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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Presque vu VI

Pink Ribbon


The Mahablog reports on the state of publishing:

Over the years more and more of the editorial functions have been outsourced or subcontracted, however. Today most copy-editing and proofreading are freelanced, and good luck finding competent people who have received real training. Increasingly even manuscript development and substantive editing are freelanced, or subcontracted to a book packager. It is not unusual for a book to be published without anyone on the publisher’s regular payroll actually reading it.

This is a long but interesting piece. Go take a look.


We went to see The Queen, Stephen Frears film about the, well, the Queen, I suppose, and her relationship with Tony Blair during the events between the death of Diana and the princess’s funeral service in Westminster Abbey.

The Queen

If you like Helen Mirren, who plays the title role, you’ll enjoy the film, but otherwise you should probably leave it alone. Everyone plays caricatures, I suppose because all of the roles in real life are played by caricatures of themselves. None of the main players are concerned with anyone but themselves and so it is inevitable that you leave the cinema thinking, ‘So what?'(If you do go, nevertheless, watch out for Sylvia Syms as the Queen mum.)

If you’re looking for characters that you can warm to and feel some empathy with, The Queen will not fill the bill. Search around and see if you can catch a late showing of Volver instead.


I ran a writers’ workshop at Burton on Trent central library yesterday morning. Ten keen students, some of them with real talent. Technique of course, is the only thing that can be taught, but those with a will to learn hoover it up with great gusto. I think we all took something valuable away with us. I’m not the best teacher in the world, but I do know my subject and sometimes everything comes together and the knowledge one is trying to convey becomes so tangible you can almost touch it.

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