Archives for October 2010

Jane Austen and why correct spelling is over-rated


Sorry. I really should stop laughing… but… *wheeeeeeeze* …. I just cant……

Its big news that Jane Austen was a bad speller?

After years of wondering what the intensely private woman guarded by an intensely devoted sister determined to keep Janes reputation pure  was really like, after years of  hoping for a glimpse  behind the curtain so to speak, this is what you share with us?

Kathryn Sutherland, an English professor at Oxford University, examined 1,100 handwritten pages of unpublished works by the writer of Pride and Prejudice, who died in 1817. She says the manuscripts have plenty of “blots, crossings out, messiness,” and that Austen “broke most of the rules for writing good English.”

She had blots, crossings out and messiness?  Incomprehensible.

For a writer creating a story with nothing more than the words in her head. Writing with a pot of ink and a feather, on cheap, poorly produced paper, without the aid of a first class education.   Its big news that when her brother  Henry wrote glowing reports of her writing abilities after she died…  he might have been fudging the truth a little? Really?

It’s just so hard to imagine how someone with no spelling ability could write such incredible stories and spur on 100’s of other people (myself included) to write stories based however loosely from her ideas….. Thank goodness for editors like William Gifford is all I can say.  Imagine life in a world without Jane Austen.

Look here for the website for the Jane Austen Fiction Manuscripts that reveals to the world the real workings of a writer before the advent of computers and typing programs…. it really is fascinating to the Austen fan.

A Dark Horse in the Scotiabank Giller Awards


Oooooooh I love to back me a dark horse in a race.

Actually, I’m more likely to go for the under-dog, but who cares what the animal is…. this has got to be good news for the publishing industry and all wannabe writers like myself.

Three of the Scotiabank Giller Prize  nominees are books published by small print presses.

“Dark horses were the order of the day, as three of the five shortlisted books were published by small houses: a debut short story collection by Alexander MacLeod, Light Lifting, published by Biblioasis in Windsor, Ont.; Johanna Skibsrud’s The Sentimentalists, courtesy of Gaspereau Press in Kentville, N.S.; and Kathleen Winter’s Annabel, published by Toronto’s Anansi. It was the first novel for both Skibsrud and Winter.

A fourth nominee, Sarah Selecky, was also nominated for a debut short story collection, This Cake is for the Party, issued by Thomas Allen. That left David Bergen as the veteran of the field. Bergen, who won in 2005 for The Time in Between and was longlisted in 2008 for The Retreat, is back in the running with The Matter with Morris, published by HarperCollins.”  As taken from

The Scotiabank Giller Prize is for Canadian writers who have written books in English (or translations) that were published the previous year. The winner of the award gets a $50,000 prize and the others on the short-list get $5000.

So often when you are researching how to become published, you discover how very few books small publishing houses produce now days. And it seems that its regular news to hear another smaller publishing house is going out of business because there is no money in paper books anymore, and that  even if you have written a new and revolutionary story arc that’s never been written before, the chances of ever being published are (to coin an Australian colloquial term) Buckleys and Nunn. But here isthe  proof that small houses do print stories that are considered prize worthy. They do take a risk on unpublished authors writing unusual story arcs and short stories and thankfully it would appear that the risk pays off.

The winner will be announced November 9th, 2010.

Other news reports:

The Globe and Mail                               CBC news                           National Post