Literary News Roundup - Festivals to look out for in November, Wole Soyinka announces new novel, Shakespeare & Co. sales dip & More

29.10.20 02:43 PM By GAOLF
  • Reminder: Festivals ending this weekend include The Toronto International Festival of Authors (1 November) and Accra International Book Festival (31 October)
  • Festivals starting this weekend and next week include Bali’s Kembali2020 (29 October – 8 November), Seoul International Writers' Festival (2 - 8 November), The Stroud Book Festival (4-8 November). Also starting next week are The Hong Kong International Literary Festival (5-15November) and The Portland Book Festival (5-21 November) – more on these below…
  • The 20th edition of Hong Kong International Literary Festival presents 76 live and online events from 5th – 15th November, featuring over 150 writers and speakers from around the world, including Kevin Kwan, Shannon Lee, Colum McCann, Jhumpa Lahiri, Sebastian Barry, David Frum, Chan Koonchung, Chan Ho-Kei, Christina Lamb, William Dalrymple, Marilyn Chin and Mary Jean Chan. Featuring hybrid author talks, live panel discussions, online workshops and more, a Festival Pass giving access to 52 online events is HK$500/$350 for students. Events will be in English, Cantonese or Mandarin. More details at 
  • Portland Book Festival will be streaming a free to watch programme from 5-21 November. Three events require a book purchase to attend - these include Margaret Atwood with Dearly, her latest collection of poetry; Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson with Caste, an examination of the unspoken hierarchy that shapes America and Jess Walter with his latest novel, The Cold Millions, following the lives of two brothers, set against the turbulent class war of early twentieth century America.
  • Virginia Festival of the Book’s Shelf Life series continues throughout November with Author Maaza Mengiste and her latest novel, The Shadow King, shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize; Leslie Jamison and friends take a look at 'The Museum of Broken Relationships', inspired by one of her collected essays, with a look at how broken loves live inside of us through the memories and objects we carry with us, and the acclaimed debut novel, Fiebre Tropical by Juli Delgado Lopera.More details here.
  • The Texas Book Festival celebrates its 25-year anniversary (you can read their festival history timeline here) and also kicks off this weekend – runs until 15 November and includes Ethan Hawke in conversation with Matthew McConaughey.
  • From dance parties to book festivals – the best of online culture this autumn according to The Guardian.
  • The first annual Tauranga Moana Book Festival launches this November, with a line-up of New Zealand authors that will make any book lover happy says this article
  • Have a read of this Interview with Sanjoy Roy, managing director of Teamwork Arts which organizes the global chain of JLF Events, on what he learned from pivoting to digital this year and what to expect from a physical Jaipur LitFest in 2021.
  • Lockdown has been productive for Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka who will publish his first new novel in almost 50 years titled Chronicles of the Happiest People on Earth. More here.
  • Defend your writers, publishers, or be damned’ - This article in The Times discusses publishing staff refusing to work on books that offend them, novels rewritten due to concerns over cultural appropriation, and more.   
  • Bougie literary and other status symbols abound in Sofia Coppola’s latest movie On the Rocks starring Rashida Jones as an author in New York investigating her suspicious husband – this article makes for an entertaining read as it spots and explains why some of these books and other objects are kind of a big deal.
  • One of the bougie status symbols in the aforementioned article is (spoiler alert) a tote bag from the Strand Bookstore, which is currently struggling to stay afloat, though having survived the Great Depression and the advent of Amazon, the bookstore is not ‘going down without a fight’ according to this article in Publishers Weekly.
  • Speaking of struggling bookstores, Paris’ legendary Shakespeare and Company has also asked for help after a significant sales loss due to the pandemic. More here.
  • The longlist for the 2020 Atta Galatta-Bangalore Literature Festival Book Prize has been announced.
  • In case you’re feeling nosey curious, here’s a look inside the homes of six iconic writers.
  • Bryan Washington recommends his favourite books to combat uncertainty.
  • The Awesome Book Award which is chosen by children announces its 2021 shortlist.
  • A roundup of the best reviewed books this week can be found here.
  • You can read an excerpt from the Graphic Novel Waiting for Normal which explores life before the Beirut explosion.
  • From a first look at The Underground Railroad to the lead actress chosen to star in Where the Crawdads Sing – here is some literary adaptation news for you.
  • An interview with Rick Riordan came out this week on braving the page to screen journey again, and doing justice to the LGBTQ storylines in his work – there’s a link in the article to a write-up on his own website of the lengthy fraught history trying to make the Percy Jackson films true to the books which is worth a read for anyone interested in what gets lost between the book and the Hollywood development process.
  • “In recent years, a strong pushback against the London-centric structure of publishing and other creative industries has gathered energy in the United Kingdom” begins the Editor’s note from Porter Anderson on this article on how HarperCollins UK’s new HarperNorth team is faring amidst the pandemic.
  • Also in Publishing Perspectives is this write-up on Nigeria’s Aké Arts and Book Festival.
  • The Air Year wins the Forward Prize for Poetry. More details here.  
  • The Khushwant Singh Literary Festival’s digital pivot experience reported here
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