Friday, March 31, 2006

More titbits

Debra Hamel reviews Jeffrey Archer

Oh woe. Debra Hamel has finished her reading of Jeffrey Archer's False Impressions and is not overwhelmed by it. Three stars out of five, but 'the book needed more work. Readers should look elsewhere for their next page-turner.'

Writer wanted (UK Derby area)

Matthew Bell, of Rolls-Royce, tells me that he has the task of putting on a careers fair with a difference. The difference is that this fair is for about 1200 year 6 schoolchildren (10-11 yrs old), and their parents.

The aim is to teach kids the link between learning now and success in later life, while they still have time to change direction and turn their grades around. To capture the kids' imagination the organisers need a 90-minute storyboard, allowing 8-10 local companies to have a frame each in which to enthuse the kids for their profession and get the key message across.

Hence, what is required is someone with the ability to relate to an audience of children, to write the storyboard that will suit the companies, and give a slick, seamless show for the kids. (There will be a compere on hand to fill the gaps and link the frames.)

This, says Matthew, 'is a fantastic opportunity to make a real difference, and take on an interesting new challenge.'

If you think you could help, know someone else who could help, or you would like to know more, please contact Matthew as follows: matthew.bell at, or 01332 2 45654.

Michael J Lawrence on how to be a (show-biz) agent

Mike Lawrence was for twenty years the head of his own show-biz agency, Creole Entertainment Management, until ill health caused him to close the business. Prior to that, he worked for RCA Records for 14 years as Head of A&R (the same company and in a similar capacity to Simon Cowell); and at Pye Records he was Head of A&R and Promotions for a further 7 years.

Now he has put all that experience down on paper and has written a book (well, actually a ms) called Waiting in the Wings. It's a how-to book for those sensible people who want to be involved in the world of show business but don't want to to be an actress/singer/dancer/model.

Chapters cover such topics as forming an entertainment company, building an act portfolio, how to obtain clients, contracts, and a lot more.

Now, I have to say that I am 100% in favour of this kind of thing. Too many people retire after a lifetime of experience, and their hard-won knowledge and wisdom just goes to waste. We need more books of this kind, and less -- if you put a gun to my head -- of the fiction.

As we all know full well, Mike could publish this book himself. But he would prefer a regular mainstream publisher. Anyone interested can contact him as follows: micel at

V.S. Naipaul puts writers in perspective

According to the BBC, Nobel prize winner Sir V.S. Naipaul has 'lambasted literary greats from Jane Austen to Charles Dickens', describing the latter as 'the worst writer in the world.' Naipaul adds, modestly, that 'England has not appreciated or acknowledged the work I have done.' (Apart from giving him a knighthood, presumably.)

Well, I wouldn't know. I don't read Nobel prize winners very much. I can only say that I once had a colleague who always used to refer to V.S. Naipaul as Mr Nipple. After which I was never able to regard that distinguished writer with the high seriousness which, I am sure, he deserves.

The UK Nibbies

The Nibbies are annual awards made in the UK in order to drum up a few free column inches for the book world in the nation's press, and as such they are tolerably effective. Galleycat kindly lists all of them for you. The one I am happiest to see is the Waterstone's Newcomer of the Year award. It goes to Marina Lewycka for her delightful A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian. Recommended.

Opening drawers

I opened a drawer yesterday and found it full of books. Worse, some of them were books sent to me some time ago by people who hoped that I would review/mention them. Well, if you're one of those people, kept waiting for a long time, I apologise. I will get to them eventually.


Dee Jour said...

Hi Michael, it's been a while to post a comment but I couldn't avoid it this time.

I'm tired of literary types whining about the Dan Browns of this world (if it weren't for them, they wouldn't be able to publish their literary fiction in the first place - through profits made)

Anyway, how a writer (Nobel or otherwise) can refer to Charles Dickens as the worst writer is beyond me. It's like calling Homer a 'hack'. Ahh, what certain writers do for publicity, it's really pathetic.

It's funny. The 'pop' fiction writers are never quoted saying similar things, whereas literary fiction authors think they hold the Pope by the balls (excuse the 'Greek' translated to English phrase , but it's the only phrase I could think of)

Anonymous said...

Mr., yes. But nipples are nourishing, and probably won't poison you.

Carla said...

With regard to Jeffrey Archer's 'False Impression', may I recommend the review by the Guardian's Digested Read column?