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London Book Fair Report

An exciting & thought-provoking event made all the more interesting by the conflicting opinions about the huge Chinese presence.

I’ll shortly be blogging:

  • An interview with Louise Jordan of the Writers’ Advice Centre;
  • Reviewing Carole Jahme’s latest novel Worth Their Weight in Blood & finding out what she said about her work during our LBF interview;
  • Looking at the 3-volume work East Meets West from Joan Chan.

Full reviews will be available to download, as soon as I’ve got through Carole’s 300+ pages and Joan’s 700+.

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English PEN Goes Digital

The writers’ charity, English PEN has launched PEN Atlas, an initiative of the Writers in Translation programme. Correspondents from around the world will post regular news and comment from the literary scenes in other countries.

Ros Schwartz, English PEN Trustee and Chair of the Writers in Translation Programme, commented:  ‘The amount of foreign literature published in English is far too low. We hope the PEN Atlas will inspire literature lovers to sample new writing from other countries, and encourage publishers to bring that writing to the British market.’

The PEN Atlas is edited by Tasja Dorkofikis. New articles will be published online every Thursday. The first is by Athens-based Gazmend Kapllani, who writes on how authors are trying to continue writing while the economy collapses around them.

The PEN Atlas is aimed at literature lovers, publishers and translators.

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Freedom to Write: A Users Guide

A new project, launched by English PEN, offers guidance to authors on free expression issues. The organisation has commissioned Human Rights barrister Martha Spurrier to examine the rights and restrictions to free speech. Over the next 14 weeks, Freedom To Writer: A Users Guide will deal with issues such as libel, privacy, and the public interest, aimed particularly at authors wishing to know what they can and cannot write. Articles will be published online every Friday.

 Director of English PEN Jonathan Heawood says: ‘The UK has strong tradition of free speech, but unfortunately any author who wants to a stir up the status quo or speak truth to power must first negotiate the complex areas of criminal and civil law relating to expression.  Our new guide will help writers navigate the current law, so they can write what they want to write with confidence. We hope this will embolden writers to tell their story.’

Freedom to Write: A Users Guide is aimed at all writers – novelists, non-fiction writers, biographers or bloggers.

 The guide cites many of English PEN’s recent campaigns for free expression in the UK, including our ‘Free Expression is No Offence’ Campaign (2005), our Criminal Memoirs Campaign (2009), and our ongoing Libel Reform Campaign, and will be updated to reflect changes in the law.

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