Literary News

Longlist for 2023 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature Announced and a taste of Eurovision come to Hay

Longlist for 2023 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature Announced and a taste of Eurovision come to Hay

Spotlight on a Festival Director:

This week the spotlight is on Shinie Antony, founder and festival director of the Bangalore Literature Festival in India. Read about her biggest challenges, her reading recommendations and  more about her festival in the Spotlight this week.

Festival News:

Scone Literary Festival (SLF) opens on March 10, featuring a packed program with international and local guests, including former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and activist Chanel Contos. Tough topics will be tackled over the weekend, including boys, girls, and everything in between, people and the Constitution, the voice, and beauty and excellence in the workplace. The festival also includes free community storytelling events on Sunday, March 12 whilst also celebrating having won the Tidy Towns Heritage & Culture Award from Keep Australia Beautiful NSW.

The Bristol Festival of Ideas has launched the spring programme for 2023, featuring a mix of in-person and online talks and discussions. The programme includes film critic and journalist Hanna Flint, philosopher Julian Baggini, award-winning author Ayòbámi Adébáyò, Bristol-born debut novelist Moses McKenzie and author and cultural studies expert Kirsty Sedgman. The festival will utilize a ‘pay what you feel’ pricing structure for the majority of its events.

The 16th Stratford Literary Festival, taking place from May 2nd to May 7th at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Stratford, has announced an impressive line-up of UK celebrities and public figures. The festival includes events with actresses Dame Judi Dench and Dame Penelope Wilton, TV presenter Alexander Armstrong, journalist George Monbiot, and writer Al Murray, among others. In celebration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s First Folio, there will be events with leading experts and outgoing RSC Artistic Director Greg Doran. The festival also features a Fringe Festival program, a Writer’s Bootcamp, and events for families and schools.

Hay Festival has launched a special project called Eurovision Book Contest, inviting readers to submit their favourite fiction from any of the 37 countries competing in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. The project aims to celebrate European literature and promote understanding and empathy across borders. Suggestions are limited to anything published since the song contest began in 1956, and a final selection of one book from each country will be made by an expert panel and a special event will be held on June 2 to discuss the selection with an expert panel, and digital content will be shared throughout the festival.


Book News:

Nine writers have been longlisted for the 2023 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, including Michael Fraser, Anthony Joseph, Pamela Mordecai, Marlon James, Ayanna Lloyd Banwo, Jasmine Sealy, Ira Mathur, Patricia Joan Saunders, and Godfrey Smith. The authors have roots in five different Caribbean countries and their works span poetry, fiction, and literary non-fiction categories and the judges describe the works as having a diversity of styles and voices. The winners of each category will be announced on April 2nd, with the overall winner receiving a prize of US$10,000 on April 29th during the NGC Bocas Lit Fest.

Lynda La Plante’s memoir will be published by Zaffre, the Bonnier Books UK imprint that has acquired the rights to the book. La Plante is renowned as the “queen of crime drama”. more

An article in The Times this week tells how the ghost writing industry has been spooked by the  ‘betrayal’ of former British MP Matt Hancock  by the writer Isabel Oakeshott. Read more here

‘If the world were 100 people’, by Jackie McCann and Aaron Cushley, has won the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize 2022. The book offers a unique way to understand complex topics from genetics to medicine and technology, exploring the differences, similarities, challenges, and privileges experienced by people across the world. The winning book received a £10,000 prize and was announced at an online award ceremony hosted by Lindsey Russell and streamed live on the Royal Society’s YouTube channel.

The Baillie Gifford Prize has revealed its shortlist of six books for the “winner of winners” award, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the prize. The shortlist includes three American authors: Barbara Demick, Patrick Radden Keefe, and James Shapiro; two Canadians: Wade Davis and Margaret MacMillan; and one British author, Craig Brown. The books cover a range of subjects, including the Beatles, mountaineer George Mallory, William Shakespeare, North Korea, and the Sackler dynasty’s role in America’s opioid crisis. The winner of the £25,000 prize will be announced on 27 April at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh

The Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) is holding its annual conference in Seattle, where its Bookfair showcases indie presses, academic presses, literary journals, and creative writing programs. Dzanc Books of Ann Arbor, Michigan, won AWP’s Small Press Publisher Award for innovation, while Duriel E. Harris won the George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature. Nancy Pearl interviewed novelist Min Jin Lee, author of Free Food for Millionaires and National Book Award finalist Pachinko, who talked about her approach to writing and research.

The Women’s Prize for Fiction has released its 2023 longlist, featuring 16 novels written by women from around the world. Former winners of the prize are among the longlisted authors, as well as debut novelists and rising stars. The books cover a range of settings, including Renaissance Italy, rural India, the Siege of Sarajevo, Northern Ireland during The Troubles, and an imaginary kingdom ruled by animals. The longlisted books and their authors are: Black Butterflies by Priscilla Morris, Children of Paradise by Camilla Grudova, Cursed Bread by Sophie Mackintosh, Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver, Fire Rush by Jacqueline Crooks, Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo, Homesick by Jennifer Croft, I’m a Fan by Sheena Patel, Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow, Pod by Laline Paull, Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes, The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff, The Dog of the North by Elizabeth McKenzie, The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell, Trespasses by Louise Kennedy, and Wandering Souls by Cecile Pin.

The European Union Prize for Literature has released the list of nominees for the 2023 edition. The prize recognizes emerging fiction writers from the European Union and beyond and promotes the circulation of literary works in Europe. The 13 nominees are: Lusine Kharatyan (Armenia), Martina Vidaić (Croatia), Χάρη Ν. Σπανού (Hari N. Spanou) (Cyprus), Ondřej Štindl (Czechia), Tõnis Tootsen (Estonia), Iida Rauma (Finland), Maud Simonnot (France), Ag Apolloni (Kosovo), Anna Ospelt (Liechtenstein), Jeff Schinker (Luxembourg), Ilija Đurović (Montenegro), Sabina Jakubowska (Poland), and Marit Kapla (Sweden). The winner and five special mentions will be announced on April 28, during the Leipzig Book Fair.

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