Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Everything's happening

There's a fair bit happening at the moment.

Have just posted Part One of an interview with Gary Davison over at The View From Here, in preparation for the release of his novel Fat Tuesday on 27th September. Since meeting Gary through our involvement with PaperBooks, we've trod parallel paths --- with similar high points and low points --- in our journey towards publication. It's much easier when you can share moments of insanity with someone else!

The Ex Libris Port Fairy Book Fair & Literary Weekend is coming up. On Saturday, I'll be hosting a discussion with Dmetri Kakmi, author of Mother Land (Giramondo, 2008, ISBN 978-1920882433), which is described as 'a vivid portrayal of Greek-Turkish life on the Aegean island of Bozcaada, in all its beauty, poverty, and ignorance.' It's a stunning piece of writing---a powerful memoir. Lots of superlatives spring to mind, but for the moment I'll just say that his story-telling has a compelling tug to it and his prose is quite simply exciting. As you can tell, I'm loving it.

We'll be talking about his journey as a writer and the process by which Mother Land revealed itself, as well as exploring the overlap between memoir and fiction, and what it's like for an editor (Dmetri is a senior editor for Penguin) to be edited.

This is one of a number of events that'll take place across the weekend (art exhibition by illustrator Shaun Tan, talk by author Alice Pung, second hand book sales, etc), but one of my favourite annual events is the Barbara Cartland Hurl. Visitors are invited to dress up in something pink, read an excerpt from one of Barbara Cartland's romances and then see how far they can hurl it across the town green. This is a slightly less demanding activity than tossing the caber, but there are prizes for the best reading and the best hurl.

Was feeling a little out of things on Sunday, being so far from British book shops, but then some excellent news, accompanied by pics, arrived. A big thanks to Gary, who let me know that Borders, Newcastle, had The Snowing and Greening of Thomas Passmore on the shelves and in the 3-for-2 displays. This was followed by pics from Paola and Joel, proving (because seeing is believing) that the book really did exist and was on the shelves in Borders, Swindon. Thanks Paola and Joel. And then yesterday, Mrs T absolutely knocked my socks off by dedicating a whole post to her sighting (and capture) of The Snowing and Greening in Waterstones, Milton Keynes (which town incidentally rates a mention on p.164). See her pics, read her post.
And today my copies of the book arrived!

I pick them up, I prod them and turn them over... and they don't vanish. Wow!


Jon Haylett said...

I think writers use the word 'Wow!' when words finally fail them. When I handled my first copy of 'Cry of the Justice Bird', I felt overwhelmed. I still have that copy sitting in front of me on my desk. Inside I wrote "Done it!!!!" - and I don't like exclamation marks.

Great stuff, Paul.

Paul said...

That's it exactly, Jon. I seem to be saying or feeling 'Wow!' a lot at the moment. It is a good feeling though, so I'm glad Justice Bird is still perched on your desk.

Stella said...

I don't know how you're able to type coherent sentences in all the excitement :)

Re: the pink hurl thing
Why again do you hurl the books? (Also, why pink?)

Paul said...

Oh Stella! *sighs, dramatically* You haven't done your Barbara Cartland homework, have you? Everything to do with Barbara Cartland was pink, even the website that her son has built in her memory. She adorned herself (not dressed) with pink guazy frocks (lapdogs and probably tiaras). As to why some irreverent people choose to hurl her books, I'm not absolutely sure as I've never read one. She claimed to write a novel a month at one time, I think, and certainly published 723 books, and left another 160 unpublished at the time of her death, so it seems like a fair claim. I think some people respond to them the way they would if someone put twenty sugars in their cup of tea (Earl Grey tea, Royal Albert bone china of course)---they might feel like hurling! Whilst, obviously, other people love them, otherwise they would never have sold as well. As a someone who likes to have a standing chance of reading a writer's entire oeuvre, I feel BC's achievement puts me well out of the loop.

Jane Turley said...

I'm glad it was only your socks I knocked off. The thought of you naked, drinking champers from a kettle and frolicking in the neighbour's garden with a dead cat and a sledge hammer is too much for even Mrs T to bear!

