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Issue 50 / December 2012

February 2012 Update

This week celebrates Charles Dickens' 200th birthday, and events unfold across the globe. Claire Tomalin wonders what he would have made of the 21st Century. We wonder what he would have made of his google doodle.

A publishing phenomenon that hit the headlines in between issues is the success of Amanda Hocking, an authoress (as the Daily Mail would have it) who published her novel online, made millions and then secured a deal with Pan Macmillan.

So is it true, then, that ebook success is confined to downmarket genre fiction? Faber & Faber's Stephen Page doesn't think so, but acknowledges the way ahead for publishing requires substantial change if literary publishing is to succeed. However, one thing is for certain: "Publishing is at its best when editors identify great work, and assist the author in its improvement."

For budding writers out there, looking for a platform to showcase your work, we feature a New Voice in every issue alongside established writers. To be considered, simply submit a short story to us, as outlined here. And take a look at our blog for a guide to getting published.

We're delighted to see the short story is being given a profile by Costa. Out of the blue they announced a new short story award. A sign that the times are changing for the short form, if the almighty Costa thinks they're worth investing in? Maybe not.

Bloomsbury is launching a new imprint, Bloomsbury Circus, dedicated to unashamedly literary writing, or so their brochure insists. Aiming to publish four new titles a month this could well be a new form of literary club. If the launch list is an indicator of what's to come, we're applying for membership now. And we're curious as to how Bloomsbury will be marketing their new venture. Will the follow the traditional route, or follow something a little more high-wire?

Shortly after dropping its apostrophe, Waterstones announced its best debut novels of the forthcoming year, and much comment has already been made about seven of the 11 being written by women. It's a smart list, and we'll be featuring many of the writers over the course of the next few months, starting with this issue, which introduces Chad Harbach and Will Wiles.

Kudos to the Shoreditch House Literary Salon. They've just launched their monthly Salons as podcasts and downloads have already surpassed Richard and Judy. We always like to see an indie take on a corporate giant - and win.

Last but not least, if you're as curious about the casting of forthcoming HBO adaptation of Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections as we are, here's a hint.

We have a bumper issue for you this month. The charming Chad Hardbach talks about his much-heralded debut novel The Art of Fielding; Will Wiles writes about an eventful week; Agn├Ęs Desarthe on what she's reading; Ben Masters' essay explores literary style; and we have a wildly entertaining short story from Etgar Keret, who is in London for Jewish Book Week later this month. Our blog features exclusive insights into the writing process from Janette Jenkins, Andrea Gillies, and Writers' and Artists' Yearbook editor Alysoun Owen.

Bring in the bottled lightning, a clean tumbler, and a corkscrew*, and enjoy!

*Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby

Farhana Gani, February 2012

Tuesday, 7 February, 2012

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