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200 Years of Price and Prejudice January 28, 2013

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in classics, literary fiction, Monday Media.
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Jane Austen: 1817 - 1818

Jane Austen: 1775 – 1817

One of the most beloved novels of all time, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, made its bookstore debut 200 years ago today. The second of her six published novels (following Sense and Sensibility), Pride and Prejudice received favorable reviews and earned Austen a modest personal income. Yet because her work was published anonymously, the young female novelist never received the respect among peers and public which she so rightfully deserved.

MediaMonday for January 28, 2013: Celebrating 200 Years of Pride and Prejudice. NY Times Arts Beat, January 28, 2013 lists events happening throughout the globe in celebration of the bicentennial of the book’s publication.

Today’s Penguin blog offers a gallery of Pride and Prejudice book covers through the years.

The original title page from the 1813 edition of Jane Austen's Price and Prejudice.

The title page from the original  1813 edition of Jane Austen’s Price and Prejudice.

The unlikely love story between the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet and the prideful Mr. Darcy drives the plot of Pride and Prejudice, but it’s the sharp observational wit and wise sub-textural comments on culture, morality and society that secures this novel in the canon of world literature.

Despite it being in the public domain and available for free downloads on many sites, the novel continues to sell millions of copies each year. Assigned reading in classrooms and writing workshops across the globe, Pride and Prejudice is a brilliant study in characterization, plot development, and setting.

Born in 1775, Austen was youngest of George and Cassandra Austen’s seven children. Educated primarily by her father, a country parson, and her older brothers, Austen began writing prolifically in her teen years and by the age of 21 had completed the novel that would become Sense and Sensibility. That novel wouldn’t be published until 1811, opening the door with its favorable reception to the novel that in 1813 would become one of the season’s most fashionable reads and in later years a world-wide sensation.

Austen fell ill and died in 1817 at the age of 41. Speculation to the cause of her death range from Addison’s disease to non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

Share your Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice remembrance today here on the blog (click comments button above) or in #litchat today at 4pmET through Twitter.

Plot Changes November 14, 2011

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in classics, YA fiction.
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Lauren Baratz-Logsted

What would you change about a classic novel? Would you save Anna Karenina from suicide? Bring Rhett back to Scarlett? Or would you have Santiago return to port with his prize marlin fully intact? This week in #litchat we’re discussing what you would change in the plots of classic novels.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted returns to #litchat on Friday to discuss her latest novel, Little Women and Me. In this imaginative and witty YA novel, Logsted ventures into the world of Little Women. When Emily, sick and tired of being a middle sister, gets an assignment to describe what she’d change about a classic novel, Emily pounces on Little Women. After all, if she can’t change things in her own family, maybe she can bring a little justice to the March sisters. (Kill off Beth? Have cute Laurie wind up with Amy instead of Jo? What was Louisa May Alcott thinking?!) But when Emily gets mysteriously transported into the world of the book, she discovers that righting fictional wrongs won’t be easy. And after being immersed in a time and place so different from her own, it may be Emily-not the four March sisters-who undergoes the most surprising change of all. Lauren Baratz-Logsted’s winning confection will appeal to fans of Little Women as well as anyone who enjoys a modern twist on an old favorite.

Between 1994 and May 2002—when Red Dress Ink called with an offer to buy her first novel, The Thin Pink Line—Baratz-Logsted worked as a book reviewer, a freelance editor and writer, and a window washer, making her arguably the only woman in the world who has ever both hosted a book signing party and washed the windows of the late best-selling novelist Robert Ludlum.

Since Red Dress Ink’s call in 2002, Baratz-Logsted has kept very busy with writing more novels and checking her Amazon ranking on a daily basis. She has authored novels for adult readers, young adult novels and The Sister’s Eight middle grade series. She still lives in Danbury, with her husband and daughter, where she has lived since 1991.

Follow Lauren Baratz-Logsted on Twitter: @LaurenBaratzL.

Small Press Showcase October 24, 2011

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in classics, creative non-fiction, literary fiction, memoir, narrative nonfiction, poetry, small presses.
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It’s that time of year again. Once annually #litchat features a week of discussion led by publishers, editors and authors of independent presses. These are the rebels of publishing, the audacious leaders willing to produce books that the big houses won’t touch for a myriad of reasons. Independent, small presses often operate on a shoestring budget, with more vision than provision. What keeps independent presses rolling in this age of literary plenty? What types of manuscripts are they looking to publish? How do they position themselves between the big houses and the start-ups whose only authors are themselves? Will Amazon’s new publishing empire affect legitimate small presses? These questions and others will come up this week during Small Press Showcase.

