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Wednesday, 28 December 2011

SA4QE 2012: How will YOU celebrate 10 years of Russell Hoban quotes?

SA4QE 2011 by Ra McGuire
Just let your imagination take you...

On 4th February 2012, the Slickman A4 Quotation Event will notch up 10 years of sharing favourite quotes from the books of Russell Hoban. We're calling on all fans of this wonderful author to help make this an extra-special celebration.

Russ, as he was affectionately known, passed away on 13th December 2011 aged 86. He was a big fan of SA4QE, allowing us to reproduce our favourite quotes on the site, reading through them until he was "goggle-eyed", occasionally correcting misquotes, making his own contribution on one special occasion and perhaps most touchingly paying tribute to the event thus: "Words have a life - without response, they die."

SA4QE started in 2002 when Hoban fans were trying to think of an appropriate way to celebrate Russ's birthday on 4th February. Diana Slickman, a founding member of Hoban community The Kraken, suggested writing favourite quotes on pieces of (A4) paper and leaving them in public places, and the event and its acronym took off from there. It has since been celebrated by some 90 fans in around 50 locations worldwide, from Argyll to Ypsilanti.... and those are only the people and places we know about.

We're kicking off the celebrations early this time, firstly with The SA4QE 2012 Russell Hoban Survey, in which you get the opportunity to state your favourite books, favourite quote and character, and more. We're not aware of any such survey happening before, so this is causing great excitement at Slickman Towers. The results will be posted on the SA4QE site on 4th February 2012, with the survey being closed shortly before that date. The survey is free and anonymous, and does not require registration.

Secondly, we're encouraging Hoban fans to celebrate 4th February 2012 in as special a way as possible. This might go a bit, or even a lot, beyond your regular "leaving your favourite quote in a public place" activity (which of course we're also encouraging you to do as normal!) Your celebration can take whatever form you like - the world's your oyster (remember 4th February is a Saturday!) Here though are some suggestions:
  • meeting with fellow Hoban fans (or even friends who are not yet fans) in a cafe or pub and reading aloud your favourite quotes to each other;
  • inviting friends over to your house and exchanging favourite Hoban quotes while drinking boilermakers and eating fruity buns;
  • making Mobius strips from sheets of yellow A4 and paper-chaining them together around an unsuspecting local landmark;
  • organising a Hoban-themed flashmob at a museum, gallery or other Place of Culture;
  • acting out a short scene from your favourite Hoban book and uploading it to YouTube;
  • reading or reciting a quick passage in your town centre, passing yellow paper to passers-by, and then retiring to a nearby establishment for drinks, or potato pancakes.

If you wish to organise a public event at which other Hoban fans are welcome, you can use the comments box below to post details of the venue and time. You can also comment below to say anything else you'll be doing.
Russell Hoban by Lisa Greenstein

SA4QE wishes to take this opportunity to say it was already thinking of special ways to celebrate its 10th birthday when the dreadful news of Russ's illness, and then death, arrived. We did consider calling off the event out of respect, but fairly quickly decided that SA4QE should carry on doing what it was meant to do, which is to share Russell Hoban's wonderful work with the world at large. SA4QE does not wish to come across as frivolous at this time of mourning; Russ was a man of both great humour and imagination, he was known personally to the SA4QE webmaster and many in the Kraken community and we feel strongly he would have approved of celebrating 10 amazing years of sharing his favourite quotes in ways that would be enjoyed as much as possible by his readers, fans and the unsuspecting public.


  1. would love to bring some Hoban-flair to the buttoned-down town of DC. any conspirallaborators in the DC area?

  2. I'm looking for the necessary materials for the 4th ( )

    1. Sorry the above John Dee link appears incorrect. Try as an alternative.

  3. Any Hobanesques in Manchester?


  4. I'm very excited, as tomorrow will be my first opportunity to participate in the SA4QE. I've prepared a sheaf of quotations--and I want everybody to know how painstakingly I cut sheets of art paper to the requisite A4 dimensions, as A4 is not native to the US. Of course, that left me with drifts of index-card sized scraps, which--the hell with it--I also plastered with quotes.

    I live in Brattleboro, Vermont, but I'll be going up to MIddlebury Saturday afternoon, so I'll have a chance to paper two towns. I know that there's at least one other Brattleborovian Hoban fan; leave a post here if you'd like to meet with intent to conspire.

    All bes, Eve


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