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<<April 2017>>
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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: oup, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 54
1. Why did the Oxford University Press staff member cross the road?

In order to celebrate National Tell a Joke Day, I asked fellow Oxford University Press staff members to tell me their favourite joke(s). Some of these jokes will make you guffaw and some will make you groan but hopefully all of them will make you smile. The jokes below range from the strange to the downright silly.

The post Why did the Oxford University Press staff member cross the road? appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. Charles Williams: Oxford’s lost poetry professor

It was strikingly appropriate that Sir Geoffrey Hill should have focused his final lecture as Oxford Professor of Poetry on a quotation from Charles Williams. Not only was the lecture, in May 2015, delivered almost exactly seventy years after Williams’s death; but Williams himself had once hoped to become Professor of Poetry.

The post Charles Williams: Oxford’s lost poetry professor appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. “It’s an exciting time to be an editor”: Dan Parker on the OUPblog

It’s an exciting time to be an editor of the OUPblog. Over the course of the last ten years, the blog has gone from strength to strength. In order to help the blog continue to develop, the focus has been on reaching the right communities with the right content.

The post “It’s an exciting time to be an editor”: Dan Parker on the OUPblog appeared first on OUPblog.

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4. “who wouldn’t want to get involved?” : Kirsty Doole on the OUPblog

The OUPblog has been a part of my working life for something like eight years. These days I am mainly ‘just’ a reader, but for a long time, the blog was something I worked with on a daily basis.

The post “who wouldn’t want to get involved?” : Kirsty Doole on the OUPblog appeared first on OUPblog.

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5. Preparing for the Vis Moot 2014

By Isabel Jones

This weekend will see the oral arguments for the 21st Annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot begin in the Law Faculty of the University of Vienna, an exciting event for students, coaches, arbitrators, and publishers. This yearly event is a highlight in the arbitration event calendar and a chance for lawyers and students from all over the world to meet. Oxford University Press will have a stand in the main meeting place, the Juridicum, and we’re looking forward to showcasing our great selection of products.

With nearly 100 mooting teams, the moot promises to be a busy, vibrant, and sociable event. To find out more about this year’s problem, visit the moot website. In case you didn’t know already, this year’s moot will be using the CEPANI rules.

At the OUP stand you will be able to find plenty of copies of the essential text, Redfern and Hunter on International Arbitration. Last year we caught up with the authors to discuss the book and the future of international arbitration, watch the videos below to find out more.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Also available will be the second edition of Principles of International Investment Law by Rudolf Dolzer and Christoph Schreuer, and the third edition of Schlechtriem & Schwenzer: Commentary on the UN Convention on the International Sale of Goods (CISG) edited Ingeborg Schwenzer. If you come to the stand you will be able to demo the fantastic newly re-lauched online service Investment Claims on our iPads.

It’s hard not to notice that Vienna is a great location for this event, and with so much do to in between moots that you’ll be spoilt for choice. Once you’ve had a good look at the OUP stand, why not:

  • Take a walk to the MuseumsQuartier, one of the largest cultural areas in the world. Here you can admire the mixture of baroque and modern architecture and visit a number of great galleries including Leopold Museum and the MUMOK
  • Have a coffee and cake in Café Central, only a short walk from the Juridicum and offers a great coffee house experience
  • Take a trip to the beautiful Schonbrunn Palace on the outskirts of Vienna
  • See Klimt’s famous painting ‘The Kiss’ at The Belvedere
  • Visit the amazing Faberge exhibition on at Kunsthistorisches Museum
  • Explore the Easter markets nearby, where you can buy beautiful painted eggs (if you can get them home intact!) along with traditional Austrian food and drink

We’ll be setting up our stand early on Saturday (13 April) morning and will be packing up on Tuesday morning. Do come by and say hello if you’re at the Moot, we’re looking forward to seeing you!

Isabel Jones is Senior Marketing Executive in OUP UK’s Law department.

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The post Preparing for the Vis Moot 2014 appeared first on OUPblog.

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6. An appreciation of air conditioning

This week—August 15, to be exact—celebrates the climax of Air Conditioning Appreciation Days, a month-long tribute to the wonderful technology that has made summer heat a little more bearable for millions of people. Census figures tell us that nine out of ten Americans have central air conditioning, or a window unit, or more than one, in our homes; in our cars, it’s nearly universal. Go to any hardware or home goods store and you’ll see a pile of boxes containing no-fuss machines in a whole range of sizes, amazingly affordable, plop-’em-in-the-window-and-plug-’em-in-and-you’re-done. Not only do we appreciate the air conditioner, but we appreciate how easy it is to become air conditioned.

When it comes to cool, we’ve come a long way. But in earlier times, it was nowhere near as simple for ordinary citizens to get summertime comfort.

One of the first cooling contraptions offered to the public showed up around 1865, the brainchild of inventor Azel S. Lyman: Lyman’s Air Purifier. This consisted of a tall, bulky cabinet that formed the headboard of a bed, divided into various levels that held ice to cool the air, unslaked lime to absorb humidity, and charcoal to absorb “minute particles of decomposing animal and vegetable matter” as well as “disgusting gases.” Relying on the principle that hot air rises and cool air sinks, air would (theoretically) enter the cabinet under its own power, rise to encounter the ice, be dried by the lime, purified by the charcoal, and finally ejected—directly onto the pillow of the sleeper—“as pure and exhilarating as was ever breathed upon the heights of Oregon.” Lyman announced this marvel in Scientific American, and in the same issue ran an advertisement looking for salesmen. Somehow the Air Purifier didn’t take off.

