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David Foster Wallace’s Perfect Game

“Tennis” is a wonderful word in the sense that it never really existed. That is, although the game is French to the core—not one but two of France’s early kings died at the tennis courts, and the Republic was born on one, with the Tennis Court Oath—the French never called it that, tennis. They …

Big Data (and Big Metaphors) at London Book Fair

‘The “data dilemma” is what to do with the data,” as was noted at #LBF16’s seminar in the final hours of the fair.<p>Copyright Clearance Center’s “The …

A Creative Solution to Writer's Block from Novelist Augusten Burroughs

<b>Augusten Burroughs:</b> Is there such a thing as writer’s block? There are some writers who don’t have writer’s block and there are some writers who …

How Do You Find Your Writing Voice?

Writing is this bizarre phenomenon where the voice inside your head materializes and occupies actual space in the world. If there's one thing I've …

Creative Writing

Finland ranked world's most literate nation

Report pooling studies of ‘literate behaviour characteristics’ from around the world puts the Nordic country first, 16 places ahead of the UK<p>Finland is the world’s most literate nation, according to new research, with the UK coming in 17th, behind countries including the US, Canada and …

Education

Publisher, author, pioneer: Danielle Dutton's very Virginia Woolf life

For generations, intelligent literary women have been drawn to Virginia Woolf for her complex, independent-minded works such as "A Room of One's Own." She was at the center of the Bloomsbury literary scene and began an independent publishing house out of her home with her husband, Leonard Woolf. …

Books

10 Things To Stop Doing To Yourself As A Writer

• <b>Stop ignoring your instincts.</b> I often tell people that publishing is a cut-throat industry, and if you don’t have thick skin, you won’t survive. …

Infinite Jest at 20: 20 things you need to know

The beloved 1,100-page novel is David Foster Wallace’s magnum opus and one of the most influential books of its time, but did you know he based its structure on a mathematical object called a Sierpinski Gasket and proofread it while watching a film about a St Bernard dog, on a loop?<p><b>1</b> <i>Infinite Jest</i> …

Literature

The Single Most Important Thing You Can Do To Make Your Writing More Awesome

There’s no magic bullet for being a decent writer, or making people bond with your characters or fall in love with your story. Writing is a million …

The 100 best nonfiction books: No 4 – Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes (1998)

These passionate, audacious poems addressed to Hughes’s late wife, Sylvia Plath, contribute to the couple’s mythology and are a landmark in English poetry<p>Poetry will be braided into this series like a golden thread, because in every generation it is the poets who replenish and tantalise the …

Literature

You Are Not What You Write

I realized recently that whether I'm writing, teaching, or even interviewing, I'm only interested in communicating one idea: <i>Everything is okay, even though it looks like everything is not okay</i>. As much I love this idea, I spend most of my days remembering that it is true. After all, everything …

Placing Literature Maps Out Real Places You've Read About in Books

It’s always fun to visit the real life places you read about in books. There’s just something exciting about exploring the place the author had in …

The Beauty of Writing -- What I Wish All Writers Knew

The first words are often the hardest, even when they come easily. The first words are ones that open up a new world, introduce us to new characters, ones that we might not necessarily be acquainted with, at least not in action even if you have filled the pages of a notebook with character traits …

James Baldwin’s Advice on Writing

“Talent is insignificant. I know a lot of talented ruins. Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but most of all, endurance.”<p>In 1989, <i>Paris Review</i> founding editor and trailblazing interviewer George Plimpton edited a wonderful collection titled <b>The Writer’s Chapbook: A</b> …

Literature

The 100 best nonfiction books: No 2 – The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (2005)

This steely and devastating examination of the author’s grief following the sudden death of her husband changed the nature of writing about bereavement<p>No 1 in this series considered the possibility of humanity’s imminent doom from the broadest global perspective. With No 2, the focus shifts into a …

Literature

Book Publishing Is Almost as White as the Oscars

If you work in book publishing, there is a good chance you are a white, able-bodied, straight woman. This according to a pioneering survey …

Penguin Random House Ebooks Now Licensed for Perpetual Access

As of January 1, all Penguin Random House ebooks are now licensed to libraries under the terms previously offered by Random House. The license is …

Philip Pullman: professional writers set to become 'an endangered species'

New Society of Authors campaign joins international calls for fairer wages for writers, asking publishers to review how they treat and pay their authors<p>His Dark Materials author Philip Pullman is heading a new charge from writers demanding to be rewarded fairly for their work, as the Society of …

Writing

I read 164 books in 2015 and tracked them all in a spreadsheet. Here's what I learned. - Vox

My life became a cultural wasteland after my daughter was born. No more books, no more movies — only television provided a last, desperate bastion of artistic connection, consumed in small doses through a semi-conscious daze. I felt bad about not reading; as a librarian with two English literature …