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The cover for Neil Gaiman’sTrigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances has been unveiled. We’ve embedded the full image above—what do you think?
This anthology contains previously published short stories, a Doctor Who story that was written to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the science-fiction TV series, and a tale that revisits the universe of American Gods called “Black Dog.” William Morrow, an imprint at HarperCollins, will release the book on February 03, 2015. (via USA Today)
The United Kingdom’s “biggest ever Gothic exhibition” features 200 rare objects; some of these pieces shine the spotlight on works by writers Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, and Clive Barker. Visitors will see ”posters, books, film and even a vampire-slaying kit.”
We’ve embedded a video about this exhibit—what do you think? Click here to learn more about it. Follow this link to read an essay by Neil Gaiman entitled “My hero: Mary Shelley.”
Author Neil Gaiman took away many ideas from an emotional visit to Jordan where he met Syrian refugees.
In an interview with CNN‘sChristiane Amanpour, Gaiman reveals that this experience affected how he wrote his re-telling of “Hansel and Gretel.” Gaiman sets this classic story of lost children in a world torn by war and famine; he feels this is highly reminiscent of the suffering endured by Syrian refugee children as well as the Grimm Brothers’ version of the tale.
Toon Books will release the finished graphic novel, which features illustrations by artist Lorenzo Mattotti, on October 28th. Click here to watch the entire interview. Follow this link to read Gaiman’s blog post recounting his trip.
The American Booksellers Association has recruited Newbery Medal-winning author Neil Gaiman and his rockstar wifeAmanda Palmer (both pictured, via) to serve as spokespeople for this year’s Indies First campaign.
Gaiman and Palmer penned an open letter calling for fellow writers to participate. Those who answer the call will be serving as volunteer sellers at their favorite independent bookstores on Saturday, November 29th (aka “Small Business Saturday“).
Neil Gaiman has written the foreword for Terry Pratchett’s forthcoming collection, A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Nonfiction. The Guardianpublished a section of Gaiman’s piece where he talks about Pratchett’s “angry” side. Here’s an excerpt:
“There is a fury to Terry Pratchett’s writing: it’s the fury that was the engine that powered Discworld. It’s also the anger at the headmaster who would decide that six-year-old Terry Pratchett would never be smart enough for the 11-plus; anger at pompous critics, and at those who think serious is the opposite of funny; anger at his early American publishers who could not bring his books out successfully.”
Not every scholar of medieval English has the privilege of translating a major poetic text, and fewer still have the chance to do it all over again, eighteen years later. My first edition of the Poetic Edda was published in 1996 and about two years ago, I was invited to think about a second edition, one which would expand the number of poems and which could be brought up to date in other ways. But what could have changed as far as this classic work was concerned in the meantime?
Well, unlike a single poem, such as Beowulf or Piers Plowman, the Poetic Edda is a collection of poems. Most of these are to be found in a single manuscript, known as the Codex Regius, kept in the Árnar Magnússonar Manuscript Institute in Reykjavík, Iceland. But, preserved in other Icelandic manuscripts, are a good number of further poems in the same kind of metre, which relate more stories of Norse gods and heroes. Four or five of these poems have always been considered part of the Poetic Edda and I translated them in the first edition. But now there was room for some more.
I’ve added three more eddic poems which I think are interesting in different ways. The first of them is traditionally known as “The Waking of Angantyr.” It tells the story of a warrior-maiden Hervör, who dares to go alone to an eerie island, haunted by her undead father and his eleven brothers. Hervör wants her father’s magical sword Tyrfing, but Angantyr is determined not to give it to her. He’s quite surprised that a girl should dare to come to the uncanny place:
Young girl, I declare you are not like most men,
hanging around by mounds at night
with an engraved spear and in metal of the Goths [armour],
a helmet and corslet before the hall-doors.
At first Angantyr pretends that he doesn’t have the sword, next, he warns (truthfully) that the sword bears a curse, but finally he hands it over to the triumphant Hervör. A bold and determined heroine and an undead corpse — this seemed like a good addition to the new translation. The other additions are “Groa’s Chant” and the “Sayings of Fiolsvinn,” two related poems. A young man called Svipdag has been cursed by his stepmother to go on a quest to find and woo the lovely Menglod, a task fraught with danger: “she has ordered me to go where she knows there’s no going,” Svipdag laments. Wisely, he first visits the grave of his dead mother for advice. Groa is indeed anxious to help and she sings a number of spells over Svipdag. If he crosses rivers or sea, if he’s chained up or assailed by frost, “may no corpse-cold come to ravage your flesh / nor bind your body in its joints.”
