Illustration: Andrew Dyson.

Illustration: Andrew Dyson.

World Book Night draws in

FURTHER to the item in last week's Bookmarks about World Book Night and its gradual expansion from Britain where it was a brainwave of Canongate boss Jamie Byng, it seems that WBN is likely to make its debut in Australia on April 23 next year. The Australian Booksellers Association is bringing out Byng to address its annual conference next month. Byng will be talking about the big day and the way events such as this can promote literacy. ABA chief Joel Becker says his goal is to have the WBN here in 2013. While Byng is in Australia he will be talking to people across the book industry about the project. Becker says as the day involves giving away thousands of copies of books, it has to be a joint initiative involving booksellers, publishers and authors. He says the ABA will also approach government about possible assistance. Byng, though, raised funds for WBN by running in the London Marathon on April 22 - the day before WBN. He finished in 16,724th spot with a creditable time of 4:22.54.

Paul Carter's initial success

Best sellers.

PAUL D. Carter was chuffed to win the Vogel Award last week for an unpublished manuscript. But there was a slight problem. He doesn't normally use his initial. He's plain old Paul Carter. But Allen & Unwin, which publishes the winning book, already publishes another Paul Carter, author of Don't Tell Mum I Work on the Rigs … She Thinks I'm a Piano Player in a Whorehouse and Smoking Monkeys, Drilling Rigs, Bio-diesel Bikes and Other Stories. What's more, there's another writing Paul Carter, author of The Road to Botany Bay, who is now a professor at Deakin University, which is where the Vogel-winning Paul Carter did his PhD. So in came D for Denis and Paul D. Carter was born.

Pamuk's innocent museum

ORHAN Pamuk had considerable success with his 2008 novel, The Museum of Innocence, which came out a couple of years after he won the Nobel prize for literature. The book is about the narrator's fetishistic love for Fusun and how he collects items from her life. Pamuk long planned to open his own Museum of Innocence in Istanbul - the book is very much a book about a particular strata of Istanbul society - and told journalists at its opening last week: ''As far as I know this is the first museum based on a novel. But it's not that I wrote a novel that turned out to be successful and then I thought of a museum. No, I conceived the novel and the museum together.'' So the displays at the museum are structured to reflect the narrative of the book and Pamuk collected much of them himself. He paid for it with his prizemoney.

A letter just for you

IT IS the bane of each and every writer - the rejection letter. Now you can take the pain out of it by getting one before you send off your treasured effort. The Stoneslide Corrective is an e-magazine and digital publisher with a satiric bent. And among the several things it offers is a get-that-letter-quick service for budding writers and prize-winners who have forgotten what it feels like when that dreaded response comes through the letter box or, more likely these days, flops into the in-basket. So fill in your form and you, too, can be told: ''Dear Writer, Apparently it wasn't enough to waste your own time. The Editors.'' Or: ''Dear Writer, The void awaits us all, but your prose was a gaping hole of premature death … We kindly ask that you not submit again. But one thing remains to be known: what rough beast slouches at your keyboard? Don't answer. The Editors.'' If you really want more, see stoneslidecorrective.com.

Lives on the list

BIOGRAPHY is such a varied form. You only have to look at the shortlist for the National Biography Award, which was announced this week: Tim Bonyhady, Good Living Street: The Fortunes of My Viennese Family; A. J. Brown, Michael Kirby: Paradoxes & Principles; Delia Falconer, Sydney; Paul Kelly, How To Make Gravy; Mark McKenna, An Eye for Eternity: The Life of Manning Clark; and Martin Thomas, The Many Worlds of R. H. Mathews: In Search of an Australian Anthropologist. So that gives us the impact of Nazism on a family, the life of a former High Court judge, a personal take on Sydney, the episodic memoir by an admired songwriter, the life of one of Australia's greatest historians, and of a self-taught anthropologist who specialised in Aboriginal societies. The prize is worth $25,000 and the winner is announced on Monday week.

Treats galore

THIS weekend is one that offers treats galore for book lovers in Melbourne and elsewhere. The annual Williamstown Literary Festival started officially on Monday night but its big days are today and tomorrow, when you can listen to Shaun Micallef, George Megalogenis, Kerry Greenwood, Hilary Bonney, Chris Flynn, Leigh Hobbs, Gideon Haigh, Barry Dickins, Meme McDonald and many more. Most of the events are at Williamstown Town Hall in Ferguson Street. See willylitfest.org.au or phone 9932 4074. And if you fancy heading out of town - assuming you aren't already - the annual Clunes Booktown Festival is taking over the goldfields town this weekend. Apart from the many different booksellers who are setting up all over Clunes, there are several writers and publishing people speaking. These include Geoffrey Blainey, Alice Pung, Peter Rose, Anna Goldsworthy, Michael Heyward and Michael Williams. For more information, see booktown.clunes.org.

Jamie makes jam

YOU'VE bought his cookbooks, used his recipes and eaten at his restaurants. And all that has helped to make Jamie Oliver the world's richest chef, whose wealth is estimated at £150 million ($235 million) after a jump last year of £44 million. That is according to The Sunday Times rich list, which had him as Britain's 501st-richest person. But the richest British author remains J.K. Rowling, whose wizardry with the Harry Potter books has amassed her a fortune of £560 million.

 

POETRY

The Lion Already Extinct

A sad, sad work of art which roars, which isn't bored

That thinks that I'm a lion, as if I'm already

extinct, or wearing a mask, as if art

were the only animal. The art system's criticised

for displacing life - but if it could completely

if mining became purely metaphorical, then

everyone could take a seat, and wait

There are always joints, semi-conscious weak

points, where the artist dares admit the work's

mortality. This is more obvious when it involves

characters

or marginal

forms which not everyone can animate. I shift

uncomfortably as if being told I'm a unicorn

and horn impatiently, then nod off, torn asleep

taking my discomfort into a new oil-based

dream where the landscape and

the animals are 2D, yet can still knock

over the safari to a hotted-up Leylands theme

Michael Farrell

 

EVENTS

TODAY

MITCH Vane signs copies of No Thanks Hanks, her book with Danny Katz. 11am. Canterbury Primary School, Molesworth Street.

TOMORROW

PETER Isaacson on As I Remember Them. 2pm. Book Street, Toorak Place Arcade, 521 Toorak Road, Toorak. Bookings: 9826 5710; bookstreet@bigpond.com

WEDNESDAY

KATHY Lette discusses The Boy Who Fell to Earth with Monica Dux. 6.15pm. The Wheeler Centre, 176 Little Lonsdale Street, city. Bookings: wheelercentre.com

TONY Birch offers his tips on writing. 7pm. Richmond Library, 415 Church Street, Richmond. Bookings: 1300 695 427

THURSDAY

BETTINA Arndt on men and sex. 12.45pm. The Wheeler Centre.

GIDEON Haigh discusses The Office with John Clarke and Philippa Hawker. 6pm. Cinema Nova, 380 Lygon Street, Carlton. Bookings: 9347 6633.

PETER James discusses his crime fiction with Rochelle Jackson. 7.15pm. The Wheeler Centre.