Literary News Roundup - Our Highlights this Week -  9 July 2020

10.07.20 02:46 PM By GAOLF

The first Arab space mission to Mars is ready for launch, the Liverpool Arab Arts Festival kicks off, crime fiction sales soar, The Great Gatsby gets a prequel, and much more…

  • The Liverpool Arab Arts Festival takes place every July and this year like many festivals, it has transitioned to an online programme of events - “We made the decision in March to switch to a digital festival,” said Festival Director Anne Thwaite. The Festival will run until 18 July and features a variety of influential thinkers and performers from around the Arab World. You can read more here in Arab News
  • Tune into Lockdown LitFest on 10 July for a conversation with endurance swimmer and ocean advocate Lewis Pugh. The lineup for the rest of the week is also phenomenal and features former ethics Professor Michael Jeffries, fiction writer Ladee Hubbard and more. Check out their upcoming events page here
  • Tune in for the Auckland Writers’ Festival Winter Series this Sunday 12 at 9am NZ time. Neil Gaiman will be discussing Ocean at the End of the Lane with Leanne Shapton author of Guest Book: Ghost Stories, and Aotearoa New Zealand writer Kolokesa Uafā Māhina-Tuai about her book Crafting Aotearoa: A Cultural History of Making in New Zealand and the Wider Moana Oceania. More details here
  • The Emirates Literature Foundation’s Literary Conversations across Borders’ session on the imminent launch of the first Arab space mission to Mars (set for 15 July according to this article) is coming up this Saturday 11 July at 16:30GMT. More session info here
  • The Emirates Publishers Association Emergency Fund (one million dirhams) is open for applications. Details about how the process will work and of the proof publishers will need to submit is available via UAE news outlet The National
  • Poet and reggae artist Linton Kwesi Johnson has won the English PEN Pinter Prize for his ‘colossal and multi-generational’ impact. Publishing perspectives has more here
  • Authors including Adam Rutherford and Colson Whitehead, are cancelling events at Philadelphia library over its mistreatment of Black workers. More here from LitHub.
  • David Walliams has been accused of fat shaming and classism in his bestselling children’s books by food writer Jack Monroe. A summary is available here via The Independent. HarperCollins has defended Walliams, as has this reporter in The Times.  
  • Crime fiction sales are currently booming. According to the Guardian “Readers have been pouncing on stories of murder and revenge, with nearly 120,000 more crime and thriller books bought in the last two weeks of June, when compared to the same point last year.”
  • Canada was due to be Guest of Honour at Frankfurt Book Fair in October this year, but has postponed its physical presence at the Fair until 2021. Publishing perspectives has more details on this and the timeline of future guests of honour here.
  • Ready, Player Two? Ernest Cline certainly is. The sequel to his bestselling Ready, Player One is due to be published 24 November. More details via The Hollywood Reporter.   
  • A prequel to The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald titled Nick by Michael Farris Smith, is in the works and due to be published February 2021 in honour of the 125th anniversary of Fitzgerald’s birth. You can read more about the book here.  
  • Speaking of anniversaries – Philip Pullman will publish a new standalone short story titled ‘Serpentine’ featuring Lyra Belacqua and her daemon Pantalaimon, to mark the 25th anniversary of the first in the His Dark Materials series, Northern Lights
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