TW News • Updates • Cool Clicks
TW’s Nov/Dec 2012 Issue
“50 Shades of Adaptation”
Launch Date: November 5, 2012
Everything is fair game for adaptation these days, including literary classics rewritten as new novels. In TW’s next issue, enter the great, buzzing, blooming world of 21st-century adaptations. It’s fun! It’s scary! It rules! A few highlights:
- Incarnations: Rebecca, Batman, The Hobbit, The Shining, and In Cold Blood
- Book vs. Movie: Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire
- Mixed Media: Artist Donald Langosy on poetry; poet Camille Martin on art
- Talking Indie: David Biddle on why your friends and family won’t buy your book
Don’t Miss These Sept/Oct 2012 Features
- Theme Essay: Sloth: The Slyest of Sins
- Interview with Nichole Bernier: “The Mother of All Bonfires”
- Why I Write: Regarding the Golden Monster
- Yawping Wild: Dylan’s Bricks, Dickinson’s Bee
Only Three Days Left to Enter the TW Contests!
Happy Halloween! And don’t forget to submit your work for our 2012 Prizes for Short Fiction and Nature Writing. Deadline: November 1, 2012.
We’re looking for the essay or short story that only you can write. At TW, we’re serious about celebrating great online writing. In addition, your contest entry fee will help support Talking Writing, a growing online literary magazine that attracts more readers and commentary every day.
Both prizewinners receive publication in TW and admission to the March 2013 AWP Conference in Boston. All entries will be considered for publication in TW.
Boston Book Festival 2012: Are You a Deep Writer?
Report by Martha Nichols from Athena’s Head
Last Saturday, warm fall weather brought crowds—crowds!—to Copley Square for the fourth annual Boston Book Festival. Lines snaked around Trinity Church for events like “The Short Story” (with Junot Diaz as the star attraction) and “Political Culture.”
The BBF has grown since I attended its first year, including tented tables with local booksellers and far more indie authors selling their work. TW Executive Editor Elizabeth Langosy and I had great chats with other attendees, including Christina Thompson, editor of the Harvard Review, and Terence Hawkins, who directs the Yale Writers’ Conference. (I even did some live tweeting, which you’ll find @talkingwriting.)
Yet, there was more commercial hustle than I remember, too, and much angst about the impact of e-books and digital publishing. Elizabeth and I were surprised to hear the three writers on “The Short Story” panel say they read almost no literary writing online.
Jennifer Haigh, a PEN/Hemingway award winner, recounted her first foray into publishing a story digitally on Byliner as if it were a daring experiment. After realizing how many readers saw it online, Haigh said, “it was a total revelation to me.”
One of the oddest notes was struck by the BBF’s opening event on Friday night, “Page to Screen.” Five writers squared off about having their books turned into movies, moderated by Wesley Morris, a film critic at the Boston Globe.
A promising setup. But as it turned out, I could have been watching reality TV with a cast of “characters.” There was the funny chubby guy (Daniel Handler aka Lemony Snicket). The hardass journalist dressed in black (Buzz Bissinger of Friday Night Lights). The handsome keeper of the literary flame (Andre Dubus of House of Sand and Fog).
And there was the token woman (YA novelist Rachel Cohn of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist)—looking “lovely in purple,” said Morris (token person of color).
I like all these writers, but the event quickly devolved into talking about the commercial advantages of a movie adaptation—“It’s really freaking great,” said Cohn, “It’s like a two-hour advertisement for your book”—and chest thumping between Bissinger and Dubus about how pragmatic writers should be in angling books for movie deals.
All in all, a cynical interpretation of artists vs. hack filmmakers (“We’re talking about art vs. commerce!” Dubus cried), and one that did little to celebrate the creativity of adaptations or literary mashups. Stay tuned for a different spin in the next issue of Talking Writing.
But if this event tapped too much insiderish author anxiety, the last session I attended on Saturday boosted my hopes. “The Future of Reading” attracted an overflow audience in the venerable Boston Public Library, with a panel that included Nicholas Negroponte, co-founder of the MIT Media Lab; Robert Darnton, director of the University Library at Harvard; and Baratunde Thurston, author of How to Be Black and formerly of the Onion.
“Technology is driving a fundamental change in the way we apprehend text,” Darnton said. While he sees pros and cons to the digital future, like others on the panel, he worried about short attention spans and “losing deep reading.” He even argued that “tweets are eroding our language of adjectives and adverbs.”
Thurston, for his part, noted that books now get to audiences through many channels, including Twitter. “The book isn’t the thing,” he said, “the story is the thing.”
Still, the best observation (at least for this TW editor) came from a questioner in the audience: Because of digital publishing, she said, “we’re becoming deep writers.”
Yes! And if there’s any doubt about where my allegiance falls—or if you’re wondering what’s really going to happen to Newsweek—check out my TW paean to the future in “Hurray for Digital Magazines!”
Help Us Tweet Your Literary News @talkingwriting
We’ve got a lively conversation going on Twitter, so be sure to check the tweet stream that now appears on most TW pages. Tweet us questions or links to good articles. Let us know what you think about books, writers, publishing—and the latest literary spats. It’s all material for one big, evolving conversation about literary culture around the world.
If you’re on Twitter, please follow TW @talkingwriting.
Also, send your Twitter handles and news to TWNews@talkingwriting.com.
We’re now compiling Twitter contacts for as many TW contributors and subscribers as we can. And we’re happy to tweet about upcoming literary events that will interest TW readers, whether in New England, across the country, or beyond the U.S.
Submissions Update: Spring 2013
We’re always looking for great short stories, flash fiction, poetry, “Why I Write” essays, and visual art. In addition, here’s a call for work on an upcoming theme:
March/April 2013: The Last Bookstore on Earth
E-books are fine, but what’s missing?
For TW’s March/April issue, we’re now soliciting essays that recall a specific bookstore as an emotional turning point in the writer’s life. Feel free to query us first.
Submission Deadline: January 14, 2013
Submit all work and queries at talkingwriting.submittable.com
Focus on TW Poetry
The current issue of Talking Writing includes two powerful poems by Claire Bateman. The opening lines of “Self-Summary”:
Apparently, I’m here to read
everything in print at an ever-accelerating pace,
though without any aptitude
for synthesis or retention—
which is to say that I’m here
to be largely elsewhere.
I must have been displaced as an infant
from my native planet
where unread words don’t lie
inertly on their pages,
The digital future indeed. Read the rest of “Self-Summary” here.