Saturday, 5 March 2011

Day 271: World Book Night

Following on from World Book Day on Thursday, tonight is World Book Night, which is aimed at encouraging adults to read and enjoy books. 1 millions books will be given away for free across the UK and Ireland by givers. They are enthusiastic readers who have applied for 50 books each to spread around. My housemate, Alice managed to get involved and is putting 50 copies of Beloved by Toni Morrison on a train in Swindon for people to pick up, take away and read.

There are twenty different book titles being given away including One Day by David Nicholls and Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. So, keep your eyes peeled folks and you could land yourself a free book!

There are hundreds of events going on all over the place tonight, so get involved. Find out what's going near you here. In Trafalgar Square, London, there is a big celebration with over 5000 people attending and readings from famous authors like Mark Haddon and Phillip Pullman.

If books are your thing then this is your night. Hey, if books aren't your thing, this is the perfect opportunity to try them out.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Day 270: Who will write the next all-time Classic?

Over the past few days, I've been to a few more Bath Literature Festival events and have seen quite a few authors speaking about their work, about writing process and about books in general.

One interesting question that came up in the The Classics talk on Wednesday was who writers write for. Books like Rebecca by Daphne De Maurier and War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy  have been entertaining readers for decades, but did their authors imagine that their stories would still be enjoyed in the 21st Century? Were they writing for us or were they writing for their own generation?

I think this idea is really interesting. When I write my stories or even my blog entries, I am writing for you, right now, for the youth of this generation, not those who are going to live in 50 years time, but maybe other people do write with future generations in mind, trying to make it timeless. I wonder if they have a reader in mind as they sit there, plotting and creating characters. Perhaps these things just happen. To plan to be a international best seller decade after decade is probably not the best way to write, but what do I know?

If you wrote/are writing a book, who would/are you writing for? Do you have someone in mind? Do you write for yourself? Something to think about... 

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Day 269: World Book Day

Today is a celebration of books, reading, writing, the lot. I've already been given a free book and it's only lunchtime! Not bad, eh?

So join in the celebrations. What's your favourite book? Why? Drop a comment and tell the world.

My favourite book (if I had to pick one) is The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffinegger. I love how it tells the story of a relationship from the point of view of both Henry and Claire with the backdrop of a bit of sci-fi. It's brilliant. Read it!

Check out the BBC for loads of tips for writing, author interviews and loads more. Be inspired!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Day 268: Desperate Romantics

Yesterday, as well as going to an amazing talk about the future of education, I was also lucky enough to sit in on a talk by Franny Moyle. It was more of a lecture than a talk, all about the Pre-Raphaelites, who turned from the traditions of painting in the late 1800s to create works like these:

(Proserpine by Rossetti and Orphelia by Millais)

Paintings like these were viewed with extreme opposition at the time, but now we've fallen in love with their charm. When I was studying Art at school, I looked at the Pre-Raphaelites. I loved their romantic scenes of (well dressed) beautiful women, each of them telling their own story. But it turns out I knew very little about those paintings and the people who created them. The lives of these painters, their wives and models were intertwined in every way. Basically, they're all about death, sex and politics!

As Franny Moyle showed us slide after slide of Pre-Raphaelite paintings, their meanings became clear and I realised how intricate these works were in combining details of society, their own lives and the skill of the craft. When you see old paintings on a big wall in a gallery, sandwiched between two (very similar) ones, you just don't get the depth that they really show. That's why it's so inspiring going to talks and presentations about creative things you love, or even things you don't love for that matter. There really is so much we don't know, but together, we all know quite a bit. So, I guess what I'm trying to say is learn from what/who you can and be inspired to get creative from their knowledge. I really want to get my paint brush out and get creative again...what could you do?

Check out Desperate Romantics by Franny Moyle. It's also bee turned into a BBC production.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Day 267: Making noise for the Arts

Today I have done heaps of cool stuff to do with creativity and it's got me all fired up! Where to start? Well, I won't spill it all onto you in one entry.

Because it's the Bath Lit Fest this week there is loads of talks going on all over Bath. I went along to one about the future of Arts Education. How will it continue with the new government pushing it to the back of the queue. Whose responsibility is it to keep it going?

There were four people on the panel discussing such things; a teacher, Sue East, a writer, Helen Cross, a cultural organisation person (ie, a theatre or something artsy), Kate Cross and a policy figure (someone who helps decide what's what in schools), Sue Horner. They all said lots of interesting comments, but the thing I took away was that, actually, it's everyones responsibility to make some noise for the Arts.

I think creative subjects are really important. They were what I went to school for. They're why I go into to schools now as a creative person. People deserve to have the change to get creative and try stuff out. But the government seem to think differently and if we, as the nation they are supposed to be taking care of, don't like it, we need to tell them, right?

Are you into the Arts? How? Why? Can we make our voices heard up there in London? It's time to rally the troops people! We're all creative thinkers, so lets put our heads together and find a way to keep the Arts alive in our country. Who's with me?

Monday, 28 February 2011

Day 266: Britain strikes back at Oscars 2011

Last night was the Oscars. All the pretty ladies glided along the red carpet in their designer dresses and all the handsome fellows strolled along in their tuxedos. What a sight.

Good old The King's Speech was waving the banner for Britain and brought us home Best Actor, Best Director and Best Film, the top most prestigious awards. Not bad, eh?

So today, my blog entry is dedicated to Colin Firth, Tom Hooper and of course, King George VI himself. Without him there wouldn't be a film!

For all of the Oscar winners see the BBC website.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Day 265: Adele Geras

When I was a teenager, I read Troy by Adele Geras and LOVED it! It follows the epic battle of Troy from the point of view of two Trojan sisters, Xanthe and Marpessa. I had learnt about the Trojan War at school and loved how Adele Geras had weaved a fictional story into the legend of Troy.

So, imagine my surprise when I go into Waterstones looking for a new teenage fiction novel to read (to help my own writing) and find Adele Geras has written Ithaka, a book about Penelope, the wife of Odysseus, a Greek king who fought in the Trojan War and took twenty years to return home to Ithaka.

I'm about half way through now and am really enjoying it. She cleverly uses language to portray the ancient time and intertwines the character's lives with visits from the Greek gods; Pallas Athene, Artemis and Poseidon. I think the fact that I studies The Odyssey when I was a sixth form makes me love it and want to fall back into that world of heroes, gods, and adventures.

Don't you just love it when you get stuck into the world a book creates? It always makes me want to write if I'm reading a good book.

Turns out Adele Geras has written loads of great books. She's even got her own website.

Take a minute to think about what you really like. What subjects interest you? What do you enjoy learning about a school/college? I bet there's a good fiction book about that somewhere. Google it and see what you find. Better yet, go into a shop and ask. Sometimes it's nice to ask someone who can answer you back, rather than a machine who can only guess. Know what I mean?

Happy hunting. Happy Reading!