Literary News Roundup - Our Highlights this Week - 25 June 2020

25.06.20 12:25 PM By GAOLF

From Nottingham to Decatur, Turkey and beyond, the literature festival community shows no signs of slowing down with digital events, Waterstones wants us to judge books by their blurbs, and the world mourns the loss of bestselling author Carlos Ruiz Zafón.

  • Carlos Ruiz Zafón, who wrote the bestselling The Shadow of the Wind, has sadly died. “A story within a story that begins in a mysterious place known as the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, it is one of the most successful Spanish novels ever published.” NY Times piece here.
  • Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature is joining forces with Five Leaves Bookshop for a series of live digital events scheduled for June and July 2020. The series is titled ‘Building a Better World with Words’ and each event is a collaboration with another international UNESCO City of Literature. Next up is Ann Patchett and Tayari Jones in conversation tonight via Zoom at 7pm GMT. More details on how to sign up and other events available here.
  • 'We're back in business': UK bookshops see sales soar - details via The Guardian.
  • The Auckland Writers’ Festival Winter Series continues with diplomat and war correspondent Samantha Power, Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein, and former New Zealand Poet Laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh. Time: 9am NZ. Date: Sunday 28 June. More details here.
  • The Emirates Literature Foundation’s Literary Conversations across Borders’ fifth session is scheduled for Thursday 2 July 7:30pm GST. You can register now for ‘Reporting the Stories in Changed, Strange Times?’ featuring Christina Lamb – Award winning journalist from The Sunday Times and Sultan Al Qassemi – Political commentator.
  • Decatur Book Festival’s upcoming events on CrowdCast include a conversation with Remembrance author Rita Woods on 7 July, and a duo event featuring Mary Kay Andrews and Mary Alice Monroe on 15 July. More details here.
  • Crime fiction fan? Well you should mark ‘SlaughterFest’ in your calendars - it features a programme curated and presented by crime fiction writer Karin Slaughter. Happening weekend of 5th and 6th September - more details via her publisher HarperCollins here.
  • AudioFile's Best Audiobooks of June includes Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City by Fang Fang read by Emily Woo Zeller and The Mother of the Brontës read by Anna Bentinck, and more.
  • Don’t microwave your books. Yes, you read that correctly - it’s what these Michigan librarians are having to tell readers. Read more about their plight here.
  • Masatsugu Ono in The Paris Review on “the in-between space of translation”.
  • To judge or not to judge a book by its cover? Waterstones has been criticised by artists and book designers for displaying their books back to front so browsers pick up books based on blurbs instead.
  • George R. R. Martin is apparently making ‘steady progress’ on The Winds of Winter from isolation in a cabin in the mountains, and it will be finished ‘next year’.
  • International language bookshops in Paris come together to form their own union. More in Publishing Perspectives here.
  • Piece in Publishers Weekly on booksellers’ mixed reception to John Bolton’s memoir and decisions on whether or not to stock the book, and background on the controversy of the timing of its publication.
  • ‘Citing history of homophobia writers call for Lady Emma Nicholson to step down as Booker VP’ - more details via LitHub here with links to statement from Booker Foundation.
  • Many of us associate The Lord of the Rings with New Zealand, but what landscapes inspired Tolkien’s writing of Middle Earth? LitHub has some ideas.

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