Monday, January 23, 2012

Give Away Someone Else’s Book on World Book Night

World Book Night, a British experiment in giving away royalty-free new books to strangers, is coming to the US, and we’re on board. Here’s the background.

On every first Thursday in March since 1998, the UK has celebrated World Book Day by giving several million British schoolchildren £1 tokens they can use to purchase any book at a bookseller. UK publishers produce special £1 World Book Day editions of select books, and booksellers, schools, and libraries host hundreds of author visits, story times, and dress parties to celebrate the day. By all accounts, World Book Day has become quite successful in bringing books to children and families to bookstores.

A couple years ago, Jamie Byng, managing director of British publisher Canongate, had the thought that the festivities shouldn’t be limited to schoolchildren, that adults who rarely read books could also use some encouragement. He founded World Book Night, an event in which volunteers, including book authors, would give away one million special-edition paperbacks to strangers at train stations, hospitals, prisons and other sites. Margaret Atwood, Alan Bennett, John Le CarrĂ©, and Philip Pullman, and other authors kicked off the first World Book Night last year by reading from their favorite books to thousands of people gathered in Trafalgar Square on a chilly March evening.

British media covered World Book Night extensively, and, defying the expectations of some, the publishers and authors of the books given away fared well: book sales rose substantially for nearly all the 25 titles that were handed out.

On April 23rd, World Book Night comes to the US, with much of the publishing industry behind the effort, including major publishers, Ingram, the American Booksellers Association, Barnes & Noble, and the American Library Association. A committee of booksellers and librarians selected the 30 books that are being printed in special World Book Night editions. (Please note, the Authors Guild took no role in selecting the titles.)

Want to volunteer to be a book giver? Choose one of the 30 books (list here) that you particularly enjoyed, choose a place to give away the book, and apply at the World Book Night website. There’s nothing in it for you, except for the satisfaction of introducing others to a favorite book, and perhaps the glory of a local newspaper or radio story. You’ll likely increase your odds for being chosen if you mention that you’re an author and you choose a distribution site calculated to reach those who rarely read books.

Carl Lennertz, formerly of Random, Harper, Little Brown, and Book Sense, is the executive director of World Book Night US. He’ll be reviewing all applications and pledges to be on the lookout for authors.

The application deadline is February 1st.

Volunteer application

World Book Night website

Feel free to forward, post, or tweet. Here is a short URL for linking:

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Bent and broken into a better shape

The MOFET Institute and The British Council present:

Bent and broken into a better shape:
the magical storytelling of Charles Dickens

Tuesday 14 February 2012, 15:00-17:30


  • Reception: 15:00-15:45
  • Welcome Address & Performance: 15:45-17:00
  • Q & A and Closing Remarks: 17:00-17:30

For a map of the college campus and for directions to the Institute, please
click here.

Click here for a map of the area.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Dickens Universe video

As many of you know, our department is part of the consortium of the Dickens Universe Project at the University of Santa Cruz, CA. I was there in 2011 and co-directed a graduate students workshop (I'll be there again in summer 2012).

Here is a video of the project. And yes, the redwoods are real!


Congratulations to all of our BA students, and most especially to Maizy Eliash who is our first English Department student representative in years!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Elections for Student Representative are coming!

I'm not going to discuss the undergrad representative here* but I do want every master's student who is eligible to vote to know that Adva Berar is the only candidate for the master's students (she studies Hebrew literature) who appears to be at all interested in what we have to say. If we elect her, we're electing someone with similar interests and with a fairly good plan of action involving interdepartmental communication, and she's the only one who's bothered to sort out an English Department POC [Point Of Contact - that would be me].

And that's all I have to say about that. Please vote on Wednesday.

Vote Maizy! Please! It's high time we had an English Literature student representing the English Department, and not outsiders who have repeatedly and consistently done absolutely nothing for us in the past...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Poetry Prizes - for BA and MA students

I totally forgot to re-post this (we've been hearing about it since mid-November)...

Dear Students,

We are pleased to announce that prizes will be awarded in 2012 for original poems (in English), written by students of the Department of English and American Studies.

Winners receive generous monetary awards!!! *


1.  You can submit up to four original poems.

2. Send your submissions in one file (.doc) to this email

3. The file you submit should include a cover page with your name, id number, and phone number, and then one poem per page. Your name should not appear on the same pages as the poems.

4.   The deadline for submission is: January 31, 2012.

5.  ONLY students of the Department of English and American Studies may submit to this contest.

If you have questions, contact Dara Barnat or Karen Alkalay-Gut

Good luck!

The Department of English and American Studies

After clarifying: You can submit 4 poems total, no matter the length. Just make sure each new poem starts on its own page.