Hey there, happy Sunday!
In celebration of World Book Day, here are 10 things for writers this week...from all over the globe:
Thanks for reading! If you liked this week's global approach, will you hit reply and let me know? There are so many writers and creatives doing amazing things all over the world, and I'd love to learn about them with you if you're into it.
- Nigeria: Olawunmi Bayode has broken the Guinness world record for marathon reading. 120 straight hours!
- Canada: "With this approach, a songwriter can rely less on the lyrics to communicate the song’s message and can allow sound to do the work. That electronic drumbeat, those vocals resonating through reverb and delay effects, that weird little synth swirl—all that sonic intrigue can move the listener as much as a chorus can, so why not consider it part of the writing process? If you can create something sonically interesting, maybe there is less pressure to write a formulaic song." Tarriq Hussain on how technology and trends have changed the craft of songwriting. (See also: the excellent Song Exploder and And the Writer Is... podcasts, where the songwriters get their due.)
- England: "Tell people you’re here to sell them something and the defences go up. But say you’re going to tell a story and people relax. For industries that haven’t always enjoyed the best reputations, advertising and branding were always going to see the appeal of rebranding themselves as ‘storytellers’. The problem is that a lot of it has been exactly that – a rebranding exercise." Nick Asbury on how the brand storytelling trend began—and whether it will ever end. (Free registration required to read this one. It's worth it.)
- South Korea: "In hindsight, the controversy surrounding the English translation of Han Kang's The Vegetarian was a defining moment in literary translation in that the public had few opportunities to know how translating literary works into a foreign language is different from making a technical translation." Kang Hyun-kyung makes the case for translation as re-creation. (Friends, I read this book last spring and it kept me awake for days. I can't recommend it highly enough, but, um, hope you have a strong stomach.)
+ "Too often, translators are overlooked when books from elsewhere are discussed."
+ My favorite Jhumpa Lahiri story: When she decided to stop writing in English and start writing entirely in Italian (which she wrote about in In Other Words), she encountered the dilemma of who would translate her books back into English. (Lahiri on translating an Italian story into English: "My hope, immodest as it will sound, was to channel Starnone’s style, to write as if he were writing, to somehow copy and paste him into English.")
+ Why won't English speakers read books in translation?
+ Japan: If you love the topic of translation as much as I do, check out The Fall of Language in the Age of English.
- Back to England for a sec because when we writers are there and hungry, we have two great options. At Story, the menu is written like a fairytale. At The Little Yellow Door, it's written entirely in emojis. Choose wisely.
+ "The Muse organises Conversation Meals at which you are seated in pairs with someone you have never met, or know only very vaguely. You are each given a Menu of Conversation that looks like a restaurant menu, with starters, fish, grills, dessert etc, but instead of descriptions of food dishes, each heading contains topics to talk about, 25 in all."
- How many of the world's best literary cities have you visited? (Moi: Three. Trying to remedy that.)
- Iceland: The flirtations of an Icelandic octogenarian misfit who lives in a shed. (The headline alone makes me want to read this book.)
+ Iceland's population is staggeringly creative. Why?
- Guyana: RIP Wilson Harris—a poet, essayist, and novelist whose memorable lines include these (from the poem "Troy"):
the strange opposition of a flower on a
branch to its dark
+ How to interview Wilson Harris: "I sent him sheets of paper with my questions, and he typed his answers on a manual typewriter, complete with Wite-Out. I sent back more questions suggested by his answers, and so on."
- New Zealand: "[Writing] is not a delicate process. We are talking about one of the most powerful forces within ourselves – self-doubt, and let's be honest, probably some self-loathing in there as well – and to face it as an equal, you must use force." 20+ authors, playwrights, and novelists on how to write like a Kiwi (excerpted from a new book on writing, The Fuse Box).
+ How one self-publishing Kiwi author is making $200K per year.
+ Australia (kind of): Truth and power in a new age of publishing.
- United States: my friend and client Jason Zook has just launched his newest project. Dear Book Publisher is a public book proposal for his second book, Do It Differently, which you may remember from when he wrote the first draft live online. (His example was a big part of the inspiration behind a recent project of mine, Watch Me Edit Someone Else's Book.) Anyway, I had the awesome opportunity to edit the Do It Differently manuscript a long time ago, and while he and I talked a bit about the how-to of proposals, most of my readers know that Jason doesn't do things the way other people do them. Check out his proposal. It's 100% him and 100% awesome.
See you next Sunday,