Groa’s last spell will help Svipdag if he must “bandy words with the spear-magnificent giant,” and this is exactly what happens. When the hero finally reaches Menglod’s hall, the watchman Fiolsvinn won’t let him in. Entrance is only permitted to the man who can fulfill a whole series of impossible tasks, set up in a circular fashion. Svipdag is about to despair, but wait! No man can come in unless he has carried out this task — or unless his name is Svipdag! And so when Svipdag reveals his name, he gains entry to the hall and is rapturously embraced by Menglod, who chides him lovingly, “A long time I’ve sat on Healing-rock / waiting day after day for you!”
What constitutes a medieval poem? One of the most important poems in the Poetic Edda, “The Seeress’s Prophecy” exists in three different versions in medieval Icelandic manuscripts. Very often editors have combined the texts of all three versions to try to recover what they think might have been the “original” form of the poem. But nowadays scholars tend to think that this is a pointless endeavor. After all, this poem probably existed in oral tradition for a hundred or more years before it was first written down and there was likely never a definitive version. Newer critical thinking argues that it is better to reproduce what actually appears in the medieval manuscripts than to try to find the lost original. And so I’ve provided two versions of this poem, one written down in 1270, and one which was written down about forty years later. In the earlier version, the death of Baldr the Beautiful ushers in the beginning of the end of the world: Ragnarök. Baldr’s mother Frigg had made everything on earth promise not to hurt him, but she did not bother with the mistletoe, for it was so little and frail. Wicked Loki shaped it into a dart and put it in the hands of Baldr’s blind brother Hod when all the gods were amusing themselves by throwing things at Baldr and watching them bounce harmlessly from him. Here Baldr lounges against a wall, while Loki guides the fumbling and hooded Hod:
In the later version, preserved in the Hauksbók manuscript, which was compiled in the first decade of the fourteenth century, Baldr isn’t even mentioned; that seems to be a difference worth recording, and it suggests that the death of Baldr wasn’t necessarily connected to Ragnarök.
And perhaps most importantly, eighteen years ago talking about the reception of the Poetic Edda meant talking about Wagner, William Morris, and Tolkien. Nowadays the influence of these wonderful poems is felt much more widely, in popular culture as well as in the opera house. Hollywood has its Thor films; novelists such as Neil Gaiman in American Gods (2001), young adult authors such as Melvin Burgess and Joanne Harris, even Game of Thrones, with its dragons, ravens, shield-maidens, its endless winter, wolves and giants, have seized on eddic themes and motifs to capture the imaginations of new generations. I hope that this new version of the Poetic Edda, with its additions, updates, and revisions will also find new readers to thrill to these poems, which speak to us in comic, tragic, grandiose, crude, witty, profound, and commonsense tones.
Sci-fi novelist Ursula K. Le Guin will received the National Book Awards 2014 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Le Guin will be honored at the 65th National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner in New York on November 19th. Author Neil Gaiman will present her with the award.
“Ursula Le Guin has had an extraordinary impact on several generations of readers and, particularly, writers in the United States and around the world,” stated Harold Augenbraum, Executive Director of The National Book Foundation. “She has shown how great writing will obliterate the antiquated—and never really valid—line between popular and literary art. Her influence will be felt for decades to come.”
The award was created in 1988 and Le Guin will be the twenty-seventh author receive the honor. She joins Toni Morrison, E.L. Doctorow, John Ashbery, Joan Didion, Elmore Leonard, Norman Mailer and Tom Wolfe among others.
As usual, GalleyCat will be reporting live from the awards event, check back in November for our live coverage.
BBC Radio 4 will be creating a six-part dramatization of Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Both writers will be involved with this adaptation.
Actors Mark Heap and Peter Serafinowicz have been brought on to play the lead roles. The first installment is set to air in December 2014. Gaiman announced the project on his Facebook page; the post has received more than 21,000 “likes.”
Here’s more from BBC News: “The story, published in 1990, sees an angel and demon join forces to try and stop the end of the world coming about…The play will be broadcast in five parts across one week, culminating in an hour-long finale on Saturday. The precise transmission dates have yet to be announced.”
Neil Gaiman‘s new graphic novel adaptation of the classic Brothers Grimm fairytale Hansel and Gretel hasn’t even hit bookshelves yet, and he’s already scored a book deal.
The book, which was illustrated by Lorenzo Mattotti, will hit bookshelves next month, and in the meantime film producer Juliet blake development will begin development on the film.
Varietyhas the scoop: “Blake, through her Four Chickens for a Fiver banner, has acquired feature rights to Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel version of the classic Brothers Grimm fairytale about a brother and sister threatened by a witch living in a candy house.”
Oh, and they are spreading the lurv out-and-about the greater metropolitan area, with the inaugural “New York Super Week“, held October 3-12, 2014.
