Literary News Roundup - Douglas Stuart wins 2020 Booker Prize, Presidential memoirs, Cambridge and Stratford join forces for arts crisis conversation, and more!

20.11.20 12:01 AM By GAOLF
  • The winner of the 2020 Booker Prize is Douglas Stuart with Shuggie Bain!
  • Cambridge and Stratford Literary Festivals open UK conversation on the growing crisis in the arts. In a joint session they ask how the performing arts and cultural events can survive the restrictions Covid has imposed, and what impact will this have on the army of now unemployed freelancers as well as young people seeking careers in the arts. Featuring leading figures in the arts world: actress Juliet Stevenson CBE, screen and theatre director Sir Richard Eyre CBE and composer Shirley J Thompson OBE, with the discussion chaired by journalist and writer Julia Wheeler. Covid and Culture: How will the Arts Survive? Is free to watch and available to view until 29th November on the websites for Stratford Literary Festival and Cambridge Literary Festival as part of their upcoming Winter Weekends of events.
  • Hay Festival Digital Winter Weekend brings writers and readers together 26–29 November 2020 in a free digital wonderland of thoughtful conversation, storytelling, comedy and family fun in a packed programme featuring among many others. Lee Child, John Lanchester, Joanne Harris, William Boyd, John Banville plus Elton John and Arsène Wenger in conversation.  More details here
  • Tickets are now on sale for The Stockholm Writers Festival which is online from 28 to 30 May 2021.
  • Alexander McCall Smith joins Director of the Toronto International Festival of Authors, Roland Gulliver in conversation on 27 November 17:00 UTC with his latest novel in the No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series How to Raise an Elephant. Details here.
  • Quentin Tarantino lands two-book deal with HarperCollins with a novelisation of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and non-fiction collection of essays, reviews and more on 70s cinema. More details here via Deadline.  
  • UK university staff call for investigation into excessive pricing of academic e-books with some prices increasing as much as 200%. More here via the BBC
  • After fighting for free school meals for UK children, footballer Marcus Rashford turns attention to literacy and launches book club for children so they can experience ‘escapism’. 
  • What books were authors like Hemingway, Katherine Mansfield and other writers of the Lost Generation, reading in the 1920s and 30s? Landmark Parisian bookstore Shakespeare and Company which served as a meeting-point for many of these authors, has published its records online for the first time. The Times has analysed thousands of those records and you can read their findings on which authors were reading hard-boiled detective fiction and which were reading racy novels and cookbooks, here.
  • Speaking of Shakespeare and Company, this article in The Times ‘Shakespeare and Company in Paris and Stanfords of London fight for survival’ looks at how the pandemic has impacted both bookstores, what customers can do to help and features some wonderful photographs both past and present.  
  • Give the gift of books this holiday season. If you need inspiration, here’s a roundup of 40 new books that might make perfect gifts. 
  • There’s no doubt a Trump memoir would sell, but will publishers buy it? Asks this New York Times article on the ethics and accuracy concerns of such a scenario. 
  • Many of us aren’t travelling right now and if we are, it doesn’t look the same as it used to. Luckily, we still have books that can do the legwork for us. Here’s a roundup of the best travel books of 2020 including an exploration of graveyards titled A Tomb with a View and a look at Iceland’s remarkable ratio of museums to people in The Museum of Whales You Will Never See. If you were wondering, the figure of is 265 museums to 357000 people.
  • And if you’re looking for travel books, you can still get them from iconic travel bookshop Stanfords as their crowdfunding appeal has successfully raised over 120000 pounds which will keep them open until at least March. More here via Bookbrunch.  
  • A fascinating look at the challenges of book design in the Nepali publishing industry, from the readability of the Devanagari letters and how this impacts typography, to the general technological obstacles of printing and production.
  • BBC Culture has published an interview with Jed Mercurio, TV writer behind small screen thrillers Line of Duty and Bodyguard which delves into the secrets of creating his trademark thrills, and an interview with Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell author Susanna Clarke on her latest book Piranesi and the enduring appeal of labyrinths. 
  • Barack Obama’s memoir A Promised Land  sells 890000 copies on its first day, and his Oprah Winfrey interview conducted remotely shows what you can achieve with a green screen - you can have a look at a fun outtakes clip here and watch the interview for free on Apple TV. 
  • If you’re looking for fiction that does the opposite of a Hallmark movie and mirrors dysfunctional and even tragic reality set during the holiday period, here are eight books you might like. 
  • Top prizes at the National Book Awards went to Interior Chinatown, a darkly comedic novel about a struggling Asian-American actor by Charles Yu, and Malcolm X biography The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X started decades ago by Les Payne and completed after his death by his daughter Tamara. More details here.
  • Publishing Perspectives rounds up the Sharjah International Book Fair which ended on Saturday from the exhibition floor to the three-day publishers conference, and looks at Bologna Children’s Book Fair’s planned move to June 2021.
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