Saturday, April 25, 2009

Making an Exhibition of Authors

Dear sir or madam, My name is Sonya Hartnett, I am fifteen years old. I have written a story about a young adolescent boy and the problems he has with his family, friends and society in general. Many of my friends say that I should get it published. Could you please tell me what I am required to do if I send it to you?
Jane Sullivan attend an exhibition about books and writing in Victoria and finds, among other fascinating literary memorabilia (including Peter Carey's laptop and Tony Wheeler's first travel diary) the above letter written by a young hopeful to a publisher. What is remarkable is the tact and generosity with which the feedback is handled by Frank Thompson, then a general manager at Rigby, who reminds Harnett :
Writing is a bit like playing sport ... Everyone can play most games but only a few play games so well that we will pay to watch them play, and even they have to practise continually ...
She took Thompson's advice to rewrite and her first novel, Trouble All the Way, was published a short time later, to be followed by many others. (And of course, she is listed for the Commonwealth Writers Prize this year.)

Ah, the importance of encouraging emerging writers ... and helping them grow.

The Independent Type: Books and Writing in Victoria is on at the Keith Murdoch Gallery, State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston Street, Melbourne, until October 25.

Another exhibition with an literary link features furniture made specifically for favourite authors! Genevieve Roberts in The Independent reports that fifty of the world's best-known designers (including Christian Lacroix and Paul Smith) have been invited to create a piece for the writer who has most influenced their lives. Esther Henwood's book from the exhibitions Design et Littérature: Une Liaison Inspiré is to be published in Paris this week.

Some examples of the works :
The architect and designer Claudio Colucci conceived a lounge sofa made from carbon fibre for the James Bond writer Ian Fleming. "I have always liked the fantasy element in design," he said. "Too much function bores me. I thought of creating an amphibious car, but that already exists, so I designed a lounge-sofa for drinking champagne, for two, of course." The fashion designer Christian Lacroix imagined a mid-20th Century wrought-iron chair for the French novelist, Patrick Modiano. Lacroix said: "I like his form of melancholy; like him, I'm nostalgic." ... The architect India Mahdavi designed a cat-shaped sofa in homage to Japanese author Haruki Murakami. Mahdavi, who chose a cat because the animal appears throughout Murakami's work, said that when she was introduced to the novelist, "it was like entering someone's dream, in a universe where fantasy and reality are mixed".
Other works :
... have been imagined for great literary figures, such as Proust, Tolstoy and Flaubert. Others were conceived for contemporary writers who will have the chance to see the designs that have been imagined.
I got very frustrated yesterday trying to find some pictures of the pieces online, but I hope that they will appear in the days and weeks to come, and if they do, will post them.

But this news does rather beg the question - what piece of furniture would you design for your favourite author?


Anonymous said...

"I have written a story about a young adolescent boy and the problems he has with his family, friends and society in general."

That's Sue Townsend's "Secret Diary of Adrian Mole".

Anonymous said...

...and Harry Potter as well...