Between the Covers 17/03/2013
Your weekly guide to what's really going on inside the world of books
Saturday 16 March 2013
No doubt the most talked-about literary prize of the week was the new £40,000 Folio Prize, whose formal launch party and sponsor announcement on Wednesday evening was so exciting that one person fainted. (These literary types sure know how to fight you for the canapés.)
But the Keats-Shelley literary prize would like us not to forget that its annual competition for essays and poems on romantic themes is now open, and the theme for 2013 is "Noise". This year's prize chair is the brilliant novelist Salley Vickers, and the prize money is £3,000. There's also a children's poetry prize. For a museum best known for being where Keats died in 1821, Keats-Shelley House in Rome is pretty quick with the social media. Also on Wednesday evening, it announced: "STOP PRESS. Breaking news. Guided tour of Keats-Shelley House tomorrow, 17.00 … Perhaps the new Pope is free …"
Keats and Shelley are not the most prolific dead authors, however. That honour goes to Dorothy Parker, the Huffington Post claims in an article about dead writers' social media presence. On Ms Parker's Facebook page, fans can engage in "energetic discussions". But on Shakespeare's Twitter feed, we can see how his language works beautifully in any form. Oscar Wilde also has a strong presence, but we dread to think what he would have made of Twitter.
So, even dead authors have Twitter feeds, and ebooks are now part of the Office of National Statistics' shopping basket, but some people are still happy with traditional media. Thanks to the artist Rossetti Rogers, who posted a photo online of her mother's bright idea: using a Kindle as a bookmark. How do we know about this? Well, it trended on Twitter. But the elder Ms Rogers need not know that.
Bad luck to Katie Fforde, who has had to step down as the winner of the Contemporary category in the Romantic Novelists' Association Awards because she cannot make the organisation's summer party on 16 May. In order to compete for the overall Romantic Novel of the Year prize, all category winners must go to the ball, which sadly rules Fforde out. It's good news, though, for Mhairi McFarlane, whose You Had Me At Hello squeaked narrowly into second place when the category was first judged, and will now replace Fforde's book to compete for the overall title. Fforde says, somewhat magnanimously in the circumstances: "I'm so thrilled that you can wave the flag for contemporary fiction – I'll be rooting for you." And crime writers say that romantic novelists are bitchy – far from it.
Between the Covers can't wait to try the recipes in a new book called Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist, by Tim Federle (Perseus, £9.99). Recipes include "Last of the Mojitos", which substitutes agave nectar for sugar; "The Count of Monte Cristal"; "Gin Eyre"; "Love in the Time of Kahlua"; and "Paradise Sauced", which contains one ounce of sour apple schnapps. Bottoms up!
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