July 20, 2018

Smash that Smiley Face / Frowny Face button as appropriate, for it [was] World Emoji Day!


cowboy hat

The cowboy hat emoji: It is the best emoji. I will not hear otherwise.

It’s always World Something Day, isn’t it? So much so that, I suspect, there isn’t a day that isn’t Something Day by now. Are there any free days left? Must we be constantly celebrating? And if we are indeed in a constant state of exultation at these various, seemingly never-ending Days, why is the world such an unremitting trashfire at the moment? What does it actually mean to celebrate World [Insert Whimsical Thing] Day, aside from a brief spell of trending on Twitter and some hastily-cobbled-together publicity material? Come to think of it, what does anything mean?

Anyway, it was World Emoji Day this week — last Tuesday, the day depicted on the calendar emoji. Smart, huh? (I remember when World Emoji Day used to be about friends and family, don’t you? It’s so commercial now.) As Martin Belam reports in the Guardian, it’s safe to say that, like ’em, loathe ’em, or feel indifferent about ’em, we’ve fully assimilated emojis into our culture. Although you’ve probably done your best to repress the memory of it, there was even an Emoji Movie that gained brief notoriety for joining the exclusive club of movies with a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Elsewhere, we’ve seen an actually-passable emoji version of Herman Melville‘s Moby-Dick, as Erin Allen reported for the Library of Congress blog back in 2013. Two years ago, we covered Kyle Maclachlan’s ace conversion of Frank Herbert’s Dune into emoji. Last year, we brought some scientific perspective on emoji, hieroglyphs, and teenspeak. This week, the National Library of Scotland tweeted a handy guide to Scottish slang terms, with accompanying emojis, to mark the occasion, including pictorial depictions of “Peely-wally,” “Wheesht,” “Dreich,” “Scran,” “Bevvy,” “Blootered,” “Jings,” “Boak,” “Fitba,” and “Jobby.” (No, me neither.) And finally, novelist Jonathan Coe, with, ahem, a little inspiration, tweeted out his favourite Flann O’Brien novel titles in emoji form.

I know, I know. The question on your lips, dear reader, is, “So what on Earth were Melville House doing on World Emoji Day??”

Well, as you can well imagine, we celebrated it wildly, long into the night. There were scenes of unrestrained jubilation on both sides of the Atlantic. And when the dust settled on the confetti-spattered remains of our offices, we thought, what better way to commemorate this truly unique period of bacchanalia than with a Mini Quiz Based On Our Art of the Novella Series!

So… here it is. Five emoji clues. Five Art of the Novella titles. Go! And what’s the prize, you ask? The prize is reaching the end of this article. Congratulations in advance!

  1. 👻 📚 🛒

  2. 🤺 🤺

  3. 🗣️ 🐶 🐶

  4. 👧 🥇 👁️

  5. 👀✝️




Tom Clayton is publishing executive at Melville House UK.