Weekly Recap: Salinger’s Law, China’s Internet Boycott, Ghana’s New Sleuth, Training CEOs

In Feature Articles by Edward Nawotka

istock_000009693739xsmallBy Edward Nawotka

This week at Publishing Perspectives we were hot on the trail of a number of developing stories; including J.D. Salinger’s lawsuit against his nemesis Fredrik Colting and artist Ai Weiwei’s call to boycott the internet in protest of China’s Green Dam computer filtering software (It worked! – see Bonus Material below). We also offered Ghanaian-American novelist Kwei Quartey’s thoughts on his debut and reflections on a training seminar for publishing CEOs that took place in the UAE last month.

Next week we plan to bring you news of a unique YA fiction series from the Caribbean island of Trinidad, an exciting new online publishing platform in the UK, tips on how to get the most out of the international remainder market, and much more. Till then, enjoy the week that was.

Monday, copyright attorney David Fox presented the legal issues involved in Salinger’s lawsuit to block Swedish author Fredrik Colting’s 60 Years Later, his questionable spin off of Catcher in the Rye. “Characters described in a single work of fiction usually cannot be copyrighted, as opposed to those described graphically (e.g., Mickey Mouse), or in serial works (e.g., James Bond),” explained Fox.  On Wednesday night, the judge in the case issued a ruling, temporarily banning publication.

Tuesday, we interviewed artist Ai Weiwei as he called for China’s 360 million internet users to take a day off to protest the Chinese government’s implementation of Green Dam filtering software. “Green Dam promises to block pornography and other objectionable material, but we all know it’s being used to censor sites that are critical of the government,” said Weiwei, who speaks from experience.

Wednesday, writer Kwei Quartey reflected on the publication of his mystery novel The Wife of the Gods, which takes place in Accra, Ghana. “It was very important to me to write from the perspective of a black African detective in a black African milieu,” he wrote. The book is published later this month in the US by Random House and is forthcoming in France and Germany.

Thursday, we spoke with participants of a June CEO training session organized by KITAB, the joint venture between the Abu Dhabi Book Fair and the Frankfurt Book Fair. Nineteen publishers from eight Arab countries attended the workshops, which took place in Abu Dhabi. Ibrahim Anas al-Rajab of Baghdad’s al-Muthanna Library enthused, “It’s like I had been playing piano for a long time using just my fingers and ears, but this was the first time that I used my eyes as well and learned how to read the notes!”

For Bonus Material we offered fifty web sites to improve your writing, linked to the 2009 Declaration of the Anonymous Netizens – a group who vowed to hack China’s Green Dam software, presented a video feature on the No. 1 Ladies Opera House in Gaborone, Botswana, and took a look at Mike Kim’s book about helping people escape from North Korea.

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About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.