To Syria With Love

From Syria With Love is going so well that we’re already reprinting, so we can continue assisting this wonderful charity in raising much-needed funds. So it’s a good time to update on where the money raised for the charity From Syria With Love has gone, including:

  • £600 to help distribute fuel to 60 families within the Dier Hassane refugee camp in Idlib, Northern Syria and food baskets to displaced families from Aleppo
  • £395 has helped with the third From Syria With Love School, including building/rental, stationary, fresh water, and transportation costs and the fourth From Syria With Love School, including salaries for two teachers as well as the provision of stationary and transportation
  • £50 for the transportation of desks to the For Syria With Love Kindergarden (set to open in 2 weeks time)
  • £635 is helping to stock the bags in the Bag of Happiness (Part II) Project and contain activities for refugee children such as puzzles and drawing books, pencils, crayons, and erasers

If you would like to learn more about some of the children featured in From Syria With Love, please watch this short documentary.

(Values in Great British Pounds Approximate due to conversion from Dollars)

Celebrating International Women’s Day

With a real lack of strong female characters in children’s fiction, we are choosing to celebrate International Women’s Day with Worrals, a character created by Captain W.E Johns to inspire and encourage women into aviation.

Johns, who championed the role of women in aviation in ‘Popular Flying’ magazine, took the chance of an invitation by the Air Ministry to write about the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force to create a true feminist icon. In addition to Nazi spies, Worrals is also battling the chauvinism of the RAF ‘Top Brass’, who think girls have no place at the controls of an aeroplane.

Get all 3 books in the series for £15 for today only!

World Book Day 2017

Happy World Book Day!

This year, World Book Day is marking its twentieth year anniversary. It is a joyous and animated celebration encouraging children to read. Across not only the UK, but the globe, children and adults alike will take part in a variety events proclaiming their love of a good read. From dress-as-your-favourite-character parties and putting on plays to story-time and craft workshops, World Book Day hopes to get a book in the hands of as many children as possible.

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Here at IndieBooks, we’re joining in on the fun. Already this week, we’ve been sending out free copies of Why Willows Weep to many of our loyal customers.Tomorrow, we’ll be out on the streets handing out free hardbacks of Worrals of the WAAF and A Young Person’s Guide to the Gothic. Fancy a copy yourself? As Worrals of the WAAF is published in conjunction with the Royal Air Force, try heading to the RAF Museum to snag one – they’ll be handing out books to some lucky museum-goers tomorrow.

Won’t be up that way? Well, you might just find a few hidden around the coffee shops near Chancery Lane or spot us up ’round the British Museum. We’ve got towering stacks to give away!

Check our Twitter feed tomorrow if you want to stay in the loop or feel free to tweet us if you want to track us down.

Happy Hunting!

People’s Book Prize Interview

The second interview with The People’s Book Prize comes from From Syria With Love’s Molly Masters.

  1. Have you got a message for your readers?  Use and enhance your passions, skills, and knowledge. Invest time in what you love, and do it for a cause you love. Amplify the voices of those who need to be heard. Read, read, and read even more into what you feel passionate about. Create something meaningful, create something with impact, create something with love.
  2. What can we expect from you in the future?  Expect more books and advocacy raising awareness for the plight of refugees and others in crisis and need, as well as continued support for the charity sector. Supporting, caring for, and giving voice to people will forever be a permanent passion of mine, and I personally only expect for that love to grow stronger through more learning, understanding and writing.
  3. Any suggestions to support libraries?  As ‘From Syria with Love’ is now being created into an eBook by Apostrophe Books, I have been enlightened as to how some 40,000 libraries worldwide will now have access to my book. This is an incredible thought, and I hope that more libraries will be endorsed financially to enable them to embrace the growing accessibility of eBooks in order to provide even more literature to the public. Furthermore, as a child, I attended a library group called Chatterbooks, and the library has long been a place of community and togetherness for me. It is a place where the new generation’s investment in literature and learning can be supported. It is important to forever cherish and protect libraries as a place of wonder for children, and continue these projects, both in our own libraries, and the invaluable libraries working in crisis areas.