Monday, October 24: Engine Books
Victoria Barrett, publisher/editor

Established in January of this year by Victoria Barrett, Engine Books is a boutique fiction press publishing novels, short story collections, collected novellas, and related volumes. Barrett is a writer, editor, and professor whose fiction has appeared in Colorado Review, Massachusetts Review, You Must Be This Tall to Ride, and Confrontation. Her career as an editor began at Puerto del Solwhere editor Kevin McIlvoy called her “the most significant managing editor” in the journal’s history. Her work there trained her to read fiction submissions on their own terms, rather than see them through the lens of her own aesthetic preferences.

This work continues at Freight Stories, where she and co-editor Andrew Scott have published the work of finalists for the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize, bestsellers, and long-seasoned authors alongside emerging authors, some of whom saw in Freight Stories their first publication. The wide variety of styles and forms published in FS speak to Barrett’s enthusiasm for all kinds of fiction.

Engine Books seeks to publish four titles each year, ensuring full attention to the editing, production, and promotion of each title.

Follow Engine Books on Twitter: @enginebooks.

Wednesday, October 26: Press 53
Valerie Nieman, author
Kevin Watson, editor/publisher

Press 53 is an independent publisher of literary fiction, poetry, and nonfiction that was founded in October 2005 by Kevin Morgan Watson, who serves as Fiction & Poetry Editor; Tom Lombardo is Poetry Series Editor (Tom Lombardo Poetry Selections); Robin Miura is Novel/Memoir Editor (Robin Miura Novel and Memoir Selections); and Sarah Elizabeth Younger, who serves as eBook editor.

Press 53 is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in the Community Arts Cafe building at Fourth & Spruce. They publish full-length books by established writers. In addition to finding and showcasing new writers in our Press 53 Open Awards Anthology, and established writers in our short story and poetry collections, novels, and creative nonfiction books, we also have a fondness for bringing back great books that are out of print, which we re-issue under our Press 53 Classics imprint.

Follow Press 53 on Twitter: @Press53.

Kevin Morgan Watson is founder of Press 53 and serves as editor in chief with a special focus on short stories and poetry. As a publisher, he has worked with writers ranging from first-time published authors to winners of the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize. As a writer, his short stories, poetry, and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including the 2002 TallGrass Writers Guild/Outrider Press anthology Take Two—They’re Small, where his short story “Sunny Side Up” won first prize. Kevin also serves as an advisor for student adaptation of short stories to screenplays with the screenwriting faculty at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, School of Filmmaking in Winston-Salem, NC.

Follow Kevin Watson on Twitter: @Press53.

Valerie Nieman, author of Blood Clay has also published a collection of short stories, Fidelities, from West Virginia University Press, and a poetry collection, Wake Wake Wake. She has received an NEA creative writing fellowship, two Elizabeth Simpson Smith prizes in fiction, and the Greg Grummer Prize in poetry. A native of Western New York State, she graduated from West Virginia University and the M.F.A. program at Queens University of Charlotte. She teaches writing at N.C. A&T State University and is the poetry editor for Prime Number Magazine.

Follow Valerie Nieman on Twitter: @ValNieman.

Friday, October 28: The Overlook Press
Frances Hill, author 

The Overlook Press is an independent general-interest publisher, founded in 1971. The publishing program consists of nearly 100 new books per year, evenly divided between hardcovers and trade paperbacks. The list is eclectic, but areas of strength include interesting fiction, history, biography, drama, and design.

The house was launched by owner Peter Mayer as a home for distinguished books that had been ”overlooked” by larger houses. At the time Mayer was at the helm of one of them, Avon, and would go on to a twenty-year tenure at Penguin, which he eventually headed as well. He joined with his father Alfred, a retired glove manufacturer, to nurture Overlook Press, supervising business from Manhattan in his off hours, while Fredy ran the upstate operation, picturesquely housed in an old apple shed on Overlook Mountain in Woodstock.

Another cherished mission is to revive and bring to new audiences classic books and authors. We are renowned for our stylish editions of the works of P.G. Wodehouse, as well as bringing back the beloved Freddy the Pig series by Walter R. Brooks. In addition, they have just completed new paperback editions of fiction by Joseph Roth, one of literature’s modern masters. In 2002 the Overlook Press acquired Ardis, the premier publisher of Russian literature in English. More recently the Overlook elephant has spread its wings across the Atlantic to take under new ownership the 106-year-old company Duckworth.

Follow the Overlook Press on Twitter: @overlookpress.

Author of Outlook Press’s recently published novel Deliverance from EvilFrances Hill was born in London in 1943 and went to Keele University, Staffordshire, where she obtained a BA Honours degree in English Literature and Philosophy. For many years she was the radio critic for the TES as well as a fiction reviewer and obituary writer for The Times and feature writer for many other publications including The Times Higher Education Supplement, The Guardian and The Spectator. Her first novel, Out of Bounds, was published by John Murray in 1985 and was followed by a second novel, A Fatal Delusion (John Murray), in 1989. In 1992 she began work on her acclaimed account of the Salem witch trials, A Delusion of Satan, which was published by Doubleday in New York in 1995 and Hamish Hamilton in London in 1996. A new edition with a new preface appeared in 2002. Her second book on the Salem witch trials, The Salem Witch Trials Reader, was published by da Capo in 2000 and her third book on the same subject, Hunting for Witches, A Visitor’s Guide to the Salem Witch Trials, was published by Commonwealth Editions in 2002. Such Men Are Dangerous, The Fanatics of 1692 and 2004 was published by Upper Access in March 2004. Frances Hill lives in London but visits the U.S. regularly, spending every summer in Connecticut.

Celebration: 50 Years of To Kill A Mockingbird September 6, 2010

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in bestsellers, classics, commercial fiction, fiction, historical fiction, literary fiction, multi-cultural fiction, weekly topics.
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Topic of the Week: September 6-10, 2010

Some novels stay with you forever. You remember with clarity when and where you read it, how the characters drew you into their lives and carried you through pages of adventure, crisis, awakening or romance. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee is one of those books.

Published in July 1960, the book met with mixed reviews. The Atlantic Monthly‘s reviewer called it, “sugar-water served with humor. . . .” while Time magazine’s reviewer wrote, “Author Lee, 34, an Alabaman, has written her first novel with all of the tactile brilliance and none of the preciosity generally supposed to be standard swamp-warfare issue for Southern writers.” The novel went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1961 as well as dozens of other honors through the years, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1997.

This week in #litchat we’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of this seminal book in conjunction with the #tkam hashtag promoted by HarperCollins Publishers. We’ll start on Monday with open topic moderated by #litchat founder Carolyn Burns Bass, then Wednesday we’ll hear from author Virginia DeBerry, followed by Friday discussion led by author Kathryn Magendie. We encourage participants to include both the #litchat and #tkam hashtag in their comments.

Virginia DeBerry

Virginia DeBerry, along with her writing partner Donna Grant, have written five novels together. A former high school English teacher from Buffalo, New York, DeBerry attended Fisk University and is a graduate of SUNY at Buffalo. The duo’s first novel, Tryin’ to Sleep in the Bed You Made, was a critical success, an Essence Bestseller, and won the Merit Award for Fiction from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, as well as the 1998 Book of the Year Award from the Blackboard Bestseller List/African American Booksellers Conference-Book Expo America. Their most recent novel, Uptown, was released by Touchstone in March of this year.

Kathryn Magendie

Kathryn Magendie

Kathryn Magendie writes with a southern voice inspired by the hills and hollows of the mountains she calls home. Her first novel Tender Graces was released by Belle Bridge in April 2009, followed in March of this year with Secret Graces, a second in a planned trilogy of books called the Graces Saga. A separate title called Sweetie is set for release this fall. Magendie is a writer, editor, and Co-Editor/Publisher of The Rose & Thorn e-zine. Her short stories, essays, photography, and poetry have been published in both online and print publications.

Carolyn Burns Bass

A longtime journalist, Carolyn Burns Bass started #litchat in January 2009. She has written  numerous personality profiles; music and book reviews; personal essays; food, travel and lifestyle features in a variety of consumer and trade publications. She is currently completing a novel, The Sword Swallower’s Daughter.

Recognizing how many LitChat followers are unable to participate in the scheduled one-hour chats on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and how expressing a multi-layered point in Twitter’s 140 characters, we invite you to post your To Kill A Mockingbird tributes, critiques and URLs about this great American novel in the comments below.

Follow Virginia DeBerry on Twitter: @deberryandgrant

Follow Kathryn Magendie on Twitter: @katmagendie

Follow Carolyn Burns Bass on Twitter: @CarolyBurnsBass

Read the chatscript from this week’s #litchat here.