Drowned in Sound


The tour diary for The Golden Hour European Tour is up at Drowned In Sound along with photos and video (which apparently features me on a swing). Many thanks to the Scottish Arts Council for funding the trip, and to the many venues that hosted us, in particular Shakespeare and Co. in Paris, where Sylvia and Hilary did so much to make the night a riotous success.

Supporting Salt


The following is an open post from Chris Hamilton-Emery, Director of Salt publishing, who produce many fine poetry and short story collections (the latter makes them particularly noteworthy). My picks were Andrew Philip’s The Ambulance Box and Sue Hubbard’s Rothko’s Red.

As many of you will know, Jen and I have been struggling to keep Salt moving since June last year when the economic downturn began to affect our press. Our three year funding ends this year: we’ve £4,000 due from Arts Council England in a final payment, but cannot apply through Grants for the Arts for further funding for Salt’s operations. Spring sales were down nearly 80% on the previous year, and despite April’s much improved trading, the past twelve months has left us with a budget deficit of over £55,000. It’s proving to be a very big hole and we’re having to take some drastic measures to save our business.

Here’s how you can help us to save Salt and all our work with hundreds of authors around the world.


1. Please buy just one book, right now. We don’t mind from where, you can buy it from us or from Amazon, your local shop or megastore, online or offline. If you buy just one book now, you’ll help to save Salt. Timing is absolutely everything here. We need cash now to stay afloat. If you love literature, help keep it alive. All it takes is just one book sale. Go to our online store and help us keep going.

UK and International


2. Share this note on your Facebook or MySpace profile. Tell your friends. If we can spread the word about our cash crisis, we can hopefully find more sales and save our literary publishing. Remember it’s just one book, that’s all it takes to save us. Please do it now.

With my best wishes to everyone
Chris Hamilton-Emery
Salt Publishing

The pinch producing the slap


Troubling news at Bookfox about the possible need for some premier literary journals to become self-supporting. None of these are produced for profit, and so these proposals are in many cases tantamount to closure (or to a sea-change in how they’re run, such as charging for submissions).  I’m not sure what can be done, other than, as Bookfox suggests, to voice one’s ire to the PR departments (for The Southern Review, email urelat1@lsu.edu) and executive committees of the universities in question.

That, and take out subscriptions to journals you would like to be published in (and if you don’t think they’re worthy of that small amount, why do you want to be in them?)

David Lynch’s Interview Project


in a Lynchian voice: “It’s a chance to meet these people. It’s something that’s human and you can’t stay away from it.”

David Lynch is to premiere his 121-part documentary series ‘Interview Project’ on his website on June 1.

The series of three to five-minute shorts will centre on people all around the US with new episodes broadcasting every three days over one year.

The trailer is at  Interview Project. The faces alone are great.

The Southern Review


My story, ‘The Ballad of Poor Lucy Miller’ is currently appearing in the Spring 2009 issue of The Southern Review. Thanks to a remarkable technological breakthrough (me learning what some of the buttons on my blog do) you can view a pdf of the story-TSR_Winter2009_Holdstock

Subscriptions for The Southern Review start at $33 (including International Postage), which works out to just over £5 an issue- cheap for what is a beautifully produced journal.

New Ishiguro Book


This, of course, is cause for rejoicing. His previous novel, Never Let Me Go is probably as good a book as any published in the last decade. In a recent interview in The Guardian he admits to feeling that he peaked in his 30s, and that now it’s all just trying new things, which is either a brave admission, or a mark of how secure his position is.

The piece also contains the-should-be-horrifying news that Never Let Me Go is being butchered into film form, and will star… Keira Knightley.

As a thought experiment, let us breath deeply and consider what good might come of this. Yes, Knightley’s much vaunted looks will detract from the narrator’s averageness (from which a considerable amount of the novel’s pathos derives). Yes, the film will lack the interiority that made the novel so compelling.

But (and here I pause, and scrape the cloud hard)… I like to think that one reason why poorly written genre books (Patricia Cornwell, James Patterson etc) are so popular is because they are agressively marketed, inevitably to the detriment of more thoughtful books. If Keira Knightleys’ face on the cover makes more people pick up the novel, this is not only one more good book being read, but also, and as importantly, one less bad one too.

(There should probably now be a long, self critical paragraph that deals with my patronising belief that I know what’s best for people, what they should read, what is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ etc. Perhaps we can take this as read.)

%d bloggers like this: