London Interactive


Just got back a short five-day visit to London, where I went to support the launch of the UK edition of A Tale for the Time Being. Canongate, my wonderful UK publisher, is doing the most amazing, cutting-edge stuff with the publication and generating all sorts of buzz in the London book world.

Hardcover_UKThe hardcover is a beautiful, deconstructed book with an exposed spine (how I love that metaphor!), which is like a work of art, and the paperback edition has a fully interactive cover. Yes, that's right. A fully interactive cover that you operate with an app called Blippar. You download the app onto your smart phone or tablet, hold your device over the cover, and it comes to life! The red hinomaru peels back and reveals a moving montage and then offers links to areas where you can read excerpts and learn more about the book.

Canongate is releasing all the editions, the hardcover, paperback, ebook and audio book, simultaneously, and they've given me my very own TV channel, too. Amazing!

IMG_0459During the five days in London, I did interviews for BBC's Nightwaves (online now), the Guardian Books podcast (yet to come), and The National (yet to come). I taught a class in "How to Live More Consciously" (aka How to Be a Better Time Being) at Alain de Botton's School of Life, and had a wonderful conversation on stage with author Mary Loudon at the Women of the World Festival at Southbank Centre. And finally, Canongate held a lovely luncheon with the team who has worked so hard on the publication, and I was thrilled to meet authors Philip Pullman and Steven Hall, who took time away from their writing to come celebrate with us. I was moved and honored.

The highlight of the trip was meeting people: the wonderful Canongate editors and designers and marketing and publicity teams; the brilliant authors; the broadcasters and journalists; and most of all, the readers, who took precious time away from their busy lives to come out and to support a book. A book! In this day and age, how amazing is that?


I had a little time to spare, so I went to the British Museum, and as I studied the engravings on fully interactive Rosetta Stone—the real stone, not the language-learning software, which came up #1 in my Google search ranking, listed as "Official Rosetta Stone®"—I couldn't help but marvel at...what? At the power of our ancient desire to communicate. At the ever-evolving nature of text and our expectation of what it can and ought to do. At its increasingly ephemeral nature.

Because even if the Official Rosetta Stone® is #1 in Google ranking now, the real stone has survived for more than two thousand years and will probably outlast both the software and the computers we need to fully interact with it. And this is okay, because humans will always want to talk to each other, and we will always find ways of learning each other's languages and communicating our stories. Whether we're chiseling stone or programming pixels, it's just our nature to be fully interactive.



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 Dear friends,

Much has been happening these past few weeks in preparation for the launch of A Tale for the Time Being, and it's been a real team effort!

My friend & fellow filmmaker Bill Weaver and I shot a book trailer up on Cortes, with the backdrop of the brooding Pacific Northwest landscape and a lovely song by Le Mépris, which I listened to over and over again when I was writing the novel.

The trailer lives my homepage and on my beautiful new Facebook author page, which my friend Laura Trippi of Latrippi Designs made for me. If you "like" it, you'll be able to keep tabs on my tour schedule and the reviews as they come in, and find links to booksellers where you can pre-order the new book. I'll be uploading stories and pictures from the road, posting excerpts from the novel, and maybe some audio recordings, too…

Laura has also set up a tiny newsletter for me, which you can join here, or from the Facebook page, or from my website. I promise not spam you if you join. It's just another way of staying in touch, and I can let you know about readings, workshops, and other goings on.

And finally, Carole DeSanti, my friend, fellow novelist, and editor at Viking Penguin, is like a captain at the helm of a ship, keeping it, and me, on course!

It's been wonderful to be working with all my wonderful and talented friends to bring this book out into the world for all you wonderful and talented friends and readers. So thanks for your interest, and I hope to see you down the road!