Tuesday 9 April 2013
The Commonwealth Foundation has announced shortlists for the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize and Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Part of Commonwealth Writers, the prizes unearth, develop and promote the best new writing from across the Commonwealth, developing literary connections worldwide.
Monday 25 March 2013
Photo courtesy Davide D'Alessandro
We all must eat to survive, but visitors to Italy are invited to join in a little activity, done three times daily, that is another pillar of the dolce vita, namely eating to have pleasure. And lots of it.
Another excerpt from Davide D'Alessandro's unpublished book The Dolce Vita Code.
Saturday 16 March 2013
A gelato, that most simple, small, and affordable item of gastronomic art, is a fundamental part of the dolce vita. Few things, big or little, so easily inject us with happiness and evoke a smile of satisfaction. Have it often, certainly daily, while in Italy.
More from Davide D'Alessandro's The Dolce Vita Code.
Luca D'Alessandro [Photo courtesy Davide D'Alessandro]
Wednesday 6 March 2013
Via Veneto, Rome [Photo: Linda Leith]
Why do so many visitors to the mecca of pleasure fail to experience the wonders of the dolce vita? The answer, I submit, lies in psychological research.
The Foreword to Davide D'Alessandro's The Dolce Vita Code.
Saturday 2 March 2013
It’s worth remembering that the word paradise traces its origins to the word pairidaeza, which in the ancient Iranian language Avestan, means a wall constructed to enclose cultivated grounds or a small grove of fruit trees. There is the wall again. As for Eden, that fabulous paradise lost, one need say no more.
Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall
Thursday 28 February 2013
Aside from necessary funds, restoring a landscape or great garden requires patience, understanding, knowledge, and a good helping of genius. Gardens, unlike pyramids or palaces, can disappear through neglect, financial collapse, or death of original maker. They are often staked to the fortunes of the families.
Eden Project, Cornwall
Wednesday 27 February 2013
A garden requires walls, water, and stone.
Xstrata Treetop Walkway, Kew Gardens
Thursday 21 February 2013
Step Six: Buying a Car and a Home
If you still insist on buying a house, then at least be smart enough to wait until at least 7-10 years after your arrival. Do the math. You need to spend the first three years on your education, one year getting out of debt, and three years earning enough to put aside a big down payment.
Friday 8 February 2013
Maybe I will go easier on my sons the next time they can’t find something — but only if it’s something green.
Friday 1 February 2013
Living with a superhero makes people careless. Superheroes’ girlfriends tend to have terrible personal safety habits. They always wind up walking down dark, inner city alleys in the middle of the night. Living with The Finder has the same kind of effect on my sons.
Friday 1 February 2013
Step Five: Ideology
You have to stop making comparisons between this political system and the one you left behind. The one back home may have been funnier to watch, but don’t forget how ineffective it was. So ineffective, in fact, that you decided to leave the country despite the good laugh you had over the political debates. Politics will be less funny in Canada.
Sunday 9 December 2012
John Ruskin attached a tower to his bedroom on his mountainside estate, Brantwood, on the shores of Coniston Water in Cumbria. Unlike Sackville-West’s, his tower room windowed on all sides, almost a capsule, offered a corner in which to escape from recurring nightmares or to watch the stars.
Thursday 6 December 2012
I think of Virginia Woolf’s essay and cabin, Vita Sackville-West’s tower, and Carlyle’s study, their necessary, self-imposed isolation, and wonder how Jane Austen managed to produce six scintillating novels, at least two of which are masterpieces, in the midst of the busy domesticity of a small house where servants and family bumped against each other crossing a threshold.
Wednesday 5 December 2012
Though Carlyle was a literary giant of quasi-mythic proportions and a hero to Victorians, his theories and writing are largely forgotten or ignored outside of university departments of English. That is the fate enjoyed by many a writer, and one need not be dead.
Tuesday 4 December 2012
Step Four: Your Children's Education
Are you wondering how it will be possible to pay your child’s private school tuition fees -- about $5,000 a year – when you are still educating yourself and you have no job?
Friday 30 November 2012
There is a greater need than ever for the good smaller publisher. For those of us interested primarily in quality, in good books that speak to their time and place, the importance of the smaller publisher can hardly be overestimated. It is in the smaller companies that the writer-publisher relationship happens. And this, I would suggest, is where good books come from.
Thursday 29 November 2012
“Random Penguin” will be in a stronger position to negotiate with Amazon, a mega-corporation that's in the business of helping writers self-publish. Which is where these two extremes start to meet.
Wednesday 28 November 2012
It might be that this relationship between writer and publisher is what is most in danger in the digital revolution.
Wednesday 21 November 2012
Salvador Dali's images of The Divine Comedy in Antigua, Guatemala
Canto 13: The Wood of the Suicides:
“Look well, for here one sees things which in words would be incredible.
Tuesday 30 October 2012
Stories will still need to be told, and writers will continue to tell them. It’s not unreasonable to assume that the written word will persist, even if it’s in ways we can scarcely imagine.
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