Congratulations to the Boudicca Press team for hitting their Kickstarter target with a whole week to go! Brilliant.
We recently featured the work of Boudicca Press, in promoting new writing for women and in their current process of coagulating new pieces to publish under the banner of Disturbing the Beast.
Disturbing the Beast is a collection of weird fiction stories by some of the best women writers in the UK, featuring Kirsty Logan, Aliya Whiteley and other talented up-and- coming writers. It’s the debut collection from the new literary press, Boudicca Press, who celebrate the strength, courage and literary talents of women.
Great news. Disturbing the BeastKickstarter launches 3rd September: Weird fiction
stories from some of the best women writers, including Aliya Whiteley, Kirsty
Logan and more.
The anthology will be funded by a Kickstarter campaign which launches on Monday 3rd September 2018 with a target of £2500.
Submissions, however, are still welcome from women writers until Friday 14th September. It is intended that the ultimate publication date for the work will be early in 2019.
Boudicca is keen to unearth challenging subjects in a healthy and respectful way, something that they feel is not often considered in mainstream, contemporary literature. The work is intended to celebrate women’s voices in the weird fiction genre, in a publishing industry where they feel women are under-represented.
Boudicca Press, creators of brave and powerful writing from women of weird fiction, are calling for submissions for their short story collections.
They are seeking…
Strong female-led stories
Stories that are filled with carefully considered, breath-taking prose
Stories that contain depth and reflection
Boudicca are encouraging female writers to submit original work, which involves lesser talked about female-centred topics such as sexual abuse, pregnancy issues and body image. ”Your work should be fiction, and not so on-the-nose of the issue”.
You must submit, as indicated, by Friday 14th September, 2018
“Boudicca Press celebrates the strength, courage and literary talents of women. We publish weird, literary and relationship fiction by women in the UK.
We love strong female-led stories filled with breath-taking prose, in the genre of weird, literary and relationship fiction. Stories that stay with you. Stories that are reflective and deep. Stories that empower women“.
Good luck and get writing today and we look forward to seeing your stories published. Congratulations to Boudicca Press for an empowering literary initiative…The team at conversationsEAST.
1,076 backers pledged 56,504 euros to help bring this project to life, exceeding the original campaign target of 35,000 euros. Brilliant.
This must be the Enlightenment project of the year.
On the eve of 2017, the 330th anniversary of the publication of Isaac Newton’s Principia (Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica), a small publishing house in Barcelona, Kronecker Wallis, are dedicated to issuing a new version of this master work.
Design and detail are the watch words of this small creative team, who are recruiting backers for the project on the pages of Kickstarter.
With only nine days to go of the campaign, as of the publication of this short article, why not take an intellectual punt and pledge a very modest amount to receive a copy of this great piece of literature, science and the art of book binding?
If completed this is the Christmas present to die for for those interested in the aesthetics of the book, the history of science and a love of independent, small studio making.
The book will be set in Lucas de Groot‘s font The Serif, created in 1994. To get the finest reproduction the publishers have chosen Munken Polar paper, giving a high quality white tonality to the page and a natural feel. Paper weights of 100 grams for the inner pages and covers produced in 260 grams.
‘The binding is what really sets this book apart. We wanted its “wrapping” to be visually appealing and different. Therefore, we have opted for visible binding that leaves the spine bare, displaying a part of the books that usually remains hidden. This type of binding also helps us when reading the book, as it allows us to open it wider‘.
Part of our work, with sister projects, is as booksellers and publishers. It has been interesting to reflect that we are in a continuing tradition, dating back to the 18th Century.
When we are talking to our partner publishers, or delivering projects overseas, it all feels rather contemporary. But good writing and creative, imaginative work for children is what led us to the work in the first place. It is a timeless pursuit for every cohort we supply and engage with over the years.
Matthew Grenby writes…
”The rise of children’s literature throughout the 18th century.
By the end of the 18th century, children’s literature was a flourishing, separate and secure part of the publishing industry in Britain. Perhaps as many as 50 children’s books were being printed each year, mostly in London, but also in regional centres such as Edinburgh, York and Newcastle.
By today’s standards, these books can seem pretty dry, and they were often very moralising and pious. But the books were clearly meant to please their readers, whether with entertaining stories and appealing characters, the pleasant tone of the writing, or attractive illustrations and eye-catching page layouts and bindings.
Early writing for children
This was new. At the beginning of the century very few such enjoyable books for children had existed. Children read, certainly, but the books that they probably enjoyed reading (or hearing) most, were not designed especially for them.
Fables were available, and fairy stories, lengthy chivalric romances, and short, affordable pamphlet tales and ballads called chapbooks, but these were published for children and adults alike. Take Nathaniel Crouch’s Winter-Evenings Entertainments (1687). It contains riddles, pictures, and ‘pleasant and delightful relations of many rare and notable accidents and occurrences’ which has suggested to some that it should be thought of as an early children’s book. However, its title-page insists that it is ‘excellently accommodated to the fancies of old or young’.
