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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

clairecox
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This workshop, run by Oxford Brookes University, is timed to commemorate the centenary of the Somme and Fromelles. Focusing on the practical know-how that’s needed to shape up a First World War idea into a publishable piece, it’s suitable for anyone, published or aspiring, who’s writing or wanting to write non-fiction about any aspect of the First World War.

The course will be led by three outstanding professionals who will be able to give invaluable insights gained through their own research, writing and publishing experiences:

Stephen Barker is an independent military historian and museum education specialist, who is currently County Collections and Project Officer at Oxfordshire County Council. He was a trustee of the Battlefields Trust, working particularly on its educational materials. In 2009, he published Lancashire's Forgotten Heroes - a history of the 8th East Lancs in the Great War.

Dr Jane Potter is a Senior Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University. Her research and teaching focuses on book and literary history, and she has published widely on many aspects of war literature, book history, and women's writing. Her monograph Boys in Khaki, Girls in Print: Women's Literary Responses to the Great War 1914-1918 was joint winner of the 2006 Women’s History Network Book Prize. A Trustee of the Wilfred Owen Literary Estate, she is the author of Wilfred Owen: An Illustrated Life and is currently working on a new edition of Owen's Selected Letters for Oxford University Press. With Ralf Schneider, she is also editing The Handbook of British Literature and Culture of the First World War.

Dr Michael LoCicero is an independent scholar and Commissioning Editor for Helion & Company, the specialist bookseller and military history publisher. He is also the author of books including A Moonlight Massacre - The Night Operation on the Passchendaele Ridge, 2 December 1917 and Two Sides of the Same Bad Penny - Gallipoli and the Western Front, A Comparison.

Based in the lovely surroundings of the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, Woodstock, OX20 1SN, the day will include a brief tour of the collections of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and the Queens Own Oxfordshire Hussars.

Cost: £85 (includes refreshments and lunch) For more information and to book your place: http://history.brookes.ac.uk/Studying/Short-Courses/

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This seems a very laudable idea, but isn't it just a wee bit late for aspiring writers? Anything they produce won't be published until next year at the earliest, and the shelves of major bookstores are already groaning under WWI titles.

Still, I'm sure that the day will be very interesting, and Dr LoCicero could prove a useful contact.

And Stephen Barker is, of course, a distinguished member of this Forum.

Moonraker

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  • 4 weeks later...

Apart from those distinguished course leaders there is plenty to see at the Museum in Woodstock. Some recent acquisitions are explained below:-



In 2013 the remains of a body were discovered by a farmer in France following storm damage caused by heavy rain. Once the local gendarmerie had declared the find to be of no criminal interest it became a case of trying to identify a soldier of the Great War. In due course it was established that the remains were those of an officer of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. This had been decided because of the few artefacts found with his remains. These included a silverish pocket watch, a whistle, a regimental button and some remnants of his uniform. Officers' uniform being of different quality to that of other ranks made it clear that the body was that of an officer although no identification of the actual rank has been possible. Extensive research was carried out by SOFO but this proved inconclusive and sadly, despite attempts to obtain a DNA match, it had not been possible to identify this officer by name.



The reburial, arranged by the MOD, took place last year near to Arras and the regiment was represented by General Sir Robert Pascoe.


SOFO is enormously proud to have received these artefacts and has continued to research the possible stories behind the unknown soldier.


The artefacts are now on display at the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum.


MC


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Not sure it's late for anyone who wants to write - there isn't a deadline of 11th November 1918 for anyone who wants to write on a Great War subject for it to sell, that I'm aware of. If anything judging by the amount of rubbish on bookshop shelves at the moment it would be a good thing to miss the big rush. Personally my Gallipoli related book won't realistically be published for at least a couple of years, well past the centenary of the campaign, but doesn't matter a jot to me

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Not sure it's late for anyone who wants to write - there isn't a deadline of 11th November 1918 for anyone who wants to write on a Great War subject for it to sell, that I'm aware of. If anything judging by the amount of rubbish on bookshop shelves at the moment it would be a good thing to miss the big rush. Personally my Gallipoli related book won't realistically be published for at least a couple of years, well past the centenary of the campaign, but doesn't matter a jot to me

First of all, good luck with your book, but by 11 November 1918 I fear there will be "Great War fatigue" among publishers, the media, the general public and the more informed public. The centennial year is the obvious time to capitalise on public interest in a particular event (we used to call this a "peg"), so there remains scope for literature on, for example, the participation of the United States, the events that led to the Armistice and the period after the Armistice was declared. On a more local level, we have one member who has been researching the Bulford Kiwi, which was carved in 1919, so she still has time in hand.

Perhaps the course will advise on the need for original angles: something new that has not already been covered by the flow torrent of recent literature. When it comes to bookshop shelves, a reader needs to be persuaded in two minutes (a glance at the blurb and a flick through the pages) why (s)he should buy a particular book on the war in general, the Somme, Jutland or, indeed, Gallipoli.

Moonraker

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It's not at all late for anybody. The press and other news media hamstring themselves by anniversaries, something that is self-imposed because of the the nature of their trade - the immediacy of news. Publishers don't necessarily have to do that, although some will depending on the subject matter. I agree with RobL that there is some rubbish around which has been specifically aimed at the centenary, and a course like this is likely to help those along who have not had much experience of publishing.

TR

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Nevertheless, it will have been much easier to have got publishers (and readers) interested in, say, the fifth new book on the Battle of the Somme with a view to it coming out around now than in a ninth to be available in 2018. One question is: what more is there to be written? Another: what has the latest book got to say that all the others did not? And there are not too many publishers of military history and those that do exist may well have an existing Somme title in their lists.