More interesting to homeowners was the device that showed up in 1882, the electric fan. Until then, fans were powered by water or steam, usually intended for public buildings rather than homes, and most of them tended to circulate air lazily. But the electric model was quite different, with blades that revolved at 2,000 rpm—“as rapidly as a buzz saw,” observed one wag, and for years they were nicknamed “buzz” fans. They were some of the very first electrically powered appliances available for sale. They were also exorbitant, costing $20 (in modern terms, about $475). But that didn’t stop the era’s big spenders from seizing upon them eagerly. Delighted reviewers of the electric fan claimed that it was “warranted to lower the temperature of a room from ninety-five to sixty degrees in a few minutes” and that its effect was “like going into a cool grove.”

The fan combined with ice around the turn of the century, producing an eight-foot-tall metal object that its inventor called “The NEVO, or Cold Air Stove.” The principle was simple: air entered through a small pipe at the top, was pulled by a fan through the NEVO’s body—which had to be stuffed daily with 250 pounds of ice and salt to provide the cooling—and would then be discharged out an opening at the bottom. “It dries, washes, and purifies the air.” As the NEVO had more in common with a gigantic ice cream freezer than with actual temperature control, and the smallest NEVO cost $80 (nowadays, $1,700) and cost $100 per season (over $2,000) to operate, it didn’t get far.

By 100th Anniversary Press Kit – Carrier Corp (Carrier Corporation) Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

By this time, a young engineer named Willis Carrier had developed a mechanical system that could actually cool the air and dry it, the Apparatus for Treating Air. But this was machinery of the Giant Economy Size, and used only in factories. In 1914, one wealthy gent asked Carrier to install a system in his new forty-bedroom Minneapolis home, and indeed the system was the same type that “a small factory” would use. Unfortunately, this proud homeowner died before the house was completed, and historians speculate that the machinery was never even turned on.

It wasn’t until 1929 that Frigidaire announced the first home air conditioner, the Frigidaire Room Cooler. This wasn’t in any way a lightweight portable. The Room Cooler consisted of a four-foot-tall metal cabinet, weighing 200 pounds, that had to be connected by pipes to a separate 400-pound compressor (“may be located in the basement, or any convenient location”). And it cost $800, in those days the same as a Pontiac roadster. While newspaper and magazine articles regarded the Room Cooler as a hot-weather miracle, the price (along with the setup requirements) meant that its customers came almost solely from the ranks of the rich, or businesses with cash to burn. Then fate intervened only months after the Room Cooler’s introduction when the stock market crashed, leaving very little cash for anyone to burn. Home air conditioning would have to wait until the country climbed back from the Depression.

Actually, it waited until the end of World War II, when the postwar housing boom prompted brand-new homeowners to fill their houses with the latest comforts. Along with television, air conditioning was at the top of the wish list. And at last, the timing was right; manufacturers were able to offer central cooling, as well as window units, at affordable prices. The compressor in the backyard, or the metal posterior droning out the window, became bona fide status symbols. By 1953, sales topped a million units—and the country never looked back.

Appreciation? Of course. And perhaps, adoration.

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7. Meet the Commercial Law marketing team at Oxford University Press!

We are pleased to introduce the marketing team for the Commercial Law department at OUP. Chris, Simon, and Miranda work with journals, online resources, and books published on a variety of subjects which relate to the rights and practice of people in business. The resources they work with are used by practicing lawyers, academics and students, and cover a range of topics including competition law, energy, arbitration, and financial law. Get to know more about them below:

Chris Wogan

wogan c
Chris Wogan. Do not use image without permission.

What is your role in OUP’s Commercial Law department?

I’m Chris, the Marketing Manager for Commercial Law. I plan, implement, and execute marketing strategy for Oxford’s Commercial Law portfolio.

What is the best part of your job/highlight of working at OUP?

The people you get to work with are so much fun. There are some incredibly bright and talented people at Oxford, and I love making our authors and customers happy – that is a really great part of the job. Also, the variety – working in marketing at OUP means you get to try new and different things all the time, it’s a truly interesting place to work, and an exciting time to be in marketing.

Which three songs could you not live without?

Song for Zula – The Phosphorescent
Dream the Dare – Pure Bathing Culture
On the Sea – Beach House

What’s your favourite place in Oxford?

There are so many lovely places around Oxford, including Jericho, Cowley and the colleges, but my favourite place would have to be the walk round Christchurch meadow.

What is your favourite fiction book and why?

I have lots of favourites, it’s difficult to pick just one! I’m a huge fan of James Joyce so will pick one of his – A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. It’s debatable how fictional it is, but the language is incredible. Or Villette.

If you were in a Hogwarts house, which would it be?

I’d like to think it would be Gryffindor, but in reality it would probably be Ravenclaw.


Simon Jared

simon jared
Simon Jared. Do not use image without permission.


What is your role in OUP’s Commercial Law department?

I’m the Marketing Executive for Commercial Law and work mostly on our book products, though I do also pitch in with our online products and journals.

What is the best part of your job/highlight of working at OUP?

The best part of working at OUP is definitely the people here. I’ve made a lot of friends and there are loads of friendly and creative people around (especially in marketing!). The best part of the job is the diversity. We have a lot of products and types of products, and we’re doing more and more exciting things with digital, content, and social marketing to promote them. We also still get to attend events and meet our authors and other lawyers.

What’s your favourite place in Oxford?

My favourite place in Oxford is the top of the hill in Raleigh Park for two reasons. One: I think the best view of Oxford is from above, with all the spires, domes, and old buildings. Two: I only ever go there when I’m out running and it means the rest of my run is downhill!

Who is the most famous person you’ve met?

I once walked into Paloma Faith on The Strand (not intentionally).

Which three songs could you not live without?

The End – The Doors

Mine for the Summer – by my friend Sam Brawn

Gone – Kanye West

Do you have any hidden talents?

Yes, but I’ve forgotten where I hid them.

If you were in a Hogwarts house, which would it be?

Hufflepuff, because the name amuses me.


Miranda Dobson

What is your role in OUP’s Commercial Law department?

I am the newest member of the team, and recently started as the Marketing Assistant for the Commercial Law department.

What’s your favourite place in Oxford?

miranda dobson
Miranda Dobson. Do not use image without permission.

I’ve only just moved to the city, and it’s such a beautiful place it would be difficult to choose somewhere as a favourite. However, when I’m not hanging out with daffodils, I am a sucker for a good bar or pub, and there are some great places in the Jericho area of Oxford to mooch between!

What is your favourite fiction book and why?

My favourite book is The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, simply because I think it’s the perfect novel. I love how the book uses different perspectives through diary entries and a jumbled up time scale. It combines science fiction with a love story; it has violence; it has time travel; it has romance… what more could you want?

Who is the most famous person you’ve met?

I once met Judy Dench (Dame) in Disney Land Paris, she was all in white and looked very stern, but we spoke to her and she was lovely!

What is your biggest pet peeve?

When people have a first name for their last name… you can’t trust those people.

Which three songs could you not live without?

Ain’t no mountain high enough – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

Take me to church – Hozier

Say you’ll be there – The Spice Girls (no shame)

If you were in a Hogwarts house, which would it be?

I’d be in Slytherin, because green is my colour and just like Draco and Snape, beneath my cold, evil-seeming exterior, I actually do have a heart.

Featured image credi: Lady Justice, at the Old Bailey, by Natural Philo. CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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8. Selfies and model bottoms: monkeying around with intellectual property rights

When “The Case of the Black Macaque” scooped media headlines this summer, copyright was suddenly big news. Here was photographer David Slater fighting Wikipedia over the right to disseminate online a portrait photo of a monkey which had, contrary to all expectations and the law of averages, managed within just a few jabs of a curious finger, to take a plausible, indeed publishable “selfie”. Did Slater have the right to control the image since it was his camera on which it was recorded, or was it free for the world to use on the basis that he was not its author, the true creator being the crested black macaque who, for all her charm and dexterity, was neither a real nor legal person and therefore disentitled to any legal rights?

Disputes like this make great headlines, but cause even greater headaches for the intellectual property (“IP”) community. Most have little legal substance to them and are interesting only because of their facts, but that’s what drives journalists’ involvement and readers’ interest, making it easier for the media to attract paying advertisers. By the time they pass through the media machine these tales are frequently mangled to the point at which IP lawyers can scarcely recognise them. In one recent case involving a well-known chocolate brand, a company was said to have patented its copyright in England in order to sue a business in Switzerland for trade mark infringement.  To the layman this may sound fine, but it’s about as sensible to the expert as telling the doctor that you’ve got a tummy ache in your little finger because your cat ate the goldfish last night.  We IP-ers try to explain the real story, but monkeys and selfies are far more fun than the intricacies of copyright law and, by the time we’ve tried to put the record straight, the next exciting story has already broken.

“By the time they pass through the media machine, these tales are frequently mangled to the point at which IP lawyers can scarcely recognise them”

The next selfie episode to hit the headlines, far from featuring a portrait, was quite the opposite end of the anatomical spectrum. Model Kim Kardashian objected that Jen Selter’s selfies constituted copyright infringements of photos which had been taken of Kim Kardashian’s bottom (occasionally colloquially described as her “trademark” bottom, but not yet registered in conventional legal fashion). Here the only questions IP lawyers address are (i) are the pictures of Kim Kardashian’s backside copyright-protected works and (ii) does the taking by Jen Selter of selfies of her own posterior constitute an infringement? For press and public, however, the issue morphs into the much more entertaining, if legally irrelevant, one of whether a person has copyright in their own bottom.

By Self-portrait by the depicted Macaca nigra female. See article. (Wtop.com) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Self-portrait by the depicted Macaca nigra female. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

There are many IP rights apart from copyright and they all have their macaque moments. Trade mark law is full of episodes of evil corporations stealing words from the English language and stopping anyone else using them. Patent law (in which the legal protection of body parts very much smaller than bottoms, such as sequences of DNA, does have some relevance) is garnished with tales of greed and intrigue as people seek to steal one another’s ideas and avariciously monopolise them. Confidentiality and the right to publicity have their own rip-roaring encounters in court as amorous footballers who are “playing away” seek to hush up their extramarital (that’s one word, not two) exploits. Meanwhile, the women with whom they shared moments of illicit intimacy seek to cash in on their news value by selling them to the highest bidder. For IP lawyers the legal issues are serious and, when cases come to court, they achieve precedential status that governs how future episodes of the same nature might be handled. For press and public, the issues are different: who is the footballer, who is the woman — and are there any pictures (ideally selfies)?

Seriously, the rate at which not just eye-catching tales like those related above but also far less glamorous tales result in litigation, or even legislation, makes it hard-to-impossible for practitioners, academics, administrators and businessmen to keep abreast of the law, let alone understand its deeper significance for those affected by it: businesses, governments, consumers, indeed everyone. Publishers like OUP are increasingly raising the tempo of their own responses to the IP information challenge, utilising both formal and informal media, in print and online.  Since legal publishing is largely reactive, we can narrow the gap between the time an exciting new event or legal decision hits the popular media and the point at which we can strip it down to its bare legal essentials. But it will take more than a little monkeying around before we can close that gap completely.

Featured image credit: Camera selfie, by Paul Rysz. CC-BY-2.0 via Flickr.

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9. Why must we pay attention to the law of pension trusts?