Meanwhile, the books that were published especially for children before the mid-18th century were almost always remorselessly instructional (spelling books, school books, conduct books) or deeply pious. Yet just because a book seems dull or disciplinary to us today, this doesn’t mean that children at the time didn’t enjoy it. Godly books of the sort produced from the 1670s by Puritans like John Bunyan are a case in point.
James Janeway’s A Token for Children (1671-72) gives what its subtitle describes as ‘an Exact Account of the Conversion, Holy and Exemplary Lives and Joyful Deaths of Several Young Children’. These children lie on their deathbeds, giving accounts of the sins too often committed by children – idleness, disobedience, inattention to lessons, boisterousness, neglecting the Sabbath – but tell those assembled round them that salvation awaits all who renounce such wickedness, and they explain how happy they are to be going to their eternal reward. Hardly fun, we might think, yet memoirs and letters, as well as continuing sales over more than a century, testify to young readers’ genuine enjoyment of these descriptions of heroic and confident, if doomed, children.
The 18th century
In the first half of the 18th century a few books that didn’t have an obviously instructional or religious agenda were published especially for children, such as A Little Book for Little Children (c.1712), which included riddles and rhymes ; and a copiously illustrated bestiary, A Description of Three Hundred Animals (1730), the second part of which was published ‘particularly for the entertainment of youth’.
But the turning point came in the 1740s, when a cluster of London publishers began to produce new books designed to instruct and delight young readers.
Thomas Boreman was one, who followed his Description of Three Hundred Animals with a series of illustrated histories of London landmarks jokily (because they were actually very tiny) called the Gigantick Histories (1740-43). Another was Mary Cooper, whose two-volume Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song Book (1744) is the first known nursery rhyme collection, featuring early versions of well-known classics like ‘Bah, bah, a black sheep’, ‘Hickory dickory dock’, ‘London Bridge is falling down’ and ‘Sing a song of sixpence’.
The father of children’s literature
But the most celebrated of these pioneers is John Newbery, whose first book for the entertainment of children was A Little Pretty Pocket-Book Intended for the Instruction and Amusement of Little Master Tommy and Pretty Miss Polly (c.1744).
It was indeed a pretty book, small, neat and bound in brightly coloured paper, and Newbery advertised it as being sold with a ball (for a boy) and a pincushion (for a girl) – these toys were to be used to record the owner’s good and bad deeds (by means of pins stuck either to the black side of the ball or pincushion, or the red). Newbery’s books perfectly embodied the educational ideas of John Locke, who had advocated teaching through amusement.
But Newbery has become known as the ‘father of children’s literature’ chiefly because he was able to show that publishing children’s books could be a commercial success. This may have been because he made most of his money from selling patent medicines, and by publishing for adults
Nevertheless, his children’s book business flourished, and, following his death in 1767, it was taken over by his descendants, surviving into the 19th century. Newbery was a great innovator too. He produced the first children’s periodical for example, called The Lilliputian Magazine (1751-52), a miscellany of stories, verse, riddles and chatty editorials.
And his most famous work, The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes (1765) has a good claim to be called the first children’s novel. It tells the story of a poor orphan, Margery, who makes a career for herself as a teacher before, like a less glamorous Cinderella (with no fairy godmother, balls to attend, or glass slipper), she marries the local landowner who she has impressed by her honesty, hard work and good sense.
A rapid expansion of children’s literature
The reasons for this sudden rise of children’s literature have never been fully explained. The entrepreneurial genius of figures like Newbery undoubtedly played a part, but equally significant were structural factors, including the growth of a sizeable middle class, technical developments in book production, the influence of new educational theories, and changing attitudes to childhood.
Whatever the causes, the result was a fairly rapid expansion of children’s literature through the second half of the 18th century, so that by the early 1800s, the children’s book business was booming. For the first time it was possible for authors to make a living out of writing solely for children, and to become famous for it. Children’s literature, as we know it today, had begun”.
Our small journal produces a lot of data. We generate twitter feeds, meta-tags and article categories…on and on. Does it have a use?
One thing we do at conversationsEAST every month is to run our Twitter generated content through a Knight Lab application called BookRX. (Part of the conversationsEAST team day job is to be booksellers and publishers, so the findings can be used to plan thematic content for our literacy projects, for example…Ed).
For our journal it can serve the same function, offering insights into subjects that can be useful as leaders to content ideas, or to see if the profile of our readers is on the trend we believe we are following.
it analyzes your tweets (the words, Twitter usernames, and hashtags you use) and compares them to terms that are correlated with book categories.
… it is a book recommendation app at heart. The results can be interesting. We publish below this months analysis of our journal Twitter feed. We have featured the lead book in three categories; Science and Technology, Politics and Social Sciences and Business.
‘In the tradition of international best-sellers, Future Shock and Megatrends, Michael J. Saylor, CEO of MicroStrategy, brings The Mobile Wave, a ground-breaking analysis of the impact of mobile intelligence-the fifth wave of computer technology.
The Mobile Wave argues that the changes brought by mobile computing are so big and widespread that it’s impossible for us to see it all, even though we are all immersed in it’.
The book examines theories (models) of how systems (those of humans, nature, and combined human natural systems) function, and attempts to understand those theories and how they can help researchers develop effective institutions and policies for environmental management.
