Literary News Roundup - Star-studded Booker Prize-giving, Jaipur on tour, plus Dingle, Stratford, Malaysia festivals and more! 

13.11.20 12:23 PM By GAOLF
  • We welcome Islay Book Festival to the Association this week.
  • The winner of the 2020 Booker Prize for Fiction will be announced in a star-studded programme featuring HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, President Obama, Kazuo Ishiguro, Margaret Atwood, Bernardine Evaristo and more, in a ‘ceremony without walls’ broadcast from London’s Roundhouse on 19 November. Hosted by John Wilson, the event will feature readings produced by The Old Vic from actors Ann-Marie Duff, Thandie Newton, Ayesha Dharker, and more, and the shortlisted authors will join the ceremony via a special screen in the venue. The Southbank Centre will host the first digital event with the winner being interviewed by Bernardine Evaristo on 23 November as part of its 'Inside Out' series. The winner will also be interviewed by author and former prize judge Natalie Haynes for the Hay Festival Digital Winter Weekend on 27 November.
  • Jaipur LitFest is going on a North American tour - its’ programme ethos is to “infuse the multilingual literary heritage of South Asia with the distinct flavour of the host regions, in the digital space with a diverse and engaged community of book-lovers”. You can checkout the programme for Boulder, Colorado coming up 15-18 November here, Houston on 21-22 November here, the New York programme from 23-24 November here, and bookmark 27-29 November in your calendars for the Toronto events - programme TBA.
  • Dingle Literary Festival is coming up this month - running from 20-22 November it will feature Abi Daré, author of The Girl with the Louding Voice, Sarah Moss author of Summerwater and  Hollywood Actor Gabriel Byrne delving into his memoir.
  • Stratford-Upon-Avon’s 20-22 November Winter Weekend features digital appearances from Hilary Mantel, Roger McGough Lemn Sissay and more.
  • Cambridge Literary Festival’s online programme will run from 19-29 November and includes Booker short-listed Diane Cook, Daisy Johnson, youngest ever author to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize, with her chilling second novel, Sisters, and poets Jay Bernard and Raymond Antrobus, both recipients of the Ted Hughes Award for New Poetry.
  • The Valley’s Jewish Community Center in California continues its online event 'Bookfest in your Living Room' until December 6 with authors including John Grisham on 11 November and Michael J Fox in conversation with Harlan Coben on 19 November
  • Malaysia’s 10th George Town Literary Festival (GTLF) will be held virtually from 26-29 November. Themed ‘Through the Looking Glass’, this year’s festival will look at the role of literature and art in a time of crisis and include award-winning Malaysian novelist Fatimah Busu, Malaysian actress Sharifah Amani, bestselling Penang-based novelist Fahmi Mustaffa, and winner of the 2020 Epigram Books Fiction Prize, Joshua Kam.
  • Bloomsbury held a digital ‘Spring Fiction Showcase’ which highlighted a wide-range of titles to look out for including The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris, Jhumpa Lahiri’s Whereabouts, and tale of Jacobean scandal, A Net For Small Fishes by Lucy Jago.
  • UAE’s physical Sharjah International Book Fair hosts 1,024 exhibitors. More detail on safety, set-up etc. via Publishing Perspectives.
  • M John Harrison has won the 2020 Goldsmiths Prize which is awarded annually to fiction that ‘breaks the mould’. Lucy Ellman won last year with Ducks, Newburyport which is a 1000 page novel consisting mostly of a single sentence. This year’s winning novel The Sunken Land Begins to Rise, is more experimental in content than in narrative structure. The thread between what is real and imagined unravels for a man in London as he witnesses people walking into ponds, and copies of Victorian children’s novel The Water Babies mysteriously appear.
  • A recent UK study looking at diversity in children’s literature, has found that 7% of UK-published books over the last three years feature characters from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic background despite 33.5% of students of school age being of minority ethnic origin.
  • The Trump administration’s infamous press conference held outside Four Seasons Total Landscaping and not the Four Seasons hotel, has invited quite the response, and a literary one too: In a nod to the stranger than fiction quality of the fiasco, Twitter was full of witty users inserting Four Seasons Total Landscaping into famous literary quotes, such as "Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number Four Seasons Total Landscaping were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” You can explore more of these creative examples here.
  • Labelled as the ‘ethical alternative to Amazon’, reports a strong launch week. The business model allows bookshops using the platform to receive the full profit margin from each book they sell.
  • After winning the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2007 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is champion once more with Half of a Yellow Sun which has been voted the best winning book in the prize’s history. The one-off award was chosen by the public and is part of the Prize’s 25th anniversary celebrations this year.
  • What would Dickens’ classic Great Expectations look like in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s? Would Miss Havisham’s wedding dress have shoulder pads? We’ll find out once we read Gill Darling’s debut novel Erringby, the rights to which have just been bought by Fairlight Books through an open submissions programme.
  • Speaking of classics, 100 years after she published her first murder mystery in October 1920, what still draws readers to Agatha Christie’s work? You can read a retrospective on the ‘Queen of Crime’ here.
  • A recently unveiled sculpture made to celebrate ‘mother of feminism’ Mary Wollstonecraft has met with backlash due to naked female figure included in the design. More here.
  • Oliver Award-winning play Emilia inspired by poet Emilia Bassano who is often suspected to be the ‘Dark Lady’ of Shakespeare’s sonnets, became available to watch online this week with a ‘pay what you can’ ticket price.
  • A literary puzzle called Cain’s Jawbone has been solved for the first time since the year it was created in 1934 by a crossword puzzle creator at the The Observer. It has only ever been cracked by three people, most recently by a comedy writer during the pandemic lockdown. But what on Earth is Cain’s Jawbone? It’s a 100 page murder-mystery with six murders that the reader must follow clues to solve. Oh, and one last thing - the entire novel is printed with all the pages out of order. More on the origins of the puzzle and the sleuth who recently cracked it here.
  • The publication date for paperback edition of Kamala Harris’ memoir The Truths We Hold has been brought forward to 26 November.
  • Described as Game of Thrones meets Arabian Nights, Renée Ahdieh’s fantasy novel The Wrath and The Dawnwill be adapted to TV. Included in Time Magazine’s recent roundup of the 100 best fantasy novels of all time, it incorporates folklore from the Middle East, China, India and North Africa.
  • Pass It On, a book of Gujarati recipes passed down through generations, was the only self-published book to be nominated for New Zealand’s National Book Design Awards and mother daughter duo Shobha and Keryn took home two prizes
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