Students discover lost Blake etchings in Manchester’s John Rylands Library

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An exhibition next month at John Rylands Library in Manchester will present previously lost etchings by poet and artist William Blake. The librarians at John Rylands suspected their collection of over one million books included many commercial etchings by Blake. But the students discovered more than expected, under the guidance of Manchester University’s Blake specialist Colin Trodd. I understand that over 300 etchings were discovered in the collection.

John Rylands library Achivist Stella Halkyard said :

As well as being a creative artist, Blake was an engraver and produced a wide variety of work.

The students had some specialist training in identifying prints from David Morris at the Whitworth Art Gallery before hunting through the collection. They found out we actually had a huge number of commercial engravings by Blake.

During the 18th and 19th century, engraving was looked down on as an art form, and commercial engraving more so.

But Blake is a hugely influential figure whose work was ahead of his time and whose poems are taught in our classrooms.

It is incredibly rare to have so many engravings by Blake together in one place. It is an incredible array of subjects and really showcases his talent.”

So put a note in your diaries: Burning Bright’: William Blake and Art of the Book runs at the John Rylands Library from February 7 – June 23

 

Self-Publishing Tips: From Manuscript to Kindle

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So, your manuscript is finished (raise the flags!) and you’re ready to self-publish your ebook. You’ve already set up an account on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and you’ve completed all the information requested – book title, description, categories, verified your publishing rights.

Here are my hints and tips that should contribute to a smooth upload of your completed book. My advice is really aimed at other novelists rather than writers of non-fiction since their books have more complex formatting issues. And I took the simplest route, I believe, by preparing and uploading a Word document to the KDP website. (I won’t deal with the Front Cover upload in this blogpost). The KDP conversion process will produce a .mobi file, which you can download and check before you hit the Publish button. Read more

Severn Estuary ‘Wrong Place to Start’ with Tidal

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One of the world’s biggest tidal energy turbines being prepared for deployment in Scotland.
A Royal Society report says we’re underestimating the amount of electricity that could be generated from tidal sources, says Matt McGrathBBC Environment correspondent.

In summary – 15% of UK needs could be met from barrages that exploit tidal flow and 5% from planting turbines underwater in fast flowing tidal streams. The report’s co-author, Dr Nicholas Yates of the National Oceanography Centre, says: Read more

Authors Tempted to Switch to Self-Publishing

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I didn’t notice this (staggeringly interesting) story in the run up to Christmas and I reckon it’s worth resurrecting. According to the Digital Census by Futurebook, almost half the traditionally published authors responding to their survey have contemplated switching to the self-publishing route. This is the first time that Futurebook (part of The Bookseller magazine) has posed questions to authors in its annual census.

In addition, traditionally published authors expressed less satisfaction with their publishers’ achievements (6.2 out of 10 rating) compared to self-published authors’ satisfaction with their own publishing efforts (7 out of 10 rating).

Trad authors complained about their ebooks being over-priced and that their publishers were slow to respond to market changes. They were disappointed with publishers’ ebook strategies as well as their marketing efforts.

As for authors who self-publish, many would be tempted to move to a traditional publisher for the kudos, for further intellectual property exploitation (eg translation rights), and . . . for improved marketing. (Ha ha! See above).

According to Futurebook’s Sam Missingham:

The obvious conclusion seems to be that we are at a significant moment when many authors are weighing the pros and cons of pursuing a self-publishing or traditional publishing route for their work.

Or a case, possibly, of the grass always being greener on the other side.

Maybe we’ll witness more developments in 2013 akin to literary agency Curtis Brown’s move into ‘self-publishing’. Curtis Brown is self-publishing in the US market for its established UK authors such as Tony Parsons.

 

More Punctuation Malarky: A Crisis of Commas

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A passing remark on The Guardian Books Blog cost me dearly in woman-hours in the run up to Christmas. Blogger Alison Flood reviewed a self-published novel to test whether the online praise for the book was justified. (Mary Campisi’s A Family Affair – not my own cup of tea). I won’t present Alison’s conclusions, only her first comment:

First up, the commas. She employs the scattergun approach.

Read more

Climate Change Sceptics – Media Analysis

newspapers detailThe Green Alliance blog carried this assessment of media scepticism on climate change in a guest post by James Painter of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

In summary: Right wing newspapers in the UK are promoting climate change scepticism through their opinion pieces rather than through their news columns.

The RISJ has conducted research and according to Painter:

This research prompts an array of interesting questions.  One is the obvious and oft-asked one of why climate scepticism is more of a right-wing phenomenon both in the media and in wider society.

But it is also worth asking what the main drivers are of climate scepticism in the media.  Is it newspaper owners or editors pushing an agenda?  Is it journalists concerned with ‘balance’? Or is it the decline of specialist environment correspondents, who have an understanding of where mainstream science consensus lies?

Or are the media merely reflecting wider society, where there are loudly sceptical politicians and lobby groups?

At a time of questioning of journalistic standards in the press, it’s worth wrestling with these questions more.

Read more

Off-Topic: Farnworth Society of Women’s Suffrage

I expect most of you will be off-topic for the next 24 hours so here’s another random addition to the blog. Among my dad’s books, which I’m currently sorting through, there’s a volume of poetry with a red suede cover — “Poems of Experience” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, dated 1916, published by Gay and Hancock of Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London. The suede is pretty fragile and my hands are covered in red dust.

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The inscription is fascinating and I’ve no idea how this book came to my dad:

To Mrs Affleck.

a gift from the Committee of the Farnworth Society for Women’s Suffrage in commemoration of the passing of the Representation of the People Bill, and in grateful recognition of her work as Secretary 1910 – 1918.

May 15th 1918

And in case you think that intellectual property rights are mainly the burning issue for the digital age, there’s a note from Ella Wheeler Wilcox:

Any edition of my poems published in England by any firm except Messrs. Gay and Hancock is pirated and not authentic.

Nothing changes . . .

Off-Topic On A Pilgrim’s Progress

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As it’s the Season of Good Cheer I thought I’d go off-topic today. I’ve been using the holiday to sort through my dad’s old books as I’m planning to arrange them on my new bookshelves. How wildly exciting – new bookshelves!

In fact many of these books were inherited from my great uncle, William Thwaites. Uncle Bill was a vicar in the North West of England, latterly in Lytham St Anne’s near Blackpool. Not surprisingly there’s a religious theme in a fair chunk of his reading material.

I’m fascinated by a miniature book in his collection, entitled The Pilgrim’s Progress, The Language of Scripture. It’s the cutest little thing. There’s no date or publisher name. Following a tiny two-page preface, the book comprises biblical quotations under headings relating to the full text of John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, first published in 1678.

Uncle Bill bought an edition of The Pilgrim’s Progress published by The Book Society in London. Again, there’s no date but I’ve found a reference online that suggests it was published in 1874. So pretty old!

The little and large versions are pictured here. I expect he read the miniature while referring to the full volume.

Can anyone cast any light on this little book?

Fahrenheit 451: Midcentury Renway Bungalow

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I came across this quite by chance. My brother is visiting for Christmas and he showed me the wowhaus website for ‘interesting’ and retro properties. As I scrolled through the properties I was stunned to see Montag, hero of Fahrenheit 451. He’s shown walking out of his home – a midcentury Renway bungalow, recently for sale in Edgcumbe Park, Berkshire, UK.

This Renway bungalow must have been the last word in modernity when Francois Truffaut made his 1966 movie adaptation of Fahrenheit 451. Montag lived in a Type 60 property!

http://bit.ly/RUn829