Literary News Roundup - Emirates LitFest and Jaipur announce their Festival programmes, Monique Roffey wins Costa Award for best novel, the Moroccan Book Prize announces its 2020 winners and more!

14.01.21 10:12 PM By GAOLF

      A new year, but the same scenario in many parts of the world. After a tough 2020, we know many countries are still facing severe challenges. We send you all our heartfelt best wishes and support, let’s hope we’ll look back on 2021 as a year filled by very many wonderful book festivals and events, virtual and live.

      • To start 2021, we welcome Listowel Writers’ Week (Ireland) Cove & Kilcreggan Book Festival (Scotland) and York Festival of Ideas (England).
      • The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature has announced its line-up for its 2021 festival. Spread of three weekends (29 January-13 February) with a mix of live and virtual sessions, it features Malala, Elif Shafak, Amin Maalouf, Avni Doshi, Oyinkan Braithwaite, Lemn Sissay and many others. 
      • Jaipur Literature Festival has gone online for 2021 and will be hosting its Festival virtually over two weekends from 19-28 February. Speakers include Carlo Rovelli, Marina Wheeler, Moni Mohsin and Michael Sandell. Full programme here.
      • And in news from Scotland, Granite Noir, Aberdeen’s crime festival, will take place virtually 19-21 February, with Ullapool Book Festival returning 7-9 May 2021. More details for both will be announced soon. 
      • Bay Area Book Festival is continuing its #UNBOUND series with Ann Patchett (January 13) in a discussion on ‘The Ties That Bind- Family, Fortune and the Search for Self’. January 15 sees a conversation between Booker Prize winner George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo) and National Medal of the Arts honoree Tobias Wolff (This Boy’s Life) discussing Saunders’ newest book A Swim in A Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading and Life.  The ‘Queen of Change’ Julia Cameron will be discussing her guide on how to harness the spirit of renewal, The Listening Path, with Emmy award-winning singer songwriter Judy Collins on 27 January. The Festival will be held virtually from 1-9 May 2021.
      • On 18 January BBC North America Editor, Jon Sopel, will be in conversation with Guardian columnist, Jonathan Freedland, to discuss Sopel’s latest book, UnPresidented: politics, pandemics and the race that Trumped all others. The interview – which will be available on the websites of Stratford Literary Festival and Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival - has been organised to raise vital funds for both Festivals on-going work with their communities.
      • Virginia Festival of Books is starting the new year with more sessions in its Shelf Life series, featuringJennifer Howard and a discussion of her book, Clutter: An Untidy History, and food writer, recipe developer, and cooking class instructor Polina Chesnakova as she discusses her new cookbook.  More details at The main festival will be taking place virtually from March 13-26, more details announced soon.
      • Cambridge Literary Festival is hosting an online creative writing masterclass on 30 January with award winning novelist Jill Dawson. See more details here. 
      • 1 January 2021 was public domain day with works like The Great Gatsby enter the US Public domain. The first Great Gatsby prequel titled Nick by Michael Farris Smith has already been published. Have you read it? Are you intrigued? Do you simply not care? 
      • One of the oldest literary prizes in the region – the Moroccan book prize – has announced its 2020 winners. You can explore some fascinating titles in a feature in The National, includinga winner in the translation category: Translating Casablanca, from Origins to 1914, originally written by a Belgian Diplomat and translated by Abderrahim Hazl. 
      • The alien tripod has been given four legs and the Invisible Man is wearing the wrong hat, is not a sentence I thought I’d be saying today, but alas those are the mistakes that have been spotted on the War of the Worlds author HG Wells’ commemorative 2 pound coin, which was recently released to commemorate 75 years since his death.
      • The 2020 Costa book award winners – best novel, first novel, biography, poetry and children’s books - have been announced, with The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey winning best novel and The Louder I will Sing by Lee Lawrence winning best biography. You can explore the full list of winners on the Costa coffee website in the ‘behind the beans’ section.The overall best book of the year will be announced on 26 January. 
      • “T.S. Eliot is the world’s worst living poet” and DH Lawrence and James Joyce are “overrated” according to a collection of strong opinions from the likes of Virginia Woolf, Hilaire Belloc and more which is due to be auctioned off later this month.  The burn book consists of 39 handwritten questions and answers, collected between 1923 and 1927.
      • If you have $79,000 stashed away, you could buy this library in Minnesota. 
      • An essay from Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard on the relationship and role of writers and editors goes in-depth and touches on the experience of writers throughout history woven into his own. 
      • 33 writers write about…well…why they write. Peel back the curtain on the impulses behind all the scribbling and typing in this article.
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