Literary News Roundup - Our Highlights this Week - 28 May 2020

28.05.20 09:49 PM By GAOLF

Frankfurt Book Fair’s big announcement, a much-needed anti-racist reading list, good news for the book industry in New Zealand Aotearoa, New York’s essential workers write Haiku, some exciting news for fans of The Lord of the Rings, and more…


  • The National Book Festival will be shifting online and taking place from 25 to 27 September 2020. Details here
  • Frankfurt Book Fair 2020 just announced that it will still be going ahead from 14 to 18 October. Porter Anderson has more info here. 
  • The Auckland Writers’ Festival continues to programme its Winter Series in partnership with Auckland Live. Up next on Sunday 31 May - food writer and broadcaster Yasmin Khan, neonatal intensive care nurse and writer Amy McDaid and Sorry for Your Trouble author Richard Ford – more info here
  • More fantastic news for New Zealand – post-Covid books boom. More about this good news and reasons behind it here
  • In response to the most recent racial profiling scandals and atrocities in the US recently, views are up 200 percent for this particular book and here’s an excellent anti-racist’ reading list to provoke thought, discussion and more. It features this incredible James Baldwin quote "It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive." 
  • The Romance Writers of America (RWA) is retiring its RITA Awards with ‘The Vivian’ a ‘new award for a new era’. Further details on their website
  • Need a laugh? The Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction shortlist has been announced. Winner TBA 24 June. Check out the shortlist here. 
  • Hay Festival Digital is in full swing! Summary of how to register for events and our own highlights here. Also, a great roundup of books to broaden your horizons recommended by the digital festival’s authors and thinkers is available here. If you head to the Festival’s fantastic Twitter account there are great quotes being shared from each discussion at regular intervals. 
  • Registration is open for the Emirates Literature Foundation’s Sat 30 May event ‘How will the events of 2020 change the course of history?’ with Shashi Tharoor and Zaki Nusseibeh’ – part of their ‘Literary Conversations across Borders’ series.
  • BookExpo 2020 is underway – this Friday will see middle grade editors share the upcoming children’s books they’re ‘buzzing’ about. Event details covered in Publishers Weekly here, and the Book Expo main site here
  • PalREAD’s offers readings and lectures on Palestinian literature kicking off from 10 June. Details via ArabLit.  
  • The book that has become the ‘must-have’ prop for politicians and reporters’ at-home interviews and broadcasts. Find out more here.
  • How book publishers decided to move publication dates during the pandemic, according to
  • The Hunger Games prequel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins has sold more than 500,000 copies in just over a week. More NPD BookScan data and detail here.
  • Juno Dawson’s Meat Market wins YA Book Prize 2020 with ‘gritty and compelling’ novel about the fashion industry. Details here.
  • Plawright and AIDS activist Larry Kramer has sadly died. Learn more about his life and legacy here.
  • A fitting trilogy of JK Rowling news: 1. JK Rowling is releasing a new children’s book titled The Ickabog for free online on this website in instalments over the next seven weeks. It has absolutely nothing to do with Harry Potter or magic apparently.  2.  A first edition Harry Potter book sold for thousands after being found in a bin. 3. The birthplace of Harry Potter? Not where legend has it, that’s for sure. Prepare to have your Potter myths busted.
  • On the subject of much-loved fantasy series, the cast of TheLord of the Rings film trilogy returns on Sunday 31 May. You can watch the amusing trailer here.
  • How well do you know your fictional detectives? Here’s a quiz for you!
  • You can read this ArtsHub article on how Sydney and Yarra Valley Writers festivals have ‘gracefully pivoted’ their programs online.
  • Do you know what a Makar is? It’s the name given to the National Poet for Scotland. The current Makar is Jackie Kay and she’s curating a line-up of regular 40 minute poetry events every Thursday at 7pm GMT. How to watch info available here.
  • Edith Wharton’s short story ‘Mrs. Manstey’s View’ was published in 1891 and is still relevant for quarantine times. More info and how to read it here.
  • New York essential workers write haiku about their experiences. Read some of them here.
  • Was Robinson Crusoe technically the first ‘beach read’? Here’s a piece on the nature of ‘summer reading’ and why we need it more than ever.
  • Books to look out for in June according to The New York Times include writers like Megha Majumdar with her debut A Burning, Kevin Kwan of Crazy Rich Asians fame, Ottessa Moshfegh and more.
  • Will China’s entry into U.S. publishing lead to censorship? Asks the LA Times.
  • Print Unit Sales Fell 7.8% last week according to publishers weekly.
  • What’s still a good idea in a pandemic? Book subscription boxes! Book Riot rounded up a list of subscription book boxes specifically for beverage lovers. If anything, it may inspire a gift for a loved one. This way for something light and fun.
  • A classic case of ‘stranger than fiction’ – the author of memoir Sounds like Titanic, toured the United States for years as part of an orchestra who mimed to CDs. Yes, you read that correctly. Interview here.


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