(I don't know how many new books there actually are on the Somme; there were several in Foyles a month ago.)

But then there is always self-publication, which perhaps the course may touch on?

Moonraker

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In my humble opinion for the question 'what more is there to be written?' I say see the Zulu War which seems to have dozens of books in the general conflict, interesting as it is...

That said I have seen mention of some publishers being up to the gunnels with GW books and reluctant to take more for now. Got mine out in 2014, feet up, now! ??

Bernard

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What about Swansea in the Second World War....

Think of the legacy; that DuRuvigny left or the guy who wrote Bond Of Sacrifice, or regimental histories.

Since 2007 I have had five people contact me who had not seen a photo of there granddad, one guy was so delighted in his 70's I do not think I have ever seen anyone that happy...

Had his medals never knew what he looked like house was destroyed in the blitz.

http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/found-picture-dad-trenches-3125753

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I think the only thing the centenary will bring, in this case, is interest to the course as it may be too far along to "capitalize" on the centenary buzz . The "buzz", however, will at least get people interested in writing about WW1 and attend this event! Maybe not all who write are interested in capitalizing on the centenary but more interested in writing something meaningful, regardless of how many copies get sold. If I was in the UK, I would be there, learning everything possible so I could eventually write something likely to end up self-published in 2026, with the only requests for copies coming from my family and close friends :thumbsup:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Still another two years to go before the Hundredth anniversary of the end of the War. Maybe someone has a book already written that just needs tweaking, therefore the workshop will be  very useful to them and they can get it published before 2018. As for the number of books on the War: yes sometimes i think too many and who are they aimed at? Some try to cram the whole war in a few pages and are pretty useless while others concentrate on a particular subject/area of the war and may not be of interested to everyone. the same photographs duplicated and printed with varying quality. But keep them coming. The view point/perspective on the War is continuously changing and new information is being researched and interpreted. A wide range of books written in different eras can assist with gaining a more rounded knowledge of the war. Yes there will continue to be new books on The Somme, as long as they dont come to quickly!

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  • 11 months later...
On 04.06.2016 at 18:10, Moonraker said:

,,, On a more local level, we have one member who has been researching the Bulford Kiwi, which was carved in 1919, so she still has time in hand. ... 

 

 

I understand from the current issue of Salon, 388 (The Society of Antiquaries of London Online Newsletter) that is has been "... listed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on the advice of Historic England. This marks the centenary of the Battle of Messines, a week-long attack on the Western Front in West Flanders, at which New Zealand troops played a significant role." 

 

Salon also shows the following images, of the motif from the road, in an aerial view, and as it actually is on the ground, done this way to get the correct perspective view from the lower ground! (images from: https://webmail.bilkent.edu.tr/?_task=mail&_caps=pdf%3D1%2Cflash%3D1%2Ctif%3D0&_uid=71207&_mbox=INBOX&_safe=1&_action=show#mctoc3

 

5948d585916a8_9d79e3af-0016-4704-9b1c-de496181fdb6(1).jpg.915d73d5a0a1b4b398fa79d9e1ed3d1c.jpg

 

Note that Salon also reports that: "... the Terrain Model of Messines, in Cannock Chase, has also been Listed" 

 

There is a press release at: https://historicengland.org.uk/whats-new/news/two-sites-protected-to-commemorate-new-zealand-lives-lost-in-the-battle-of-messines?utm_source=Salon+Subscribers&utm_campaign=c046970a57-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_06_19&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c0cb6b55f1-c046970a57-40168817

 

 

 

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Sadly, as a book reviewer, fatigue has already set. A great deal of crap, which any discerning editor would turn down, has been published, or republished, since 2013. 

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1 hour ago, David Filsell said:

Sadly, as a book reviewer, fatigue has already set. A great deal of crap, which any discerning editor would turn down, has been published, or republished, since 2013. 

 

      David- Welcome to my world!!!  As a pretty much retired bookseller (Old, not new books), it always surprises me jut how much crud gets published. I look sometimes at my old stock and think that it could be better (Well, it always could)-but if you ever see,say,a batch of EVERYTHING  a commercial book printer had done over a period of time, then you would despair.

   The only redeeming feature of the centennial years glut of publishing is to keep a look-out for the books being remaindered, which most the "Waterstones" level of books almost always are. There is some good stuff out there-but the sheer volume of inconsequential C+R+A+P  overwhelms even the most diligent follower of what is being published.

     But the art of being a review book selector is to dump the rubbish and only review what is worthwhile- The advice I was given by a more experienced bookseller when I started is also germane to a book reviews editor-"Never be afraid to say No, as there is no shortage of sh*t"

   Good luck.

        Mike

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I too feel that many titles will be remaindered. When I look at the Great War shelves in Foyle's and, to a lesser extent, in Waterstone's, I wonder about the multiplicity of titles on certain themes and the extremely niche nature of others.

 

Moonraker

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Yet, good things come up, I was surprised and delighted by the reprint of Company K, somewhat surprised that I was ignorant of it, and taken somewhat aback by its unusually creative writing. It seems to me that As an exposition of the effect of war on those who fought it and were affected by it it is unmatched. A genuinely affecting and stuimulating piece of work, of which I had never heard - until a review copy came my way. Do read it .

 

Edited by David Filsell
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19 hours ago, Moonraker said:

See here.

 

Moonraker

 

Well, there you go...!!! Should have searched harder:(

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