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The Writers Handbook 2004

ISBN 0333908120 / 9780333908129 / 0-333-90812-0

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Book summary

In the 17 years since its first appearance The Writer's Handbook has developed into a highly useful reference book for writers, journalists, publishers, editors, agents, screen writers and broadcasters. Every writer, established or aspiring, needs a contacts book and this--with its 700-plus pages of names, addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, websites and advisory essays--is an excellent starting point.

Editor Barry Turner's damning but compelling indictment of the standard of English teaching in Britain forms the introduction to this new edition. From the 1960s onwards "teachers were encouraged to set standards by the lowest common denominator", he argues, and "the impact on English was catastrophic". Brian MacArthur, veteran journalist on and associate editor of The Times has contributed an interesting "insider" piece about book serialisations, new for the 2004 edition.

If you want to approach, say, Scottish Field, an Edinburgh-published magazine, or to access a photograph of an item in the Royal Collection, everything you need to know is here. So are the contact details for European publishers such as Standaard Uitgeverij in Antwerp and the annual Margate Poetry Festival. It's pretty eclectic and exhaustive stuff.

The Writer's Handbook is more narrowly focused than its older rival the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook because it doesn't try to cater for artists as well as writers. Perhaps that's why the handbook is more clearly laid out and somehow handier to use than the yearbook, although if you're serious about getting your work published you probably need both. --Susan Elkin [via]