France 94: In the bus yesterday a woman was screaming in fury into her cell phone at Orange. An elderly woman in her building had Orange fiber optic installed and the workmen left a huge mess - holes in the walls and dust everywhere.
If you have never been to one of their events - not far from Beaubourg - you are in for a treat. Don't miss their special UK authors series:Martin Amis, Emma Healey, Howard Jacobson, Nick Hornby, Jonathan Coe, Hanif Kureishi, Zadie Smith….
The award-winning Australian novelist Peter Carey used his literary fame and influence to denounce Pen American's decision to honor Charlie Hebdo cartoonists and writers who were murdered by Islamists in the heart of Paris.
Citing "PEN's seeming blindness to the cultural arrogance of the French", Carey encouraged other writers to condemn the award for the French satirists.
The Insight Film Festivalis unique: it seeks to discover and showcase a wide diversity of films about faith and to support young filmmakers. Such is the quality of many of the films submitted that one of its laureates was nominated for an Oscar.
Following the lead of Francine Prose, Michael Ondaatje, Peter Carey and Teju Cole, the 145 writers below signed a letter protesting the PEN award for "courage and freedom of expression" to Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine whose staff was massacred by Islamists in Paris in January.
We "don't believe in censoring expression" they write, BUT we are against "rewarding" "expression that violates the acceptable".
Violates the acceptable? What can this possibly mean? In this exclusive interview, the Letter explains itself.
Q&A with a Letter
a Paris Writers News interview
PWN: What do you mean by "expression that violates the acceptable"?
Letter: It is expression that might offend someone who we consider to be "marginalized, embattled and victimized".
"Scandalous." "An insult to the memory" "An insult to the living and to the dead."
This is Dominique Sopo, the president deSOS Racisme, France's leading anti-racism and anti-discrimination organisation. In this video (in French) he expresses his outrage that people falsely accuse Charlie Hebdo of being racist when it is the opposite. He says that Charlie Hebdo is the most important anti-racist weekly in France. That all the anti-racism activists in France know this, and that Cabu, Charb and Wolinski regularly did cartoons FOR anti-racist campaigns. Mr Sopo says that lies about Charlie Hebdo are creating a "mob mentality".
(Even if you don't understand French, you can hear from Mr Sopo's tone how angry he is that ignorant morons attack Charlie Hebdo for "racism". )
I don't know how exactly the moral brigade among writers in America got the idea that the fearless satirists of Charlie Hebdo were "racist", but it's simply not true. If you have been spreading these lies you should be ashamed of yourself for slandering the dead and the living.
Writers who don't understand the video might pause for a moment to think of the implications of this.
For more of my blog posts on related topics, please see:
One of the great pleasures of the London Book Fair is discovering innovative approaches to publishing, marketing, and distributing books and ebooks. Thus I was delighted to meet Bartlomiej Filipek, the General Manager of OpenBooks.comwhich proposes a new business model for ebooks, designed to facilitate sharing and discovery. Books are openly shared and readers pay, if they want to, after reading - an amount they fix themselves. Could this be the model for you?
London Book Fair Special: a talk with Bartlomiej Filipek, General Manager of OpenBooks.com,
As a teenager I couldn't wait to read his comic strips and bought all his books.
I thought he was brilliant. Speaking truth to power.
Now, in a disturbing - and very sad - turn of events, this once admirable satirist has shamed himself and his profession.
In a speech delivered on the occasion of an award for lifetime achievement, Trudeau blamed the victims in the Charlie Hebdo attack, ignored the very real risk of death that satirists - as well as many other people - face from Islamists today, and advocated self-censorship to avoid offending people.
Where else in Paris can you listen to an intimate conversation, in English and in French, with Dave Eggers, the brilliant and generous editor, publisher, activist, educator, and author of such works as What is the What, Zeitoun, The Circle, Hologram for a King (recently translated into French) and, of course A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius?
Paris Writers know, of course, of the American Library in Paris, Shakespeares, the Irish Cultural Center, Carrs, the Abbey Bookshop, WICE, the Mona Bismarck and many other outstanding venues. But the Maison de la Poésie is, despite its excellence and fame within the French writers community, much less well known among English-speaking writers.