Margot Harrison | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Margot Harrison 
Member since Jan 30, 2014

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Margot Harrison

Margot Harrison is the Associate Editor at Seven Days; she coordinates literary and film coverage. In 2005, she won the John D. Donoghue award for arts criticism from the Vermont Press Association.



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National Book Award Finalists Have Local Ties

  • Oct 12, 2018

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  • Mar 20, 2019

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Re: “Author-Illustrator Leonard Wells Kenyon Shares Publishing Nightmare

Hi Gennita, Sorry to take a while to respond to this, but it's a good question. I don't know what is in this specific author's contract, but the book contracts I've seen specify that the publisher has X number of months to publish the book after it has been not just edited but formally "accepted" by the publishing house. This acceptance is different from the initial sale and follows a successful editing process. So my guess is that the acceptance phase wasn't reached in this case.

As for whether the author has to pay the advance back in such a situation, and what portion of the advance, and whether that provision only kicks in if the author wants to publish the book elsewhere, that seems to vary. I've heard of different cases.

Posted by Margot Harrison on 10/12/2018 at 11:57 AM

Re: “Guardians of the Galaxy

That's so cool, Stacy! Glad the word inspired you. You know, I have a sneaky feeling it might have been my then-best friend who invented it, not me, but it's many decades back now, and we both used it. Anyway, maybe she deserves the credit. :)

I love Fury Road, too!

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Posted by Margot Harrison on 09/18/2017 at 2:16 PM

Re: “The Accountant

Hi Ethan, that is a great question, but I'm not an expert. Most of the movies about autism I have seen have been criticized by people on the spectrum as inaccurate. I would try to find a website for movies similar to this one, which recommends kids' books with good portrayals of autism:….

Edited to add: Check out the writing of Noel Murray, a film critic who has a son on the spectrum. Here's one piece he wrote about autism on film:…

There is Temple Grandin, the HBO movie based on her true story. I also saw a movie called Snow Cake with Sigourney Weaver that was not bad.

Posted by Margot Harrison on 10/29/2016 at 11:40 AM

Re: “What I'm Watching: "The Prisoner"

I watched this show for the first time a few years ago (thanks, dear defunct Waterfront Video!). It was as good as I hoped. A very clear influence on the new "Battlestar Galactica" (the No. 6 character being an homage) and "Lost." (Imho "Lost" never even approached "The Prisoner" in terms of quality weirdness, but I never got into that island show with all the pretty people, so I'll shut up about it. I'll merely mention that Patrick McGoohan had a screen presence that Matthew Fox can only dream of.)

I also own some of the music, which is awesome. If you were born at the tail-end of the '60s, you probably have the theme hidden somewhere in your DNA, or at least your earliest memories.

Posted by Margot Harrison on 09/30/2015 at 6:18 PM

Re: “Minions

I see your point, Green, and I would not refer to a language used in an SFF film as "gibberish." But I don't believe it is inherently bigoted or racist to use such a word to refer to the made-up language of beings who don't exist, and I don't believe MINIONS gives us any compelling reason to take its world building (a term I hesitate even to use) seriously.

By the same token, many critics have made cracks about the apparent sexlessness (or asexual reproduction) of the Minions. Is this disrespectful to sexual diversity and fluidity among actual human beings? I don't think so. It's merely a way of pointing out that Minions are inherently absurd. And it's clear their creators intended them that way, because they made no effort whatsoever to create a plausible world or consistent characters.

You seem to find the word "gibberish" inherently offensive and off limits, but I disagree — there's no other good term for a "language" one makes up as one goes along. And in this case, the nonsense of it is kind of the point. Any kid who wants to can "speak Minion" by stringing together some syllables.

It might even have been a funny point if the filmmakers had made it more creatively. (Did you notice that some human characters appear to understand the Minions with no trouble, while others, like Scarlett Overkill, do not? That distinction could have gone somewhere, but it didn't.)

I'm sure there's a critical theory dissertation in this topic somewhere. :)

Posted by Margot Harrison on 07/20/2015 at 1:13 PM

Re: “Minions

Hi Green — Thanks for bringing up this interesting point. I've spent years studying languages that aren't English, and feel great respect for them, including the many I don't understand. But the Minions don't speak an actual language, unless the filmmakers got a linguist on board to create one.

In which case, I'm impressed, and more power to Hollywood. But what I heard is a mishmash of random nonsense interspersed with opportunistic English, French, Spanish and Italian words and phrases. If Minions existed, yes, this would be a real language, and they would be verbal. But it's hard to give the slightest credence to that fiction when no one on earth can comprehend their speech. The whole point of Minions, as I understand it, is that we don't NEED to understand them because, as with preverbal children, their tone and actions reveal everything.

So, yes, I would describe what they speak as gibberish, just as the made-up languages actors speak in improv scenes are gibberish. We call Klingon and Elvish languages because their creators made an earnest effort to structure them like actual languages. But Minion-ese? All I can say is, if that were a real language, I wish the movie had had subtitles, because maybe what they were saying would have revealed that every Minion is a tiny yellow Einstein or an epigram-spouting Oscar Wilde. You never know.

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Posted by Margot Harrison on 07/19/2015 at 7:19 PM

Re: “The First 50 Pages: Stella Rose

Thank you for offering your story and perspective, Tammy! There are so many publishing paths these days, and first-hand information is good to have.

Agreed on querying being demoralizing — though it can pay off (speaking from personal experience on both counts).

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Posted by Margot Harrison on 05/15/2015 at 11:52 AM

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