BUZZWORDS: LITERARY NEWS
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Teeth (novel), Naomi Klein’s No Logo (politics) and Mark Z Danielewski’s House of Leaves (novel). The shortlist will be published in October.
THE EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL
The Edinburgh International Book Festival was held from the 12th to the 28th of August 2000. Some 350 authors attended including Malcolm Bradbury, Anita Desai, Norman Mailer, Simon Armitage, Jeff Noon, Kazuo Ishiguro, Michael Holroyd, Margaret Drabble, Doris Lessing, Kate Atkinson, Will Self, John Cooper Clarke (punk is not deceased), Janice Galloway, Alain de Botton, Nadine Gordimer, Irvine Welsh, Alasdair Gray, Iain Banks, Wole Soyinka and Frank Kermode (lecturing on Shakespeare, an obscure Elizabethan playwright). Now that’s what I call a festival!
D.H. LAWRENCE AT NOTTINGHAM UNI
Apreviously unknown silk screen by D.H. Lawrence will soon be exhibited at Nottingham University to advertise the creation of its D.H. Lawrence research centre. Yes, this is the very same uni where Lawrence had caused an uproar by eloping with his professor’s wife!
BRITAIN’S MOST REJECTED POET
Andrew Tait, the music teacher from Newcastle upon Tyne whose poems were rejected by nearly 1,000 publishers over the past 15 years, announced in August 2000 that his quest for conventional publication was over. The man who once went on hunger strike and threatened to eat poison if he was not published, has decided to concentrate on meditation: “Success is really to do with working out what’s going to happen in the next life” (The Independent 26 August 2000). The late Poet Laureate Ted Hughes, to whom Mr Tait had sent some of his poems, described it as “very strange poetry - it may be on its way to somewhere beyond what we commonly regard as ‘poems.’ The current Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion, was more encouraging: “I like what you’re doing - it’s yours.” If you can’t get published like Andrew Tait, promote your work the Preethi Nair.
THE GREAT PUBLISHING SWINDLE
Preethi Nair, 28, from North London, gave up a high-flying job “with an incredible salary” last year to promote her own novel, Gypsy Masala, in the guise of Pru Menon, a public relations executive. Her book is now on the bestselling list of several major London bookshops!
Current Buzzwords favourites from the UK:
—Terence Blacker, Kill Your Darlings (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2000)
—Stephen Jones, The Bad Book (IMP Fiction, 2000)
—John King, Human Punk (Jonathan Cape, 2000)
—Nicholas Royle, The Director’s Cut (Abacus, 2000)
—Will Self, How the Dead Live (Bloomsbury, 2000)
DEATH OF A NEO-HYDROPATHE
We learn with great sorrow that Alexandre Destoins, a talented young poet who belonged to the néo-hydropathe group of Parisian writers, died in August after falling from a cliff he was ascending with Jean-Yves Carpentier (the editor of Hurluberlu) in the French Pyrénées. Alexandre, a former boyfriend of Lucie Avelière [a néo-hydropathe interviewed in our last issue], was 21 and his first collection of poems, Cette douleur (“That Pain”), had become a cult classic on the Parisian underground literary scene. He was working on another collection of poems.
MICHEL HOUELLEBECQ IN THE US OF A
Ahead of the publication of The Elementary Particles in the US (it was published in May in Great Britain under the title Atomised), Emily Eakin met Michel Houellebecq (pronounced Wellbec), “the most controversial French novelist in decades.” In her article, published in The New York Times Magazine, she explains that to:
spend a weekend in his company is to become an unwitting participant in a sensory-deprivation experiment. External stimyli are reduced to a minimum. Physical movement is discouraged. Likewise talking and eating and any other activity that might detract from the primary objective - getting from Saturday morning to Sunday night with as little conscious awareness as possible. . . . He murmured obligingly to my questions, but finishing a sentence often proved beyond him. Whatever energy he had seemed mostly consumed by the quiet labor of existing.
At the end of August, Les Inrockuptibles published, as they do each year, a supplement devoted to la rentrée littéraire (the beginning of the new publishing year) with extracts of 17 new novels. For the first time, they included a free spoken word CD giving voice to the aforementioned extracts.
Charité, Frédéric-Yves Jeannet’s new novel, was described by Les Inrockuptibles as this season’s most interesting read.
Amazon.co.uk has just launched Amazon.fr with “all the features you’ve come to expect from the UK’s number 1 online retailer, but in French.”
Current Buzzwords favourites from France:
—Jean-Hubert Gaillot, Les Contrebandiers (Editions de l’Olivier, 2000)
—Michel Houellebecq, The Elementary Particles (Knopf, will be published in the US in November; the English edition called Atomised is available now).
—Frédéric-Yves Jeannet, Charité (Flammarion, 2000)
—Richard Morgiève, Ma vie folle & Ton corps (Pauvert, 2000)
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