Little has been written on the subject of pension trusts, and the ways in which pension laws and trust laws interact. As academic subjects, many issues such as the purpose of a pension trust, employer duties, and the duties of directors of trustee companies, have long been under-represented. However, pension trust law is a technical area that requires more attention, and is also considered to be an exciting area of law that has been ignored in academia for too long. Author of The Law of Pension Trusts, David Pollard, explains why he decided to fill this gap and what issues he felt needed to be tackled in the law of pension trusts:

David goes on to explain why he finds pension trust law so interesting, and what the most significant pension cases were in the past 12 months. He also predicts how pension schemes might change and develop in the future:

Do you agree with David about how pension schemes might change in the future? Write your responses in the comments below.

Feature image credit: Minhas Economias, My Savings by Jeff Belmonte. CC-BY-2.0 via Flickr.

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10. Our favourite brews for Hot Tea Month

Tea, tea glorious tea! When hot water hits the leaves of the tea plant, an alchemical reaction takes place producing an invigorating and refreshing cupful of pure bliss.

Originating in the East, for thousands of years tea was a bitter medicinal draft. Finally, in the 17th century tea came of age with the historic addition of milk and sugar. This match-made-in-heaven oiled the wheels of the British Empire and it developed more than just a passing fancy for the beverage, swilling down its heavenly hot-and-wetness by the drum-load.

Tea has weathered many a storm since (not least the controversial debut of artificial sweetener in 1917) in 2003 the Royal Society of Chemistry claimed to have scientifically proven that a ‘milk first’ cup of Assam made the superior brew. Rioting in the streets was only avoided because the 4:00pm announcement coincided with the afternoon tea break.

The perfect cup is still hotly debated today and tea continues to fuel innovation here at Oxford University Press. This January is Hot Tea month, so be prepared to defend your choice of brew!

Tea Selfie Hannah Charters

“My collection of fruity and flavoured teas for when I need warming up on a cold grey day.”

Hannah Charters, Associate Online Product Marketing Manager

* * * * *

Tea Selfie Courtney Flaherty Molly Hansen Abigail Wickes

“Say TEAs! Ladies of OUP Cary chat about the season premiere of Downton Abbey over a cup of tea in their matching mugs. Molly, Abigail, and Courtney enjoy peppermint.”

Megan McPherson and Molly Hansen, Institutional Marketing; Courtney Flaherty, Creative Services

* * * * *

Tea Selfie Mackenzie Warren

“I’m drinking Twining’s green tea. I usually go for coffee in the mornings, but decaf tea is perfect for the afternoon.”

Mackenzie Warren, Marketing Associate

* * * * *

Tea Selfie Dan Parker

“I tend to go for an afternoon redbush tea from my super-manly Jemima Puddleduck mug. Props from the OUP Christmas Show in the background create a somewhat eerie backdrop to my tea-drinking experience.”

Dan Parker, Social Media Marketing Executive

* * * * *

Tea Selfie Carrie Napolitana

“Although I usually alternate between coffee and tea throughout the day, I must admit I’ve been leaning a bit more towards tea since I picked up this ‘mana-tea’ strainer. Whether it’s chai, black tea with lemon, earl grey, or green tea, whatever I’m drinking magically becomes cuter when I’m sipping it alongside an adorable marine mammal!”

Carrie Napolitano, Marketing Associate, Academic/Trade Marketing

* * * * *

Tea Selfie Michelle Kelly

“365 mornings a year, I order a Grande Chai Tea Latte from Starbucks. I’ve been going to the same Starbucks during the work week for some time now and my favorite baristas, Frank and Denize, are the best and usually have my order ready for me when I get to the counter. On the weekends, my home Starbucks also knows me and my love of chai tea. I’ve never had a cup of coffee in my life but I need caffeine so green tea does the trick. I usually drink an afternoon cup and choose from my ever-growing tea shelf in my office. Bigelow Green Tea with pomegranate is my favorite for the afternoon.”

Michelle Kelly, Marketing Manager

* * * * *

Tea Selfie Greg Bussy

“I start the day with fresh, loose, English breakfast tea from a specialty shop. My mid-morning second cup is Barry’s Tea from Ireland. My afternoon cup is usually run-of-the mill Lipton tea – not sure why I bother – it’s pretty bad.”

Greg Bussy, Marketing Director

* * * * *

Tea Selfie Miranda Dobson Simon Jared

“Simon Jared is drinking a lovely cup of earl grey in the picture above. He likes strong tea in the morning so has it black (often the cause of controversy during tea breaks). Miranda Dobson is drinking oolong tea, which is known for improving mental alertness.”

Simon Jared, Marketing Executive for Commercial Law, and Miranda Dobson, Marketing Assistant for Commercial Law

* * * * *

What’s your favourite type of tea? Let us know in the comments below.

Headline image credit: Tea in different grade of fermentation, by Haneburger. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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11. The Great OUP Pig Scandal

I expect this is old news. The current affairs cycle has moved on, and the top story now is the fact that “Page 1: lies about poor people; Page 2: boring bit nobody reads; Page 3: woman in her pants” is still considered journalism in some circles.
However, before it all quietly fades from memory, I’d like to say a few words about The Great OUP Pig Scandal.
A pig, yesterday.
Image courtesy of www.publicdomainpictures.net
For those of you who didn’t catch the story - or in case it has in fact completely faded from memory already - here’s a summary. 
Early last week, during a discussion about free speech on Radio 4’s Today, presenter James Naughtie said the following:
"I’ve got a letter here which was sent out by Oxford University Press to an author doing something for young people.
“Among the things prohibited in the text that was commissioned by OUP was the following: ‘Pigs (plus anything else which could be perceived as pork’).

“Now, if a respectable publisher tied to an academic institution is saying you’ve got to write a book in which you cannot mention pigs because some people might be offended, it’s just ludicrous, it is just a joke.”

