Artwork by Sardax
CUTTING-EDGE LITERARY NEWS FROM AROUND THE GLOBAL VILLAGE
by Andrew Gallix
COPYRIGHT © 2001, 3 A.M. MAGAZINE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
MATTHEW KNEALE WINS WHITBREAD 01/25/2001
On January 24th, Matthew Kneale won the Whitbread Book of the Year award for English Passengers, an ambitious historical novel in which the author uses more than 20 narrators. Here you will find an interview with audio clips and a review of the book.
WYNDHAM LEWIS 01/25/2001
The latest London Review of Books Essay, written by David Trotter, examines the “fiercely unsentimental life” of Wyndham Lewis.
FROM SCREEN TO STAGE 01/25/2001
Some of Britain’s cutting-edge movie stars are set to invade the stage. Natural Nylon, the film company launched by Ewan McGregor, Sadie Frost and Jude Law (see picture) has signed a deal with the group that runs The Ambassador’s Theatre in Covent Garden (London) as well as 15 other venues throughout the country.
PATRICK BOUVET 01/25/2001
One of France’s most interesting writers right now is Patrick Bouvet. Check out his personal website.
DYER ON VICTORIAN LONDON 01/25/2001
The excellent Feed webzine has published a fascinating article on Victorian London by one of our favourite English writers Geoff Dyer.
TrAce / ALT-X COMPETITION WINNER ANNOUNCED 01/25/2001
The results of the second TrAce / Alt-X New Media Writing competition have been announced. The winner is Talan Memmott from San Francisco.
PREETHI NAIR: PUBLICIST OF THE YEAR? 01/25/2001
The author of Gypsy Masala, Preethi Nair who is interviewed in 3AM Magazine, has been shortlisted as publicist of the year. Here is the press release:
“An author who masqueraded as her own publicist and agent was shortlisted as publicist of the year. The winner will be announced at the annual Publishers’ Publicity awards to be held in London on Thursday 25th January. Preethi Nair, author of Gypsy Masala: a Story of Dreams gave up her career as a management consultant to publish and promote her first novel. ‘I believed so passionately in my story and felt that nobody could be as enthusiastic about it as I was and that is why I did what I did.’
Preethi set up ‘The Creative House’, her multinational PR company in a back bedroom and appointed herself as the director under the alias of Pru Menon. She then began unashamedly hyping the book to journalists, assuming different voices and roles, setting up interviews for the author she represented. ‘Pru has worked really hard this year talking to journalists, booksellers and anyone who would listen. She has done a great job: Gypsy Masala became staff choice in several book stores across London and has been number one for fifteen weeks (Books Etc, Finchley).
When I found out I was shortlisted for the award, I was so thrilled. To be nominated amongst some of publishing’s best publicity teams shows what a difference one person can make. The whole experience has taught me that if your heart and soul goes into something, you cannot possibly fail,’ says Preethi.
KATE HORSLEY 01/25/2001
The SFWP (Santa Fe Writers Project) has drawn our attention to Kate Horsley. Born in Richmond, Virginia, Kate now lives in New Mexico where she teaches creative writing. A screenwriter and poet as well as a novelist, Horsley has a Ph.D. in American Studies and has published two novels. Her first, Crazy Woman, was published by La Alameda Press before going to mass market paperback with Ballantine. Her second, A Killing In New Town, also from La Alameda Press, won the 1996 Western States Arts Federation's Award for Fiction. Both of these novels are set in 19th-century New Mexico. Her forthcoming novel, Confessions Of A Pagan Nun, is set in 5th-century Ireland and will be published by Shambhala Press in Fall 2000.
FLUID FICTION 01/25/2001
The Guardian’s website has published Jeff Noon’s top ten “fluid fiction” books, and Matt Thorne’s top ten “New Puritan” titles.
FILTHY LUCRE REVISITED 01/22/2001
After the publication of The Representation of Business in English Literature by right-wing think tank The Institute of Economic Affairs, novelist David Lodge writes in The Sunday Times (January 21): “. . . yes, on the whole, it probably is true that business, and the part it plays in the lives of most people, tends to be either denigrated or neglected in literary fiction. Cast your mind back over the classic English novel and you don’t come up with many businessmen heroes.” According to Lodge, there are “several obvious reasons for this emphasis”: the old idea that money is dirty (think of Mr Merdle in Little Dorrit whose name sounds suspiciously like merde which is French for shit) and the fact that novelists are “by vocation critics of society, not apologists for it.” And yet, of course, “the rise of the novel was contemporaneous with the rise of capitalism, and was in some ways a product of it.”
An interesting exhibition on Futurism and Photography at the Esoterick Collection (London, N1) which runs until April 22, gives me the opportunity to recommend several sites on the Italian movement. Here you will find the various Futurist manifestos and excellent links to other resources including an interesting article by Karen Pinkus entitled “Futurism: Proto Punk?”. Here, here and here there are excellent overviews. Flux Europa’s “The Challenge of Futurism” is also well worth checking out.
THE ANGRY PUDDING 01/22/2001
In The Sunday Times, actress Dulcie Gray stated that writer JB Priestley was “a dear man” but also “the most extraordinary womaniser, which considering his looks was amazing. He had a face like an angry pudding.”
AUBERON WAUGH: NOT DEAD! 01/22/2001
Even dead Auberon Waugh remains a controversial figure. In The Guardian, Polly Toynbee asks: “Why revere Auberon Waugh? He was a reactionary fogey whose sneers damaged the country.” The title, “Ghastly Man”, says it all: “The world of Auberon Waugh is a coterie of reactionary fogeys centred on the Spectator and the Telegraph who affect an imaginary style of 1930's gent--Evelyn was the icon. Battered brown trilby, chalk-stripes, sit-up-and-beg bike with a basket full of books from the London Library are the accoutrements. The mind-set is all Evelyn Waugh too--the smells and bells of aristocracy and old Catholicism (recusant priest-holers only--God forbid any happy clappy stuff). Effete, drunken, snobbish, sneering, racist and sexist, they spit poison at anyone vulgar enough to want to improve anything at all. Liberalism is the archenemy - Shirley Williams was Waugh's bete noire. While do-nothing conservatism is their mode, they enjoy extremism of any complexion and excoriate the dreary toil of incremental improvement--bor-ring, sin-cere and social workerish. The worst thing is "doing good". Their snobbery is of a vulgarity beyond belief-- yahoos capering in genteel suits. Their language is as self-consciously class-identifying as their voices--Waugh sounded like something out of the BBC sound archives. . . . We might let Auberon Waugh rest in peace were it not for the mighty damage his clan has done to British political life, journalism and discourse in the postwar years.”
LEGENDARY PUNK MAGAZINE RESURRECTED 01/22/2001
Mark Perry, who founded the very first punk fanzine, Sniffin Glue, back in 1976, and went on to form Alternative TV in 1977, played a gig at New York’s legendary CBGBs to celebrate punk’s 25th anniversary on January 10th. The gig was also the occasion for the resurrection of Punk, the influential magazine that was published between January 1976 and June 1979 and contributed to creating the movement of the same name. The revamped version includes a column by Richard Hell who took Ruby, his 15 year old daughter to the concert. New Yorkers can visit CBGBs’ Punk magazine exhibition.
FILTHY LUCRE 01/18/2001
The British free-market think-tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs has just published The Representation of Business in English Literature, a collection of essays by five academics which highlights British novelists’ hostility to capitalism.
BACK TO SCHULH 01/18/2001
For those of you who can read French, check out this interview with Goncourt Prize winner Jean-Jacques Schuhl. Buy Schuhl’s Ingrid Caven at amazon.fr.
THE SEVENTIES 01/18/2001
The latest issue of Gadfly Magazine, with a great picture of Debbie Harry on the cover, revisits the 1970s. It also contains an article on Boris Vian.
BORGES AT HARVARD 01/18/2001
Harvard University has published Jorge Luis Borges’ six Norton lectures (delivered in 1967 and 1968) under the title This Craft of Verse. Audio excerpts in MP3 format can be listened to here. The University of Aarhus’s Borges website is excellent. So is The Garden of Forking Paths.
ALAIN ROBBE-GRILLET & LITTLE GIRLS 01/18/2001
Alain Robbe-Grillet turns 80 this year. A new novel entitled La Reprise (Editions de Minuit) will soon be published as well as a collection of his articles (to be published by Christian Bourgois). A special issue of Critique will be devoted to the founding father of the Nouveau Roman whose films will be celebrated next year in Caen. Interviewed in the latest issue of Livres Hebdo, Alain Robbe-Grillet attacks political correctness which prevents people from writing that little girls are sexy or that the Nazi concentration camps didn’t exist. Although they did exist, he believes people should have the right to say that they didn’t. He doesn’t state whether little girls are sexy or not.
