TDIABDog Review

I’m probably violating all kinds of copyright issues by reprinting this, but that would  represent one of the smaller risks involved in the writing and translation of this book. Holiday in Kiev, anybody?

This from Publishers Weekly:

“This impressive debut collection of 19 stories (The Devil is a Black Dog) comes from Jászberényi, a Hungarian news correspondent who has covered the conflicts in Eastern Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. The book employs minimalist prose and, in several of the stories, the recurring protagonist Daniel Marosh, an ill-fated, sardonic war journalist. In “The Strongest Knot,” Marosh reveals that he is a chronic insomniac due to problems with his adulterous wife who has blocked his visitations with their child. “The Dead Ride Fast” finds Marosh covering the political revolution in Cairo, where he bumps into an old colleague and kindred spirit, the German photographer Sahra Gamalt. In “Something About the Job” an older, crankier Marosh is told by his boss that his subpar work makes him expendable unless he is willing to show a promising young photojournalist the ropes on assignment in Chad. The other standout tales, such as the unsettling and darkly comedic “The Desert Is Cold In the Morning” and “How We Didn’t Win,” demonstrate the range of Jászberényi’s storytelling talents. (Dec.) Sándor Jászberényi, trans. from the Hungarian by M. Henderson Ellis. New Europe (Random House, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-0-9900043-2-5″


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Budapest Writers’ Lab

The time has arrived: introducing my long-planned, worried-over expansion into teaching writing. So with much courage and enthusiasm, I give you the Budapest Writers’ Lab. The introductory class will be The Basics of Fiction Writing. I am sorry to say that you should probably live in Budapest to attend, though if you want private tuition over the Internet, that is also an option. So, no more excuses. Time to get to work.

UPDATE: In addition to the previously planned Thursday class, a Saturday class has been added!

The Budapest Writers’ Lab.

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PK On View

Spotted by a friend, Petra K and the Blackhearts at Powells bookshop in Portland Oregon.

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Blurb-roll: The Devil is a Black Dog

“This is one of the most honest books I have ever read. The author forgoes the journalistic altruism and moral obligation that books on reporting in crisis regions typically, disingenuously emphasize. Instead, The Devil Is a Black Dog is a truly authentic dive into the psyche, spirituality, and frailty of mankind. Jászberenyi deftly portrays all that through the lenses of both situations accessible to Western readers and exotic circumstances in a region regarded as violent and rife with hardship.” — Brian Dabbs (New York Times, Al-Jazeera)

“Fierce, tight, and violent – beautifully constructed, tough, exciting prose.” — György Dragomán

“Jászberényi is brutally frank in his stories of how the civil strife–wracked Africa and Middle East have not only demeaned the value of life and death but also killed the sensitivity of reporters and photographers to these horrors even while they seek to provoke the moral outrage of the outside world.” –David Ottaway, former Washington Post correspondent in Africa and the Middle East

More to come. Or not. It’s a good book regardless.

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Travel Writing Course: Budapest

The poster for a micro writers workshop I am running in Budapest, Hungary.

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Pride and Prejudice: Why should you hire a professional to critique your manuscript

You just completed a manuscript, and are wondering just what you’ve got. Is it gripping from the start? Does the plot flow? Are the characters fully realized? Is it any good? It’s time to get it out there to some readers and find out.

Friends and family – though as perceptive as any readers you are likely to find – come to your work with a certain disposition. They love you, they have invested in you; they truly want you to succeed. Moreover, they are proud of what you have done. And they should be. Finishing a book is a huge accomplishment; and the writer, particularly if they are somebody we care about, deserves our encouragement and support. With this inevitable (and healthy) attitude, a reader who knows us well will be attracted to the strong points in the manuscript, and will likely – intentionally or not – overlook the weaknesses. It’s like accepting the shortcomings of a romantic partner. Without the ability to see past their flaws, we would simply be unable to participate in any enduring relationship.

As a writer, where does that leave you? A truly honest manuscript critique can only be performed by somebody who has no preconceptions of you as a person; who is not afraid to be blunt, and can deliver impartial, honest feedback: somebody who is not prejudiced in your favor. It also helps if your reader has a lot of experience in the field. You need an ally, not a friend. At Wordpill, I don’t want to be your friend, in the best way possible. Check the Manuscript Critique page for details.

Matt Ellis is an author coach and manuscript editor at Word Pill Editing. Have a look here for an affordable Manuscript Critique.

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