Some banned pigs, after the ban
Image from www.publicdomainpictures.net
I’ve got an awful lot of time for Mr Naughtie, especially since his unfortunate spoonerism involving the name and title of then culture secretary Jeremy Hunt. However, on this occasion he got it badly wrong.
Firstly, I don’t think it was okay for him to name-and-shame an individual publisher like this, without asking for their side of the story first. The BBC can be quite stupidly cautious about putting both sides of a story, so for it to accuse a major publisher like this without immediate right to reply is quite bizarre.
Secondly, the wording as reported above (source: Huffington Post) doesn’t make it clear that these are not guidelines for general submissions to OUP. These are commissioning guidelines for their reading schemes which are sold across 200 countries. Such guidelines are quite common within the industry, and singling OUP out is simply unfair.
Thirdly, he jumps to the conclusion that the purpose of these guidelines is to avoid causing offence. This is quite simply wrong. Their purpose is to maximise sales. You will sell fewer books to, say, Saudi Arabia if they feature pigs or pork; and not just of the particular books that mention these subjects. Sales across the entire reading scheme will be affected, because who wants to buy a bit of a reading scheme?
An OUP book that contains no pigs,
but quite a lot of badgers.
 Fourthly - and in my view - this is where Mr Naughtie got it most wrong - he selectively mentions only the guidelines that refer to pigs and pork products. And, sure, they’re there. As are for instance, if I remember correctly, guidelines that request the author to steer clear of writing about witches or dinosaurs, because these subjects will affect sales in the good old bible-believing US of A. Where’s the outcry about “censoring” authors in order to not hurt the feelings of fundamentalist Christians? Mr Naughtie should have known that singling out a ‘ban’ on pigs like this would feed the subtle islamophobia that is currently much too common in our culture.
And finally: this ‘ban’ on pigs in books commissioned by the publisher is presented as some kind of assault on free speech. Can I just point out that the principle of free speech entitles a publisher to set their own commissioning guidelines? And also that nobody is stopping any author from writing whatever the hell they want, submitting to any publisher, and - if they can’t get a deal for it - publishing it themselves on the internet?
None of this, of course, stopped opportunistic attention-seekers like MP Philip Davies from calling for government intervention; The Independent reported him as saying, “The Secretary of State needs to get a grip over this and make sure this ridiculous ban is stopped at once.” I tried to engage Mr Davies on Twitter to ask how such government intervention would work, and how he could justify calling for legislation to stop a British business being allowed control over its own commissioning guidelines; but the only reply I got from him was an approving retweet of someone else saying that Mr Davies was not politically correct in any way. I think the word ‘politically’ may have been redundant there.
I suspect the remark that sums this whole issue up best was the one by Francis Maude MP on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions. He began:
“Well, I hadn’t heard this story, and it’s one of the weirdest things I’ve ever come across.”
In other words: I know nothing about this issue and now I’m going to pontificate about how stupid these people are being.

Sadly, that’s been about the level of debate. 

John Dougherty's latest books, the Stinkbomb & Ketchup-Face series, are published by OUP. They contain very few mentions of pigs, but could have lots more if he wanted them to. 
He has written reading scheme books for OUP and Harper Collins, and does not believe these books have ever been censored.
His first picture book, There's a Pig Up My Nose, will be published by Egmont next year.
For the first time in his life he phoned Any Answers last week, to talk about this issue, but didn't get on the air.

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12. Which Shakespeare performance shocked you the most?

Inspired by Stanley Wells' recent book on Great Shakespeare Actors, we asked OUP staff members to remember a time when a theatrical production of a Shakespeare play shocked them. We discovered that some Shakespeare plays have the ability to surprise even the hardiest of Oxford University Press employees. Grab an ice-cream on your way in, take a seat, and enjoy the descriptions of shocking Shakespeare productions.

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13. Congratulations to Elinor Ostrom and Oliver Williamson

Purdy, Publicity Director

Bob Geldof said it best back in 1979 with the hit “I Don’t Like Mondays.” My staff know better than to approach me too early on Mondays. My crankiness can sometimes last well into the afternoon. Yesterday, however, was an exception to the rule. I love it each year when the Nobel Prizes are announced. And yesterday two Oxford authors were recognized by the Nobel committee for their work in Economics. Congratulations go out to Elinor Ostrom, co-author of The Samaritan’s Dilemma: The Political Economy of Development Aid (OUP, 2005) and Oliver Williamson, author of The Mechanisms of Governance (OUP, 1999), Organization Theory: From Chester Barnard to the Present and Beyond, 2nd Edition (OUP, 1995), and The Nature of the Firm: Origins, Evolution, and Development (OUP, 1993).

While I have not had the great good pleasure to work with Ostrum and Williamson, there is still a sense of pride in working for the publisher that recognized their genius and contributions to Economics long ago. We might not see too many celebrity authors (thankfully), or New York Times bestsellers (unfortunately) here at OUP, but we do have a long list of authors who are Nobel laureates, Pulitzer recipients, and National Book Award winners (fortunately). And to the sage Nobel Economics committee in Oslo I say, “Thanks for making my Monday a little sweeter. Keep up the good work. I look forward to next year’s recipients.”

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14. National Book Award Contest: Win Prizes!

Purdy, Publicity Director

The National Book Award nominees were announced earlier this week. Kudos to all nominees, especially to our friends & compatriots at the nominated University Presses. I am glad to see the great good wisdom of the nominating committee at the NBAs. Congratulations aside, it is tradition here in the OUP publicity dept to host a little friendly contest to see who can pick the most NBA winners. This year I am inviting our blog readers to join the fray and send me your picks.  Details below.

