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January 30, 2013 | By Hector Tobar
The ancient manuscripts feared lost when Islamic insurgents torched a library in the Malian city of Timbuktu might not have been lost after all, according to a report in Time magazine. The insurgents set fire to the library of the Ahmed Baba Institute as they evacuated the city in the wake of an offensive by French troops. Timbuktu's mayor said thousands of documents in the library's collection, many dating from the 14th and 15th centuries, had been destroyed. But Time reporter Vivenne Walt said that her sources in Mali have been telling her privately for months that local residents hid most of the library's collection not long after the insurgents first entered the city last spring.
January 30, 2013 | By Susan King, Los Angeles Times
"The Rebel & the King" is a sweetly naive account by the late actor Nick Adams about his friendship with a young Elvis Presley. Adams wrote the manuscript in the late 1950s when he was a rising star in Hollywood. It was recently found in a box of the actor's memorabilia by his daughter, playwright Allyson Adams. She was just 7 when her father was found dead at 36 under mysterious circumstances at his home on Feb. 7, 1968, of a drug overdose. No weapons or pills were found around his body.
January 28, 2013 | By Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times
SEVARE, Mali - French-led forces entered Mali's legendary desert city of Timbuktu on Monday as Al Qaeda-linked fighters fled amid fresh reports of a population terrorized and prized ancient artifacts destroyed during their nine-month occupation. The French troops blocked access to the Saharan city while Malian troops worked to flush out any remaining rebels, French military spokesman Thierry Burkhard told reporters in Paris. He said Timbuktu was not fully under control, though a Malian colonel was quoted later by Agence France-Presse as saying the city had fallen.
January 28, 2013 | By Hector Tobar
The fate of tens of thousands ancient manuscripts in Mali remained uncertain Monday as French troops liberated the city of Timbuktu from Islamic insurgents who were said to have set fire to the library there. Timbuktu is the last major city occupied by the insurgents, who have held sway there for 10 months, imposing the strict Islamic version of religious law, including carrying out public executions and amputations for crimes. The city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was an especially vibrant center of Islamic thought in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries.
December 29, 2012 | By Liesl Bradner
Before iPads, smart phones and even computers, there was the page: a tangible place to jot down thoughts, work out ideas, write a novel, love letter, thesis or equation. "Pages," an exhibition at the Williamson Gallery at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, focuses on the simple piece of refined pulp as a place for formal and finished ideas and a space for creativity. "It's a way of celebrating the page as our human external memory of choice for the last two millennial," said co-curator and gallery director Stephen Nowlin.
December 6, 2012 | By Jori Finkel
Timothy Potts has made his first major purchase as the new Getty Museum director: He bought Lieven van Lathem's illuminated manuscript Roman de Gillion de Trazegnies for $6.2 million at Sotheby's Wednesday night in London. The manuscript includes eight half-page miniatures, like the one shown in detail above. There are only three other manuscripts containing this story of a nobleman's adventures in Egypt. In a statement, Potts called it a “richly illustrated manuscript by the greatest illuminator of the Flemish High Renaissance.” In an interview with the L.A. Times for a story in the Dec. 9 Arts & Books section, he described manuscripts as a potential growth area for the Getty, while praising the current collection.
December 3, 2012 | By Hector Tobar
National Novel Writing Month is over. Let National Novel Re-Writing Month begin! Actually, there is no official, organized Revising-Your-Novel month. But if there were, and if everyone did the truly writerly thing and revised their novels obsessively, I'm not sure there's an Internet big enough to contain all the words it would produce. As it is, National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for short) produced 3.3 billion words, according to its website , and probably more than 35,000 drafts of novels that are at least 50,000 words each (the final count won't be in for a week or so)
November 1, 2012 | By Carolyn Kellogg
In the December issue of Vanity Fair, which hits shelves this week, readers can get a taste of a missing chapter from Truman Capote's famously unfinished novel, "Answered Prayers. " In Vanity Fair's table of contents, look for the piece by Capote titled "Yachts and Things. " Capote was at work on "Answered Prayers" for almost 20 years. He signed the contract in 1966, which was postponed, renewed and recalculated for larger and larger advances. It is rumored that he was offered $1 million to finally complete his manuscript -- but he couldn't meet the deadline.
October 17, 2012 | By Valerie J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times
Nonsense was big business for Larry Sloan, who co-founded a Los Angeles publishing company in the 1960s to print books that were blueprints for silliness. The series of word-game books, "Mad Libs," became absurdly popular and marked its 50th anniversary in 2008. More than 110 million of the slim paperbacks have reportedly been sold. Sloan, the last survivor of the trio of founders of Price Stern Sloan publishing, died Sunday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after a brief illness, said his daughter, Claudia Sloan.
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