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’.