Showing posts from October, 2014

Women Make the Difference Everywhere

Here's another article just published on Impakter under my real name, Claude Forthomme - memories of the days when I worked at the United Nations, traveling to developing countries, to inspect and evaluate aid projects, trying to sort out problems:

Diary of a UN Official #3: When Women Make the Difference
Guinea-Bissau, October 1990, I don’t remember which day. But I remember how it was that morning when I woke up. Hot, very hot, the way it is in the tropics, damp and cloying, with a low sky of dark clouds, like a lid. I got out of my room, with just a bathrobe on, and ran to the nearest mango tree – the hotel I was staying at was very simple, just a handful of bungalows of two rooms each, set in a large, unkempt garden, no flowers, a lot of mud. But so many mangoes, greenish yellow, with a juicy, golden flesh, the perfect breakfast. I went into the bathroom to carve out my mango with a multi-bladed Swiss knife I always carried with me (back then you could t…

Lesson Learned: A Good Editor is a Windfall

Editing is every writer's nightmare. Thomas J. Watson is supposed to have said, "If you want to succeed, double your failure rate".

Mmmm, maybe it works for a scientist but I'm not sure it works for a writer. Failure is terrifying, it's like walking naked around Grand Central Station.

For a writer, there is nothing better, nothing more exciting than finding a good editor - like an alter ego, this is someone who understands fully what you're trying to do, but she has her head on her shoulders while yours is in the clouds.

This is what happened to me when I met Hannah Fischer Lauder. She is someone special, an avid reader, an anthropologist who has written not only many scientific reports, including case studies of specific individuals she met in the course of her field work (they read like novels!), she has also published articles in the more general press, like those you can find on Impakter (for example, here and here). Yes, she's a bit of a fighter - …

Startup for the Brave New Age of Digital Publishing

Here’s another one of my articles published on Impakter – under my real name, Claude Forthomme. Find out about a neat new publishing services website where you can find all you need (if you’re a self-published writer). I interviewed one of the two founders, Richard Fayet:
Reedsy – The Founder
 Claude Forthomme on 22 October, 2014 

Reedsy is a startup aimed at the publishing industry. At the Women’s Fiction Festival, a writers’ conference held in Matera, Italy, I met Ricardo Fayet, Reedsy’s Chief Operating Officer and had a chance to chat with him. The website is still in beta version, here is the landing page: Blog Post Image Note the lovely design with soft colors, attractive and friendly.

You can open an account as a writer or as a “freelancer” or both. A freelancer is someone providing services as copy or development editor, book cover designer, illustrator etc. Even though this is still in beta version, the list is already quite long, over 100 names, and most ar…

Self-Publishing and Women's Fiction, Hot Topics in International Writer's Conference in Italy

As my friends in Rome know, I left town on September 24 to attend a very special writer's conference held in the South of Italy, in beautiful Matera - now just nominated European Culture Capital for 2019. 

Self-publishing was amply discussed and we had several self-published stars, including Bella André and Tina Folsom, major editors from big US and Italian publishing houses, publishing gurus like Jane Friedman and David Gaughran, and literary agents from the US, UK and Italy. Here's the article I wrote about it for Publishing Perspectives, just published today:

Italian Writing Festival Takes Women, Self-Publishing SeriouslyRead more by Guest Contributor
October 21, 2014

By Claude Nougat

After eleven years of uninterrupted success, the Women’s Fiction Festival in Matera – four days at the end of September, it closed on the 28th – has proven once again that it is unique in Europe.  It combines the best of American writers’ conferences and Italian literary events, drawing t…

World Food Day: The Big Fight and Why You Should Join it!

This article in on Impakter (as usual, under my real name Claude Forthomme, the one I'm known by in the United Nations) with some great visuals, don't miss it, see here.

Another United Nations World Day? How boring! But this one isn't. This one, in spite of its bland name - World Food Day - is not about cooking for foodies, masterchef techniques and filling yourself up. On the contrary, it's about fighting hunger.

Fighting hunger has become the Number One objective of the United Nations:  Ban Ki Moon, the United Nations Secretary General, gives top priority to the elimination of hunger and has launched the Zero Hunger Challenge, calling on all partners, states and non-state actors, to scale up their effort and "turn the vision of an end to hunger into reality".

A key part of this effort is World Food Day.

Celebrated every year since FAO was created (16 October), it focuses every year on a different aspect of the fight against hunger. For 2014, the theme is &q…

How Good is Patrick Modiano, the New Nobel in Literature?

The Nobel jury seems to be able to discover new writers you've never heard of, coming from countries that have a literature you have never read, like China, Egypt or Turkey and everytime, it's a real pleasure to discover something totally new. So when the Nobel this year went to a Frenchman I had never read - and I do read regularly French literature -  I was totally floored and rushed to buy one of his books. In French, of course.

I got "Rue des Boutiques Obscures" because I thought it was a take on the Rome address of the old Italian Communist Party (now PD, Partito Democratico). As everyone in Italy knows, it's "via delle botteghe scure". But no, this book has nothing to do with the Communist Party or any party for that matter.

Patrick Modiano is not interested in politics, he's into the past, and a particular past at that, all the dark years around and during World War II, and most of his stories are set in Paris. In short, a very local, circum…