It’s a brilliant marketing move. Javits can only hold so many people (I’m guessing 150K max during NYCC), and can only sell so many tickets. This expands the geekery to the general populace, with many free events available!
What’s available, you ask?
Well… there’s Neil Gaiman teaming up with NPR at the Y! (Buy now, before he announces it on his blog!)
Columbia University displaying comics treasures from their collections! (Free!)
Thrilling Adventure Hour (already sold out! but there’s a workshop!)
Author Neil Gaiman has been working on an anthology called Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances. William Morrow, a HarperCollins imprint, will release the book on February 03, 2015.
Gaiman revealed on his Tumblr page that he is “finishing the very last short story of the next collection RIGHT NOW. Everything else has been written: the stories, the introduction, all that…” What do you think?
Coraline author Neil Gaiman was challenged by his wife, musicianAmanda Palmer, to take on the #IceBucketChallenge. The video embedded above features Gaiman performing the act with assistance from a group of friends.
In addition to having a bucket of ocean water and ice thrown over his head, Gaiman names a new set of challengers that includes A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin. Gaiman calls Martin a “murderer of characters.”
As per usual there are some Wild Things links I’d love to share today. Lemme see here . . . Well we got a real stunner of a review over at Chapter 16. That’s some good and gorgeous stuff going down there. Phil Nel called us “Punchy, lively, and carefully researched.” The blog The Boy Reader gave us some serious love. And today on our blog tour we’re at There’s a Book. And then there’s the video at the Wild Things blog. N.D. Wilson sent us a vid of the true behind-the-scenes story of Boys of Blur. It’s kicking off our video series “Wild Things: Sneaky Peeks” where authors reveal the stories behind their books.
Aw heck. I’ll save you some time. Here’s the video. This guy is amazing:
Don’t forget to keep checking back on the site for a new author a day!
It’s one thing to notice a trend. It’s another entirely to pick up on it, catalog the books that represent it, and post accordingly. I’d noticed in a vague disjointed way that there was a definite uptick in the number of picture books illustrated with photographs this year. Trust Travis Jonker to systematically go through and find every last livin’ lovin’ one in his The State of Photography Illustration in 2014 post. In his comment section I’ve added a couple others I’ve seen. Be sure to do the same!
Since I don’t have school age kids yet I’m not in the school loop at the moment. So it was a BIG shock to me to see the child of a friend of mine having her First Day of Kindergarten picture taken this week. Really? In early August? With that in mind, this may seem a bit late but I care not. The melodic cadences of Jonathan Auxier can be heard here recommending truly fantastic summer children’s book fare. The man has fine fabulous taste.
In other summer news I was pleased as punch to read about the Y’s Summer Learning Loss Prevention Program. You know summer slide? Well it’s good to see someone doing something about it. Check out the info. Check out the stats. Check out the folks trying to combat it.
It’s interesting to read the recent PW article Middle Grade and YA: Where to Draw the Line? which takes the issue from a bookseller P.O.V. Naturally librarians have been struggling with this issue for years. I even conducted a panel at NYPL a couple years ago called Middle Grade Fiction: Surviving the YA Onslaught in which MG authors Rebecca Stead, N.D. Wilson (he’s everywhere!), Jeanne Birdsall, and Adam Gidwitz discussed the industry’s attempts to brand them as YA (you can hear the full incredibly painful and scratchy audio of the talk here). It’s a hot topic.
This. This this this this this. By the way, and completely off-topic, how long until someone writes a YA novel called “This”? The sequel could be named “That”. You’re welcome, publishing industry.
Harry Potter fan art is near and dear to my heart but in a pinch I’m happy to consider Harry Potter official cover art as well. They just released the new British covers (and high bloody time, sayeth the masses). They’re rather fabulous, with the sole flaw of never aging Harry. What poor kid wants to look the same age at 10 as he does at 17? Maybe it’s a wizard thing. Here’s one of the new jackets to chew on:
That might be my favorite Dumbledore to date.
There are whole generations of children’s librarians that went through graduate school reading and learning about educator Kay E. Vandergrift. I was one of them, so I was quite sad to read of her recent passing. The PW obit for her is excellent, particularly the part that reads, “Vandergrift was one of the first professors to establish a significant Web presence, spearheading the use of the Internet as a teaching tool. Her website, a self-declared ‘means of sharing ideas and information with all those interested in literature for children and young adults,’ was considered an important resource for those working with children and linked to more than 500 other sites.” If you need to know your online children’s literary history, the story isn’t complete without Kay. I always hoped she’d get around to including a blog section, but what she had was impressive in its own right. Go take a gander.