Well it's not often I get to say I'd like to live in Austraila... but a Barbara Cartland Book Hurling contest sounds just up my street. And I look glorious in my pink pinny! Of course, being the thespian I am, I feel sure I could act out a love scene from one of her novels with due sincerity.(Cough, cough)

Once again, congratulations on achieving your dream PB. I guess it's been a long time coming but as I'm reading The Snowing and Greening of Thomas Passmore at the moment.. I think I can safely say... it was well worth the wait.

Paul said...

There's a small danger you might be the first person to finish reading it, Mrs T. Unless of course Mrs A has already shredded it, or chosen to use it for a Village Fete Book Hurling competition of her own. I think it's a slightly heavier book than any of BC's, so should travel further.

Jane Turley said...

Ah PB, I think Mrs A is actually further ahead than me as she reads on the train on the way to work. But PB, I must say I don't think she intends to shredd it. In fact she sent me this in an email;

"I am really quite enjoying the S&G of TP, his prose is very good and not irritating, which is a rare find for me!"

Believe me, coming from Mrs A that is almost praise! (PS don't tell her I told you - she'll kill me - She like her reputation as a ruthless book critic and much as I like my reputation as a book burner.)

Fortunately, it's quite warm over here at the moment although the rain is just awful. Definately, no Indian Summer. Maybe you are better off in Aussie Land!

gary davison said...

I need to move to Oz, Paul. Not only for the weather and the chill vibe, but hurling books. Is there a better past time???

Stella said...

Ah, well, I can see how hurling the things would sound like a good idea. I'd never heard of this, btw. Just proves you learn something new every day.

Paul said...

Jane, in my humble opinion, the socks always have to go first.

Jane and Gary, it's been a long, cold winter, and whilst spring might be poking it's nose out at the moment (beautiful weekend), I'm not jumping into the sea for a couple of months. :-)

Stella, Gary and Jane: Book hurling is where it all starts. Someone once told me they thought Australia was an uncultured place: big on sport, not crash hot on culture. What better evidence is there that our Olympians are well-rounded athletes, in all senses except physique? Take one part Arts, one part Irreverance and one part Sport and you have the archetypal Aussie. Clearly then, The Barbara Cartland Book Hurl is what fashions the modern Australian and should be made part of our Citizenship ceremeony. Hurl away, and you too might start developing a taste for cold beer and a slight twang to your pronunciation!

the Amateur Book Blogger said...

My local bookshop gets TSAGOTP in tomorrow - watch this space! More bare feet to come, no doubt!

Jane Turley said...

Good morning PB,

I have shocking new for you, Mrs A has finished the TS&GofTP!! And she tells me she has left you a review on TVFH! It is on the radio show post...unfortunately she was unable to follow my comprehensive instructions. However, I dare not criticise or I will be made redundant as her personal taster for her delicious home made chocolates which obviously must be avoided at all costs...

Hmm... and whilst you're there don't forget to let me know if you accept my challenge.....I feel it could be most entertaining.

Oh yes, and about those socks...you are quite right. A man can look very silly in socks with a third leg.

Paul said...

AMB: Thanks! Every time somebody tells me something like that, I begin floating towards Cloud Nine again. (Now that these socks are beginning to get a bit of coverage, I'm checking to make sure I don't have holes in them.)

Jane: Thanks, I've found it and have replied. But as for Noddy and the AK47, I can see Mrs Teddy Bear standing in the front room of her cottage wringing her hands in apprehension.
She's just standing there, Jane, staring blindly at Toy Town Post Office...

Swubird said...


I found your book on Amazon ($14.30) Not bad. However, I couldn't find it on either the Borders or Barnes and Nobles websites. Today I'll be in both of those stores so I asked about it.

Very thrilling to have a book published in the mainstream publishing industry.


Happy trails.

Paul said...

Thanks, Swubird. Amazon is probably the best bet in the States at the moment, as it is in Oz (although www.paperbooks.co.uk are mailing overseas). Distribution rights outside of UK have yet to be finalised, but it would be great to see it on the shelves here.

Again, thanks. It's been a crazy few weeks, but great fun.