All posts by John Flood

John Flood lectures in the Department of English Language and Culture at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

Cockygate and Romance E-fiction

Kindle Unlimited’s algorithms have prompted some e-book authors to cash in on specific terms or cover images. This is a modern twist on an old practice of following on the tails of paper bestsellers.

The fight over #Cockygate, as it was branded online, emerged from the strange universe of Amazon Kindle Unlimited, where authors collaborate and compete to game Amazon’s algorithm. Trademark trolling is just the beginning: There are private chat groups, ebook exploits, conspiracies to seed hyperspecific trends like “Navy SEALs” and “mountain men,” and even a controversial sweepstakes in which a popular self-published author offered his readers a chance to win diamonds from Tiffany’s if they reviewed his new book.

www.theverge.com/2018/7/16/17566276/cockygate-amazon-kindle-unlimited-algorithm-self-published-romance-novel-cabal

Her Cocky Doctors (A MFM Menage Romance) (The Cocky Series Book 1) by [Crescent, Tara]

Image from Amazon.com

Book sales up, authors’ incomes down and, of course, Brexit

A record-breaking year for publishers has been greeted with renewed demands for authors to receive a bigger slice of income and investment, as sales of books passed the £5.7bn mark in 2017. Book sales were up 5% on the previous year, according to annual figures released by the Publishers Association. In sharp contrast, a recent survey of authors’ earnings revealed a 42% drop over the last decade, with the median annual income now below £10,500.

Read more in The Guardian

The boss of the Publishers Association said any tariffs or other barriers to trade post-Brexit “could be a problem”. His warning came as the industry body reported record sales of £5.7bn in 2017, up 5% on the previous year. Exports rose by 8% to £3.4bn, to account for 60% of total income, consolidating the UK’s position as the biggest exporter of books in the world.

read more on the BBC website

Norton Anthologies

Norton Textbooks 2018-19: Textbooks published by W.W. Norton and Co. for first courses (e.g. The Norton Anthology of English Literature) from the site www.wwnorton.co.uk are sold to RUG students at a 20% discount if you enter the code WN603 at the checkout.

Please note that although this has been facilitated by me as it may be useful to students, I have nothing to do with Norton’s retail department and cannot answer questions about their site or sales processes. I do not claim that this is the cheapest or quickest way to purchase these books.

Gender Studies Student Symposium

14 June 2018, 9:00-17:15.

Registration at Academy Building A3. Cost: Eur. 2.50 including lunch.

Speakers include the following students from the English department:

  • Christa Lankhaar, “Mrs. Jerrold Darrington, A Person:’ The Necessity of Marriage in H.D.’s Asphodel
  • Max Reuvers, “Physiological and Sociolinguistic Change in Transmasculine Speech”
  • Maximillian Pogrzeba, “The Socio-Economic Influences on Masculinity Performances in John Osborne’s Look Back in
    Anger (1957) and Alan Sillitoe’s Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1958)”

Other speakers are from International Relations, Journalism, and Law.

Gender Studies Student Symposium Programme

Public lectures

‘Hooked: Art and Attachment’ by Professor Rita Felski (Department of English, University of Virginia). Friday 8 June, 11:30-13:00, Heymanszaal, Academy Building. Professor Felski is an expert in literary theory.

‘The Matter of Touching: Interpreting Signs of Wear in Late Medieval Manuscripts’ by Professor Kathryn Rudy (University of St. Andrews). Monday 18th June, 16:00-18:00, A2 Academy Building.

King Lear: BBC 2, 28/5/2018

On Monday 28 May at 21:30 (UK time) BBC 2 will broadcast their King Lear starring Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson and others. Details here.

As the play had to be cut down to a little under two hours, the BBC version is expected to adapt the text considerably. The ageing Lear looks back nostalgically to a housekeeper he wanted to, but did not marry. In the consequent emotional turbulence he resolves to eat one of his daughters and a fool, and drink the blood of one of his sons-in-law. However, he cannot decide whom he should dine on first, and though it is clear that he should drink Burgundy, the culinary dilemma unhinges him.

(image from http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b57d0w)

Poetry Boom

https://i1.wp.com/t00.deviantart.net/L33m4mO8SXvEZ5wySfIlhoe_UuQ=/fit-in/300x900/filters:no_upscale():origin()/pre04/00ba/th/pre/i/2011/273/a/6/1st_rhyming_poem_in_my_life____by_kalen_bloodstone-d4bf8ps.jpg

A boom in the sales of poetry reflects the “political uncertainty” of our times, an audience at the London Book Fair has heard.


Young rebel poets are bringing about a power shift in contemporary poetry and drawing a wider audience to the art form

Image by Kalen Bloodstone CC3.0

‘Here be Dragons’

Image result for tolkien

‘Here be Dragons’: the Oxford Fantasy Literature summer school will be held in the Faculty in September. Speakers from the Oxford English Faculty and other UK universities will look at different aspects of the genre, through 14 talks delivered over three days

interspersed with a series of 10-minute talks. Along with presentations focusing on the works of individual authors such as Tolkien, G. R. R. Martin, J. K. Rowling, Ursula Le Guin and Diana Wynne Jones, and overviews of the history of fantasy, there will be a number of short lectures on wider themes such as fantastic beasts, writing processes, and Arthurian fantasy. Further details and the full programme are available here.

Carol Ann Duffy and The Daily Mail

As for the idea of a classroom of unruly schoolboys being stilled and thrilled to hear such stuff read aloud — as they must have once been by Tennyson — forget it. Poets don’t write for schoolboys any more. They seem to write mainly for each other.

First-year students were recently studying the work of the current British poet laureate. This article from The Daily Mail may make it all clearer.

CAduffy

Photo: Lancaster Litfest