Please note there is a point system in this contest. Correct picks in Fiction and Non-fiction will each receive 1 point each, 2 points for a correct pick in YA literature, and 3 points for a correct pick in the Poetry category. Please, only one submission per person. Send your entry to publicity.us@oup.com.

In the event of a tie, all entrants with the highest score will be placed in a raffle for prizes. Prizes include a copy of Garner’s Modern American Usage (3rd edition), the Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus, The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, and the Historical Thesaurus of the OED. One prize per player. I reserve the right to disqualify anyone I feel is trying to game this friendly competition. Awards are announced on November 18th. Winners here will be announced on November 20, 2009. Good luck.

FICTION (1 point)image001
Bonnie Jo Campbell, American Salvage (Wayne State University Press)
Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin (Random House)
Daniyal Mueenuddin, In Other Rooms, Other Wonders (Norton)
Jayne Anne Phillips, Lark and Termite (Alfred A. Knopf)
Marcel Theroux, Far North (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

NONFICTION (1 point)
David M. Carroll, Following the Water: A Hydromancer’s Notebook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Sean B. Carroll, Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Greg Grandin, Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City (Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt)
Adrienne Mayor, The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome’s Deadliest Enemy (Princeton University Press)
T. J. Stiles, The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt (Alfred A. Knopf)

Deborah Heiligman, Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith (Henry Holt)
Phillip Hoose, Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
David Small, Stitches (W. W. Norton & Co.)
Laini Taylor, Lips Touch: Three Times (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic)
Rita Williams-Garcia, Jumped (HarperTeen/HarperCollins)

POETRY (3 points)
Rae Armantrout, Versed (Wesleyan University Press)
Ann Lauterbach, Or to Begin Again (Viking Penguin)
Carl Phillips, Speak Low (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, Open Interval (University of Pittsburgh Press)
Keith Waldrop, Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy (University of California Press)

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15. happy picture book updates!

Hooray, I just turned in my picture book artwork! Yesterday I went up to Oxford and had two great meetings, one with David Fickling and my editor Hannah Featherstone, and the other at Oxford University Press with the editor and designer who have been working with me on this particular picture book: Helen Mortimer and Molly Dallas.

First, the exciting news from David Fickling: Morris the Mankiest Monster has almost completely sold out of its first print run!
I think Random House are rather astonished, since the trade in hardback books is kind of slow right now, but they're racing around making sure there will be more books printed up so people can buy it for Christmas gifts - Go go go! :-D Thanks to everyone who's bought copies and is making it a success, yay!!!
Edit: I've sold out of all my copies and I know the warehouse is empty, but I see you can still get some on Amazon.co.uk.

I'm moving on to three more projects with David Fickling, starting with something involving both books and comics and co-created with my fab friend and fellow comics jammer, David O'Connell. More about that soon! The other two projects involve Vern and Lettuce, which is really exciting because I've really missed that sheep and rabbit.

Molly and Helen at Oxford University Press

Moving on to OUP: So I can't say too much about the picture book, it won't come out til next autumn, and I still have to make the covers and do some hand lettering and spot illos, but it's going to be a rollicking great adventure story! Helen said I could give people a peek at one of the pages. I love this page because it's such a great example of collaborative work; I initially was having a hard time getting the look of this book just right, and in particular, really fighting with a drawing of a dinosaur. So I turned around to my studio mate Gary and said, 'Hey, can you draw me a dinosaur?' Without missing a beat, he scribbled something onto a post-it note in about five seconds, and whadya know... he nailed it! So I've been calling it 'Derek the Dinosaur', because it totally looks like Gary's sheep:

click to buy Derek!

That was a bit of a turning point in the book, things flowed much better after painting that page. Woodrow and Viv have also given me some great pointers and book loans and I'm so grateful because, at the end, it's not about how much I've done, but how good the book is. And it's way better for having really talented people around during its creation process. Thanks, Woodrow, Gary, Viv, Helen and Molly!

Edit: Don't miss today's radio interview with Viviane and me! 5pm on Resonance 104.4 FM, streamed at www.resonancefm.com and podcast soon after at Panel Borders:

Alex Fitch sums it up: Strip! - Banal Pigs and Constabulary Sheep
Concluding this month's series of shows on 'collectives and anthologies', we're looking at two very different animal themed collectives. In an interview recorded at this year's Small Press Expo in Bristol, Dickon Harris talks to Steve Tillotson and Gareth Brookes about their self published comics, including
The Manly Boys Annual, Can I borrow your toilet and The Banal Pig Landscape anthology; while in an interview recorded in the Old Police Station, Deptford, Alex Fitch talks to Sarah McIntyre and Viviane Schwartz, who illustrate books for children and share a studio with Beano artist Gary Northfield that they affectionately call The Fleece Station...

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16. Friday Cat Blogging: Jennifer Weber

Jennifer Weber, author of Copperheads: The Rise and Fall of Lincoln’s Opponents in the North, and Professor in the Department of History, University of Kansas, sent us this picture. This kitten has brightened my week and I hope he brightens your Friday!

Kit’s Lit

Lots of people enjoy Oxford’s books, but OUP’s fans aren’t limited to humans. Ike here has a deep interest in the Civil War, and OUP’s list slakes his thirst for knowledge.


