Friday High Five: Ghostwriting, Resilience and Author Photo Tips

888,246 poppies at Tower of London

A striking art installation of 888,246 red ceramic flowers placed in the dry moat of the Tower of London will commemorate the centennial of Britain’s involvement in World War I. Each of the flowers represents a British or colonial fatality. The installation was conceived by ceramic artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper; volunteers have already begun placing the poppies. The last will be placed on November 11.

10 secrets of the author photo

Author and bookseller Christopher Currie shares ten tongue-in-cheek tips for the author photo - from the ‘bad boy’s conscience’ approach (Karl Ove Knaussgard) to the ‘ice cool’ of Donna Tartt, plus some plain weird looks … including one involving some serious face paint.

'The shapeshifter'

'The shapeshifter'

'The symbol maker'

'The symbol maker'

Problems for Melbourne’s first chief resilience officer

Melbourne’s first ‘chief resilience officer’ will be announced this year, with the job of helping the city cope with the extreme shocks and stresses of extreme weather. By 2070, Melbourne will face double the number of days over 35 degrees; dealing with heat waves is a big part of the job. The Age goes through the four top challenges in the job: death and illness, a suffocating economy (and a potential need for workplace hot weather policies), threats to vital infrastructure (like all those tram tracks that buckle in the heat), and civil harmony.

Top 20 most life-changing books by women

The Baileys Prize for women’s fiction recently launched a quest to find the novels by women ‘that have most impacted, shaped or changed readers’ lives'. The book voted to the top of the list of 20 was, unsurprisingly, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Shami Chakrabarti, the next chair of the Baileys Prize judging panel, called it ‘the book that introduced many of us to our belief in human rights’. You see the full top 20 at the Guardian.

Secrets of a ghostwriter

Ghostwriter Andrew Crofts - author of over 80 books - talks to the Guardian’s Robert McCrum about his undercover profession. He’s about to, finally, release a book under his own name: Confessions of a Ghostwriter.

I recall, some years ago, a female pop star attending a book trade prize-giving for which her ghosted bestselling memoir had been shortlisted. Before this honour, she boasted she hadn’t even opened, still less actually read, the book that bore her name. When she duly won, she left her ghost at the table and graciously collected her prize, all smiles, modesty and gratitude, the model author.