The fundamental question this book asks is whether or not it is possible to get beyond seeing environment as a sub-component of social systems, and society as a sub-component of ecological systems, that is, to understand human-environment interactions as their own unique system
‘The first make-or-break step in persuading anyone to do any thing is getting them to hear you out. Whether the person is a harried colleague, a stressed-out client, or an insecure spouse, things will go from bad to worse if you can’t break through emotional barricades.
Drawing on his experience as a psychiatrist, business consultant, and coach, and backed by the latest scientific research, author Mark Goulston shares simple but power ful techniques readers can use to really get through to people—whether they’re coworkers, friends, strangers, or enemies’.
Getting through is a fine art but a critical one.
Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone by Mark Goulston M.D. (Author), Keith Ferrazzi (Foreword). Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk
Did BookRX get the feel of our readership right? The acid test for us is does the machine generated selection have an appropriate ‘RSA feel’ to it? We think it does, providing sources that are appropriately defined through the prism of our journal content.
The app also generates selections for sports and fitness, as well as a fiction list. These are a little more difficult to empathise with, although we may publish future lists as book recommendations of regular interest for Fellows, particularly as the volume of our Twitter traffic grows.
One charitable application for the technology, we can think of, is to use the Knight Lab service to generate book lists for on-line sale as a fund-raising initiative. Taking the guess work out of list building for your audience?
Northwestern University Knight Lab advances news media innovation and education. Developing ideas from experimentation through adoption, the Lab makes technology that aims to help make information meaningful and promotes quality storytelling on the Internet.
The web has promoted a revolution in media delivery and consumption, and has generated a similar paradigm shift in production processes and work flows. Whether for the corporate giants of this world, or the lonely writer crafting a masterpiece in his or her garret.
Evidence of the changes in news and visual media were well illustrated in a recent RSA lecture by John Ryley, Head of Sky News. His father, he tells us, was a vicar’s son, who was profoundly affected by his son’s elevation to the ranks of journalism.
You can hear the lecture, and an introduction by Matthew Taylor of The RSA, with an audience Q&A, by using the audio player below…
In his lecture John Ryley describes his own early acquaintance with television. Describing it as a pseudo-religious experience, with the family sitting in rows, silent, facing an iconic piece of equipment, bathed in a particular blue light.
Web technologies and new software have also promoted a similar revolution in print journalism, which that and the ubiquitous access that the web offers to any journalist, would be or otherwise, the chance to profoundly affect their ability as humans to tell simple stories.
Why do we write, and become journalists, historians, authors, self published or otherwise? Has technology really affected the way we look at the word on paper and on screen?
George Orwell, writing in 1946, mapped the landscape of why we write. That perceptive voice is still being heard from Manhattan offices to Cumbrian writerly retreats…
“Aesthetic enthusiasm. Perception of beauty in the external world, or, on the other hand, in words and their right arrangement. Pleasure in the impact of one sound on another, in the firmness of good prose or the rhythm of a good story. Desire to share an experience which one feels is valuable and ought not to be missed”.
“Historical impulse. Desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity”.
“Political purpose. — Using the word ‘political’ in the widest possible sense. Desire to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other peoples’ idea of the kind of society that they should strive after. Once again, no book is genuinely free from political bias. The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude”.
Orwell’s philosophy of the narrative is being flexed for the internet age at the The New York Times. Long an innovator in print journalism technology, they have recently published an article on the creation of their new back office production engine for the newspaper.
What is trans-figurative for New York Times journalists is the new focus on web and mobile as the default primary templates in this production process. The ability to blend digital content for traditional press production is not an incidental or trivial outcome, it is imperative to keep ‘paper on the street’, but it is a secondary outcome of the creative writing and editorial process. This is new.
It is also interesting that it is not only production processes and outputs that are being blended. The Mozilla Foundation, creator of the Firefox web browser and scion of the radical, open internet, has recently been the recipient of a grant “…of roughly $3.9 million from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which promotes innovation in journalism”.
With the money Mozilla will build a new ‘comments’ software for the New York Times and the Washington Post. It is remarkable that both newspapers are the properties of major league capitalists, but this non-profit initiative is geared to giving readers the chance to generate content, and to take part in the journalistic process by offering the writers direct feedback on their articles in new and innovative ways.
A new blend of capital, charity and community engagement, which may well transform newspaper publishing?
Finally, amidst all this corporate activity and development at scale, technological innovation for the lone writer has not been lagging behind. From your own desk you can change the world one article at a time by using the services of Medium – a mixture of blogging platform, paid for content, social networking and collaboration tool.
With a beautifully designed interface, and tools that are intuitive and graceful, you can craft stories, news and research that are delivered in an elegant format to your readers.
We like Medium. Its content can be challenging and provocative, but it is also a place where the thoughtful, considered article can find a home. From new fiction to a story of how the cellular structure of the nematode worm has an impact on human brain function, sculpted with light…all writing is here. (You can find the worm article here…).
Of course, as an RSA Fellow in the East of England, you could publish your thoughtful piece in the pages of conversationsEAST. That’s new too!
Send copy at any time to editor (at) conversationseast.org …your audience awaits.
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