Literary News Roundup - Penguin Random House buys Simon & Schuster, Alan Rickmans diaries to be published, COSTA shortlist and more. 

26.11.20 10:52 PM By GAOLF
  • We welcome Crater Literary Festival, Nigeria, to the Association this week!
  • The Granite Noir festival has announced that it will be moving online for its February 2021 edition, with programming featuring both live and pre-recorded sessions. More information here.
  • To celebrate Giving Tuesday (1 December), Toronto International Festival of Authors will be making their 2020 Festival content available again, for 72 hours only.
  • Pola Oloixarac and Imaobong Umoren have been revealed as the 2021 winners of the Eccles Centre & Hay Festival Writer’s Award which awards them a year’s residency with the British Library to develop their forthcoming books, and opportunities to showcase their work at future Hay Festival events.
  • ArtsEd intern Sarah shares her story ahead of the 2020 Word for Word National Non-Fiction Festival, reflecting on the theme of the Festival this year: ‘Life, Changing’
  • The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature announced this week that its 2021 Festival will be taking place across the city of Dubai in three key venues over three weekends from 29th January to 13th February, 2021 under the theme of ‘Change the Story’.
  • Craig Brown has won the 50 thousand pound Baillie Gifford Prize for his Beatles biography One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time, described by the chair of judges as “a highly original take on familiar territory”.
  • 2020 Booker Prize winner Douglas Stuart spoke to 2019 winner Bernardine Evaristo at Southbank Centre this week. You’ll be able to view the event until 30 November. More details here.
  • Parent company of the largest publishing house in the world Penguin Random House, set to purchase fellow Big Five publisher Simon & Schuster for US $2.175 Billion.
  • Hay Festival has announced its Book of the Year: Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty.
  • International Authors’ Associations have rejected Audible’s reduction of a 365 day to seven day window for customers to return books they have purchased and read, as royalties from these returned purchases are deducted from authors. More detail on #Audiblegate available via Publishing Perspectives.
  • Poet and Sylvia Plath biographer Anne Stevenson has sadly passed away. In-depth obituary in The Times and here via the Guardian.
  • The diaries of the late actor Alan Rickman which comprise 27 volumes that he began writing in the 90s will be published as a book in 2022 by Canongate. More here via Variety.
  • "It's both unprecedented and a little ironic - in a year that left us speechless, 2020 has been filled with new words unlike any other." Says the president of Oxford Dictionaries which has just announced that their classic Word of the Year will be adapted to various ‘Words of an Unprecedented Year’ for 2020.  
  • Holiday shopping has begun and books are feeling the love too as sales of print books rose 18.3% last week compared to the first week of November. More here.
  • The Gruffalo stage show goes virtual with livestreamed performances taking place from 11 to 13 December.
  • “Books with subject/genre classifications achieved three times as many sales as those without” says Bookbrunch on findings from Nielsen BookScan that accurate metadata sells twice as many books.
  • Curtis Brown Creative launches Breakthrough Writers' Programme offering fully funded mentoring, scholarships, workshops and more to underrepresented writers.
  • A ranking of film adaptations of Roald Dahl books - Which movies do right by the classic children's author—and which ones get it totally wrong?’ asks Electric Lit.
  • Interesting interview via NPR with author of The Poppy War seriesR.F. Kuang, on the inspiration and big questions behind the fantasy series that asks 'What If Mao Was a Teenage Girl?'
  • In a Washington Post Live interview with Barack Obama on latest memoir A Promised Land, the former US President also shared some of the writers and books that have influenced him: Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin, On the Road by Jack Kerouac, Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth by Mohandas K. Gandhi and Shakespeare’s tragedies.
  • The Costa Book Awards announces 2020 shortlist which includes Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell author Susanna Clarke with first novel in sixteen years Piranesi.
  • You can read about the news and data gleaned from the International Publisher Association’s general assembly meeting here and more specifically about Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi’s appointment as IPA President here and here. There’s also a summary in Bookbrunch on the speeches given, including from this year’s Booker nominee Tsitsi Dangarembga.
  • The An Post Irish Book Awards have revealed their 2020 winners which includes Graham Norton, Donal Ryan, and more with the overall winner still open to public voting and to be announced on 10 December. Explore the full list of winners by category here.
  • The five books shortlist for the 2020 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation have also been revealed: Trees for the Absentees by Ahlam Bsharat, A Shimmering Red Fish Swims with Me by Youssef Fadel, Velvet by Huzama Hubayab, The Old Woman and the River by Ismail Fahd Ismail, and The Egyptian Assassin by Ezzedine C. Fishere. More info here via Arab Lit.
  • Speaking of shortlists for Translation prizes, the Society of Authors has released the shortlist for all six of its annual translation prizes, including the aforementioned Banipal Prize. You can read the full shortlists in Bookbrunch.
  • New Zealand singer Lorde may never be royal but she’s definitely a climate activist – following recently published essay on her trip to Antarctica she’ll be releasing a book on the experience titled Going South with proceeds going towards funding a PhD student to travel there for climate research. More here.
  • An interesting essay in LitHub that looks back at the wave of anti-racist book purchases, the proportion of performative allyship in the context of the US election results, and the irate responses to some of those books selling out at the time.
  • Do you agree with this top 10 list of the best book covers so far this month?
  • What happens when you ask AI to write a Modern Love column? This piece in the New York Times will show you. 
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