Friday High Five: Tigers, Screenwriters and Literary Agents

Tigers Who Come to Tea and Escaping Hitler

Judith Kerr, author of the much-loved children’s classics The Tiger Who Came to Tea and When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, tells the story of her family’s last-minute escape from the Nazi regime - they left Berlin on the same day Hitler came to power. ‘Fellow children’s author Michael Rosen says metaphorically the tiger in Kerr’s children’s book could be interpreted as a vision from her past - an underlying threat, robbing the family of everything they own and disrupting the comforting routine of a young child’s daily life.’

Fourteen screenwriters on screenwriting

The New York Times has asked 14 screenwriters - creators of the best screenplays of 2013 - for their inspiration and screenwriting tips. ‘Whenever you have an “idea,” as in a concept that you could explain to someone, like a hook or at worst a gimmick, that is a bad thing,’ says Greta Gerwig, star and co-writer of Frances Ha. ‘It feels good, but it’s not good.’

Greta Gerwig in *Frances Ha*.

Greta Gerwig in Frances Ha.

Work attitudes are inherited

Do you live to work or work to live? Is your job something you’re passionate about - a ‘calling’ - or are you more attracted to it for money, status or lifestyle? All these beliefs about the way we approach work are inherited, says a new study. How teenagers view their parents' work ethic influences the way they think about work themselves. Here’s the kicker: fathers are more influential than mothers.

Aldous Huxley in LA

Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World, died 50 years ago, 22 November 22 2013. Steffie Nelson commemorates the occasion by reflecting on Huxley’s time in Los Angeles, and the legacy of his influence. ‘Without the dedicated and well-documented cosmic explorations of Aldous Huxley and his cohorts, the decade would have looked very different. It’s not an exaggeration to say that, without Huxley, Timothy Leary might never have tuned in and turned on, and Jim Morrison might never have broken on through. ’

An ex-agent on why queries are an opportunity, not a burden

Former literary agent Mary Cunnane has written for Australian Book Review about the phenomenon of #queryfail - publishers and literary agents complaining on social media about being deluged by queries from hopeless hopeful authors. The complaints often focus on would-be writers failing to format their queries according to guidelines. Cunnane argues that there is gold to be found in those hills of the slush pile, and authors should be treated with respect. ‘Without writers, publishers are nowhere: should they therefore be made to feel they must storm the battlements in order to get even a look-in?’