Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Education secretary Nicky Morgan and author David Walliams
have launched a government drive to get more children reading. Writing in the Telegraph,
the pair said improving children’s literacy should be a “national mission”.
Lesley Pearse has notched up her second Official Top 50 number
one, displacing E L James. The paperback edition of Without a Trace (Penguin) sold 15,960
copies (worth £64,667) last week through Nielsen BookScan’s Total Consumer
Market as Grey
(Arrow) dropped to third place. The hardback edition of the title has
sold 17,266 units since it was released in May.
Edinburgh International Book Festival’s two bookshops sold
more than 10,000 books in the first two days of the event – a record for
the festival. The two bookshops are owned and managed by the festival
itself. Top sellers on 15th and 16th August were The Shed that Fed a Million
Children by Magnus Macfarlane-Barrow (William Collins), How to be Both by Ali
Smith (Hamish Hamilton) and Julian Clary’s first children’s book, The Bolds (Andersen
Press), illustrated by David Roberts.
Katie Espiner will begin her role as m.d. of Orion next month,
it has been confirmed. Espiner, who is currently at HarperCollins’ imprint The
Borough Press, was announced as the
new m.d. of Orion earlier this year as part of a shake-up of senior
management at the Hachette UK company. She will begin at Orion on 21st
German publishers are speedily bidding goodbye to Adobe DRM
(Digital Rights Management) on their e-books. What started as a trickle
earlier this year has now become an unstoppable torrent with Random House
Germany the latest (and largest) of the major publishing groups to exit
hard-DRM. Citing an ever growing consensus in the industry for its
decision, Munich-based Verlagsgruppe Random House will make all its digital
books available with soft digital watermarking from October 1st.
Southampton City Council has approved plans to shut five
libraries in the area unless community groups come forward to run them. The authority made the decision at a cabinet meeting last
night (18th August), reported the Daily Echo. The council will stop running Cobbett Road, Burgess Road,
Millbrook, Thornhill and Weston libraries next April. Southampton will also close its mobile library as part of the
bid to save £286,000.
Author A L Kennedy has said there should never be a female
Doctor in “Doctor Who”, and that instead another role that is “iconic,
wonderful and marvellous” should be created. The writer, who appeared at the Edinburgh International Book
Festival yesterday (18th August), published a “Doctor Who” novel, The Drosten’s Curse
(BBC Books), last month. She told festival goers that she would be surprised if the
Doctor changed gender.
Keeley Hawes will star in a TV adaptation of the late Gerald
Durrell’s trilogy of Corfu memoirs. “The Durrells” will be written by screenwriter Simon Nye and
produced by Sid Gentle Films Ltd, and based on the books My Family and Other Animals,
Birds, Beasts and
Relatives, and The
Garden of the Gods, first published in the 1950, 1960s and
1970s, and reissued in a single volume by Penguin in 2006. My Family and Other Animals
has also been published in a separate edition by Puffin.
Julie Crisp has signed debut American author A S Moser to her
literary agency. Crisp, formerly
senior commissioning editor at Pan Macmillan’s Tor imprint, set up her
own business earlier this year after leaving the company. Moser’s At
Close of Day explores the lengths that society will go to in
order to find a cure for humanity’s greatest threat – death – and what some
will do to keep that secret for themselves.
Frankfurt Book Fair has hired Amy Webster as its new associate
partner of Rights and Licenses. Her role will be to support the partnership between the book
fair and IPR License after FBF announced it had made a significant
investment in the global rights and licensing trading platform in May this
year. Webster joins the book fair from Edinburgh TV Festival, where
she was head of new business. Previously, Webster coordinated the market
focus programme at London Book Fair for six years.
Head of Zeus is set to release a collection of re-published
classic railway writing curated by railway historian Christian Wolmar
[pictured], called Wolmar’s Railway Library. The selected titles will span two centuries of railway history
and will be published in e-book and as high quality print editions in
Wolmar Library livery, quarter bound and with contemporary illustrated
covers. Customers will be able to pledge for the entire collection or for
individual volumes via the Unbound
Square Peg is to publish the true story of a young Yazidi
girl’s capture by and escape from ISIS. Rowan Yapp, editorial director, won UK and Commonwealth rights
at auction from Barbara J Zitwer of Barbara J Zitwer Agency and Christine
Proske of Ariadne-Buch to The
Girl Who Beat ISIS: Farida’s Story, by Farida Abbas, co-written
with Dr Andrea-Claudia Hoffmann. In August 2014, Abbas was 18 when her village in the mountains
of northern Iraq was attacked by ISIS terrorists. The jihadists murdered
the men and boys, before taking the girls prisoner.