Friday, December 14, 2018

Publishers Lunch

Marnie Cochran will move over to become executive editor at Harmony and Rodale, starting January 1. She has been at Ballantine for over 10 years.

Kerri Kolen has joined Audible as executive editor on their originals team. Most recently she was executive editor at Putnam.

Lucille Rettino has been promoted to the new position of vp, associate publisher, director of marketing and publicity for Tom Doherty Associates. In addition to her existing reports, Melissa Singer will report to Rettino in her scheduling/list management capacity while continuing to report to Patrick Nielsen Hayden for editorial work.

Rachel Richardson is joining Watson, Little as their first-ever rights director. She has been rights director at Rights People.

Susan Yates has announced her retirement from Yates & Yates, where she is office manager, at the end of the year after over 30 years of service.

The inimitable Seth Godin will receive the annual Jack Covert Award for contribution to the business book industry. Covert says in the announcement, "One name is all you need. He is that influential. And he is just as generous. Talking to Seth is like drinking from a firehose. The ideas that come from the man's brain seem endless, and we have benefited greatly as a company from our conversations and connection to him. I know for a fact that he has had a similar impact on countless others."

Godin's longtime publisher Adrian Zackheim at Portfolio adds, "No other author has challenged us quite so much to up our game. No other author has rewarded us, and his readers, with so many remarkable books of enduring value. Indeed, no other author has guided us, as Seth has, to define what we really stand for."

Year-End Letters
Penguin Random House ceo Markus Dohle wrote to employees on Thursday expressing gratitude for their efforts in an annual "tradition that holds significant meaning to me." While "2018 was not an easy year," it still yielded "continued success for Penguin Random House – both creatively and commercially. Most notably, there was Michelle Obama's memoir, "which has been brilliantly published and internationally coordinated by our Crown colleagues with our publishing teams in all our territories, plus many more countries and languages.... Total copies currently in print worldwide: more than five million."

They also "again achieved significant growth in our Audio programs; increased revenues globally; welcomed several publishing houses into our family of imprints in the US, India, Brazil, and Germany; and created a wide range of promising new imprints throughout our territories."

The letter was once again accompanied by a
video, celebrating the company's belief "in the power of books to connect and transform us." Dohle writes: "Penguin Random House's overall success and recognition as the industry leader is inextricably linked to our purpose and social responsibility efforts, which reflect who we are and how we choose to operate. Our shared values and belief in doing good beyond our publishing is a source of strength, pride, and active citizenship for us all."

Adam Foundation Prize

‘Scalp-prickling dazzler of a novel’ wins Adam Foundation Prize

 A sharp, funny, ‘white-hot burn’ of a novel has been awarded the 2018 Adam Foundation Prize in Creative Writing by Victoria University of Wellington’s International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML). 

Laura Southgate wrote the winning book, The Boyfriend, as part of her 2018 Master of Arts (MA) at the IIML.  

The Boyfriend tells the story of Erica, a student whose life is turned inside out by a relationship with a much older man. Comic and devastating by turn, it applies a scalpel to ideas of romantic love, social mores, and the question of coming of age.

Laura says, “It’s been a wonderful privilege to spend this year at the IIML in such inspiring company and under the expert mentorship of senior lecturer Emily Perkins. My folio was definitely a group effort and I owe a huge debt to Emily and my classmates for their critique, encouragement, and support. I’m very grateful to the examiners for this honour and of course to the Adam Foundation for their remarkable generosity.”

Wellington-born Laura works as a technical writer and is a co-editor of the newly launched 2018 edition of online literary journal Turbine | Kapohau.

Supported by Wellingtonians Verna Adam and the late Denis Adam through the Victoria University of Wellington Foundation, the $3,000 Adam Prize is awarded annually to an outstanding student in the MA in Creative Writing programme.

Emily Perkins says it has been a privilege to read the novel as it has developed over the course of the year.

“This is a scalp-prickling dazzler of a novel, fizzing with quotable lines and remarkable characters—an astute comedy of manners combined with wrenching events that charts a new path through one of humanity’s oldest stories. Laura is an enormously exciting new writer.”

Acclaimed author Tracey Slaughter and Adam Foundation Prize examiner says, ‘Edgy, original, cutting, brave… The Boyfriend announces the arrival of a hard-eyed author with something crucial to say and all the high-impact talent to say it.’

