lunes, 9 de septiembre de 2013

JK Rowling pseudonym crime novel tops chart

This is a news item aired by the BBC in mid-July. It tells us about JK Rowling having secretly written a crime novel under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith. The Cuckoo's Calling topped the Amazon book chart after its author true identity was disclosed.

Self-study activity:
Watch this short BBC video by clicking on the picture below or on the link here and answer the questions about it.

The activity is suitable for intermediate students.

1 What is unusual about the surprises one can find in a book?
2  What has been 'wonderful' and 'pure pleasure' for J.K. Rowling?
3  What does '2001' refer to?
4  What parameters did the expert use to compare The Cuckoo’s Calling with J.K. Rowling’s last two books?
5 What do J.K. Rowling and  Val McDermid have in common?

To check your answers you can read the transcript below.

Readers often expect books to be filled with surprises. It’s unusual for one of them being who actually wrote it. The unknown author Robert Galbraith now turns out to be the incredibly well-known J.K. Rowling.
The year has been a frenzy whenever she’s published, something she’s avoided this time. She said in a statement: “It’s been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation and pure pleasure to get feedback from publishers and readers under a different name”.
In 2001, when she was halfway through writing the Potter series, I asked her about the possibility of publishing anonymously. 
“Do you think you’ll publish under and hide behind a pseudonym?” 
“I’ve said before only half talking that yeah, it’s very appealing. I think my chances of getting away with that are incredibly remote.”
Perhaps, inevitably, the media discovered her secret. A Sunday newspaper asked an expert to compare The Cuckoo’s Calling with J.K. Rowling’s last two books and books by other authors. “I was looking at word link, sentence link, paragraph link, punctuation, frequency of common words and, in all of these cases, The Cuckoo’s Calling came out significantly closer to J.K. Rowling’s known novels.”
Best-selling crime writer Val McDermid, who shares the same publisher, loved the book when it was first published. Her reaction, when she later found out its author: 
“I just burst out laughing, with delight really. I think that she’s taken us all in so comprehensibly.”
So while a few days ago Robert Galbraith was a little heard-of newcomer, now he’s one of the most talked writers around.