Posts Tagged ‘London’

” ‘You are speaking of London, I am speaking of the nation at large.’
‘The metropolis, I imagine, is a pretty fair sample of the rest.’
‘Not, I should hope, of the proportion of virtue to vice throughout the kingdom. We do not look in great cities for our best morality. It is not there, that respectable people of any denomination can do most good; and it certainly is not there, that the influence of the clergy can be most felt. A fine preacher is followed and admired; but it is not in fine preaching only that a good clergyman will be useful in his parish and his neighbourhood, where the parish and neighbourhood are of a size capable of knowing his private character, and observing his general conduct, which in London can rarely be the case. The clergy are lost there in the crowds of their parishioners. They are known to the largest part only as preachers.’ “


– “Mansfield Park” by Jane Austen


Last weekend, me and one of my book-loving friends took a trip to London for a few days!

The best thing that we did was visit the View from the Shard! It’s a little bit pricey but boy is it worth the money!

The view from the Shard viewing platform!

The view from the Shard viewing platform!

We decided to go up for the 7.30pm viewing slot, and we’re so glad we did because the light was amazing and it was fairly quiet up there! There was only a small breeze so it wasn’t too windy on the outside platform, and you could still see for miles! It was a boiling hot weekend, so it was nice to be able to have a little breeze up there! I could have happily stayed up there for ages, just staring at the view!

We also went to find a street called Cecil Court, because it was apparently the place where Diagon Alley was filmed for the Harry Potter films, although i’m not sure if it actually was because it didn’t look very familiar. Maybe it was just based on it? Anyway, we discovered that it was full of little independent bookshops!

Cecil Court, London

Cecil Court, London

I’ve never seen so many in one place before!

We also went to the Tower of London, which was insanely packed – it was a glorious sunny Saturday in June though – and we found this huge book which is a ledger full of receipts and things:

2014-06-21 16.52.282014-06-21 16.52.57

One of our main reasons for visiting was to go to the new Foyles flagship store!

Inside Foyles

Inside Foyles

Inside Foyles

Inside Foyles

We walked into the building and we could smell fresh paint and freshly cut wood! (Kind of reminded me of the Ikea warehouse!) There were so many floors of books! It really is a beautiful and bright new shop!

We didn’t have much time there though: we went in early evening but we realised that we needed to eat before we could focus on books (that’s how hungry we were, that books meant nothing when we were starving!) so we left and went to get dinner up the road, and then came back with only about 20 minutes before closing time at 9pm, when we got kicked out! We ended up walking back to Piccadilly to catch our bus back to the hotel, and realised Waterstones Piccadilly was still open past 9pm so we spent the next hour in there as well! I didn’t buy any books, although my friend bought many!

We also visited a little bookshop/cafe which my friend had discovered and wanted to try. It’s called “Tea and Tattle” and is near to the British Museum. It’s quirky but cute and they do excellent sandwiches, which was great after a long day!

Inside Tea and Tattle

Inside Tea and Tattle

We had a nice little evening snack there before popping into the British Museum and then going on to the Shard. Some of the other customers seemed to be having afternoon tea with cake, and it looked delicious! We’ll definitely go back to try that next time!

It was a good weekend in London, especially as it was really hot and gloriously sunny weather! It was just what I needed!

This post is related to my trip to the London Book Fair 2014 (see my earlier blog post), and covers my notes and though from when I attended the seminar:

Where are the Women in Translation?

I thought this was a really interesting discussion between a 4 woman panel, watched by a mainly female audience! Important points were made:

  • Gatekeeping seems to be keeping female translators from getting into the market.
  • Only 2 women were on the longlist for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize last year and 1 got to the shortlist.
  • No female authors have won the IFFP but 9 female translators have shared the prize with their male authors.
  • Apparently some women are sexist against women in translation (?)
  • Women are not as assertive as men – female translators have more things to do (day jobs, raising a family, etc) and have less time to pitch books.
  • Some people think it’s OK to not publish women’s books, but if they were gay, black, etc, there would be a riot!
  • There’s a “chicken and egg” situation: women are not being published because they don’t pitch books, and there’s an anecdotal belief that women don’t sell, so they don’t do it.
  • Men only read men’s books, but women will read anything.
  • Women might be of high regard in their home country, but they’re struggling to get into foreign book markets, even though the men have no problem anywhere!
  • Men’s books are still being studied more in universities, and there’s few women’s books on academic booklists.
  • Good books may be coming out but they disappear immediately because there are no reviews of them, whether good or bad!

There was a discussion about the situation in Korea, and Krys Lee pointed out:

  • A few decades ago it was all male translators, and now there are lots of women.
  • More women are winning prizes.
  • The staff in the Korean publishers may be women, but the big decisions are still being made by men.
  • Korean literature is supported by the government, with translators being funded from a young age.

The panel suggested ways to solve the problem with the lack of women in translation:

  • Boycott the London Review of Books because they don’t feature enough books in translation by women.
  • Start a manifesto.
  • Demand diversity.
  • Vote with your feet: people need to read more books by women in translation.
  • Raise awareness.

There was also an interesting bit about covers on books by women, with them being given stereotypical covers with naked women on them and marketed as “chick lit” when they are not that genre. It was felt that people should “let books be books” (like in the recent campaign against gender-biased covers in Children’s books suggests -see the Guardian for more info), and get rid of the naked women on the covers because they are not like lad’s magazines, but maybe such covers should be covered up so people only judge them by their title not their cover! (After all, there have been campaigns to put blank covers over the fronts of lad’s magazines in shops to hide the photos of naked women on them because they are inappropriate.)

I really enjoyed the seminar, and learnt a lot from it! I’m determined to find some of these great female authors and translators and get their books the attention they deserve!