Previous Adam Foundation Prize recipients include authors Eleanor Catton, Catherine Chidgey, Ashleigh Young, Hera Lindsay Bird and Annaleese Jochems.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Māori comedy series wins Victoria University of Wellington Prize

television comedy series that confronts the polarising question of ‘What is a real Māori?’ has been awarded the 2018 David Carson-Parker Embassy Prize in Scriptwriting at Victoria University of Wellington.

Written by Dana Leaming (Ngāpuhi) as part of her 2018 Master of Arts folio at the University’s International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML), the Not Even series is described by its examiners as ‘intelligent, refreshing and highly entertaining’, ‘very funny and surprisingly thoughtful’ and ‘irreverent, raunchy, bold and appealing’.

Named in honour of the late David Carson-Parker, who established the prize to support the Master of Arts (Scriptwriting), it is continued by David’s partner Jeremy Commons through the University’s Development Office. The $3,000 prize is awarded annually to an outstanding Master of Arts (Scriptwriting) student at the IIML.

Not Even features a group of young Māori friends in their twenties, all wrestling with the tricky question of identity. Their attempts to function as adults blow up like cultural time bombs in ways that are hilarious, humiliating and just straight tragic, says Dana.

She describes the course as “challenging, but the best decision I have made in a long time.” “The mentoring I received pushed through all the doubt I constantly have about my writing. I was able to work through some of my own cultural identity insecurities by literally putting my most humiliating moments on the page,” she says.

An examiner of the winning script wrote, ‘Not Even had me frequently laughing out loud, it shocked me on occasions. I winced now and again at the outrageousness of some of the things being said, and I appreciated the very smart politics at play.’  Another examiner observed, ‘Not Even takes the often lofty, angsty kaupapa of identity politics and gives it an irreverent once-over. The central theme of cultural identity is something that many young Māori contend with and it is fantastic to hear these voices crafted into such a vivid and accessible comedy series.’

Fellow Master of Arts student Vincent Konrad, who identifies as non-binary and uses the pronoun they, has won the Brad McGann Film Writing Award for their feature film script Blue Smoke.


Described by Vincent as a dark Hitchcockian fable, it follows young bride Lottie as she discovers her new life in a small rural town is very different to what she had anticipated.


Examiners described Blue Smoke as ‘a very strong piece of work’ showing ‘originality of voice and a strong setting up of character and style, with many exciting, dramatic moments, set in an interesting world where issues of morality, power and freedom are investigated by story and symbol.’


Vincent says, “I did not expect to write a film this year, and even less so to write one that would win an award. It is a great honour and a comfort that I am grateful for.”


Named in honour of the late Brad McGann (writer/director of In My Father’s Den) the award is also worth $3,000.



Latest from The Bookseller

Hachette UK’s challenge to all major publishers to present their gender pay gaps in a more “transparent” way has been met with silence from the trade's other key players.
Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Jenny Lord, publishing director for Weidenfeld & Nicolson non-fiction, has been promoted to publisher for the imprint while non-fiction publisher Alan Samson's role is expanding to become W&N chairman.
Man Booker Prize
The 2019 Man Booker Prize for Fiction judges have been announced, with book trade heavyweights Peter Florence and Liz Calder on the panel.
Kate Morton
Australian author Kate Morton has won a $500,000 lawsuit against her former literary agent Selwa Anthony.
Pirate site Sci-Hub has been blocked in Russia after a group of publishers applied to the courts to get service providers to stop serving the site.
Hodder & Stoughton
Hodder & Stoughton has acquired the rights to The Clapback: How to Call out Harmful Black Stereotypes by Elijah Lawal.

Bryony Gordon
Journalist and mental health campaigner Bryony Gordon will share her ten crucial life lessons for teenage girls in a book due to be published by Hachette Children’s Group in May.
David Walliams
David Walliams has called for better access to reading and for libraries to be safeguarded, revealing he would introduce new laws on children’s literacy if he were prime minister. 
Mark Billingham
Sphere has acquired three new novels from Mark Billingham for Little, Brown, the first of which will be a new Tom Thorne novel and the crime writer's 20th novel to date, publishing in 2020.
Usborne has bought a LGBTQ+ YA love story by US author Meredith Russo.
Viking is publishing a new novel next year by John le Carré, Agent Running in the Field.
A document has been unearthed revealing the existence of a secret “book club” among the CIA operatives who campaigned against the USSR during the Cold War.