…Brian Bilston is voting for it, will you?

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“A sharp-as-steel lawnmower of a book”: latest Quintember review

There’s a wonderful review of Richard Major’s Quintember in ‘Living Church’ – one that really picks up on the theological strands woven into the violence, mayhem and black humour.

“To say that Quintember is a mock-thriller and a comedy of manners is like saying that the Symposium is a dialogue. […] Quintember is a thesaurus of astute critiques of theological, philosophical, literary-critical, and cultural stances. These are presented through the medium of a whimsical adventure-narrative populated by caricatures and types fallen prey to the besetting lure of heresies and perversities both sacred and profane. This is a hilarious and sharp-as-steel lawnmower of a book, cutting a bold swath through the field of human delusion and vanity.”

We also learn a little more about Richard himself.

“From the pen of a graduate of St. Stephen’s House (an Anglican seminary in the Catholic tradition), an Oxford DPhil, and former Anglican Chaplain of Florence, the colorful, discerning, and exotic is to be expected. Quintember combines the charm of A.N. Wilson, the satire of Thomas Love Peacock, the observation of Thackeray, and the imagination of Robertson Davies with something of Sharpe’s Porterhouse Blue, Epiphanius’s Panarion(Against the Heresies), Beerbohm’s Zuleika Dobson, and a little of what is truly sinister in C.S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength.'”

Most necessary sin of Adam: Richard Major’s Quintember by Rev Graeme Napier 

 

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What Brexit Means For Us

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One of our authors was asking the other day about the impact of Brexit on IndieBooks. So we thought we’d share our answer.

The most immediate impact is that our books will be more expensive to print. Almost all the paper we use comes from sustainable forests in Scandinavia, and paper is the biggest single cost in book production, and with the Pound down 20% since Brexit, that paper will rise in cost accordingly.

The second is that Brexit will have a profound effect on the economy, reflected in the eye-watering projections for the UK national debt: and if people have less money in their pockets, then book sales will suffer just like everything else.

The third is that our export sales will be worth more to us, again because of the fall in the value of the pound. That’s welcome – but though we’re always trying to export more, it’s still not going to do much to offset the negative impact.

The biggest impact, though, is cultural: the sense of the UK cutting itself adrift from the rest of Europe. Even if there were no financial cost, we’d still think it wrong to leave the EU because of the barriers it creates. It’s one reason we’re delighted to have three new European authors joining us in 2017, and why we’ll be promoting our books much more in the rest of Europe too.

And if you want to know why it happened, then watch out for ‘Explaining Cameron’s Catastrophe’,  in which Sir Robert Worcester and his colleagues explore the wealth of polling data to reveal why people voted as they did and what it means for the future. This follow-up to ‘Explaining Cameron’s Comeback’ is due out in January 2017.

 

 

Guest Blog: ‘to trumplicate’

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“I am inventing a verb, to trumplicate, from which the noun is trumplication and the adjective trumplicated.

The definition of trumplicate is to disguise untruth by complicating what is essentially straightforward, so that most people are misled; a practice frequently used to defend the indefensible without actually lying outright.

An example of trumplication is the excuse given by President Trump (the eponymous founder of the technique) for restricting access to the United States from seven countries who happen to have Muslim majority populations, in order to convince people that this is not a Muslim ban.

Here is what the Trumplicator said: ‘The seven countries named in the Executive Order are the same countries previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror.’

So the intended trumplicity is to give an impression that the policy is soundly based on president set by the previous precedent. (Trumplifiers often confuse their words, as the Great Trumplicator has been known to do on twitter, for example inventing the apt mis-spelling ‘unpresidented’. Mr Trump’s actions are already way into ‘unpresidented’ territory.)

If it was OK for Obama, why are so many soggy liberals marching up and down? This is the underlying question, intended to confuse and create doubt.

The point of trumplication is not to persuade elites, like the bosses of Apple, Google and Coca-Cola, who are so distant from real people’s lives as to be critical of restrictions on the seven coincidentally Moslem-majority countries: the target is those real people.

It works. My wife came home from her pilates class saying that people there were saying – but didn’t Obama select these seven countries? I don’t suppose they went home and found a reliably old-fashioned media outlet for an accurate account.

Here is what AP Fact Check (Associated Press) says about the above quote from the Great Trumplicator:

‘That is misleading. The Republican-led Congress in 2015 voted to require visas and additional security checks for foreign citizens who normally wouldn’t need visas — such as those from Britain — if they had visited the seven countries: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. This was included in a large spending bill passed overwhelmingly by Congress and signed by Obama.

As the law was enacted, the Obama administration announced that journalists, aid workers and others who travelled to the listed countries for official work could apply for exemptions. There were no special U.S. travel restrictions on citizens of those seven countries.’

So there was no Obama ban on those seven countries, but only an extra layer of checks. This demonstrates how trumplication is not the same as lying – it is true that President Obama was party to a decision involving these countries, in a very specific and limited way, unlike the unspecific, unlimited way in which entire populations are now subject to blanket restrictions. A carefully calibrated measure of caution is not the same thing as wholesale and arbitrary actions. Trump campaigned on banning Muslims and is delivering: it’s as straightforward as that. A lie is easy to spot, but unravelling a trumplication needs a little effort (as in Jan Masaryk’s saying about the truth being a chore – see last blog)

This piece of trumplication has also had some effect on elites. The Wall Street Journal’s editor-in-chief, Gerard Baker, has instructed his reporters not to use the term Muslim-majority because it is ‘very loaded’. It is also very factual.”

From ‘Word for Word‘, by John Williams. Read more here.

John was director of communications and press secretary at the Foreign Office for six years. Working for Robin Cook, Jack Straw and Margaret Beckett, he was the chief media advisor to the Foreign Office on every major international event since the Kosovo conflict, and was heavily involved in the negotiations with Iran on its nuclear programme. He was also political correspondent of the London Evening Standard, and political editor and columnist for the Daily Mirror, in a journalistic career that spanned 25 years.

John is also author of IndieBooks’ ‘Robin Cook: Power and Principles’ and ‘Williams on Public Diplomacy’.

TPBP Winter Showcase

We were delighted to see IndieBooks’ titles selected in all categories for The People’s Book Prize Winter Showcase: charity fundraising title, From Syria With Love in non-fiction; Richard Major’s Quintember in fiction; and the timeless Worrals series in children’s books.

The People’s Book Prize spoke to Richard Major about Quintember, and what he has planned for the future:

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  1. Have you got a message for your readers?

 I hope people thoroughly enjoy Quintember! It’s supposed to break out of the usual genre divisions – it’s a satire as well as a thriller, a novel of ideas as well as a romp, a fantasia but also a comedy of manners  – and to be neither high-brow and serious nor low-brow fluff. And if you do enjoy it, there’s lots more to come.

  1. What can we expect from you in the future?

There are five more installments of the misdemeanours of Felix Culpepper written, and they’ll appear over the next few years. He doesn’t become any better behaved.

My short novella Attu appeared as an ebook at Christmas. It’s about a mischievous president who announces the end of the world. He’s joking, he’s just kidding about with comets – isn’t he? Eight billion people around the world aren’t so sure.

A more serious political novella, begat, will be published spring. It’s a blackly comic tale set in a grisly, too pre-failed to fail, English university, where the students invent a mascot: an imaginary student, who bodes larger and larger as they empty into him all the worst of themselves. He’s monstrous, he even looks monstrous (being a bad online montage, a photoshop Frankenstein); but his nastiness is oddly irresistible, especially on social media; he effortlessly rises to national power, and inflicts national destruction, without having to exist. begat’s a satirical study of how an apocalyptic monster is created: how the mob drains all the evil stowed within their ids into one phantasmagorical abortion of a human, cherished for his deformities. For what it’s worth, it was written fourteen months ago, before I had heard of Donald Trump.

