Thursday, July 14, 2016

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Interview with Ilana Teitelbaum on HuffPo

The Last Samurai did have a somewhat storm-tossed passage to publication.  It's possible if the Internet had flourished in something like its current form things would have gone better.  Back in the day, if Tina Brown was tight with Hillary Clinton, a party for Clinton's New York Senate victory could bump the launch party for the book back to a point when the author was no longer capable of public appearances.  Publicity involved dragging the authorial body here and there so that sentences could emerge from the authorial mouth.  And the events had to be set up by a publicist competing for scarce public space.  So if the author cracked up after the oft-deferred launch party and disappeared, if the publicist was in a miff, people who were excited about the book couldn't set up more congenial ways to talk about it. Couldn't unilaterally find venues independent of the whims of the publicist.

Anyhoo, the whole thing here.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

My first time: Paris Review video interview series

The Paris Review has commissioned a series of video interviews with authors talking about their first book.  Tom Bean and Luke Poling came up to my cottage in Vermont back in March to talk to me about The Last Samurai; the video is now up here.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Last Samurai reissue, news of the day

Over on LitHub, 7 booksellers talk about how to hand-sell The Last Samurai.  If you are not a bookseller you are probably not looking for tips on how to hand-sell The Last Samurai or, indeed, any other book, but -- what's appealing is to have something we so rarely see, a round-up of different responses to a book.  The convention of our review papers is that a book is handed over to a single reviewer; you might get different takes on a book if it is lucky enough to be reviewed in several papers, but for the most part we're invited to collude in the fiction of the magisterial assessment.  We all know, of course, that different readers may have radically different responses to a book, but we rarely see this on display in one place in the literary press.

Note: A big round of applause to Mieke Chew, the publicist at New Directions who came up with this brilliant idea.  

The whole thing here:

http://lithub.com/seven-ways-to-hand-sell-a-lost-modern-masterpiece/

Monday, May 30, 2016

Tufte in R

Amazing resource from Lukasz Piwek, here.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

podcast with Scott Gosnell

Scott interviewed me a couple of weeks ago via Skype and courteously sent me the edited podcast before sending it out.  It's embarrassingly clear that one of us needs media coaching, and it isn't Scott. To the untutored ear, I seem to have challenged myself to say 'you know' as many times as possible in the shortest possible time.  (This, unfortunately, can't be fixed by judicious editing.)  Also, being somewhat unnerved by all this real-time verbal interaction, I at one point search for the German term for café au lait and the hapless mind serves up Kremkaffee, when it is, of course, Milchkaffee.

At various points in the interview I can be heard making odd little clucking noises.  I was Skyping from a neighbor's house; my neighbor has an extremely affectionate cat, Frannie, who kept wandering across the keyboard in search of attention.  Well, y'know...

The whole thing here.

PS A commenter has drawn my attention to the fact that this link only goes to an iTunes format. Scott's introductory blogpost, with links to various podcast formats, is here: http://bottlerocketscience.blogspot.com/2016/05/helen-dewitt-is-author-of-last-samurai.html

Saturday, May 21, 2016

frieze questionnaire

frieze sent me a list of 10 questions - you answer as many as you want to, within 800 words.

It's probably a good sign if you could in fact have written 5000 words.  Anyway, here I am trying to be concise: http://www.frieze.com/article/questionnaire-helen-dewitt