Petterson Gets IFF/Jelloun Speaks/To Muriel Spark/Bronson Alcott/Multiple Narrators/Packaging the Greats/Welty Homestead/Selling Books

May 8, 2006

Petterson Wins IFF Prize
Competing against such literary heavyweights such as Nobel prize winner Imre Kertesz and Impac winner Tahar Ben Jelloun, Per Petterson won the ₤10,000 Independent Foreign Fiction prize for his novel Out Stealing Horses. Read

Jelloun Reveals Himself
While he did not get the IFF for This Blinding Absence of Light, Tahar Ben Jelloun was the first north African to win the Prix Goncourt. Maya Jaggi reveals the nature of the poet/novelist in the Guardian essay “
Voice of the Maghreb.”

A Tribute to Muriel Spark
“A reader picking up Muriel Spark's first novel, The Comforters, at the time of its publication in 1957, might have noticed that the author was 39 years old, and have thought he was encountering the work of a late developer. It is not an impression that would have survived reading the book's first couple of paragraphs.” That's how
John Lanchester begins his Guardian tribute to the late Spark.

Bronson Alcott—a Parasite?
Geraldine Brooks writes that not only was he a parasite living off his daughter's earnings but he was a loving father and visionary in the field of education.

Multiple Narrators
Are you writing a novel or whatever using multiple narrators? You might then want to read
John Mullan when he examines Nick Hornby's A Long Way Down. In the discussion of multiple narrators, Mullan examines the history of the narrative technique.

How Book Packagers Could Have Helped the Greats
In light of the Kaavya Viswanathan controversy,
Keith Dixon examines how book packagers could have helped the literary greats. For example:
“Dear James,
Have finished my first pass of your manuscript and already have a few problems with the plot. It seems thin. As far as I can tell, you plot is:
Bloom walks around Dublin
Dedalus walks around Dublin
They meet at a maternity ward
They part
Publishers will probably want something with a bit more of a payoff. May I suggest:
Bloom walks around Dublin
Dedalus walks around Dublin
They Hijack a maternity ward
They die”
Read the rest of Dixon's
brilliant essay.

Seeing the Welty Homestead
The Eudora Welty Foundation recently opened the author's home, where she did all of her writing. She didn't have air conditioning, which a renovation provided for. Read

Selling Books
“Eager to find out just how much handselling it takes to overcome this calm, I decided to set up a table in front of my building in Greenwich Village from which I would try to peddle a collection of books that do not exactly evoke the phrase ka-ching. I spent three weeks amassing this merchandise, mostly pulling it from my own bookshelves and those of my friends. I ended up with 19 titles.” Read more about how
Henry Alford made out.


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