Markus Zusak, who wrote The Book Thief (one of our Most Wanted books for, like, ages), was recently at the Hay Festival in the United Kingdom (which seems to be a celebration of books and chairs, from what I can tell), where he was interviewed while relaxing in a comfortable-looking deck chair. He talks about how he works, what inspired him to write The Book Thief, what it means to have death as a narrator, and a few other bits and pieces. The interview is here (from the Guardian website).
Incidentally, if you’re interested in strange narrators and you liked How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff make sure you read Just In Case, which is narrated by fate – it would make a very interesting point of comparison.
If you’re into creative writing you might be interested in this:
There are two special school holiday creative writing workshops happening next Wednesday 22 April at Katherine Mansfield Birthplace (25 Tinakori Road, Thorndon).
Run by award-winning author Janice Marriott, the workshops are a great chance for secondary school students aged 13–15 to develop their skills and ideas in creative writing.
Workshop 1: 9.30–12.30am
Workshop 2 (repeat): 1.30–4.30pm
Cost: $25 per student
Spaces are limited so bookings are essential. To book, call 473 7268 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you read a book lately that you think other people should read? Or maybe you’ve read a book that you don’t think anyone would want to read? You can review them here, on our newly created and simple-to-use review form.
We will publish all the good reviews (and good bad reviews) that we get.
Patrick Ness is the author of the recent award-winning YA book, The Knife of Never Letting Go (his latest book, The Ask and the Answer, is on order). He is also the first ‘online writer in residence’ for the British charity, Booktrust. Normally a writer in residence gets a house in a nice part of the world to live in and write for a year, a la the Katherine Mansfield prize. An online writer in residence doesn’t get all that, sadly, but Patrick Ness has a very nice blog going. You may also want to check out his tips for new writers.
Just Write is a writing programme with a difference. Each year Just Write supports ten young writers around the country to develop their writing and media literacy skills and increase their understanding of global issues, such as poverty, human rights and sustainability. We offer a programme of training and support, including writing workshops and one to one mentoring from a local media professional.
There are lots of benefits to being in this programme. To be eligible you must be between 14 and 18, and live in New Zealand. You can download the application form here (.pdf) by 5pm, Monday, the 16th of February. Which is, oh, only two weeks away.
Last year I did a post about authors who blog (regularly). I’ve dredged up some more, which are rather enlightening (to varying degrees).
Megan McCafferty of Sloppy Firsts fame, has an interesting take on blogging. She’s called hers a (retro)blog, and she includes writing assignments and essays she produced in school (going back to the 1980s). You’ll also find articles she’s written on the Twilight saga, containing a hint that Marcus Flutie (from Sloppy Firsts, not Twilight) is based on a real person (or persons).
Susan Beth Pfeffer, author of the horribly harrowing (really, really) stories about what happens to the earth when the moon is knocked out of orbit by an asteroid (The Dead and the Gone, and Life As We Knew It).
Brent Hartinger updates his regularly (the key to keeping a good blog, that).
Robin McKinley, author of Beauty and Sunshine (for those vampire fans). I love what she’s called her blog.
And for those Bear Grylls fans, keep up with what the Bear is up to: http://beargrylls.blogspot.com/
You’ve got almost exactly one week to get your short stories into us! Remember that the close off time is 12pm on Wednesday the 24th of December.
Some things to remember: make sure you include the following things (exactly); “forks”, “a swan” and “red carpet”. Make sure your story is no more than 350 words long too. And don’t forget to include your name and your library card number with your entry.
By the way, you can enter more than one story, but remember that we’re not pulling names out of a hat; you’re just as likely to win with one entry as with ten, so make sure it’s as good as you can get it.
By promoting creative writing as a past time, the site seeks to encourage creative thinking, proper grammar, and better writing.
Today, the Young Writers Society is proud to boast well over 3,000 members, over 10,000 poems and stories, and a review to story/poem ratio of nearly 6 to 1. The average age on the site is 17.5, and the site receives over 400 posts per day on average. There is no other site for young writers on the web that even comes close.
Here’s the prize pack for the Short Short Story Competition. There is a copy of the book (the movie cover version), the soundtrack to the film (featuring a track by the sparkling Robert Pattinson), and a sixteen-month calendar (I’m unsure what that means). The total value is $90 or thereabouts – I’m no mathematician.
Check out the competition’s rules etc. here, or click on the competition logo to the left.
It can be difficult writing a short story, essay or whatever, when there is a limit to the number of words you can write. But sometimes it’s fun to challenge yourself and embrace the difficulty. Drabbles, for examples, are short stories that have exactly 100 words. This post is a drabble, and so is this Christmas story by Neil Gaiman.
One sentence stories are perhaps harder to write (though it’s amazing how much meaning can be jammed into only a few words); see also these ten-word reviews of just about anything. Do you think you can write one yourself?