Monday    

There is a romantic notion that much of the literary world exists apart from the rest of mankind. Authors will appear at a festival or two and say things like, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, because I have not owned a television in 30 years.” They talk about their time living in the woods, getting in touch with their inner Thoreau, spending three days thinking about the word “blue.” When readers think of the magical process of writing, publishers would prefer the image to be Tolstoy scratching out Anna Karenina in a wintry Russian landscape and not someone staying up all night on Ritalin to cut and paste together a biography of Heath Ledger immediately after his death.

All of the romanticism and art is cut away from publishing at the London Book Fair. There… More…

The first half of the workshop was dedicated to the mock trial of a fictional-but-based-on-true-events case. In it, a mother and her daughter are suing the CasuaLee restaurant, claiming they became violently ill after eating the restaurant’s nachos. It turns out that the employee who made the nachos had recently traveled to Mexico, had some diarrhea “but not at work,” and when she returned to CasuaLee made the nachos without wearing gloves. Forty people became sick. The jury — made up of Summit attendees — eventually found that CasuaLee did supply a product that was not “reasonably safe,” but would not agree that the unsafe condition of the product was a “proximate cause” of the illness.

The verdict didn’t really matter. The exercise was more an opportunity to show food producers the obstacles they’d face should a bunch of customers end up with Salmonella poisoning and it’s discovered that the… More…