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Posts Tagged ‘Agatha Christie’

Oscar Wilde & Ahmad Shawqi Honored by Google Doodle


The Google Doodle team honored two writers in select countries last Friday. Oscar Wilde received a mysterious Dorian Gray-style doodle in honor of his 156th birthday. The Google team incorporated Arabic script into the logo to honor the birthday of poet Ahmad Shawqi (both embedded above, via).

Wilde’s most notable works include The Importance of Being Earnest and The Picture of Dorian Gray. To this day, he is widely considered to be iconic in the gay community. He passed away at age 40 in 1900 from cerebral meningitis.

Shawqi was known primarily as a poet. He was particularly known in the Arabic literature community for being the first to write poetic plays. The play which gave him the most fame and recognition was the tragedy, The Death of Cleopatra.

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Seven Authors Who Wrote While Nude

Writers have always had interesting stories beyond the ones they put down to paper. Here’s the naked truth: Neatorama has outed seven well-known authors as nudist writers.

The authors are Victor Hugo, Ernest Hemingway, D.H. Lawrence, James Whitcomb Riley, Edmond Rostand, Benjamin Franklin, and Agatha Christie.

Hemingway’s cousin, Edward actually opened Britain’s oldest nudist colony during the 1930s and called it Metherell Towers. So far, there are no accountings of Ernest having visited the colony. Most of the authors don’t give an explanation for the unclothed state, but French novelist Hugo had a legitimate methodical purpose behind his nudeness.

Neatorama reports: “When Victor Hugo, the famous author of great tomes such as Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, ran into a writer’s block, he concocted a unique scheme to force himself to write: he had his servant take all of his clothes away for the day and leave his own nude self with only pen and paper, so he’d have nothing to do but sit down and write.”

Free Sherlock Holmes Audiobooks

sherlock_holmes_4_web.jpgJust in time for the holiday release of a new Sherlock Holmes adaptation, AudioFile magazine will give readers a free collection of Sherlock Holmes short stories on audiobooks.

To access the collection, readers need to sign up for the Audiofile newsletter between Dec. 16 and 29. In months past, the multimedia series has also included listeners’ guides to Agatha Christie, Edgar Allan Poe, Neil Gaiman, and Terry Pratchett. The free stories will be read by award winning producer David Timson, including the stories “Silver Blaze,” “The Adventure of the Stockbroker’s Clerk,” and “The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plan.”

AudioFile publisher Robin Whitten explained: “With the 150th anniversary of Arthur Conan Doyle‘s birth this year and the release of the Sherlock Holmes film starring Robert Downey, Jr., it’s an appropriate time to encourage a new generation of fans to discover the voices of Sherlock Holmes … the atmospheric settings, intellectual puzzles and intriguing characters of Arthur Conan Doyle make perfect audio listening.”

New Agatha Christie Stories Discovered

200px-Agatha_Christie_plaque_-Torre_Abbey.jpgTwo new stories about Hercule Poirot–one of Agatha Christie‘s most famous detectives–have been uncovered by a researcher.

According to Bookseller, the books were uncovered by John Curran, a Christie fan granted rare access to the late mystery writer’s 73 writing notebooks. The stories will be published in the forthcoming volume, “Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks: Fifty Years of Mysteries in the Making.” The book is a £20 hardcover with a UK print-run of 20,000 and HarperCollins holds the world rights.

Here’s more from the report: “Secret Notebooks will include short story ‘The Mystery of the Dog’s Ball,’ which was eventually reworked into the novel ‘Dumb Witness,’ but unlike other Christie short stories-turned-­novels it remained unpublished. The other story ‘The Capture of Cerberus,’ was written to complete The Labours of Hercules, a collection which followed the 12 cases Poirot chose to end his career.” (Image via.)

Sales Jump After the Author Dies

UK-based publishing journalist Danuta Kean has a piece in the Financial Times today about literary estates, and how the posthumous works of an author end up being big business. Sebastian Faulks, for example, is expected to share royalties and be paid an advance by Penguin for the May 2008 James Bond novel DEVIL MAY CARE. There’s the posthumous cottage industry of V.C. Andrews and Robert Ludlum. But not all dead authors need produce new books. The owner of Agatha Christie‘s rights has kept her in the public eye without resorting to new books. Agatha Christie Ltd is part of the intellectual property group Chorion, which also represents the estates of Enid Blyton, Raymond Chandler and Georges Simenon.

