Monday News: spying on Harry Potter, Constance Fenimore Woolson, Tournament of Literary Sex Writing, and Vogue coloring book
Harry Potter series: Britain’s spy agency alerted books’ publisher to possible online leaked copy – The lengths that Bloomsbury, Harry Potter’s UK publisher, have gone to keep the books under wraps until their publication date are as jaw dropping as the attempts to get early copies. Government surveillance, attempts to bribe a security guard at the printing facility, and people going through Rowling’s trash cans looking for scraps of paper, it’s an interesting look at how publishers end up defending themselves against the very marketing frenzy they are trying to create.
“I remember the British spy eavesdropping station GCHQ rang me up and said ‘we’ve detected an early copy of this book on the internet’,” Mr Newton told the ABC’s Conversations program in an interview last week, which gained attention in Britain on Sunday.
“I got him to read a page to our editor and she said ‘no, that’s a fake’,” said Mr Newton, founder and chief executive of publishing house Bloomsbury, which published the Harry Potter series. . . .
He said it was lucky that they had “many allies”, describing the spies as “good guys” and those trying to ruin the plot of the book as “the enemies”. – ABC News Australia
Women Writers You Should Know: Constance Fenimore Woolson – The Toast has University of New Orleans faculty Anne Boyd Rioux writing short essays on women writers whose work is in danger of disappearance. She begins with 19th C US writer Constance Fenimore Woolson, who wrote about the “hidden emotional lives of women,” and whose work was both popular and widely praised by peers like Henry James.
Because she shared a middle name with her famous great-uncle, James Fenimore Cooper, Woolson quickly gained the ear of editors at Harper’s and elsewhere. By the time her first collection, Castle Nowhere: Lake-Country Sketches, was published in 1876, she was widely known as one of America’s most promising writers, a status that did not come without controversy. She once wrote that she had “such a horror of ‘pretty,’ ‘sweet’ writing” that she was willing to risk “a style that was ugly and bitter, provided that it was also strong.” Many critics applauded her efforts to write in a less sentimental style. Others, however, criticized her stark realism and unwillingness to give her stories predictable happy endings. – The Toast
THE TOURNAMENT OF LITERARY SEX WRITING: AND THE WINNER IS… – Lit Hub’s unusual tournament, which began with sixteen writers, including Henry Miller, Bram Stoker, Erica Jong, and Kate Chopin, came down to a final matchup between James Baldwin and Jeanette Winterson. Judges Roxane Gay, Eileen Myles, Candace Bushnell, Garth Greenwell, Naomi Jackson, Alexander Chee, Sarah Nicole Prickett, and Molly Crabapple ultimately chose Baldwin, for Giovanni’s Room:
He looked at me with his mouth open and his dark eyes very big. It was as though he had just discovered that I was an expert on bedbugs. I laughed and grabbed his head as I had done God knows how many times before, when I was playing with him or when he had annoyed me. But this time when I touched him something happened in him and in me which made this touch different from any touch either of us had ever known. And he did not resist, as he usually did, but lay where I had pulled him, against my chest. And I realized that my heart was beating in an awful way and that Joey was trembling against me and the light in the room was very bright and hot. I started to move and to make some kind of joke but Joey mumbled something and I put my head down to hear. Joey raised his head as I lowered mine and we kissed, as it were, by accident. Then, for the first time in my life, I was really aware of another person’s body, of another person’s smell. We had our arms around each other. It was like holding in my hand some rare, exhausted, nearly doomed bird which I had miraculously happened to find. – Literary Hub
Introducing the First-Ever Vogue Coloring Book – Right after I rolled my eyes at this new entry into the already crowded adult coloring book market, I realized that vintage fashion magazine covers are precisely the kind of illustrations that would lend themselves naturally to coloring.
Vogue Colors A to Z—a coloring book for grown-ups and kids alike—has arrived. Edited by Vogue Culture Editor Valerie Steiker and designed by Deputy Design Director Alberto Orta, the beautiful book published by Knopf features a Jazz Age–inspired alphabet, as well as 26 iconic Vogue covers from 1912 to 1932. These were originally created by 10 celebrated illustrators including Helen Dryden, George Wolfe Plank, and André Marty. – Vogue