton. Also various writers are asked: Can you teach creative writing?
It's an odd thing that libraries – by tradition temples to the unfleshly – can sometimes seem such sexy places. The Secret life of libraries.
The Independent (UK) proposes a list of fifty books that every eleven-year-old should read. [more inside]
One million books will be given away for free in the UK & Ireland as part of World Book Night. Any adult can apply to receive a box of 48 copies of their favorite from a list of 25 titles, by the likes of John le Carre and Toni Morrison, and give them away as they please. The ambition is to roll out the idea worldwide in future years if it proves a success in the UK.
You say Orwell, Tolstoy and Joyce, but actually it's Rowling and Grisham... Anyway if you are a chap, just make sure you put away that Clarkson before your date arrives.
London's Charing Cross Road was once a renowned as destination for bibliophiles. However this has changed as a number of bookshops have closed, the crime specialist Murder One being the latest. The Guardian looks how the street has changed between 1940 and now (flash). [more inside]
Thirty years ago 'probably the single most influential graphic novel to have come out of Britain to date' was published, The Adventures Of Luther Arkwright by Bryan Talbot. Interview - Part 1, Part 2.
A book by children's author Jacqueline Wilson is to be removed from the shelves of British supermarket chain Asda and re-edited due to the inclusion of one 'rude' word. Is this an over-reaction?
Observer literary editor Robert McCrum, retiring after ten years in the job, writes about the revolution in the book world he's seen over the last decade.
110 Best Books. 'The perfect library' - According to the Torygraph... at least there's a 'Sci-fi' section among the usual suspects (And one or two bizarre choices - Pelzer! What the heck!)
The 50 greatest British writers since 1945. A few interesting choices here... the 'novelist's poet' at #1 seems fair enough, but this one, this one and this one?
Norman Mailer has posthumously won this year's Literary Review Bad Sex Award for his novel on the early life of Hitler, The Castle in the Forest. He was up against some stiff competition but Norman managed to rise to the occasion (sorry). Safe for work, but you might feel a bit dirty in the morning.
Exit Music. The King of Tartan Noir, Ian Rankin has retired his detective John Rebus. Ageing him with each novel, Rebus has finally reached the retirement age at Edinburgh CID; Although that may not stop him... [more inside]
In the new LRB, a pretty good attempt to answer the pressing question - why do the Bush people want to attack Iraq so much?
Dan Rhodes is a talented British author whose books have been recommended to me by many web-people, and now he's got a website. It's an opportunity to sample his Anthropology collection (hit refresh a few times), and boasts a reviews page which should please fans of the Eggers Po-Mo style. What I think is interesting about Rhodes is how much his little stories remind me of the tiny vignettes you find in, uh, 'daily web publishing'.