“We have absolute control over what’s made,” says Mathew Prichard, ACL chairman and Christie’s grandson, of various television series starring venerated Christie characters. “The most important thing about television is that it keeps the books alive. We definitely see a rise in sales across her whole list when the series are screened.” Another layer of protection is by trademarking: For dead authors who are still in copyright, trademarking may help estates keep control after the term ends, says intellectual property lawyer Laurence Kaye. “If you intend to republish a book that has gone out of copyright, you would have to do it in a way that did not infringe any trademarks.”

New Boss for HarperCollins UK Children’s Division

The Bookseller reports that HarperCollins Children’s Books has recruited Mario Santos as its new managing director, reporting to HC m.d. Amanda Ridout starting October 1. Santos was previously senior vice president and head of business development at Chorion, the intellectual property development business responsible for the Agatha Christie and Enid Blyton estates and the Mr Men brand. Before that he worked at Marshall Editions and Dorling Kindersley.

Ridout said that HC planned to “substantially grow” its children’s business over the next few years. Santos said: “I am delighted to be joining the talented team at HarperCollins at such an exciting time for children’s publishing, and I look forward to working with them to develop and grow the business in the short and long term.”

What of the Harry Potter Offshoots?

The question is very much on the minds of many who follow everything related to Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling and the WSJ’s Jeff Trachtenberg asks the question in more detail. With the final volume in the series slated for publication on July 21, will it mean that few additions will be made to the more than 190 Potter-related titles in print and the thousands of fan fiction pieces? Perhaps, but that won’t stop some. “My suspicion is that there will be a rush of books after the series ends,” says Daniel Nexon, an assistant professor in the government department at Georgetown University who co-edited HARRY POTTER AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, published last year by Rowman & Littlefield. “Having the final book out will generate a lot of buzz, and they’ll look at that frenzy as one last big marketing opportunity.”

But that flurry will eventually slow as time passes. “We’ll probably see fewer titles. The energy that comes from a release of a new book in the series will be over,” says Roger Scholl, the editorial director of Bertelsmann AG’s Currency/Doubleday business imprint, who edited Tom Morris‘s IF HARRY POTTER RAN GENERAL ELECTRIC. Still, some caution against underestimating the passion of Harry Potter readers. John Granger, an English teacher at Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, Pa., says academics will attempt to fix Rowling’s place in the cultural firmament, much as they continue to do so for such writers as Charles Dickens and Agatha Christie. “I’m fairly certain Potter-mania will not go the way of disco and the hula-hoop,” says Granger, who is currently working on HARRY MEETS HAMLET AND SCROOGE that will explore Harry’s literary antecedents.

And Those Buying the Book Aren’t Reading it, Either

The last time Pierre Bayard made a splash in the literary world was with WHO KILLED ROGER ACKROYD, an intellectually-minded analysis of Agatha Christie novels and detective fiction. Now the man who specializes in links between literature and psychoanalysis is back in the news in a big way in his native France with the release of COMMENT PARLER DES LIVRES QUE L’ON N’A PA LUS (How to Talk about Books that You Haven’t Read), the Times reports. That’s because even though the book was originally destined for academic bookshelves, it sold out almost immediately, was reprinted and is now rising to the top of the bestseller lists.

The publisher, Minuit, now wants to get it on supermarket and airport bookshelves. “I think the success shows that it has touched on a sensitive point,” Professor Bayard said, adding that his aim was to help people to avoid feeling guilty about their failure to read. He says, for instance, that he wants to free French intellectuals from the taboo that prevents them from confessing that they have only leafed through the works of Marcel Proust – “although that is the case for most of them”. He says that a valid literary opinion can be formed by dipping into a work, hearing others talk about it or skimming through a review of it.

And indeed, plenty of critics in the UK world are jumping off Bayard’s thesis. John Sutherland invokes David Lodge, Jacques Lacan and Stephen Pile in finding others who write about books and bullshitters; and Ros Taylor has some fun commenting on Bayard’s book even though she, of course, has not read it. Something tells me that if there are no plans for an English translation, there soon will be…

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