Literary News

Stormzy's #Merky Books launches a literature festival, a new authorized Harry Potter Wizarding Almanac and Brisbane Writers Festival in the Spotlight

Stormzy's #Merky Books launches a literature festival, a new authorized Harry Potter Wizarding Almanac and Brisbane Writers Festival in the Spotlight

This week our ‘Spotlight’ feature returns, with Sarah Runcie, the outgoing CEO of the Brisbane Writers Festival (BWF), the oldest continuous literary festival in Australia.  Here she tells us of the background to the Festival and how it has embraced a curatorium model, building on its legacy of First Nations programming and including indigenous writers from within the Indo-Pacific frame.

Festival News:

Festival director Louise Adler from Adelaide Writers Festival (4-9 March) has defended ‘courageous spaces to air opposing views’ as a major sponsor and three Ukrainian writers pull out over comments from other invited authors. Read the Guardian report here

The Hong Kong International Literary Festival is set to take place from 6 to 12 March, alongside the Young Readers Festival. The festival features a range of celebrity authors, local talents, and in-person events. Highlights include Emily St. John Mandel discussing her speculative fiction novels and Booker Prize-winning Shehan Karunatilaka discussing his satirical novel. Accomplished travel writer Pico Iyer will also be present, alongside local talent such as Peel St. Poetry and Lindsay Varty. The festival will take place at venues across the city, including Tai Kwun, Asia Society Hong Kong Center, and Hong Kong Maritime Museum.

 The Essex Book Festival is hosting an eco-poetry project called Hear My Voice in partnership with primary schools in Essex to mark the 70th anniversary of The Great Flood of 1953, and raise awareness about rising tides and flooding  faced by many parts of the world. The aim is to exhibit the poems in Harwich Museum and publish them in chapbook style format in 2024. The festival hopes to collaborate with primary schools in other countries to share messages of hope and initiate a global conversation between children. If you would like to be involved in this project you can contact ros@essexbookfestival.org.uk to find out more.

Bay Tales Live 2023, taking place in Whitley Bay, on Saturday, March 4th, is a mainly crime-based festival in North-east England. This year’s festival welcomes back Bay Tales Patron, Ann Cleeves, OBE, author of the popular Vera, Shetland, and Matthew Venn series. The festival will feature a wide range of renowned authors, including Brian McGilloway, Trevor Wood, Ruth Ware, Jack Jordan, Jo Callaghan, Lia Middleton, C.J. Tudor, Laure Van Rensburg, Alex North, Chris Ewan, Fiona Cummins, Lin Anderson, and Jonathan Whitelaw. There will also be an on-site bookshop and author signings throughout the day.

Leeds Lit Fest comes to a close this weekend. Now in its fifth year the festival is focusing on untold stories, radical acts, playful adventures, and future generations. Notable events include Lemn Sissay’s presentation of his memoir My Name is Why, an exploration of Gothic literature with award-winning authors, political broadcaster Iain Dale’s solo event and political podcast, and children’s and family events featuring authors such as Vashti Hardy, Alex Falase-Koya, and Sharon Rentta. The festival also includes a variety of poetry and spoken word events. Leeds Lit Fest is delivered by eight creative arts and literature-based organizations, with Leeds Libraries providing family events.


Book News:

The Harry Potter Wizarding Almanac, announced by Bloomsbury Children’s Books, will be the first authorized companion to J K Rowling’s Harry Potter books. more

Grime star Stormzy’s #Merky Books is launching a two-day literature festival in London to inspire young creatives. The festival will feature established authors alongside new voices and cover literature, writing, and storytelling across various mediums such as film, TV, music, and photography. The event, sponsored by Netflix, will include workshops, masterclasses, panel discussions, and career drop-in clinics. Headline events include a panel discussion with Wretch 32 and John Agard, and an interview with Malorie Blackman by DJ Vick Hope. Lemara Lindsay-Prince, senior commissioning editor for #Merky Books, said the imprint is committed to breaking down barriers in the publishing industry.

A new biography about the private life of crime writer John le Carré is to be published by  author Adam Sisman. The book, titled The Secret Life of John le Carré, promises to reveal secrets that Sisman had to withhold from his authorized biography of the author published in 2015. The new book will cover the writer’s love affairs over five decades and will be published with the knowledge of Le Carré’s estate. Le Carré, whose real name was David Cornwell, died in 2020, aged 89.

Eileen Ramsay, the writer of 20 novels such as The G.I. Bride, A Schoolmistress at War, and A Pinch of Salt (published by Zaffre), has died at the age of 82. More

The first RISE International Bookselling Conference will be held in Prague later this month, and it will be attended by more than 300 booksellers from various parts of Europe and the world. The conference is free of charge.

The Pushkin House Book Prize has announced its panel of judges for this year’s competition. The prize recognizes outstanding non-fiction books in English that demonstrate a combination of originality, readability, and excellence in research, with a focus on Russia. The judges include Philip Bullock, a Professor of Russian Literature and Music at the University of Oxford, Masha Gessen, a Russian-American journalist and author, Alexander Rodnyansky, a Ukrainian film producer, Mary Elise Sarotte, an expert on foreign policy, and Ekaterina Schulmann, a Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow at the Robert Bosch Foundation in Berlin.

Indexers and publishers are invited to attend an online event for IndexDay 2023. The afternoon conference is aimed at editors who commission indexes and will feature a series of presentations on current indexing practices. The event will provide a valuable opportunity for indexers and publishers to learn from each other and improve the quality of non-fiction books. The programme includes a range of topics such as the importance of human indexers, briefing indexers, reviewing and checking indexes, and more.


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