Monday, May 02, 2005

May Publishing Notes

The buzz: Columbia Pictures has optioned the film rights of Marc Acito’s Lammy-nominated debut novel How I Paid for College. Director David Yates has backed out of the new big-screen adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited to direct the next Harry Potter film. A Hans Christian Anderson bio pic is in the works, to be directed by Swedish filmmaker Billie August. The cast of the film version of Armistead Maupin’s The Night Listener now includes Bobby Cannavale, Robin Williams, Toni Collette, Rory Culkin, and Joe Morton. Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s stage musical Lestat, based on Anne Rice’s pansexual vampire, will open in San Francisco this winter en route to Broadway. Another Elton John musical, Billy Elliot, based on the movie of the same name, is scheduled to start previews May 31 in London. Carroll & Graf will publish The Sluts, Dennis Cooper’s new novel about a gay male hustler and his client’s obsessions with him. Rob Weisbach has been named president and chief executive officer of Miramax Books, which will be managed over the next two years by executives representing both the Walt Disney Co. and Harvey and Bob Weinstein. Weisbach will also sign up authors for an imprint that will be part of the Weinsteins’ new venture, tentatively named WeinsteinCo.

Kudos: The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation presented writer-director Bill Condon (Kinsey and Gods and Monsters) with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award in Los Angeles in April. The award is named for a successful Los Angeles casting director who devoted the last part of his life to fighting AIDS-phobia and homophobia in the entertainment industry. Magical Thinking by Augusten Burroughs was named a Book Sense Honor Book for 2004 in Nonfiction. Jim Grimsley was one of eight authors who received the 2005 Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. The award will presented in May in New York City.

Everything Old is New Again: The first known recording of poet Allen Ginsberg reading Howl was donated by California-based Pacifica Radio to Naropa University. The recording was made in 1956. The donation also includes audio recordings by James Baldwin, Kurt Vonnegut, Dylan Thomas, and Aldous Huxley. Ginsberg was a co-founder of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poets at Naropa, a nonprofit school that is inspired by Buddhism and located in Boulder, Colorado. The New York Times reported in April that a previously unknown poem by playwright Tennessee Williams was discovered in the back of a small blue test booklet from Washington University in St. Louis. Williams penned the poem, “Blue Song,” while taking a final exam in Greek in May 1937 at the University. The poem was discovered by Harvey I. Schvey, a Washington University professor, among the Williams-related materials kept at Faulkner House Books, a bookstore in New Orleans. A portion of the poem reads: “If you should meet me upon a/ street do not question me for/ I can tell you only my name/ and the name of the town I was/ born in . . .”

Maybe Blogging’s Not Such A Bad Idea: A diary of the novelist Yukio Mishima that is on display at the Yukio Mishima Literary Museum in Yamanakako, Yamanashi Prefecture in Japan is believed to have provided material for his later novels, contradicting previous theories on his work. The diary was kept from 1946 to 1947 when the author was a student in the law department at the University of Tokyo. The diary details the writer’s efforts to become a novelist, his relationship with another writer, Osamu Dazai, and his reunion with a woman who is believed to be the model for “Sonoko,” a character in Confessions of a Mask. “The diary suggests that he drew material from what he actually experience,” Professor Hideaki Sato of Kinki University, an expert on Mishima’s works, reported. The diary, originally begun as an account ledger, also describes the films the writer saw, his railway fares, admission fees to theaters, and the prices of books he bought. According to experts, the author did not record his income and expenditures for the purpose of being thrifty but to see how much money he would need to survive as a writer. Masayoshi Kudo, chief curator at the museum, believes that Mishima made up his mind to join the Finance Ministry as a bureaucrat because he deemed manuscript fees would be insufficient to cover his living expenses. In June 1946, while he was still a student, Mishima published his first novel, Tabako (Cigarette), in a literary magazine.

Off the Shelves: The Open Book, Ltd., the nine-year old bookstore in Sacramento, is in the process of being sold and is no longer accepting orders on its Web site until further notice. The owners Ron Grantz and Larry Bailey, both 65, are retiring to remodel apartments, travel, and “fade into the sunset.” In April 2004, Bailey told a reporter from the Sacramento Bee that “it just doesn’t pay to be a gay business in Lavender Heights, at least not like it used to. Greater social acceptance means greater business competition.” “There’s no ‘us and them’ attitude anymore,” his partner, Grantz said. “People from around the area used to come in on the weekends and spend $200 to $300 in one trip. They don’t do that anymore. Why should they drive all that way when you can get the same book at Barnes & Noble in Elk Grove?