  1. Any suggestions to support libraries?

Like (I imagine) most children, I discovered the joy and importance of reading at my local public library — and not at school — and therefore owe libraries a debt that can never be repaid. It’s worth saying this, perhaps, in a time when arts funding of all sorts is under question in this country and elsewhere. So nothing would make me prouder than bringing this tiny addition to literature in English back to libraries by way of talks or readings or displays.

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Richard Major

You can vote for Quintember here.

Guest Blog: John Williams

If current events have left you at a bit of a loss for words, we can recommend one of our own in-house political experts to help make sense of it all. John Williams, author of IndieBooks’ ‘Robin Cook: Power and Principles’ and ‘Williams on Public Diplomacy’, has started his own blog, and there are some tasters below.

John was director of communications and press secretary at the Foreign Office for six years. Working for Robin Cook, Jack Straw and Margaret Beckett, he was the chief media advisor to the Foreign Office on every major international event since the Kosovo conflict, and was heavily involved in the negotiations with Iran on its nuclear programme. He was also political correspondent of the London Evening Standard, and political editor and columnist for the Daily Mirror, in a journalistic career that spanned 25 years.

President of the Parallel Universe

‘The reality is even more shocking than the expectation. Within days of becoming President, Donald Trump has made all predictions lame by comparison with the daily spectacle of leader and his spokespeople telling aggressive untruths.

Falsehoods have been re-branded ‘alternative facts’, by Kellyanne Conway, who glories in the title Counselor to the President, while defending the White House spokesman, Sean Spicer, for insisting that the Inauguration had been the most well-attended ever.

This is a parallel universe in which the President is always right, the truth is whatever he says. [‘House Science Committee chairman: Americans should get news from Trump, not media‘]. This will be the strategy when things start to go wrong. The objective is to make all evidence suspect if it counters what the President tells his supporters to believe.

As George Orwell put it in describing the one-party state in his 1984: ‘The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command…’

I wish I were confident that the President and his spokespeople will fail, but there are millions of voters who see no alternative and hear no alternative, to the leader’s truth. This is a sinister political correctness – only the leader can be right.

I saw a quote somewhere this morning from Jan Masaryk, a great Czech opponent of tyranny: ‘The truth prevails, but it’s a chore’.’ Read more…

Fact and Fiction in the Post Trump era

‘Donald Trump has changed the rules of politics and challenged the whole basis of strategic communication, with his disregard for facts and evidence. Trump is not the first politician to succeed by getting away with some distortion, but he has put blatant falsehood at the centre of his strategy for capturing the most important democratic position in the world. So it is no longer possible to say that strategic communication – in politics – has to respect facts and reject knowing falsehood, or pay the price in defeat.

It is the speed of social media that has made the Trump technique possible, of instantly setting the agenda by bewildering opponents and reducing old-fashioned fact-based journalism to flat-footed irrelevance.

The paradox of social media is that its miraculous potential for free speech and open minds has given strength to narrow minds and hatefulness. Some social media outlets regard facts as whatever you want to believe. False or distorted news echoes round them, and the more people react, like them, post angry comments about them, the more their readers believe this is the truth because the volume the internet traffic gives falsehoods the credibility of quantity. The sheer quantity of this internet traffic seems to its consumers to be a validation of what they are reading.’ Read more…

 

With a little help from our friends

We are delighted to announce that Apostrophe Books will be producing the eBook for ‘From Syria With Love’, on a not-for-profit basis.

We’re really exited to have them join us on this project, as we know they will be invaluable in helping us spread the message of From Syria With Love even further, and raising more money for this amazing charity.

One exciting development is the slightly revised cover for the eBook (and indeed, any reprints), to include an endorsement from literary giant, Michael Morpurgo.

In December we were lucky enough to be invited to the ‘Singing for Syrians’ carol service at St Margaret’s church in Westminster (special thanks here to Pamela Carrington for the invitation, and Victoria Prentis MP for organising a great event), where we were able to talk to Michael and give him a copy.

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Thank you to everyone for your support so far, and don’t forget the paperback is still available from our website and all good bookshops .