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17. A Photo Journal of South Africa: Place of the Year 2009

Our OUP-UK friends Helen Eaton, Assistant Commissioning Editor, Academic Science and Dewi Jackson, Publishing Editor, Higher Education, recently went on a trip to South Africa.  In honor of our 2009 Place of the Year selection they have shared their experience with us and some stunning photos.  Be sure to check out other “Place of the Year” contributions here

We recently spent 20 days in South Africa split between Cape Town, the Garden Route, and Kruger National Park.
resized_1. Cape Town - Dewi Jackson

Cape Town is a beautiful and unique city filled with plenty of things to do and see whatever your taste. It is watched over by Table Mountain – an imposing 1000m rocky mountain that fills every vista. The views of the city and surrounding sea from the top are incredible – you can either hike up it or take the easy cable car option (as we did). Day trips to Cape Point (the site of many shipwrecks) and inland to the famous Cape Winelands are highly recommended. We certainly enjoyed eating and drinking in the ‘Mother City’!
resized_2. Cape Winelands - Dewi Jackson

The Garden Route is a verdant strip of coast stretching east from Cape Town. Its towns are small and friendly and its beaches pristine. South Africa is famous for having some of the best whale watching in the world and it didn’t disappoint. The whales swim so close to land that you can easily watch them from the shore, but we took the boat option and got within feet of 18m long Southern Right Whales. Just inland from here we visited Oudtshoorn in the Little Karoo, the home of ostrich farming, where we saw, rode, and ate the largest bird in the world.
resized_3. Ostriches - Helen Eaton

You can drive yourself around National Parks and Game Reserves in South Africa – in a VW Polo in our case – making for a more personal experience. Be aware, however, that this means if you get into trouble there may be no one around to help you, as we found when trapped between a lone elephant bull walking down the road towards us and a large herd crossing behind. We’ve never wanted a Humvee more.
resized_4. Garden Route scenery - Helen Eaton

In the Kruger National Park we were lucky enough to see the Big Five (Africa’s ‘trophy’ animals) – Elephant, Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Rhino. But there’s much more to the Kruger experience – its smaller creatures and bird life, the views, the unique sounds of the African bush at night, and cooking an enormous steak on your braai make it truly memorable.
resized_5. Buffalo in the Kruger Park - Dewi Jackson

South Africa is a worthy winner of ‘Place of the Year’. Nowhere else in the world can you experience beautiful landscapes and incredible wildlife at the same time as eating in exquisite restaurants and relaxing on empty beaches. We had a wonderful holiday there and I’m sure that anyone who visits after reading this will do too!
resized_6. Lions in the Kruger Park - Helen Eaton

Photo Index

1. Table Mountain viewed from Cape Town harbour. Photo by Dewi Jackson
2. Growing wine outside Cape Town. Photo by Dewi Jackson
3. Ostriches in the Little Karoo. Photo by Helen Eaton
4. Spectacular scenery on the Garden Route. Photo by Helen Eaton
5. Buffalo in the Kruger Park. Photo by Dewi Jackson
6. Lions in the Kruger Park. Photo by Helen Eaton

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18. The Best Valentine’s Day Gift

Purdy, Director of Publicity

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

Back in August 2009 Oxford University Press, Inc. was approached by producers at ABC’s Extreme Makeover, “We will be building soon in the DC area for a family that runs a nonprofit afterschool program for children. We will be building a new learning center for the program, and were wondering if Oxford might be interested in providing some books for the children.” This is not the first time we’ve been approached by Extreme Makeover, but it was heartening to see that any titles would benefit a community of children, rather than a single family. I quickly alerted my colleagues and we managed to pull together a number of reference books, children’s classics, and bi-lingual dictionaries from our ELT team we thought the kids might appreciate and find useful. We sent them off to a warehouse to await the inevitable demolition and reconstruction of the house/school. After many months I received word that construction is complete and the episode will air on ABC, Sunday, February 14, 2010. A happier valentine’s day gift we could not have hoped for here at OUP USA, and hope the kids of the Fisher School enjoy and benefit from our modest donation.

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19. Truth in Journalism: A Video

A few weeks ago I had the honor of attending BEA2010 (no not the BEA happening this week) which was part of the 2010NAB conference.  I was there to celebrate the launch of the BBC College of Journalism Website (COJO) a collaboration between OUP and the BBC.  The site allows citizens outside of the UK access to the online learning and development materials created for BBC journalists.  It is a vast resource filled to the brim with videos, audio clips, discussion pages, interactive modules and text pages covering every aspect of TV, radio, and online journalism.  At the conference I had a chance to talk with Kevin Marsh, the Executive Editor of COJO, and I will be sharing clips from our conversation for the next few weeks.  To start us off I have posted a clip which emphasizes the value of truth in journalism.  Read Kevin’s blog here.

Click here to view the embedded video.

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20. Friday Procrastination: Link Love

Is it me or does the week before a long weekend always go particularly slowly?  Wednesday feels like a month ago.  Luckily, despite my whining, Friday has arrived and so has Memorial Day Weekend.  I hope you have lovely weather, delicious barbecues, and some time to relax with a good book.  Below are some links to get you through the day.  See you all on Tuesday!

Tina Fey wins the Mark Twain Prize for Humor!

Speaking of Mark Twain, here comes his autobiography.

Are we really friends with our friends?

Sequencing the bugs in our bodies.

A simple swab can save a life.

Do paywalls kill traffic?

The unicorn at Microsoft was real.

The Kagan kids.

Bookshelves to make you drool.

EMT’s in Massachusetts and New Hampshire faked their papers.

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21. Why Go Into Journalism?: A Video

A few weeks ago I had the honor of attending BEA2010 (no not the BEA that happened last week) which was part of the 2010NAB conference. I was there to celebrate the launch of the BBC College of Journalism Website (COJO) a collaboration between OUP and the BBC. The site allows citizens outside of the UK access to the online learning and development materials created for BBC journalists. It is a vast resource filled to the brim with videos, audio clips, discussion pages, interactive modules and text pages covering every aspect of TV, radio, and online journalism. At the conference I had a chance to talk with Kevin Marsh, the Executive Editor of COJO, and I will be sharing clips from our conversation for the next few weeks. This week I have posted a clip in which Kevin shares why he choose journalism as a career. Read Kevin’s blog here. Watch the other videos in this series here and here.

