The News

Making Shore is shortlisted for Chambery Festival of First Novels 2012

Organisers of the Chambery Festival du Premier Roman – a festival celebrating Europe's best emerging literature – have announced the shortlist of the English-language novels for the 2012 season, the 25th in this popular festival’s history.

Making Shore is one of the 12 shortlisted titles, so our congratulations are due once again to Sara Allerton, who won last summer’s People’s Book Prize for Fiction.

The competition for the French festival will be fierce, as the list includes two novels that have collected the Costa First Novel Award: Kishwar Desai’s Witness the Night (2010) and Raphael Selbourne’s Beauty (2009), and a Richard and Judy-selected novel, Elizabeth Speller’s The Return of Captain John Emmett.

The shortlisted novels are published by Mantle Pan Macmillan, Faber and Faber, Virago, Headline, Tindal Street Press, Maclehose Press, Sceptre, Orion, Beautiful Books and Alma Books – an interesting mix of indies and large houses. The festival selections are made by 3000 participants in regular literary events and reading groups. The English-language reading selections are coordinated by Waverton Good Reads, their affiliate partner in the UK.

Burns Night app on iTunes New & Noteworthy front page

With January 25th less than two weeks away, our Burns Night app has become a hit! From one iTunes download to nearly four thousand in a few short days, we could hardly have hoped for such an overwhelming response. Much of this is no doubt due to a mention in Guardian blogger Stuart Dredge’s Apps Rush roundup, and then to getting on to the title screen of the iTunes app store under ‘New & Noteworthy’. Woo-hoo! (It's also on iTunes US and on Android)

Exposure aside, we’re happy that we could include such stellar content. The app includes Burns songs from acclaimed Scottish singers Annie Grace, Karine Polwart and Corrina Hewat, and a rousing performance of Tam o’ Shanter from Herald Angel winner Aly Macrae.

Developers Spot Specific built us a compass to point to Burns’ birthplace, which you can use during your Burns Supper toast to the Bard’s Immortal Memory, and an autocue in case you need prompting when you try reciting Tam o’ Shanter for yourself.

For those who didn’t realise how popular Burns is around the world, we included some voices of non-Scots too. We now discover that no less than the King of Pop himself was a fan! It seems that Michael Jackson recorded his own version of several top Burns songs, and there will be donations to the Burns Birthplace Museum from the proceeds. Thriller, claims David Gest, was at least partly inspired by Tam o' Shanter.

For anyone throwing their own party or, going to a Burns Supper or otherwise commemorating Burns Night, the app is rich with history, music and poetry. The new update also allows you to tweet our very own @Burns_Night with your interpretations of his poetry, to translate lines of Auld Lang Syne in whatever language takes your fancy (be it indigenous, fictitious or intergalactic), and to tell the world what Burns means to you. So “hope springs exulting on a triumphant wing” for all at Saraband today.

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