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My Lockdown Life – Emma Southon

 

1. Where have you spent lockdown?

At home in Belfast with my partner and our cat.

 

2. Books. What books have you been reading? Has lockdown affected your choices? Fiction or non-fiction? Or have you gone back to your comfort reads? 

 I have mostly been reading genre fiction and escaping, and avoiding non-fiction after I read Mark O’Connell’s (very good) Notes on an Apocalypse! I finally got around to reading Hilary Mantel’s Cromwell Trilogy which was a great world to get lost in, and I discovered Elinor Lipman who reminds me a lot of a madcap Nora Ephron. Her books are funny and sweet and slightly dark but mostly very, very warm. I also (as always) read a lot of good science fiction. I completed Nicola Griffith’s SF back catalogue and devoured several Adrian Tchaikovsky novels in a row. Both have perfected the combination of fully realised new worlds, big ideas and strong prose.

 

3. TV – Has there been anything on TV that you have particularly enjoyed? This could be an individual programme, a boxed set or something you’ve been rewatching?

 We completed a full rewatch of the Sopranos early in lockdown, and then we rewatched the entire back catalogue of RuPaul’s Drag Race on Netflix, including the newest series and Celebrity Drag Race. They don’t have all the seasons of Drag Race All Stars or I would have watched those too. The final season of Schitt’s Creek was a real highlight and made me cry like a baby.

4. Are there any films that you have been watching, or rewatching?

 I have rewatched all the Chris Guest films and started to watch all the Studio Ghibli films in chronological order on Netflix. A lot of comfort viewing!

 

5.  Has the lockdown made a difference to the kinds of things you’ve wanted to watch or read? I noticed many writers on twitter were saying at the start of the lockdown that they were finding it hard to read as their concentration levels were not what they were. I know many people seem to be happiest watching ‘comfort’ films or seem unable to watch the news. What’s it been like for you?

 

I have certainly been avoiding tv and films that are high stakes or feel particularly urgent in any way. I get enough of that from the real world. If there is a low stakes talent competition involving a hobby that doesn’t actually have a real prize (sewing, baking, pottery, make up, floristry) then I will watch and love it at the moment!

I’ve never been one for literary fiction/contemporary realism in my reading choices but I have definitely read more daft thrillers with a ludicrous premise because they are so easy to get into and forget about the real world. I have definitely been searching for escapism through a high concept, a genre setting or a space spider.

 

6. It would seem on the surface that lockdown is good for writers. There’s no excuse not to write when you’re stuck indoors! Was it like that for you?

 The privilege of being a non-fiction writer is that you have to research before you can write anything and all the libraries are closed! No-one ever expects you to do anything without a library so I am free from the pressures that fiction writers bear! It has been nice to have the space to research and read and think without being tired from work, but I have let myself take some time off from word counts and worrying.

7. Are there things that you’ve discovered that have given you pleasure during lockdown? Many people seem to have taken up bread making for instance. What was it for you?

 I took up knitting a couple of years ago and decided that I would face my greatest fear and make a jumper during lockdown. I enjoyed it so much I have now knitted three! I also perfected my chocolate chip cookie recipe and ate a lot of them for testing purposes.

 

8. Do you have a local bookshop? Have you been using them during lockdown?

 In my day life, I work at Waterstones so I have been rinsing my discount card on the website! But I will always take the opportunity to shout out to David Torrance at No Alibis in Belfast who has done brilliant work during this crisis as he has done for the past two decades.

9. And finally – do you think there are positives we can all take away from this experience?

 Personally, I have been furloughed so it has given me a lot of time to reflect and prioritise and the chance to engage with areas of learning and research that had fallen away in previous years. It has also allowed me to get to know all my neighbours and build a small community on our street, which has been helpful and uplifting.

 

A Fatal Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is published on the 17th September. Find out more here

 

Trade post 2

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Oneworld is honoured to have been named IPG Trade Publisher of the Year

 

The Independent Publishers Guild is delighted to announce the 13 winners of the 2016 IPG Independent Publishing Awards. They are:

  • Fox Williams Independent Publisher of the Year NOSY CROW
  • Ruth Killick Publicity Trade Publisher of the Year ONEWORLD
  • IPG Children’s Publisher of the Year NOSY CROW
  • Frankfurt Book Fair Academic & Professional Publisher of the Year POLICY PRESS
  • Publishers Licensing Society Education Publisher of the Year PG ONLINE
  • IPG Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year HOW2BECOME
  • Nick Robinson Newcomer Award MEZE PUBLISHING
  • The Bookseller International Achievement Award PAVILION BOOKS
  • Ingram Content Group Digital Publishing Award FABER & FABER
  • Nielsen Digital Marketing Award HOW2BECOME
  • Alison Morrison Diversity Award BARRINGTON STOKE
  • IPG Young Independent Publisher of the Year SAM RICHARDSON, SPCK
  • GBS Services to Independent Publishers Award GRAHAM BELL, EDItEUR
 

Among the Ten Thousand Things by Julia Pierpont is long listed for the Dylan Thomas Prize

 

A longlist of 12 books has today (20 January) been announced for the prestigious International Dylan Thomas Prize, sponsored by Swansea University.

The list includes works by four American authors, a Nigerian novelist, Manchester-based poet Andrew McMillan, Irish author Lisa McInerney, and Welsh short story writer, Thomas Morris.

Now in its tenth year, the £30,000 Prize is awarded to the best eligible published literary work in English, written by an author aged 39 or under. It is the largest literary prize in the world for young writers, aimed at encouraging creative talent worldwide. It celebrates and nurtures international literary excellence across all genres, and is open to poetry, novels, short stories and drama.

Dylan Thomas, the quintessential adolescent writer, was ideally suited to serve as an inspiration to young writers everywhere. The freshness and immediacy of his writing were qualities that he never lost. The Prize seeks to ensure that readers today will have the chance to savour the vitality and sparkle of a new generation of young writers.

Julia Pierpont

Julia Pierpont is a graduate of the NYU Creative Writing Program, where she received the Rona Jaffe Foundation Graduate Fellowship, as well as the Stein Fellowship. Born and raised in Manhattan, she works at The New Yorker.

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