EAST OF NEW YORK 01/18/2001
Buzzwords is proud to present Greg Farnum’s new Eurolitnews column, East of New York, which is now online at Web del Sol. Go there, you’ll understand why we’re so proud!
KISS ME BRON 01/17/2001
The greatest sexist, politically incorrect snob in the world died on January 17th. Auberon (“Bron”) Waugh was novelist Evelyn Waugh’s eldest son (“He said that the most terrifying aspect of Evelyn Waugh as a parent was that he reserved the right not just to deny affection to his children, but to advertise an acute and unqualified dislike of them”). He shot himself during National service and almost died: “ He was hit six times in the chest, losing a lung and his spleen and was not expected to survive. While lying on the ground waiting for an ambulance he said to his platoon sergeant, with his characteristic élan: ‘Kiss me Chudleigh’. He later recalled, however, that ‘Chudleigh did not recognise the allusion and from then on treated me with extreme caution’.” He was sacked from The Spectator and The Times (“for an article about the Muslim faith which led to an enraged mob burning down the British Council in Rawalpindi”). In 1986, he launched The Literary Review which became famous for its Bad Sex Award. Unlike Evelyn, Auberon probably won’t be remembered for his novels but British journalism will never be the same without him. Read The Times’ obituary. All quotations are from the BBC’s website.
KING OF THE WILD FRONTIER 01/17/2001
Lucky British TV viewers will be able to watch “I Love 1981” on Saturday 20th January (BBC2, 9pm). After a successful “I Love the 1970s” series broadcast last summer, the Beeb revisits the following decade. “I Love 1981” will be presented by Stuart Goddard, better known as Adam Ant. Many people forget that before they went mainstream in 1980, Adam and the Ants were the number one underground punk band who kept the faith alive in 78-79. If you haven’t got it, buy their debut album, Dirk Wears White Sox. If you want more, go for the recently-released Antbox. There are many Antsites on the web, the best are Ants Invasion 2000 and the official Ants news service, adamant.net.
LORNA SAGE DIES 01/14/2001
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Lorna Sage, the author of Bad Blood which won the Whitbread biography of the year award, died on January 11th. She was only 57. You can read the first chapter on The Guardian’s website.
JEFF NOON.COM 01/14/2001
Readers who wish to learn more about Jeff Noon should check out Spike Magazine’s Jeff Noon site.
POST-FUTURISM: JEFF NOON’S LITERARY MANIFESTO 01/12/2001
“We are now living in the future,” writes Jeff Noon in The Observer, “How disappointing this period seems compared with the world we promised ourselves. With the Dome, the millennial celebrations and the general feeling of ‘Was that it?’ behind us, we have become slaves to cynicism, artificial passions and desperately forced excitements. It is not a time for great art.” He goes on to present “a possible literature, the kind of writing that will take place in the post-future age”: “One symptom of the current future is the perceived sorry state of the English novel. The people who complain that the English novel is dead spend the rest of their time praising the latest masterwork that manages to tell a good story in a simple enough manner. In other words, a retreat is made into the past. Almost every novel published this year will use a template invented three centuries ago, and set in stone during the Victorian age.” The New Puritans are given short thrift: “Two British writers, Nicholas Blincoe and Matt Thorne, recently made a set of 10 rules by which to create fiction. The collection of stories they put together, All Hail the New Puritans, is a peculiar document. Fifteen fairly young writers have decided to remove all traces of formal density from their work. There are to be no flashbacks, no authorial voices, no dual narratives. . . . The New Puritans have nailed their colours to the mast, and what a drab, lifeless banner it is.” Jeff Noon then offers a definition of “the post-fure novel”: “First of all, we have to accept that English writing has been far too slow in its adoption of avant-garde techniques, in comparison with popular music, art and films. The narrative fabric of the latest cult movie is woven through with jump cuts, freeze-frames, montage, slow motion shots, tracking shots, hand-held camera techniques, and the like. House, hip-hop and garage recordings contain elements of remixing, scratching and sampling. We can also look at the branching narratives of computer games, at the strange connections that hypertext links reveal on the internet, at the games played with image and text in a graphic novel. All of these are fluid mediums, for a fluid society. Set against such material, no wonder the contemporary novel seems moribund. As writers, we need to open ourselves up to this fluidity. What are the prose equivalents of the tracking shot, the hyperlink, the remix, the freeze-frame? As readers, we need to bring the expertise we use when enjoying a film or a piece of visual art into our appreciation of the novel.” An inventive, experimental approach to language will be crucial to this new type of fiction: “We need writers who revel in the wild excitement of language, at this deepest level, creating a kind of dub fiction. Our writing will then be charged, sensual, and alive with the poetic effects the New Puritans fear so much. Let us not be afraid of intensity of expression.” The post-futurist novel will use “a fluid, organic structure, a network of storylines. It will be experimental, and yet will place a firm accent on the portrayal of human desires. It will be Raymond Chandler writing Ulysses, James Joyce writing The Big Sleep. It will move away from lazy cynicism and nihilism. Post-futurism reveres the narrative imagination. If the English novel is truly dead, we should place a flower on its grave, trample down the dirt. Now is the time to raise up the fragile, blossoming ghost.”
