Round-up, 21 September 2012: Gay heroes, copyright, small press successes, and hobbitses

So the other week I was passing comment on gay elves. I guess what the world really wants and needs, but some literary agents seem to want to suppress, is a gay hero. Or maybe a just-happens-to-be-gay hero. All credit to Viking Penguin, who just signed up a post-apocalyptic young adult novel with what sounds like a just-happens-to-be-gay protagonist.

(While on the subject, we mustn’t forget that J.K. Rowling’s Dumbledore was apparently a just-happens-to-be-gay wizard.)

Here’s a detailed but useful assessment of how and why academics and teachers should defend their own copyright and the use of their own content: ‘Copyright for Academics in the Digital Age’.

Some good coverage from the BBC and the Guardian on the small presses (and alternative publishing models, e.g., subscription at And Other Stories) who have been brought to wider attention by the shortlist of the Man Booker Prize. Ra ra for the Man Booker judges! This year has a particularly interesting selection of titles, I feel. Am particularly keen to read both Deborah Levy’s Swimming Home and Alison Moore’s The Lighthouse (from the very excellent Salt).

(I keep wondering: do those small presses have to pay for their seats at that flash dinner at the Guildhall. I did note the conditions of entry of the prize, which include the publisher putting up £5,000 as a contribution to publicity if a book makes the shortlist, and another £5,000 if it wins. Hope those small presses have good cash flow – we’d better get buying!)

The Guardian pays tribute to the 75th anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit, which includes its first publication in Latin (Hobbitus Ille … ‘in foramine terrae habitabat hobbitus’).

And in case you were hiding away in a hobbit hole yourself this week, here’s the trailer for the forthcoming film of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (which is now the first of a trilogy).

And as I finish typing this, my fall issue of Paris Review arrives with a thud. Gosh, it’s beautifully produced – print that creates a dent in the doormat. I love me some Kindle, but thank heavens for print (I imagine my eyeballs are thankful too). Some excellent content to look forward – I always love their ‘Art of …’ interviews in particular (James Fenton and Roberto Calasso here), and this issue also has poetry from Bernadette Mayer, a whole novella from Sam Savage, and some curious collages.