Literary News Roundup - LitQuake, Romania Rocks, La grande traversée poétique and much more

15.10.20 10:12 PM By GAOLF

Festival season is in full swing throughout October, with many more festivals opening their virtual doors, and one allowing a real, but socially distanced, audience in… Plus the rise in audio, seasonal horror stories, and fiction that breaks the mould...

  • We welcome more festivals to the Association this week: Granite Noir (UK), Saskatchewan Festival of Words (Canada) and The Spring Literature Festival which is just about to launch in India!
  • The Festival Québec en toutes lettres (15-25 October) is spreading poetry across all continents with La grande traversée poétique,  a virtual event  bringing together 200 poets from 20 countries, streamed continuously  from Friday 23 October  until  25 October. More details here.
  • Taking place in London and online, the first ever Romanian-British literature festival ‘Romania Rocks’ is scheduled for 17 October to 13 November and features Romanian authors in conversation with heavy-hitting British counterparts such as novelist David Mitchell in conversation with poet, essayist and novelist Andrei Codrescu, Ian Rankin and O. Chirovici talk crime-writing, and much more. Explore the programme here.
  • San Francisco’s LitQuake Festival kicked off on 8 October and runs until 24 October, with both Global and San Fancisco virtual ‘LitCrawls’ scheduled on the final day presenting live events from the global literati in Kells (Ireland), Cheltenham (England), Angers (France), Wellington (New Zealand), Boston, Los Angeles, and Seattle. Full festival schedule which includes an illustrated history of the Super 8 film format, to the impact of AIDS on Black Queer life in Funeral Diva by Pamela Sneed, the wide-ranging programme is available to browse here.
  • While their Festival is scheduled for next March, you can tune in to Virginia Festival of the Book’s ongoing virtual ‘Shelf-Life’ series – next up is a conversation between crime novelists Hilary Davidson and Rachel Howzell Hall on 22 October, and a real treat for fans of The Craft on 29 October as actress Rachel True talks about her tarot-reading deck and guidebook, alongside her Hollywood experiences.
  • Tune into Vancouver Writers Fest from 19 to 25 October for conversations with Ayed Akhtar, Emma Donaghue and much more. Explore the programme here.
  • Toronto International Festival of authors kicks off next week on 22 October and runs to 1 November. Check out their programme of performances, readings and interviews here.
  • Tune into the Wisconsin Book Festival today for Crowdcast sessions with authors like Kiley Reid of Such a Fun Age fame, Call Me by Your Name author André Aciman discussing sequel Find Me, physicists discussing how to survive a black hole, and much more.
  • Bernardine Evaristo has described fiction as an ‘empathy generator’ in her keynote speech for this year’s all-digital Frankfurt Book Fair. You can read more about her keynote which covers issues of diversity in publishing and how the prize impacted the reach of her own work here in The Bookseller
  • Speaking of Frankfurt Book Fair, there’s a strong focus on audio today with discussions on consumer consumption and the battle for attention, and podcasts being the potential future of audio for publishers. Explore programme here. If you need to narrow your focus, there’s a great list of highlights here. You need a MyBookFair Account to watch the stream. Login and register for free here.
  • More audio news is available via Publishing Perspectives as Porter Anderson reports on audiobook consumer research fresh out of Australia. In summary, 37% of consumers started listening in the last year, and most listeners are between the ages of 25 and 34. The full breakdown of the data is interesting reading and you can find it here.
  • Music-streaming giant Spotify is about to join the audiobook market. Will it be as successful with audiobooks as it has been with its music and podcast output, and what does this mean for publishers? Publishers Weekly has more here.
  • Manga sales increased 25% in 2019 and still growing, while fantasy plots overtake the superhero category in popularity. Infographic here.
  • Young Adult book cover design is Kelly Jensen’s ‘jam’ and she’s written a fascinating article in Book Riot on why these YA book covers look the way they do, and the trends that came and went throughout the years – from YA’s very own dark emo phase, to girls underwater in billowy white dresses, and beyond.
  • In terms of the actual content of YA literature, there’s a new Random House Children’s Books imprint scheduled to debut in 2022. Imprint ‘Joy Revolution’ will be led by authors Nicola and David Yoon and will feature teen love stories by and about people of colour. Nicola says in this Publishers Weekly article that “Our books won’t be issue-oriented or polemical. The Joy Revolution imprint is all about telling stories of big love. The characters in them have big ideas about the world and their place in it. I believe love stories are truly revolutionary. Because love has the power to unmake and remake the world.”
  • So you want to be a novelist? A New York literary agent, editor and author reveal how bestsellers are born in this article in The Independent.
  • The Goldsmith’s Prize which is awarded annually to “fiction that breaks the mould and extends the possibilities of the novel form” has released its shortlist which includes Meanwhile in Dopamine City, a novel told in two columns to ‘mimic our divided attention’, Mr Beethoven which imagines what would have happened if Beethoven had lived another seven years and travelled to the US, and more. The winner will be announced on 11 November. Overview available here from The Guardian.
  • These are all the books you’ll want to read in October according to CNN, from a supernatural thriller set in 1634 to a guide on how to live your best Frida Kahlo life. 
  • When was the last time you used an Encyclopedia Britannica?  For children today it might be quite soon as Britannica Inc’s collaboration with What on Earth Books – the Britannica All New Children's Encyclopedia: What We Know and What We Don't - has seen impressive demand, with 6000 copies sold in its first week on sale. More here in Bookbrunch.
  • "The setting of a horror tale needs to create a sense of unheimlich, with the reader every bit as the characters” according to this Crime Reads roundup of eight thrillers that bring an uncanny slant to the natural world.
  • Have a read of this Elif Shafak essay on What It Means to Belong in Many Places at Once.
  • Eritrean poet Amanuel Asrat who has been imprisoned without charge since 2001, has been named International Writer of Courage. Read more about Asrat’s story here
  • If you wanted a Netflix adaptation to complement your love of Pride, the Haitian-Dominican update to Pride and Prejudice that explores teen angst, gentrification and more with some magical realism thrown in – it’s on the way
  • Shakespeare First Folio fetches a record $10m at auction –more here via BBC News.
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