The Roundup with PW

Poets Go Public—and Political: Suddenly, poets have become more willing to address public concerns. Poet laureate Tracy K. Smith explores why, and how.

Jeff Daniels Pleads the Finch: Broadway's Atticus on ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ discusses Aaron Sorkin, film icons, and white saviors in this Q&A.

David Sedaris’s Back Pages: The writer’s archive, which has just been bought by Yale, includes his voluminous diaries and other private handmade books.

Novelist and Amazon 'Seasonal Associate': Author Heiki Geissler writes about the view from inside an Amazon warehouse as an author whose books might be there, too.

Women Rewriting the West: A roundup of works by women writers that subvert the toxic tropes of the Western.

Publishers Lunch

Sara Sargent moves to Random House Children's as senior executive editor. (She was previously executive editor for Harper Children's.) Also, Hanna Glidden has been promoted to associate director of pub ops business process and support.

At Berkley, Kristine Swartz has been promoted to editor and Sarah Blumenstock has been promoted to associate editor.

Julia Ringo has been promoted to associate editor at Farrar, Straus.

Roisin Davis has joined Haymarket Books as director of foreign rights. She was previously associate agent at Roam Agency.

In the UK,
Jenny Lord has been promoted to nonfiction publisher for Weidenfeld & Nicolson. Alan Samson expands his role to become W&N chairman, while also continuing as non-fiction publisher.

Chris Ryall is
rejoining IDW Media as president, publisher and chief creative officer (after leaving his position as chief creative officer and editor-in-chief earlier this year). He takes over as Greg Goldstein steps down. Ryall had moved to the editorial division at Skybound Entertainment.

Rupi Kaur, instagram poet and author of NYT bestselling Milk and Honey and The Sun and Her Flowers, has signed with ICM, with plans to expand her career into film, television, and theater. She was previously with Suzanne Brandreth at The Cooke Agency.

Chronicle Books is partnering with Lego Group to produce books based on their products, starting with seven titles in spring 2020. Executive editorial director of Chronicle Books Sarah Malarkey said, "We are thrilled to work with LEGO, an internationally beloved brand that shares our values of quality, creativity, and play. Both companies have generations of fans and a real affinity for one another."

Yes it's a big year for nonfiction but the one author with two books on the NPD Bookscan Top 20 year-to-date chart is children's author Dav Pilkey -- and Scholastic announced a 5-million-copy first printing for
Dog Man: Brawl of the Wild, which publishes December 24 in the US, Canada, UK, New Zealand, and Australia. (August's Dog Man: Lord of the Fleas had a 3-million-copy first printing.) The publisher also said that the seventh installment in the series, Dog Man: For Whom the Ball Rolls, will publish August 13, 2019.

Michelle Obama's book-related megatour staged by LiveNation has been extended into 2019, including 11 additional stops (along with 4 in Canada, and 6 in Europe). The next round begins in February 8 in Tacoma, WA and concludes on May 12 in Nashville, TN.


Whiting winner Alice Sola Kim's short story Mothers, Lock Up Your Daughters Because They Are Terrifying, published in Tin House Magazine in October, has been acquired for feature rights by Fox 2000 and 21 Laps. The story follows three girls from South Korea adopted by American parents who "discover a spell that summons the spirit of their Korean 'mother.'" Kim is represented by Claudia Ballard at William Morris Endeavor.

Best Of

USA Today named its 10 best fiction and nonfiction titles of the year, with Michelle Obama's Becoming at no. 1. Also on the list were The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer; Calypso by David Sedaris; and An American Marriage by Tayari Jones.

NPR's Maureen Corrigan chose Rebecca Makkai's
The Great Believers as the best novel of the year. Other titles on her best of the year list included Lake Success by Gary Shteyngart; There There by Tommy Orange; and Warlight by Michael Ondaatje.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

New Zealand author Sue Copsey signs two-book deal with Little, Brown UK

High Spot Literary is delighted to announce that UK-born, New Zealand-based author Sue Copsey’s first adult novel, Wife After Wife has just been acquired by Little, Brown Book Group in the United Kingdom in a two-book deal for publication in November 2019. Wife After Wife, is a modern retelling of the story of England’s favourite ginger tyrant – King Henry VIII – but with a 21st century twist. 

