Thursday, 4 November 2010

"Kelly made editor at Faber Finds"

Ah-ha. This is the second time in a fortnight I've had the good fortune of my activities being reported upon by the Bookseller's Charlotte Williams. (This news was also lead item today on the industry subscription site Bookbrunch, if only for a day, but still...) This is how the Bookseller wrote it up:
"Faber has appointed author Richard T Kelly as editor of its print on demand imprint, Faber Finds. Kelly succeeds John Seaton who had headed up the imprint since its launch in June 2008. Kelly's first novel Crusaders was published by Faber in 2008, with his second, The Possessions of Doctor Forrest, to appear in June 2011. He has also written and presented television documentaries, and has contributed to a number of national newspapers as well as being a notable blogger (
Richard T Kelly said: "Like a great many writers and readers I was in love at first sight with the concept of Faber Finds as an expanding library of literary treasure, and so I'm very excited now by this opportunity to build on John Seaton's work, to keep on restoring brilliant books to their natural readerships, and also to ensure that Finds establishes an online presence that draws all interested readers and writers into a passionate discussion of our literary culture."
Stephen Page, Faber c.e.o. and publisher, said: "Faber Finds has always been about offering a service to authors, a way to make the wealth of their backlist titles available and to keep them available in good company. As Faber Finds builds on its early success and fast growth, it is wonderful to have an acclaimed writer with publishing experience at the helm."
Faber Finds has so far brought about 750 books back into print, with 250 more schedule through 2012. Recent successes include reissues of John Julius Norwich's Norman histories and Michael Foot's Aneurin Bevan."

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Bookhugger column #8: What Our Kids 'Should' Read

My October Bookhugger column went up last week, so this is a belated nod, but in a sense I was distracted somewhat by it having elicited one or two comments, which are, after all, what we live for... The nub of the piece is: how do we get 14-year-olds to sit still and read Great Expectations, since this would be so damn good for them? (And I don't mean the version by Kathy Acker, laudable as that was in its own way.) My answer, I suppose, is 'Teach Dickens together with Dostoyevsky...' But then thankfully when I go to work tomorrow it won't be in order to stand up before a sullen group of 14-year-olds and ask them what they think the author really meant... In any case, this question must come from within, not without.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Ferdinando Scarfiotti 1941-1994: Excursions into style

One of the many incidental pleasures of my recent sit-downs with Sean Penn - in Dublin for an update of His Life and Times, then in New York for an upcoming magazine profile, both times on the set of This Must Be The Place - was the customary occasional discussion of films and filmmakers. For instance, in NYC we fell to chatting about Paul Schrader, his scripts for Taxi Driver and the far less luminous Rolling Thunder, also his directorial gift for designing title sequences (cf. Blue Collar and American Gigolo.) Mention of Gigolo, though, got me thinking back to that film's pristine design by the late, great Ferdinando Scarfiotti, longtime collaborator of Bertolucci (The Conformist, Last Tango in Paris, The Last Emperor) and Visconti (Death in Venice plus numerous operas.)

When I was a research student at the British Film Institute in the mid-1990s I wrote a thesis on Scarfiotti and his work, to which Bertolucci and Schrader, inter alia, kindly contributed in loving memory of their friend and colleague. It seemed to me then that said thesis, however 'provisional' in its interview-derived biographical data, was the only substantive work on Scarfiotti in any language, albeit available only via the BFI library and in a truncated version courtesy of the scholarly journal Critical Quarterly.

Happily, however, that has changed: Zecchini Editore of Italy have newly published a biography/tribute called Nando Forever: what looks to be a very handsome tome, with a DVD attached, compiled by Luciano Gregoretti and Maria Teresa Copelli. And by the sounds of it this is just the commemorative/celebratory volume that this brilliant and unsung film artist has long deserved. The following trailer for The Conformist shouldn't really be listened to (dubbing!), enjoyed rather for the parade of imagery for which Scarfiotti gifted Bertolucci such a rich foundation through his exquisite design choices.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Twitter: I spoke and someone hearkened...

I'm about 4-5 days into the whole what-kept-you-old-man? experience of 'Being on Twitter' and after going through the only-to-be-expected initial oddness of it (also realising that I'm not build to be any sort of regular/compulsive Tweeter...) I've now had what feels to me a Real Result in response to one Tweet, which is that John Rentoul considers me 'Excellent'... Oh boy, that makes it all worthwhile, I tell you - and in the wake of previous kind words from Hopi Sen, I'm feeling pretty buoyed by this whole business of electronic hand-shaking with the writers one most admires. So, I must now formally renounce all former cynicism as the Devil's work, and profess, in the manner of Stevie Wonder, that Blogging and Tweeting have made my life sweeter than ever. (Still struggling a tad with Facebook, though...)

Sunday, 31 October 2010

My beef with Andy Carroll

Jason Mellor writes amusingly for the Independent on the court-decreed arrangement whereby Andy Carroll must currently lodge with his club captain Kevin Nolan, under strict curfew. (The PA picture shows them together at the Old Firm match the other weekend - Nolan presumably cheering for the Hoops, I wonder what side Carroll was on?) Nolan comes over as a decent fellow: his kids are around the same ages as mine, and I identify with his description of the domestic regimen. Obviously I'm not paid seven figures to pull on a black and white shirt, nor do I own an X-Box, but other than that I'm encouraged to think me and the skipper might get along. The towering issue on which we agree is Carroll's barnet: "I keep telling him his hair is absolutely shocking. I've been trying to get him to cut it for ages..." But, tell you what, if the lad can do the business in today's not-insignificant 1.30pm kick-off then I promise to quit my carping for good.