FT Accolade for Ake Festival Founder Lola Shoneyin and Its prizes Galore In The Book World

FT Accolade for Ake Festival Founder Lola Shoneyin and Its prizes Galore In The Book World

Festival News:

The Harare Literature Festival is set to take place from November 29 to December 2, with a series of events that include live author talks, poetry readings, and other literary engagements. As highlighted in posts from participants like Makomborero Nhau and Anesu Tabaz Matavire, the festival is gearing up for its 10th anniversary celebration in 2023, promising an exciting exploration of the literary landscape. The theme for this year is Words Remember and the detailed programme will come in just a couple of days.Top of Form

BolognaBookPlus is organizing its first Illustration & Design Forum on January 23, 2024, at the Groucho Club in London, as part of the Bologna Grand Tour. Headlined by Jon Gray, Jack Smyth, and Neil Packer, the event showcases the expertise of illustration professionals and their commissions. Speakers discuss the creative process behind iconic designs, such as Dante and Shakespeare’s Complete Plays. The forum, in collaboration with Mimaster Illustrazione, includes panels and portfolio reviews, offering insights into the industry. Jacks Thomas, guest director, emphasizes the crucial role of design in publishing, providing a platform for UK talent. Giacomo Benelli anticipates exploring the creative potential of human error and algorithmic precision in this celebration of illustration’s present and future.

The Hay Festival Winter Weekend experienced a significant surge in ticket sales, reporting a 133% increase with a threefold rise in footfall at its new venue, Hay Castle, hosting a 350-seater marquee. The festival featured over 70 writers and performers in 60-plus events, selling more than 10,000 tickets. Among the bestselling books at the event were titles such as “Be a Birder” by Hamza Yassin and “Playing Under the Piano” by Hugh Bonneville. The festival, supported by the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund, is set to return from November 28 to December 1, 2024. Meanwhile Colm Tóibín, Marlon James, Jeanette Winterson,  Rory Stewart and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall are among those scheduled to appear at the Hay Literary Festival next year.


Barbara Kingsolver’s “Demon Copperhead” has been crowned the Hay Festival Book of the Year 2023 through public vote. The novel, an update of Dickens’ “David Copperfield,” unfolds the tale of Demon, born to a teenage mother in the southern Appalachian Mountains of Virginia amidst the modern opioid crisis. The book, recognized with the Women’s Prize for Fiction and Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, stirred surprise when it was omitted from the final stages of the 2023 Booker Prize judging. Past winners of the Hay Festival Book of the Year include “Lessons in Chemistry,” “Real Estate,” and “Diary of a Young Naturalist.”


The London Book Fair (LBF) has opened registration for its 2024 event, scheduled for March 12-14. The initial program includes speakers such as Jonathan Karp, CEO of Simon & Schuster, and authors Richard Osman and Piers Torday. The Main Stage discussions will cover industry trends, creative content, innovation, and the future of reading. Notable speakers include Taylor Jenkins Reid, Piers Torday, and Joseph Coelho. The fair will delve into topics like AI’s impact on publishing, environmental and social best practices, and global accessibility in publishing. The event aims to engage participants in insightful debates and conversations with international publishers, best-selling authors, AI experts, and media executives. The full program will be announced in the coming weeks.


Author and founder of the Ake Festival in Nigeria, Lola Shoneyin, has been named by the Financial Times as one of the most influential women of 2023. Lola was nominated by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Read more about it here


Top of Form


Book News:

A group of publishers has initiated #ReadPalestine, a week-long campaign promoting books by Palestinian authors and exploring Palestinian history. Launched by Publishers for Palestine, the campaign offers more than 30 free ebooks, including poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, as an “act of solidarity.” The initiative aims to celebrate the rich literary work and cultural contributions of Palestinians, allowing readers to discover the diversity and resilience of Palestinian history and culture. Titles include “Wild Thorns” by Sahar Khalifeh, “Palestine Speaks: Narratives of Life Under Occupation,” and “The Palestine Laboratory: How Israel Exports the Technology of Occupation Around the World” by Antony Loewenstein. Publishers for Palestine encourages social media engagement and invites bookshops and libraries to create #ReadPalestine displays. Read this article by The Guardian.


‘Soul-shattering’ Prophet Song by Paul Lynch has won the 2023 Booker prize

The Irish author’s novel set in an imagined Dublin descending into far-right tyranny wins £50,000 prize

Katherine Rundell’s Impossible Creatures has been named Waterstones book of the year for 2023. The children’s novel, set in a magical archipelago where mythical creatures still exist, was voted for by booksellers as the book they most enjoyed recommending over the past year.

Martin MacInnes’ In Ascension has been named Blackwell’s Book of the Year for 2023. The novel, shortlisted alongside works by Mary Beard and Pari Thomson, follows a scientist exploring the undersea world, challenging her understanding of existence. The book, previously longlisted for the Booker Prize, is MacInnes’s third novel, following Infinite Ground and Gathering Evidence.

Your Wish Is My Command, a graphic novel written, illustrated, and translated by Egyptian artist Deena Mohamed, has won the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation. A special commendation was also awarded to “A Line in the World” by Dorthe Nors, translated from Danish by Caroline Waight.

Ed Yong has won the 2023 Royal Society Trivedi Science Book Prize, securing £25,000 for his graphic and exceptional narrative, An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us. The book explores the multi-sensory experiences of animals, captivating readers with vivid storytelling.

Lauren Fleshman has been awarded the 2023 William Hill Sports Book of the Year for Good for a Girl: My Life Running in a Man’s World published by Virago. Fleshman, a former athlete and coach, is the third woman to win the award in its 35-year history. The award, valued at £30,000, was presented at a ceremony at BAFTA, Piccadilly, with Fleshman emphasizing the significance of elevating women’s stories.

Foyles has revealed its Book of the Year 2023 winners, with Yellowface by Rebecca F Kuang named Fiction Book of the Year, Eve by Cat Bohannon as Non-Fiction Book of the Year, and Katherine Rundell’s Impossible Creatures securing Children’s Book of the Year. The selections were made by Foyles booksellers from an 18-title shortlist, representing the books most enjoyed recommending to customers throughout the year. The winners cover a range of genres, including a literary thriller exploring cultural appropriation, a research-driven exploration of female evolution, and a standout children’s adventure book.

John Nichols, author of The Milagro Beanfield War, has died aged 83

The novel, about the uprising of a fictional Latino community, won widespread recognition for its themes of social justice

Jane Austen’s own copy of Curiosities of Literature is to go up for auction

Described as ‘a remarkable piece of history’, the copy of Isaac D’Israeli’s essays collection is one of 20 books the author is known to have owned and features her own underlinings and annotations.


We are taking a break as the holiday season gets underway – sending festive wishes to you all.  We’ll be back in January with more festival news.

Don’t forget to send us your latest news so that we can include it.

You can explore more content via the association’s website here and discuss topics in the forum with other member festivals here.