Caribbean Writers Roots on New CD

14 01 2012


British Library publishes CD of Caribbean and black British poetry to mark Black History Month

“Your mango ripe?”
Grandma stop feeling and squeezing up me fruit.
You aren’t playing in no band.
Me mango ain’t no concertina.’

– Amryl Johnson, Granny in de Market Place

In celebration of Black History Month the British Library has released a new 2-CD set, Caribbean Roots, featuring some of the most significant Caribbean and black British poets of the past several decades reading their own work. The 2-CD anthology features recordings first issued by the British Library on cassette over twenty years ago, together with previously unissued live performances.

Poets include Linton Kwesi Johnson, E A Markham, Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze, David Dabydeen, Amryl Johnson, James Berry, John Agard, Grace Nichols, Benjamin Zephaniah and Michael Smith.

The poets share a range of experiences, emotions, and influences, reflecting both the culture of the Caribbean and life as a black person in Britain.

Read full article @ Uk Black Writers Board





Searching for the Right Book Cover

14 01 2012

Suzanne Dean: the secret to a good book cover

Suzanne Dean designed the cover for the Man Booker prize winner ‘The Sense of an Ending’ by Julian Barnes. She talks about creating some of the most striking book jackets of the past 20 years.

To judge a book by its cover is so patently unwise that it has long been a metaphor for other forms of misinterpretation. But only a very naive author would suppose that the cover of his or her book was irrelevant. It’s the first thing we see, and there’s no way to make it entirely objective: a book’s cover offers an interpretation of its contents – some inflection, if only by its typeface or colour. And yet its effect on the reader is mostly subliminal. Book designers are the ultimate hidden persuaders.

Earlier last year, in his acceptance speech for the Man Booker Prize, Julian Barnes effectively outed one of the women behind his throne: Suzanne Dean, the creative director of Random House, who has been designing the jackets of his books for years. And it seems about time that designers stepped forward and took more credit: with the rise of e-books, physical books have become even more covetable as objects. If you just want to read something, you can do that electronically; if you want to own it, the book should be as beautiful as possible.

Dean, who started designing for Penguin almost 20 years ago, then moved from there to Picador and Random House, now oversees all of Cornerstone and Vintage publishing; this week, she was the only designer included in The Bookseller’s list of “100 most influential people in the book trade”. Over the years, she has come up with a vast number of diverse and memorable covers: the silver first edition of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, the hardback of Don DeLillo’s Underworld, Ian McEwan’s Atonement and Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, to name a few. Yet she has only started to put her name on them in the last four years or so.

She feels very strongly that e-books offer designers of physical books the opportunity to be more creative. “I absolutely think we should seize the initiative and make the best books we can,” she told me in her office earlier this week. “I can’t imagine a world that didn’t have books on shelves – it would be like having no paintings on walls or photographs in frames. All of these things are part of what makes you who you are.”

 Read full article @ The Telegraph




Black Issues, White Writers?

14 01 2012


Where are Britain’s black writers?

It seems our stories are truly acknowledged only when coming from the pen of white authors

It seems like a boom time for black literature and drama. Tiny Sunbirds Far Away, which focuses on the life of a young girl in Nigeria, is shortlisted for the Costa first novel award next month. Pigeon English, the story of a Ghanaian boy living in Peckham, made the Booker shortlist. And Channel 4′s Top Boy, depicting black gangster life in Hackney, east London, has just been commissioned for a second series. A reason to be cheerful in shiny, diverse, Britain surely?

Well, maybe not. These three works are all the creations of white authors. There is clearly no shortage of talented black writers – Courttia Newland, Malorie Blackman and Andrea Levy, to name a few – so why is it that, right now, the stories that receive the most mainstream recognition all seem to be the ones written by white people?

I would never tell an author only to “write what you know” – if everybody did this, there would be many fewer stories, and nowhere near as many interesting ones. It’s always good to think outside your own personal box, and if you do your research – Ronan Bennett said his research for Top Boy took years – and are thoughtful about it, you can tell a good story about any kind of person without making it into a train wreck, as these titles demonstrate.

Caption: Kwame Kwei-Armah, Bola Agbaje and Roy Williams

Read full article @ UK Black Writers Board





Profiling your writing on the WWW

14 01 2012


How to Make Your Writing More Visible Online

Writers and publishers invest lots of money into creating mobile and digital versions of their books, but the toughest part is finding readers for these new works.

Author and Altimeter Group analyst Rebecca Lieb just published Content Marketing, a book showing how authors can make their writings, books and apps more visible online. She shared her advice in a keynote presentation at the Publishing App Expo. Here are some extra pointers.

Lieb explained: “To achieve search visibility, you have to create content, pure and simple. But this is great news for authors. Why? Because with search (like in the Bible) it all begins with the Word, and authors are natural wordsmiths. Search engines can’t listen to podcasts and they can’t watch videos, but they can (and do) read the written word.”

She continued: “So what authors have to do to achieve online visibility is to create and publish lots of relevant content online. What’s relevant? Stuff that’s related to the subject matter of their book, of course – but not necessarily all about their book. Target terms people may be searching if they’re interested in the subject matter.”

Read full article @ Galleycat





A World of New Fiction

14 01 2012


Winners for the Commonwealth Short Story Competition for 2011

Two writers from Barbados and one from Trinidad and Tobago are winners in the prestigious Commonwealth Short Story Competition for 2011. Another Caribbean writer from Jamaica received a special mention for her children’s story.

Kathyann Husbands’ “Love, Honour and Obeah” and Edwina Griffith’s short story “White Shoes” received highly competitive awards, along with Sonja Dumas of Trinidad and Tobago for her tale “Letting Cockroaches Live.” The regional winner for the Caribbean was Barbara Jenkins of Trinidad and Tobago, with her entry “Head Not Make for Hat Alone.” Husbands commented that her win was “proof that Barbadians have intriguing stories that the world wants to hear.”

Read full article @ Repeating Islands