Literary News Roundup - Our Highlights this Week - 2 July 2020

02.07.20 05:37 PM By GAOLF


From Eccleston and Sissay in conversation, to Cressida Cowell’s Summer Camp and lighthearted events like ‘The Worst Book Event of My Life’, variety really is the spice of virtual literary life in July. Plus warring ice-cream trucks, new poetry from Ben Okri, the best-dressed in fiction and more… 

  • To celebrate publication of his latest novel Utopia Avenue, David Mitchell will be in conversation with Jon Savage on 16 July for a ‘unique digital event’ via Zoom at 9:30pm GMT. The event is ticketed and for UK residents only. More info here.
  • Tune into Lockdown LitFest on 3 July at 3pm GMT for a conversation with chef, presenter, cookery writer and novelist Prue Leith. Check out their upcoming events page here.
  • The Auckland Writers’ Festival Winter Series has announced the rest of its events from now until their finale event on 26 July which will feature Rose Lu, Ann Patchett, Maggie O’Farrell and Colin Thubron. Sessions always happen at 9am NZ time. If you can’t wait till the excitement of the finale, the next two weeks alone are immensely exciting with Neil Gaiman featured on 12 July. More details here.
  • The Emirates Literature Foundation’s Literary Conversations across Borders’ session kicks off today at 7:30pm GST. You can register via this link for ‘Reporting the Stories in Changed, Strange Times?’ featuring journalist Christina Lamb and Sultan Al Qassemi – Political commentator.
  • The Locked Up Festival presented by ‘Two Crime Writers and a Microphone’ (a podcast launched in 2017) also launches today and will run until 4 July. The event is ticketed, and will feature a range of panels via Zoom including ‘The Worst Book Event of My Life’, and crime writers include Lee Child, Ian Rankin, Erin Kelly, and many more.
  • On Sunday 5 July at 9am GMT, actor Christopher Ecclestone will be in conversation with poet Lemn Sissay for an event which Bradford Literature Festival describes as ‘a unique insight into the lives and experiences of two of our most loved and respected Northern artists, both of whom have overcome great hardship to join us here and tell their stories’. The full digital programme for Bradford LitFest is available here.  
  • Cressida Cowell launches ‘Cressida’s Creativity Summer Camp’ with an all star line-up from 6 to 10 July including poetry, drawing, reading and writing, with the final event a chance for children’s questions sent to #CressidaSummerCamp to be answered by Cowell, Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Onjali Q. Raúf. More details available via BookTrust.
  • Harrogate International Festivals has announced its lineup for its free virtual festival, the HIF Weekender taking place from 23 to 26 July, which is when Harrogate’s Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival would have taken place. The Weekender kicks off with a virtual award ceremony for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. You can find out more about it from the HIF website here.
  • Following on from the HIF Weekender announcement, Harrogate International Festivals chief executive Sharon Canavar weighs in on the challenges of lockdown on the arts and on ‘presenting world class performances’ in this interview.
  • Ben Okri’s first new poetry collection in eight years titled A Fire in My Head will be published by Head of Zeus in January 2021. It looks at issues such as racism, the refugee crisis, the coronavirus pandemic and more. More details via The Bookseller.
  • Kritika Pandey wins 2020 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for her short story The Great Indian Tee and Snakes, about an unlikely friendship. More here in The Indian Express.
  • A judge has ruled that tell-all memoir by Mary Trump Too Much and Never Enough, How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man can legally be published, but there’s potentially another hurdle - more via BBC News here
  • With experts’ warnings of a worsened ‘summer slide’ this year where students forget academic skills over the Summer, and the impact that could have on children in low-income areas with little access to learning resources, a single working mother from Cleveland gives away books to those who need them. More details here via CNN.  
  • “I'm the first black author to win book of the year. I'm proud, but not completely happy” says Queenie author Candice Carty-Williams who won debut of the year at the British Book Awards. Read her full thoughts on the win and how she’s going to celebrate here.
  • Mentally exhausted but your to-do list is still waiting? This week Book Riot put together a listicle of ‘9 of the best productivity books for when you’re mentally exhausted’. If you need it, it’s here.
  • Why Do Some Mathematicians Think They’re Poets? Susan D'Agostino on the Search for Symmetry is a beautiful piece you can read in LitHub this week.
  • Sir Patrick Stewart is writing a memoir. Title and release date is TBC, but we do know that it will be published with Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. More details via Chicago Tribune.
  • A graphic novel titled Flake by Matthew Dooley, a graphic novel about warring ice-cream trucks, wins Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse prize for comedic fiction.
  • Have you ever wondered who the top 10 best-dressed characters in fiction are? Even if you haven’t, The Guardian has put together the list and you can see if you agree/disagree with their selection here.
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