While the Internet provides increased opportunities for developing writers, it also provides a host of material on, about and by existing authors. Fans in their thousands have built and maintain sites dedicated to their favourite authors, resulting in interesting browsing. As there is a large volume of material, most of which is done on an amateur, or ‘hobby’ basis there is a vast difference in quality. Patience therefore is needed, but perseverance is generally rewarded.
Guardian Unlimited, the Guardian newspaper’s online presence is an excellent resource. Containing everything from reviews, to interviews to opinion pieces the site provides access to information concerning a wide variety of authors.
Click on www.guardian.co.uk and click on books from the navigation bar at the top of the page.
As can be seen there is an extensive range of options to choose from; from the day’s articles that appear in the centre of the page, to reviews, extracts and special reports. For the purpose of this guide we will select ‘Authors’ from the top of the page.
The author’s are grouped alphabetically. As 2005 sees the 400th anniversary of Don Quixote from the ‘C’ group, click on ‘Cervantes’.
On the Cervantes page, we have a brief biography and links to all the articles related to Cervantes that appear on the site. These are arranged in order of the most recent.
Another useful feature on this section of the site is the search function.
Click on ‘Search’ and enter the author or subject that you require in the space provided, in this case Samuel Beckett.
It is also possible to customise your search by limiting it to within a certain time period or to reviews only (by clicking on the dropdown arrow in the box that displays ‘All articles.’).
From the results we can see that there are 1040 articles or reviews matching our search term. The first twelve are displayed on the first page. To move onto the next page click on ‘Next page’ at the foot of this page: There is a lot of content in this section of the site, and is well suited to casual browsing. To aid you in this the navigation bar remains at the top of each page. To return to the ‘Books’ home page, simply click ‘Home’ on the top right.