Jeff Noon’s latest work, Cobralingus is his first exploration of “metamorphiction.”
For Jeff Noon’s literary manifesto go to: http://www.booksunlimited.co.uk/ departments/generalfiction/story/0,6000,420328,00.html
THE LITERARY WEB 01/08/2001
The editor of Deeply Shallow, Jason Gurley, whose fiction has appeared in some thirty online and print magazines, has published a very interesting article entitled “The Literary Web” in The Richmond Review based on an interview with the editors of Progress, The Melic Review and Eclectica. Mr Gurley writes that “For today's writer, there is more to the Web than one might notice at first glance. The traditional ink-and-paper author is beginning to realize that there's more than anonymous websites; in fact, the Internet is becoming a massive publishing industry, one whose influence is booming and whose potential is barely scraped by the literary community and the public alike. Major literary magazines and university journals have made their place on-line, establishing, at the very least, a minor presence. A handful have created successful web counterparts of their print editions. A strong example might be Zoetrope: All-Story, which gave birth to Zoetrope: All-Story Extra, a fully web-based magazine that features two authors a month. Other profitable magazines, like Glimmer Train, have simply posted relevant submission info and the like on their sites. The true opportunity, however, exists in smaller corners of the Web, hidden behind lengthy URLs and sometimes novice design. In these corners, for writers as well as aspiring editors and publishers, you will discover the world of the webzine.” Read on. A short story by Jason Gurley will soon appear in 3AM Magazine. In the meantime, you can check out his personal website:
UNPUBLISHED AUTHOR PARAGLIDES INTO PALACE 01/07/2001
On December 28th an unpublished Australian writer, Brett De La Mere, paraglided into Buckingham Palace. He hoped that this publicity stunt would land him a six-figure publishing deal. In his weekly column in The Observer (January 7th), Robert McCrum writes that “You cannot beat good writing. If it speaks to the reader, you can wrap it in brown paper, and reproduce it on a Xerox machine, and it will always find an audience.”
Go to: http://www.booksunlimited.co.uk
ENTERTAINING MR ORTON 01/07/2001
I am glad to announce that 3AM Magazine will soon bring you a review of the recent off-Broadway production of Joe Orton’s What the Butler Saw. It will appear, of course, in our What the Butler Never Saw column. There is more news on the Orton front. On January 17th, Terry Johnson’s production of Entertaining Mr Sloane opens at the Arts Theatre in London with Alison Steadman, one of Britain’s leading actresses, playing the part of Kath. The advertisement for the production shows the four actors naked sitting side by side on a chair, a reference to the famous pictures of Orton by Lewis Morley where you can see the chair on which Christine Keeler (of Profumo Affair-fame) had sat.
Go to: http://www.officiallondontheatre.co.uk/”
ELEVEN NINE 01/06/2001
September 11th 1997 is the date of the referendum when Scottish people voted in favour of the re-establishment of a Scottish Parliament. 11:9 is the name of a new fiction imprint launched by the Scottish Arts Council with National Lottery Funding. Six titles were published in October 2000.
Go to: http://www.11-9.co.uk
CANONGATE FM: PRICK UP YOUR EARS! 01/06/2001
The ever-brilliant Canongate Books from Scotland is launching a wicked radio station in association with Dublab, an LA-based Internet radio station. Well worth checking out.
Go to: http://www.canongate.net/main.taf
Go to: http://www.dublab.com/IE/testmul.html
THE WHITBREAD PRIZE 01/05/2001
On January 4th, Zadie Smith was awarded the Whitbread Prize for first novel. White Teeth (Hamish Hamilton) is available from amazon.
Go to: http://www.amazon.co.uk
THE RETURN OF JIM HAYNES 01/05/2001
British daily The Observer reports that the “much-loved Sixties guru” Jim Haynes is founding an Arts Club on the Left Bank in Paris. More news as soon as it comes in. Go to: