Writing is dificult enough for most of us, but if you're autistic it presents a different set of problems. Kevin Cann, himself autistic, has posted some thoughts on the issue, using his friend's blog to host the essay (18 November).
There has been much discussion in the UK recently about teaching children to read. Well, we've only had compulsory education for 135 years or so, and you will appreciate that it takes a while to sort out the best way of doing things.
Anyway, one good sign. Richard Morrison reports in the Times that, at a primary school known to him, on the edge of a 'troubled housing estate', some of the parents have been helping teacher along. In one class of 30, six of the kids have been taught to read and write well by their Mum and Dad. Er, except that they've been taught to read and write in Polish.
Now here's a pleasant surprise. An email arrives from Jyoti Guptara, one of the teenage Guptara twins who were mentioned here a year or so ago (end of the post) as authors of Conspiracy of Calaspia.
When I first mentioned them, the Guptara twins were lined up for publication in the UK by Aultbea; but that did not happen, so they remain unpublished here (or in the US). However, Conspiracy of Calaspia became a bestseller in India; and Mondadori, the largest Italian publisher, has bought rights to Books 1 - 3 in their epic fantasy saga Insanity. Rowohlt, a venerable German publisher, has not only paid a six-figure advance, but has announced that Calaspia will be the lead Young Adult novel in its 100th anniversary year, 2008. The book will be released in March at the Leipzig Book Fair with a first print run of 100,000 copies.
Not bad, eh? The twins have several web sites, including, of course, one on MySpace, but start here.
By the way, those of you who read a great deal on-screen may be glad of a tip that I came across a year or two ago. Right click on the Windows desktop, then go properties>appearance tab>effects. In the dialog box, tick 'Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts' and select Clear Type.
To my eye, this makes screen type easier to read, and I have not found any disadvantages.
The second book in Thomas Quinn's Venetian series will be out on 10 December. St Martins Press is the publisher and Barnes and Noble are pushing it. The Sword of Venice offers historical derring-do, war between Venice and the Ottoman Empire, intrigues of the powerful papacy, conflict between the Ziani and Soranzo families, and so forth.