Emma Beswetherick, Associate Publisher at Little, Brown Book Group said; “Even without the history behind the story, the Henry in Sue’s debut makes the most charismatic of heroes. But throw in the familiar story of Henry’s love affairs with his six wives and you find yourself with a rollicking romance full of intrigue, deception, danger and glamour. It truly is the perfect sun-lounger read.” 

“I began wondering, how Henry VIII’s life would play out if he was reincarnated in today’s world, with its more enlightened (usually) attitudes to women, improved diets and healthcare, and laws to curb the excesses of power,” said Copsey of the inspiration behind Wife After Wife. “I had a ball writing this book and I’m thrilled that my fairy godmothers at Highspot Literary put this manuscript under the nose of a UK publisher who got it immediately.”

High Spot Literary’s Vicki Marsdon and Nadine Rubin Nathan chose Copsey’s pitch as the winning pitch in a competition at New Zealand Society of Authors’ AGM in May. “We look for novels by New Zealand authors that will appeal to international publishers,” said Marsdon. “Nadine and I knew immediately that Sue’s manuscript was something we could sell.”

Jenny Nagle, chief executive officer NZSA said: “The Pitch Perfect competition creates opportunities for writers. We offer our congratulations to High Spot Literary’s agents and Sue Copsey.  We are delighted that they not only accepted Sue’s pitch and manuscript, but have already on-sold world rights to a respected overseas publisher.”

Copsey is an award-winning writer of spooky adventure stories for older children. Her 2015 title The Ghosts of Tarawera was the recipient of a Notable Book Award from the Storylines Children's Literature Trust of New Zealand. As well as children's fiction, Sue has produced many non-fiction books, including the UK Times Educational Supplement award winner Children Just Like Me, and Our Children Aotearoa, which also won a Notable Book Award (2012). She has two children and lives in Auckland.

About High Spot Literary: Currently New Zealand’s only literary agency representing authors of adult fiction and non-fiction, High Spot Literary is a full service literary agency that aims to find the widest possible audience for its authors both inside and outside New Zealand.

Laest from The Bookseller

House of Commons
The Publishers Association has advised businesses take “practical steps” to prepare for Brexit as best they can despite the “frustrating and challenging” political uncertainty, while the Society of Authors has warned it has “significant concerns” should a no-deal Brexit come to pass ahead of a major vote in the House of Commons tomorrow.  
David Nicholls
David Nicholls is bringing out a new "poignant" and "funny" coming-of-age novel with Hodder, called Sweet Sorrow, next July.
Kristen Roupenian
Vintage has unveiled the ambitious publicity and marketing plans for Kristen Roupenian’s debut book, You Know You Want This, a year after her ‘Cat Person’ story went viral in the New Yorker.
Simon & Schuster
Simon & Schuster has promoted two members of its UK sales team, Laura Hough and Dominic Brendon.
Forestry Commission
The Forestry Commission has launched a competition to “diversify” nature writing, as part of its 2019 centenary celebrations, with two paid writing residencies up for grabs.
Harper Collins imprint HQ will publish first-time author Annie Auerbach’s non-fiction title FLEX: The Modern Woman’s Handbook

Borough Press
Charlotte Cray will be promoted to editorial director at HarperFiction imprint The Borough Press as of 1st January, 2019.
404 Ink
404 Ink has acquired the rights to debut non-fiction Constitution Street from human rights campaigner Jemma Neville.
Independent publishing house Scribe has acquired the rights to New Zealand author Annaleese Jochem's first two novels, as film rights for her debut are sold to Wild Card Films. 
Hachette Children's Group
Hachette Children’s Group (HCG) will next year publish a page in adult titles from The Orion Publishing Group asking the reader to encourage children to read.
A document has been unearthed revealing the existence of a secret “book club” among the CIA operatives who campaigned against the USSR during the Cold War.
Egmont has acquired the UK and Commonwealth rights to Ben Clanton’s Narwhal and Jelly series of graphic novels after a “hotly contested” multi-publisher auction.