Monday, 17 February 2014

News: Silverfish Turns 15, And Literary Hipsterdom

  • Q&A with Alex Myers, author of Revolutionary, the story of cross-dressing US revolutionary Deborah Sampson.
  • "When you work 12 hours a day, and you are a shopkeeper-cum-publisher who translates, edits, critiques, writes, runs workshops, administers and manages a business, is the IT technician, the webmaster, and the plumber who fixes the toilets, time is often short. Still, I have never been afraid to dream. When I wanted to organise the first KL International Literary Festival in 2004, everyone else around me had palpitations, but not me. (It was scary how steely I was.) What do you have to lose from a dream, anyway? Besides the dream itself?" Silverfish Books is now 15. Happy birthday.
  • "...the culture of reading can quickly be smeared from a communal and pivotal way to learn and be transformed into an isolating and exclusive way to socially expound personal intelligence." Literary hipsterdom (if there is such a thing) is apparently not worth pursuing.
  • Turns out there's an Arab version of the Booker Prize out there: the International Prize for Arabic Fiction. But how many people are reading the shortlisted books?
  • Loaded question from Salon: Is the literary world elitist? Here's what Eleanor Catton (The Luminaries) thinks: "The machine of consumerism is designed to encourage us all to believe that our preferences are significant and self-revealing; that a taste for Coke over Pepsi, or for KFC over McDonald’s, means something about us; that our tastes comprise, in sum, a kind of aggregate expression of our unique selfhood."
  • Haruki Murakami caught flak from townspeople for a passage in a short story that suggests they threw cigarette butts out of their moving cars. But he's not the first writer to insult a town.
  • And the Hatchet Job of the Year goes to AA Gill's takedown of Morrissey's autobiography.
  • Could clues to deciphering the infuriatingly cryptic Voynich Manuscript lie in Mexico?
  • The late Sudirman Arshad: all-round entertainer, soft-drink brand, and children's book author (posthumously published in 1994).
  • How to train your brain to think critically.
  • From the annals of H-dropping: It's Y-O-G-U-R-T now.

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