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The Brontë Sisters Power Dolls

Fighting sexism in the publishing industry…



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POLYply reading: Peter Gizzi and Drew Milne

This is the first in a new reading series initiated by the RH Poetics Research Group. All welcome. Free entry and wine.

7pm, Tuesday 18 May
16 Acton Street, Kings Cross. London. WC1X 9NG.,-4.064941&sspn=17.361197,42.099609&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=London+WC1X+9NG,+United+Kingdom&z=16
Peter Gizzi is author of The Outernationale (Wesleyan, 2007), Some
Values of Landscape and Weather (Wesleyan, 2003), Artificial Heart
(Burning Deck, 1998), and Periplum (Avec Books, 1992; republished by
Salt, 2004). His editing projects have included o•blék: a journal of
language arts (1987-1993), The Exact Change Yearbook (Exact Change/
Carcanet, 1995), The House That Jack Built: The Collected Lectures of
Jack Spicer (Wesleyan, 1998), and My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The
Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer (Wesleyan, 2008). He is the poetry
editor for The Nation.

Drew Milne’s books of poetry include Go Figure (2003); Mars Disarmed
(2002); The Damage: new and selected poems (2001); Bench Marks (1998); and
Sheet Mettle (1994). He edits the occasional imprint Parataxis Editions, and has also
edited Modern Critical Thought (2003);
and, with Terry Eagleton, Marxist Literary Theory: A Reader (1996).
He is the Judith E Wilson Lecturer in Drama and Poetry, Faculty of English,
University of Cambridge.

POLYply / Royal Holloway Research Group / MA Poetic Practice /
Centre for Creative Collaboration, University of London.

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I can’t understand what all the fuss is about…

The latest German literary sensation is 17-year-old Helene Hegemann, whose debut novel, Axolotl Roadkill, has sold more than 100,000 copies in just two weeks and is nominated for a major literary award.  Hegemann’s novel is a chronicle of Berlin’s sex-and-drug-fueled techno scene and according to Der Spiegel, “many consider it to be a generation-defining novel.”

Unfortunately for Hegemann, she now finds herself at the center of a growing literary scandal, accused of plagiarism by a writer who claims she lifted whole passages from his techno blog and his novel, Strobo. She has been accused of plagiarizing from other sources as well. What is Hegemann’s response to these serious charges? She says: “I can’t understand what all the fuss is about.”

From the Independent:

In an artful attempt to steal their critics’ thunder Ms Hegemann and her publishers have gone on the offensive. They have managed, in part, to turn what at face value appeared to be a clearcut case of stealing somebody else’s words into a wide-ranging debate about the meaning of plagiarism in the online era. They argue that Axolotl Roadkill is merely an example of modern “intertextual mixing”.


While she acknowledges that she used numerous “sources” for her book, she also claims that she is a member of a different generation of writers which is used to adapting and using the abundance of information available online for its own creative purposes…[Hegemann says] “There is no such thing as originality anyway, there is just authenticity”.

Now, however, Hegemann and her representatives may be backing away from this position.  Again from the Independent:

Yesterday, however, Ms Hegemann’s and her publishers clearly thought it was time to modify their stance. Ullstein published a statement admitting that Ms Hegemann had lifted some 20 excerpts from Strobo virtually word for word. It acknowledged that a further 20 passages came from other texts or were inspired by them. A list of Ms Hegemann’s “sources” will be published in the fourth edition of her book. However the plagiarism question was neatly side-stepped: “This novel follows the aesthetic principle of intertextuality and may contain further excerpts,” the statement concluded. Whether the reading public will accept that explanation remains to be seen.

It’s unclear whether Hegemann actually has personal experience of the techno scene she writes about in her novel or whether she relied solely on other first-hand accounts, which is perhaps how she got herself into trouble.

In discussing Hegemann on the Guardian’s Books Blog, Robert McCrum writes, “When everything is available free online, what is the meaning of copyright?” He closes with this: “…plagiarism is just one part of the literary contract that may now be up for renegotiation in Google-world. Some will say, with Cavafy, that ‘The barbarians are coming.’ I don’t take that line, but I think the renegotiation is increasingly urgent.”

Is the controversy surrounding Axolotl Roadkill a sign of things to come?   [SW]


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A Horse Is a Horse (of Course! Of Course!)

Are you interested in horses and/or horse racing? Here’s the competition for you: The Wills Young Writers’ Awards, which were started in 1993 in memory of journalist and amateur jockey Martin Wills. All the details you need can be found here: The prize money is good and the deadline is 28 February 2010.

Talk to Mr. Ed:


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Short Story Competition

Mslexia is running a short story competition for Women’s Writing. I don’t think that this means it has to be written by a woman necessarily, but that might help. In any case, further information can be found here: or if you’d prefer a hard copy, and some flyers about other competitions, 2010 writer’s diary and a whole lot more, I’ve got a packet of stuff they sent in my office. [DC]

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Here’s a series of talks–conversations rather than lectures–that might be of interest. More information here and a description below:
Siobhan Davies Studios is soon to host a series of Conversations on Making throughout November and December 2009. Siobhan Davies has invited four artists from different disciplines to discuss how they make their work. Each artist will invite a guest speaker from outside their own practice and will talk to them about their creative process.

13 Nov Katie Mitchell (Theatre director) + Paul Clarke (Composer)

20 Nov Lavinia Greenlaw (Poet/Novelist) + Cornelia Parker (Artist)

27 Nov Edmund de Waal (Ceramicist) + A S Byatt (Author)

4 Dec Tim Crouch (Playwright/Performer) + Karl James (Dialogue artist)

*For further information see our website

These talks provide a unique opportunity for students to participate in discussions with professionals from different artistic walks of life.


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CW3020 Final Project novel Supervisors

Below are the supervisers either chosen or (if you didn’t get around to choosing yourself) assigned to you for CW3020 Final Project: Fiction. DC is Doug Cowie, BM Ben Markowits and AR Adam Roberts. If you haven’t already done so you need to arrange a meeting with your supervisor asap, and before Reading Week at the very latest.

If you’re doing CW10 Playwriting, then you need to get in touch with Dan Rebellato. If you’ve opted for CW30 Poetry, please contact Kristen Kreider. [AR]

Anderson, Sophie BM
Bull, Hayley BM
Cabieses-Beauchamp, Katharine BM
Carpenter, Caroline BM
Chan, Maxine AR
Coles, Kim-Louise KK/AR
Draganova, Boyana AR
Dray, Kayleigh AR
Dunford, Christopher AR
Ellison, Charlotte DC
Gallacher, Edward DC
Hodgkinson, Cary DC
Linge, Katharina BM
Massoudi, Sara DC
Mayo, Thomas AR
McAdam, Sarah DC
Miller, Melody BM
Nash, Zosha BM
Nelms, Catherine AR
Nunneley, Laura BM
Ottway, Shaun BM
Patient, Diana DC
Sadler, Philip BM
Sin, Matthew AR
Soh, Zealyn AR
Sugihara, Iona DC
Swindall, Thursa AR
Taylor, Lusana DC
Trescothick, India-Lucy DC
Tull, Sarah DC
Wheeler, Sebastian BM
Wong, Ian DC

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