Click here to view the embedded video.

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22. oxford university press summer party

Okay, I've kept very quiet about this book with Oxford University Press, When Titus Took the Train, written by Anne Cottringer. But when I went to the Summer Party last night, they had it proudly displayed on the wall, so I guess the word's out. Now we need to sell lots of foreign co-editions, so if you live anywhere other than Britain and want to publish this book, do get in touch with OUP!!! (Spread the word!)

It's fab, here are a couple sneak peeks. I love the little Titus character, he's loosely based on my DFC comics friend Woodrow Phoenix, who told me he couldn't be separated from his cowboy hat when he was a teenager, even wearing it to Germany on a school exchange programme.

The book has a swish modern train, bandits, a fearsome dinosaur, lots of Titus's creative scribbling, what more could you want?

My studio mate Gary Northfield gave me some help with getting ideas for how to draw the dinosaur, so I call it 'Derek the Dinosaur' (after his Derek the Sheep).

The OUP offices are amazing, they look like one of the grand old colleges on the rest of the campus with their tall yellow stone columns. So I was really hoping they'd hold the Summer Party out on the grass in the gorgeous cloistered courtyard. But this is a British Summer, so it was not to be. But there was free-flowing Pimm's and lemonade, so it still felt somewhat seasonal.

Korky Paul, Anna Currey, me, Layn Marlow, Steve Cole

I had a good time, even if all the name-badge checking everyone was doing was slightly overwhelming. So I was so glad my dear friend and critique group member Layn Marlow was there, along with my book's author, Anne Cottringer, and my fab publisher David Fickling (he used to work at OUP).

One of my fave writers, Geraldine McCaughrean - I ADORE her novel, The White Darkness - and fab illustrator Ian Beck

With Layn Marlow and When Titus Took the Train writer Anne Cottringer

With two-time Carnegie Medal winner Berlie Doherty

The Astrosaurs guy Steve Cole was a good laugh. Here's him in his sobre black jacket (but with Vern pin!) and in the second photo, when the Pimm's kicked in and clothes started coming off all round the room. Whoo! He's going to be at the Bath Kids Lit Fest the same day as me, good times ahead. XD

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23. Dispatch from Tokyo

By Michelle Rafferty

Last week we received a message from Miki Matoba, Director of Global Academic Business at OUP Tokyo, confirming that her staff is safe and well. This was a relief to hear, and also a reminder that although many of us are tied to the people of Japan in some way, our perspective of the human impact is relatively small.  So I asked Miki if she wouldn’t mind sharing some of her experiences, and she kindly agreed. When she responded to my questions she wrote: “Hope my answers reflect a part of how we view the incidents as Japanese.”

1.) Where were you, and what were your thoughts as the earthquake hit?

I was in a meeting room with a visitor from OUP Oxford and my staff having a meeting when the earthquake started. You may find this weird but we all are very much living with earthquakes from a young age. So little shakes here and there are just a part of our lives. But not the one we had last Friday as that was the biggest one in some hundreds of years. What I normally think when earthquakes start is when shall I get up to secure the exit and go under the desk. Most of the time, you do not have to do either as it does not last long. But not this time. As the building started to shake for a while I opened the door of the meeting room thinking that this is a big one but should stop soon. But it did not. So we put ourselves under the table hoping for the shaking to cease. When it did not, I thought then that this is a serious one and something really severe will happen as a result.

Then we saw some white stuff coming down in the office (it was not fire – just some dust coming down from the ceiling) and someone shouted that we should leave NOW. So we did. I did not take anything. Just myself and those who were meeting with me, running down from 8th floor to the ground. Even when we were running down the stairs, it was still shaking. After a while, we went back to the office to get things as the decision was made very quickly to close the office for that day. Almost everything on my desk had either fallen over or was on the floor, and it was still shaking.

2.) Was anyone prepared?

Yes and no. As Japanese, we all are prepared for earthquakes but not for something of this size and the aftermath of it.

3.) How do you continue to manage your group at such a difficult time? Is it possible to work?

Try to communicate well. We email and also have set up an internal Twitter account that we tweet to, including who will go into the office and what they are doing as we are still mainly working from home. The situation is still very unsettling making it difficult to concentrate on work (power rationing, aftershocks and the nuclear power plant situation) but we try to process day-to-day things as usual.

4.) How would you describe the city right now (the business activity, the state of mind)?

Interesting question. I think Tokyo is normally one of the most vibrant cities in the world. Now the city is very quiet compared to normal. The weather has been clear and nice after Friday so it feels odd to be in this peaceful, quiet Tokyo under the sun after all that.

5.) I’ve heard radiation levels are higher than normal – is everyone staying inside?

We have lots of information going around including rumors. We live almost as normal – just listening to TV and radio all the time, watching the progress of the nuclear plant situation. I do not go out if that can be avoided.

6.) What do people outside of Japan need to know?


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24. Dataviz you can get behind, librarians as sees through a census lens

Today, the marriage rate among librarians is the highest it has ever been with 62 percent of librarians married in 2009.”

There is a lot of data in the world. Librarians are good at using census data to help people find families, get local information and just learn something about the way the world used to be. Here’s a neat post about using hte census data from the last 120 years to learn something about librarianship as a profession. Did you know that the number of self-reported librarians peaked in 1990 and has declined almost 30% since then? I am somewhat curious if this is just because people with library and information science backgrounds are calling themselves all manner of things now [Is a taxonomist a librarian? How about a metadata specialist?]. You can read the full post, with graphs, over at Oxford University Press’s Social explorer.

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25. Photos from Oxford University Press offices around the globe

Our generous employees have been snapping away at our office decorations and we’d like to share them with you.




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