Marc Vallée’s photobook to launch in March; Society of Authors asks Open Library not to scan UK books; 2019 declared the year of book-to-screen adaptations; Whatsapp novel wins literary awards.


Down and Up in Paris

Photojournalist Marc Vallée has been documenting the underbelly of Paris for years. So you can say that his work, Down and Up in Paris, is ahead of its time because he’s been looking at the simmering tensions of Paris long before the 2018 yellow vest protests erupted.

Vallée captures what society doesn’t want to see or get to see until it inevitably becomes public. That’s what a good journalist does.

Vallée last spoke to us in October 2018 for Five Minutes With in which he talked about his works on graffiti writers. His new event will be held on 21 March at the Photographers’ Gallery, London, UK.

We reckon winter should be over by then, so why not head out and see the photographer in person and listen to some talks?

Down and Up in Paris – Marc Vallée
6pm, Thursday 21 March 2019
The Photographers’ Gallery
16-18 Ramillies Street, Soho
London, W1F 7LW


If it’s in copyright, please don’t scan it

It’s already 4 February 2019, three days after the 1 February deadline issued by the Society of Authors for the Internet Archive not to make UK books downloadable via the Open Library.

We looked up Phillipa Gregory’s The White Queen and it looks like the novel by the British author is still available on the website.

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Phillipa Gregory’s work is still on the Open Library. Image source: Open Library

Representing 15,000 authors, the society – a trade union body – has requested the Internet Archive not to scan UK books still in copyright or make them available online.

The Open Library, founded in 1996 in the US, aims to provide “free access to researchers, historians, scholars, the print disabled, and the general public”. Some 20 million books and texts are stored in its archive.


Read them before they hit the screens

Radio Times said 2019 is set to be the year of book adaptations. So it recommends us to read 15 books before they make it to the big and small screens. These books include Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman and Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by TS Elliot.

You might have time to go through Good Omens before the series hit Amazon Prime in May 2019. It took us about four weeks because we are very slow readers. There were 415 pages to read but it was a very funny book, so that helped.

We began reading Good Omens in London and finished the book on Pangkor Island, Malaysia. Thankfully, the island we spent Christmas holiday on got hit by a storm, causing a massive disruption to the wifi and satellite TV services. So we had all the time in the world to enjoy Good Omens.

As for His Dark Materials, have you seen how thick the trilogy novel is? We saw it at the library today and thought maybe we should wait for the TV show instead.

Despite TS Elliot’s reputation for doom and gloom, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats is really fun to read or recite to yourself. We recommend you at least try to read a few poems if not the entire collection.

Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats at the British Library cat exhibition gives a glimpse of TS Elliot’s funny side. Photo: ©Story Of Books

We also suggest you head to the British Library in Central London to catch the free cat-inspired exhibition there. Using the audiovisual service, you also get to hear TS Elliot reading the poems himself.


Whatsapp book wins literary awards

Kurdish-Iranian journalist Behrouz Boochani won two Australia’s Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards with a book written using WhatsApp.

No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison was composed using Whatsapp messaging whilst he was at a refugee camp on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea. The novel earned Boochani A$100,000 for the Victorian Prize for Literature and another A$25,000 for the non-fiction category.

At the NUJ writing masterclass we attended in October 2018, journalists asked about the ‘ideal’ platform to write a novel with. Boochani uses WhatsApp. It goes to show: the story comes first, the gadget second. Oh, did you know that George R R Martin wrote the Fire and Ice series on Word Perfect and MS-DOS system?