I don’t consider myself a chump but there are times when even I get so blinded by a seemingly odd fact on the internet that I eschew common sense and believe it to be correct. Case in point: The Detroit Tigers Dugout Librarian. Oh, how I wanted this to be true. Born in Kalamazoo, a town equidistant between Detroit and Chicago, my baseball loyalties have always been torn between the Tigers and the Cubs (clearly I love lost causes). So the idea of the Tigers having their own librarian . . . well, can you blame me for wanting to believe? I WANNA BEE-LIEVE!
I’ve a new pet peeve. Wanna hear it? Of course you do! I just get a bit peeved when popular sites create these lists of children’s books and do absolutely no research whatsoever so that every book mentioned is something they themselves read as children. That’s why it’s notable when you see something like the remarkable Buzzfeed list 25 Contemporary Picture Books to Help Parents, Teachers, and Kids Talk About Diversity. They don’t lie! There are September 2014 releases here as well as a couple things that are at least 10 years old. It’s a nice mix, really, and a great selection of books. Thanks to Alexandria LaFaye for the link.
So they’re called iPhone wallpapers? I never knew that. Neil Gaiman’s made a score of them based on his children’s books.
Maybe it’s just me but after seeing the literary benches cropping up in England I can’t help but think they make a LOT of sense. More so than painting a statue of a cow or a Peanuts character (can you tell I lived in Minneapolis once?). Here are two beautiful examples:
This month we're featuring a decidedly fantastical themed list of popular kids stories perfect for ages 8-12. Star Wars fans will be stoked to read Jeffrey Brown's Goodnight Darth Vader (an all ages funny read) and Tom Angleberger's latest Origami Yoda book.
Starz and Fremantle Media are teaming up to create a television series adaptation of Neil Gaiman’sAmerican Gods.
According to the A.V. Club, Heroes screenwriter Bryan Fuller will pen the pilot script and Smallville producer Michael Green will take on the showrunner position. Both men along with Gaiman himself will serve as executive producers.
Gaiman had this statement in the press release: “When you create something like American Gods, which attracts fans and obsessives and people who tattoo quotes from it on themselves or each other, and who all, tattooed or not, just care about it deeply, it’s really important to pick your team carefully: you don’t want to let the fans down, or the people who care and have been casting it online since the dawn of recorded history. What I love most about the team who I trust to take it out to the world, is that they are the same kind of fanatics that American Gods has attracted since the start. I haven’t actually checked Bryan Fuller or Michael Green for quote tattoos, but I would not be surprised if they have them.”
Neil Gaiman has donated a special tour book edition of The Ocean at the End of the Lane for a charity eBay auction.
This particular copy features Gaiman's signature on the cover. The interior contains a doodle he drew called "The Clown-shoes of Cthulhu."
Thus far, this item has drawn 30 bids and is currently priced at $610. Bidding will be closed on May 18th. The proceeds will be given to The Neurofibromatosis Network.
Poor Garfield. In his heyday, he was amongst the most beloved characters on the funny pages, his plush likenesses fastened to car windows and his sarcastic barbs adorning office walls around the globe. Then, somewhere along the line, he underwent a pop-cultural re-evaluation. Jim Davis’ strip is now something of a pariah: just look at how "The Simpsons" paired it with "Love Is" as the kind of strip that Milhouse reads. What a comedown for a character once hip enough to be quoted in “Two Tribes” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. But yet, the orange cat has been saved from cultural oblivion by a peculiar trend: the remixed "Garfield" strip.
Many members of the literary community have been greatly concerned about the Amazon vs. Hachette dispute. Renowned writer Neil Gaiman sat for an interview with Salonand voiced his opinion on this hotly-debated subject.
Gaiman revealed that he has many reasons to feel anger towards Amazon, but he is also trying to keep in mind "that what you’re seeing right now, is huge, giant-level dealings between huge corporations both under non-disclosure, and every time I try to actually read enough stuff to figure out what’s going on here, what I run into is lots of 'We can’t say anything, but he says,' and 'We can’t say anything, but she says.'"
Like The Fault in Our Stars authorJohn Green, Gaiman loves bookstores and wishes "to see is more and more healthy, independent bookshops." Where do you stand on this? What do you think the future holds for the relationship between publishers and Amazon?
Cindy Cardona is the Tween Librarian at the South Brunswick Public Library, in South Brunswick, NJ. She spends most of her time trying to figure out how to incorporate food into her library programs, trying to make the Children’s Department a little more colorful, and fighting the good fight to convince people that audiobooks are real books too!
Gaiman read his version of Hansel & Gretel during the first half of the show. Toon Books will release the finished graphic novel, which features illustrations by artist Lorenzo Mattotti, on October 28th.
After intermission, Gaiman recited his short story “The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains” while the FourPlay Quartet played music and paintings by illustrator Eddie Campbell were displayed. At the end of the night, Gaiman sang the song “Psycho.” Follow this link to watch hear Gaiman’s singing.