Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Books, for children to adults

“The mind of a child is a dark wood. It is full of secret half-civilized thoughts that are forgotten like dreams a short time afterwards.” - Roald Dahl
The Authorized Biography of Roald Dahl

This could be for my wife - like everyone, she has always enjoyed the creative stories of Dahl.
By Seth Lerer
The San Francisco Chronicle

Donald Sturrock puts it in this massive, yet engaging, biography: “His seductive voice, the subversive twinkle in his eye, and his sense of the comic and the curious gave him an ability to mesmerize almost every child who crossed his path — yet he could also remember and re-imagine his own childhood with astonishing sharpness.”

Dahl’s unique talent was to live vividly, throughout his life, in his own childhood, while at the same time to make that childhood sensibility appealing to adults.

Given the importance of his childhood to his work, Dahl’s life is ripe for reassessment. And given, too, the vast number of letters, journal entries and recorded encounters throughout that life, it is a mine for the biographer. Sturrock’s book calls itself “The Authorized Biography,” and authorization always cuts two ways. On one hand, he was given access to papers and people, and has thus been able to re-create — at times, with day-by-day detail — the growth and development of Dahl as a writer and a public figure. On the other hand, there is always the risk of glossing over the unpopular or the unnerving in an authorized life.

It is safe to say, however, that Sturrock does not seem to have been cowed by family censure. All the awfulness of Dahl is here: his quirky friendships, his painful recovery from a World War II air accident, his exquisitely impolitic remarks about non-Europeans during his tour of duty in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, his appendicitis (where Dahl finds himself in a ward with two old men who, in his own words, “did nothing but fart all day and have enemas and talk bull — and then fart some more”), his rocky marriage to the actress Patricia Neal, and his lifelong bouts of financial mismanagement and tax evasion.
UA student wins Playboy contest
Though he didn't win any award, Stephen King got his start by having short stories published in Playboy magazine - could these be the next Kings?
Anissa Ford
University of Arkansas Examiner

A University of Arkansas student, Meaghan Mulholland, won first place in Playboy' s annual college fiction writing contest. Mulholland's first place prize is $3000 and her story," Woman, Fire & The Sea" will be published in Playboy's October 2010 issue.

Mulholland was a graduate student in UA's competitive Creative Writing program. She earned her degree this year.

A UCLA student, Timothy Tau, won second prize and $500 dollars for his story "Land of Origin." There were three third place winners--each won $250 for their submissions. Third place winners were from Swarthmore College, University of New Orleans and the University of Cincinnati.

Past winners of the College Fiction contest have gone on to find publishing success after the Playboy contest. The contest offers a chance to publish professionally in a magazine. Playboy is currently accepting applications for next year's contest.

No comments: