e a m harris

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Archive for the category “Celebrations and events”

Apsley Cherry-Garrard and the world’s worst journey

I wish I was in Buxton to hear this talk. Thank you James Burt for reminding me that the ‘official’ history isn’t all there is.

Buxton International Festival

The Odditorium: the tricksters, eccentrics, deviants and inventors whose obsessions changed the world (Hodder & Stoughton, 2016) includes some amazing characters. Some you’ll have heard of, some you probably won’t. All of them have changed the world, although in some cases the wider world hasn’t noticed yet. They include Joshua Norton, first Emperor of America, and Reginald Bray, who carried out strange experiments with the Royal Mail. I was delighted to be asked to write about Apsley Cherry-Garrard, who is by far my favourite explorer. 

When I was at school, we were often told stories about adventurers and explorers as something to aspire to. Captain Robert Falcon Scott was held up as a great example, bravely sacrificing himself in an attempt to reach the South Pole. As Sara Wheeler once described Antarctica, our southernmost continent often seems to be “a testing-ground for men with frozen beards to see how dead…

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The Poetry Periscope

The periscope

If you’re in Birmingham or Durham over the next couple of months, you should look out for this strange beast.

It’s a sound installation called Poetry Periscope and it’s on a UK tour. It started it’s journey in April as part of the European Literature Festival, and it’s still going – unwearied and cheery in its yellowness.

It plays 30 poems from 30 European cultures. Each is played in its own language and in English translation. To stand in a shopping mall or railway station and listen to all that may be a bit much, but perhaps the commute to work or shopping trip can be enhanced by a couple of the recordings.

In addition to the Festival, a number of organisations are involved with the project including European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC), The Poetry Society and Pianos on the Street.

The Wellcome Book Prize 2016

A good summary of the books shortlisted for this prize. Thank you Little Blog of Books for the info.

The winner should be announced today, but I think all these books are worth knowing about.

A Little Blog of Books

2016 Wellcome Book Prize shortlist

Yesterday, I went to an event at the Wellcome Collection in London to hear the six authors nominated for this year’s Wellcome Book Prize discuss their shortlisted books. The annual award is open to works of fiction and non-fiction which engage with some aspect of health, illness or medicine, or “the ultimate human subject” as chair Anne Karpf said in her introduction.

The books on this year’s shortlist are:

  • Signs for Lost Children by Sarah Moss
  • The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink
  • NeuroTribes by Steve Silberman
  • Playthings by Alex Pheby
  • It’s All in Your Head by Suzanne O’Sullivan
  • The Outrun by Amy Liptrot

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Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction LongList 2016

The Bailey’s Prize Long List from that fascinating blog Word by Word.

It’s great to see a list of successes; so many great titles grouped together. If I had time I’d read them all – but, of course, I don’t and won’t.

Word by Word

Baileys logo 2016Today is International Women’s Day, this year the theme is #PledgeForParity and the Baileys Women’s Prize certainly does a lot to advance that challenge, with their ambition to bring the best women’s writing and female storytellers to ever-wider audiences.

In selecting the following 20 titles for the longlist the Chair of Judges Margaret Mountford shared that:

“We had a hugely enjoyable and stimulating meeting, as there were a great many strong novels in contention. We are delighted with the quality, the imaginative scope and the ambition of our chosen books, a longlist which reflects the judges’ interests and tastes. We hope readers will enjoy the variety of outstanding work on offer.”

Half the longlist are debuts, they represent seven nationalities, four previous shortlisted authors and the first Zimbabwean author to be longlisted for the prize.

The longlisted books are as follows:

Kate AtkinsonA God in Ruins – Teddy, would-be poet, heroic…

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National Libraries Day

Today is National Libraries Day and all over the country libraries are holding special events.

nld-logoIn my opinion a nation’s libraries are a major national treasure. Among other actions, they spread culture, provide a quiet place for the hassled to sit and recover their calm, and store the thinking and creativity of the past.

The also provide pleasant and worthwhile employment – or used to before austerity started harassing everyone.

While it’s the public libraries that are most active today, I like to imagine all the others joining in, in spirit at least. Universities spring to mind of course, but companies, hospitals, government departments, charities, all have their libraries and people to look after them – often volunteers or employees librarianing (I’m a writer – I’m allowed to invent new words!) in addition to their main job.

I’ll be off to my local library this afternoon, and this evening I’ll raise a glass of gin and tonic to all those people who care for our books, journals, CDs, and old papers.

Support Solstice Shorts come to a booklaunch

If you can look past the Christmas/New Year festivities, you may be interested in this event. I love book launches (or at least I loved the two I’ve been to), but can’t make this one.

Arachne Press

If you’ve never been to a book launch but always wondered what really happens you are invited to Arachne’s next one, which will be for The Dowry Blade, Arachne founder Cherry Potts‘ Fantasy epic. there are a handful of invitations up for grabs as part of our crowd fund for Solstice shorts Longest Night,

The Dowry Blade is around 170,000 words long, so is coming out in support of its smaller siblings the short story, generally weighing in (for Solshorts anyway) at around 2000 words.

The booklaunch will be in late February, in London – either central or South East, so if you’d like to come along, support our festival! You only have until 1st December to grab an invitation! It may look a bit like this. There will be drink, there may be cake…

meeting authors and eating cake at an Arachne event meeting authors and eating cake at an Arachne event

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A Conference focussed on The Golden Age of Detective Fiction Writers

Bodies logoI came across this event via CrimeFest. It sounds like a great day out for any fan of any golden age detective writer.

A Conference focussed on The Golden Age of Detective Fiction Writers.

Happy Winter festivities

Most religious groups have a winter festival, and I wish all my readers joy in whatever their’s is. If you’re not religious or don’t have a festival coming up, I still wish you a happy winter-time.

The whole world gets a New Year in a few days. I hope your celebrations go well and that 2015 is all you want it to be.

I probably won’t have time to blog between now and January, but I will make time to read your posts.

Delivery by Design: Stamps in Antarctica

I’m not a great fan of stamps and would never consider collecting them, but I found this description fascinating. I never realised that there were special stamps for Antarctica. The pictures are very evocative – in some ways more so than straightforward photos.

University of Cambridge Museums

Delivery by Design: Stamps in Antarctica, opening at The Polar Museum on Thursday 12 June 2014, will explore the history of stamps used in the British Antarctic Territory, Antarctica. A recent gift of stamps, printing proofs and original artworks made by Crown Agents Limited, with the assistance of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to the Scott Polar Research Institute will accompany its already exemplary collection of stamps from the Polar Regions.

On display will be stamps, artworks and printing proofs that highlight Antarctic flora and fauna, depicting unique images of penguins and huskies; others commemorate many of the British expeditions that have undertaken Antarctic exploration to further science, detailing ships ploughing through ice and planes flying over frozen sea.

The British Antarctic Territory, the region where the exhibition’s stamps are from, includes all the lands and islands in a wedge extending from the South Pole to 60° S latitude…

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