Literary News

Death of Louise Glück Announced and Controversy at Frankfurt Book Fair

Death of Louise Glück Announced and Controversy at Frankfurt Book Fair

Festival News:

The 14th edition of the Québec en toutes lettres festival, running from October 12 to 22, 2023, offers a diverse and inspiring literary experience. Drawing inspiration from the verse “nous sommes plusieurs avec un surplus de mémoire à rêver” by renowned author Nicole Brossard, the festival promises to delve into the intimate universes of both individuals and their collective memories. This edition aspires to be inviting and full of creative energy, uniting contemporary literary luminaries such as Jonathan Roy and Isabelle Forest from various backgrounds. The festival’s program explores the intricate relationships between territory and memory, whether it be individual or collective. It celebrates the boundless possibilities that emerge at the intersection of physical and mental spaces. The festival’s debut performance on October 14th featured “Savèches,” a theatrical adaptation of Jonathan Roy’s thought-provoking poetry.

Wimbledon BookFest was back for its sixteenth year this autumn from Thursday, October 12th to Sunday, and continuing to October 22nd, 2023. The event spans ten days, offering a wealth of thought-provoking, inspiring, and entertaining experiences focused on culture, community, and global connections. A stellar lineup features luminaries like Clive Myrie, Ben Okri, Annie Macmanus, Paterson Joseph, Steve Backshall, Peter Frankopan, and many more, including celebrities, politicians, sports personalities, historians, economists, and academics. The festival’s commitment to community and inclusivity is reflected in new initiatives like partnerships with Merton Libraries and educational programs. In 2023, Wimbledon BookFest strengthens international connections with the Lahore Literary Festival, hosting South Asian creatives and an Iran-themed panel event and art exhibition.


The Margate Bookie Festival 2023 running from 20 to 22 October, promises an exciting literary lineup, with notable events that have captured the public’s interest. Among the highlights, Grace Dent and Daisy Buchanan’s “Comfort Eating” at Dreamland explores the comforting role of food in our lives. Philosopher AC Grayling shares insights on “How to Make a Better World.”, Deborah Levy’s “August Blue” and Adam Kay’s humorous “Undoctored.” For a dose of comedy, Andi Osho’s “You’re Booked Live Podcast” and Lou Sanders’ appearance at Turner are sure to entertain. Music programme features Miki Berenyi’s intriguing take on music and success in “Fingers Crossed.” The festival caters to diverse interests, welcoming local writers, comedy lovers, children, and history enthusiasts.


The Kentucky Book Festival, scheduled for October 21, 2023, offers a diverse array of events and authors to engage literary enthusiasts with 150 authors in attendance, The “Affrilachia on the Main Stage” event features Crystal Wilkinson, Frank X. Walker, and upfromsumdirt, exploring the world of literature. “Justice on the Main Stage” brings Stephen B. Bright, author of “The Fear of Too Much Justice,” in conversation with CNN’s Poppy Harlow. J.R. Ward takes the Main Stage at noon to discuss her latest work, “The St. Ambrose School for Girls.”. Kentucky writers with new memoirs, such as Paul Patton, Erin Keane, and Richard Taylor, gather to delve into their writing processes. Amrita Chakrabarti Myers uncovers the untold life of Julia Chinn in her book, “The Vice President’s Black Wife.” The festival concludes with a poetry reading featuring an impressive lineup of poets. Additionally, there are Writer’s Room Events and Children’s Activities to engage all age groups in the world of literature.


The Las Vegas Book Festival taking place on October 21st, is a vibrant celebration of literature featuring a diverse range of events and authors. In the Poetry Tent, “Affinity for Masculinity” explores masculinity through local poets’ perspectives. The Auditorium Book Festival Headliners feature Ana Reyes and her thrilling debut novel. The festival includes discussions on music, historical fiction, and more, along with workshops and youth poetry competitions. Notable authors like Terry McMillan, Rebecca Yarros, and Malcolm Nance headline the event, offering engaging insights. Additionally, it provides a platform for local poets and independent presses like Zeitgeist Press, enriching the festival’s literary tapestry.


 A call out to festival directors from Olubunmi Aboderin Talabi,  director of Akada Children’s Book Festival (Lagos). Olubunmi is working on her dissertation which focuses on the role of literary festivals in generating book sales and would like to hear from festival directors who would be happy to be interviewed on this topic. Olubunmi is taking her master’s degree at the University of Surrey, UK. The promotion of book sales is often an underappreciated aspect of our work, so do contribute your insights by emailing olubunmi@akadafestival.org


Book News:

Palestinian voices ‘shut down’ at Frankfurt Book Fair, say authors. Heated debate over the Israel-Hamas conflict overshadowed the 75th gathering of one of the world’s largest literary events. An open letter rebuked LitProma decision to cancel the award ceremony for Adania Shibli. The Arab Publishers’ Association, Emirates Publishers Association, Sharjah Book Authority and Malaysia Education Ministry pulled out of the Book Fair in protest

Meanwhile the Book Fair was used by European publishing trade bodies to call for action on generative AI, saying it has ‘The potential to undermine democracy’.  They argue that more transparency is needed after research found AI models have been trained using pirated works by authors such as Zadie Smith and Stephen King. A counterpoint was provided by a panel at the Book Fair which discussed the positive impact of AI on the publishing industry, liberating humans from routine tasks, enabling them to spend more time on creative endeavours and transforming the industry through innovations regarding advertising and translations.


Louise Glück, Nobel prize-winning poet, dies at 80. The Pulitzer prize winner and former US poet laureate was known for her sharp, austere lyrical work.


Emma Styles has won the £10,000 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize for her debut novel, No Country for Girls. The book was lauded for its compelling characters and vivid descriptions. Styles’ work emerged as the victor from a strong shortlist of contemporary and historical adventure novels, and it focuses on young women’s empowerment and resilience. Niso Smith, Founder of the prize, praised the diverse narratives in this thriving genre. Emma Styles, a native of Perth, Australia, currently living in London, holds an MA in crime fiction from the University of East Anglia.


The 2023 Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award (MTAVL) has gone to Jennifer Haigh for her novel, Mercy Street. Haigh, a resident of Boston, is the author of five previous novels, including Mrs. Kimble (2003), which won the PEN/Hemingway Award for outstanding debut fiction, as well as Baker Towers (2005) and Heat and Light (2016), both set in the fictional Western Pennsylvania town of Bakerton.


Bohdan Piasecki wins best performed poem in new Forward prize category. Malika Booker won the “best single poem – written” category for the second time with her poem Libation, while Jason Allen-Paisant’s Self-Portrait as Othello was awarded the £10,000 best collection prize. The Forward prizes were established in 1992 and have recognised some of the biggest names in poetry, including Simon Armitage, Ted Hughes and Carol Ann Duffy.


The children’s book publisher Scholastic said it will separate titles in its elementary school book fairs in USA by race, gender and sexuality, allowing school districts to include or exclude the list. The decision is a response to dozens of state laws restricting how the topics are discussed in schools, which Scholastic has opposed. Districts can now opt out of the new list, called the ‘Share Every Story, Celebrate Every Voice’ catalogue, or choose specific titles from it.


Tania Branigan, Kate Cooper, and James Morton Turner have been announced as the finalists for the Cundill History Prize, with each of them receiving US$10,000. The winner, who will be revealed on November 8, will receive a prize of US$75,000. Administered by McGill University in Canada, the prize recognizes outstanding historical non-fiction. The judging panel includes Philippa Levine, Marie Favereau, Eve M Troutt Powell, Sol Serrano, Coll Thrush, and Adam Gopnik.


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