Novel approach to reviews
A COUPLE of weeks ago in these pages, we reviewed new novels by British crime writers R.J. Ellory and Mark Billingham. As it happens, Sue Turnbull preferred that of the former to the latter: ”While Billingham may have written a clever crime novel, it is Ellory who has written a great one.” But Ellory has been taking insurance against poor reviews by writing his own and posting them anonymously on Amazon. He was exposed last weekend by a British spy writer, Jeremy Duns. He quotes a number of reviews written by Ellory under such pseudonyms as Nicodemus Jones and Jelly Beans, all of which praise his own novels and bag those by Billingham and Stuart MacBride. In the course of a series of tweets, Duns shows how he pinged Ellory by examining their enthusiasm for certain phrases and the curious way in which Ellory enters his own comments. The crime writer confessed, saying the reviews were his responsibility. ”I wholeheartedly regret the lapse of judgment that allowed personal opinions to be disseminated in this way and I would like to apologise to my readers and the writing community.” Britain’s Daily Telegraph published a letter condemning the practice of ”sock-puppeting” from a variety of crime writers, including the aforementioned Billingham and MacBride, and Michael Connelly, Val McDermid, Jo Nesbo, Ian Rankin and Karin Slaughter. Australian crime writer Michael Robotham posted on his Facebook page: ”I used to tell people that what I loved about writing was its innocence. I didn’t have to crush anyone else’s dreams to write stories and get published. My naivety has now been shattered. Publishing can be just as dirty and dishonourable as banking. Sad day.”
Murder she wrote
LAST week was a bumper one for local crime-writing awards. Apart from the Ned Kellys, the Sisters in Crime dished out their Davitt awards. Davitts? Named after Ellen Davitt, who wrote Australia’s first crime novel, Force and Fraud, in 1865. The big one for fiction went to Sulari Gentill for A Decline in Prophets, while Jaye Ford won the best debut award for Beyond Fear. She also shared the readers’ choice gong with former Tasmanian police officer Y.A. Erskine for The Brotherhood. Meg McKinlay won the young-adult prize for Surface Tension. Former Sunday Age journalist Liz Porter won the true-crime Davitt for Cold Case Files, which was also shortlisted for a Ned. Porter’s first book, Written on the Skin, which shared a Ned in 2007, was inspired by a feature she wrote about a fire and bomb-blast examiner whose work showed that an accidental fire was actually a cold-blooded murder.
Hot market collared
IT HELPS to have the hottest erotica in your publishing stable. Random House was able to boost its earnings and profits significantly in the first six months of this year thanks to the 30 million copies of the Fifty Shades trilogy sold between March and the end of June. According to a statement from Random owner Bertelsmann, sales were divided evenly between paperback and e-book editions. But all sales contributed to a jump of 20 per cent to €947 million ($1.16 billion) and a whacking jump in earnings before interest and tax from €69 million to €113 million. No wonder so many of the other major publishers are jumping on the erotica bandwagon.
RICHARD Holloway’s several appearances last weekend at the Melbourne Writers Festival were consistently impressive. The former Episcopalian Bishop of Edinburgh spoke movingly about his own doubts in the Christian God and his relationship with the church. He first married a gay couple in the 1970s and was scathing about an institution that would deny people of the same sex the rights to love and making a meaningful commitment in front of their god. He reserved particular scorn for the Lambeth Conference, the meeting of Anglican bishops, that in 1998 condemned homosexuality as sinful and unacceptable. Recalling the meeting, which he said drove him away from the church, he described it as 700 men in pink frocks who hate men who love men. ”If Dante were alive, he’d make it another circle of hell.”
Four men and a mind-reader
PICO Iyer spoke at the festival about four men who had been profound influences on him as a writer and a human being: his father; British novelist Graham Greene; the Dalai Lama, with whom he spends a week each year when the Tibetan spiritual leader goes to Japan, where Iyer lives; and Leonard Cohen, about whom he said ”he really lives the life he sings and talks about”. When it came to the women in his life, he had one big surprise. ”My wife [Hiroko Takeuchi] of 25 years has never read a word I’ve written.” But, he added, she reads him better than anyone.
THE best-selling books at the Dymocks shop during the writers festival were: 26-Storey Treehouse, Andy Griffiths; Charles Dickens & the Great Theatre of the World, Simon Callow; Leaving Alexandria, Richard Holloway; Foal’s Bread, Gillian Mears; The Engagement, Chloe Hooper; Just Doomed!, Andy Griffiths; 1835: The Founding of Melbourne & Conquest of Australia, James Boyce; SpinCycle, John Weldon; After, Morris Gleitzman; The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, John Boyne.
Biography of note
APPLICATIONS are invited for the second literary fellowship, worth $10,000, in the name of late Australian biographer Hazel Rowley, whose subjects included Christina Stead, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, the Roosevelts and Richard Wright. It is being offered to writers focusing on biography. The recipient of the first fellowship, Mary Hoban, is working on a life of Julia Sorell, the strong-minded granddaughter of Tasmanian governor William Sorell, who married Matthew Arnold’s brother, Thomas. For more information, visit hazelrowley南京夜网.
A place of crosses and bullet shells
sold by auction. Flattened cars
sold by negotiation. Muddy ribcage
to be inspected by appointment
with an undead agent. Vendors
stinking cadavers. Property
of decomposition. A house amazing
-ly decrepit. Did we enjoy prosperity
‘s graveyard? To report
conditions of infestations? No
place like home. It’s me and you
dusting this debris, kicking vultures
out of our craters. Floor boards
become of coffins, curtains
of bloody uniforms. Let’s haunt this house.
ROYAL Historical Society of Victoria annual book sale. 10am. RHSV, 239 A’Beckett Street, city. historyvictoria南京夜网.au; 9326 9288.
A PUBLIC forum on Agatha Christie’s Murder in Mesopotamia. With Angela Savage, Kerry Greenwood and Museum Victoria chief executive and archaeologist Patrick Greene. 2pm. Melbourne Museum, 11 Nicholson Street, Carlton. $12/$10.
PETER Fitzpatrick discusses The Two Frank Thrings. 3pm. St Kilda Library, 150 Carlisle Street. $5.
TONI Jordan on her novel, Nine Days. 7pm. Richmond Library, 415 Church Street.
JENNY Hocking talks about Gough Whitlam: His Time. 6.30pm. Readings Carlton, 309 Lygon Street. Bookings: [email protected]南京夜网.au; 9347 6633.
MICHAEL Farrell and Peter Rose discuss their poetry. 6pm. Australian Book
Review, Boyd, 207-229 City Road, Southbank. Bookings: [email protected]南京夜网.au; 9699 8822.
DAVID Marr on his new Quarterly Essay about Tony Abbott. 6.30pm. Readings Hawthorn, 701 Glenferrie Road. Bookings: [email protected]南京夜网.au; 9819 1917.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.