Literary News Roundup - Our Highlights this Week - 4 September 2020

04.09.20 01:25 PM By GAOLF

Chiswick Book Festival gets ready for its 10-14 September virtual festival, Portugal’s Words of Fire themed Literary Festival is scheduled for 15-18 October, Cheltenham launches its 160 event lineup, a disrupted publication schedule causes hundreds of books to publish on the same day in the UK, a small Canadian mountain town has an impressive author to reader ratio, and books are being written by AI…but are they any good?

  • Stratford Literary Festival to host exclusive online event titled ‘Reacher, Prospero and Me’ with Lee Child on 28 September in honour of publication of biography The Reacher Guy. Child will be in conversation with his biographer Dr Heather Martin.More details and tickets available here
  • Filming of sessions underway for Chiswick Book Festival which will be available from 10-14 September alongside video, Zoom and podcast events with a variety of authors including Jeremy Vine and Rob Biddulph. You can explore the programme here
  • “We want anyone who loves literature, who loves the Caribbean and loves people to tune in to any one of our events to listen to the stories we have to tell,” says founder of Brooklyn’s Caribbean Literary Festival Marsha Massiah-Aaron. The second edition of the festival will be available virtually this year from 10 to 13 September and you can register here
  • Portugal’s postponed June FLII (Festival Literario Internacional do Interior) scheduled for 15-18 October. Its theme of Palavras de Fogo (Words of Fire) is intended to honour of victims of forest fires in 2017 with events planned to take place in a variety of different venues from beaches to factories, to churches and beyond, in the areas most affected by the blazes. 
  • Authors, board members and more, call for International Prize for Arabic Fiction or the ‘Arabic Booker’ to become independent and reject government funding in light of Abraham Accord. More on this via Arab Lit
  • ‘Poetry is worth studying, even if it turns out it's not for you’, says Gavin Esler in this response to Ofqual’s decision to remove poetry from English Literature syllabus next year.  
  • Why are 600 books are being published on the same day? This BBC article has more details on the impact of lockdown on publication schedules. 
  • Artificial Intelligence that can write books ‘sparks awe’ – are they any good though?
  • When a place really sparks creativity - why up to 100 authors live in this mountain town of 14,000. Find out here
  • “When I delve into a Jennifer Weiner novel, I know the way her protagonist’s body looks—the way my body looks, for that matter—isn’t going to be the crux of the story.” – is just one of many insightful lines from this opinion piece in Vogue on body-positivity and the ‘chick-lit’ tropes of beach reads. 
  • Settle in for a random, intriguing tale about the time that Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas author Hunter S. Thompson ran for sheriff in Colorado.   
  • This year’s Goethe Medal goes to Zukiswa Wanner, Elivira Espejo Ayca and Ian McEwan for their commitment to international cultural exchange. You can watch interviews and read more about the winners’ efforts, like the pan-African literary festival that Wanner started during lockdown in Nairobi for example, here
  • Has the pandemic made you pick up War and Peace or Ulysses yet? ‘It’s time for the slow, aimless novel to get its due’ according to this opinion piece in Electric Lit.  
  • ‘You can’t keep a good Festival down’ says Edinburgh International Book Festival as its first online programme of 146 events draws to a close. Events still available to watch on demand and there’s more information on its viewing figures and future plans in this Guardian article.  
  • Kristen Bell, Jeff Kinney and Jason Reynolds join line-up for 17th annual virtual Orange County Children’s Book Festival taking place 13 – 25 September. Find out more here
  • The Cheltenham Literature Festival has released its 160-event programme line-up which will include 100 live socially-distanced events - you can explore the sessions on offer here.
  • Byron Writers Festival and Create NSW have announced the recipients of their inaugural Write North Writers’ Group Residency which will support three established writers through mentorship and development from 7-13 September. You can learn more about the writers and the residency here
  • Where do you get your ideas from? Have a read of this lovely article from Alexander McCall Smith that covers the pros and cons of virtual festivals and his thoughts on the question he is always asked in the Q&A part of a session. 
  • Eoin Colfer’s Highfire acquires TV deal with Nicholas Cage attached to project. Colfer’s first fantasy novel for adults is described as ‘Pete’s Dragon meets True Detective’ and you can find out more about the adaptation here via Bookbrunch
  • Speaking of adaptations, the producers behind Game of Thrones are set to adapt Cixin Liu’s Chinese sci-fi hit The Three Body Problem for Netflix. You can find out more here. 
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