Charlie Higson has launched a competition to make the official trailer for his new book The Fallen, the latest in his The Enemy zombie series. This isn’t a one for fainting types, though – a key criteria is “plenty of gore”.
Amazon Publishing has revealed the five finalists in each category of its sixth Breakthrough Novel Award competition.
General Fiction: It Happened in Wisconsin by Ken Moraff, Lexington, MA: “follows an aging ballplayer who looks back on his teammates’ battle for justice, the struggle between ideals and temptation, his own bittersweet love story, and his glory days barnstorming the back roads and dusty ballparks of the old Midwest.
Mystery/Thriller: The Hidden by Jo Chumas, Barcelona, Spain: “a fast-paced thriller that takes place during the political turmoil of 1940s Egypt. Worlds collide when a popular young university professor is brutally murdered in the Sinai desert, leaving his new bride, a 20-year old Egyptian-born teacher, to search for answers and justice.”
Romance: A Man Above Reproach by Evelyn Pryce, Pittsburgh, PA: “a Regency romance featuring a stoic duke who falls for a mysterious piano player at a brothel and then must navigate the choppy waters of class, identity and love.”
Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror: Poe by J. Lincoln Fenn, Haiku, HI: “a 23-year old obituary writer and college dropout runs afoul of an evil spirit while on a haunted house assignment and must uncover the common link between (among other things) a string of killings, his own deceased parents, and the strange numbered “code” that obsesses him.”
Young Adult Fiction: Timebound by Rysa Walker, Cary, NC: Seventeen-year-old Kate learns that she’s inherited a genetic license to time travel when her grandmother shares a strange blue medallion, an even stranger tale about future historians, and the unshakeable conviction that the fate of half the planet lies in Kate’s hands.
Dutch writer Gerbrand Bakker has won this year’s £10,000 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize with his novel The Detour, published by Harvill Secker.
It is the author’s second major literary prize win; his previous novel, The Twin, won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2010.
Bakker will share the prize money with the title’s translator, David Colmer
Also on the shortlist:
The Fall of the Stone City by Ismail Kadare, translated from the Albanian by John Hodgson (Canongate)
Croatian author Dasa Drndic’s Trieste, translated by Ellen Elisa-Bursac (Maclehose Press)
Chris Barnard’s Bundu, translated from Afrikaans by Michiel Heyns (Alma Books)
Dublinesque by Enrique Vila-Matas, translated from the Spanish by Rosalind Harvey and Anne McLean (Harvill Secker)
A first edition copy of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” that contains author J.K. Rowling’s notes and original illustrations fetched 150,000 pounds ($228,000) at a London auction on Tuesday.
Sotheby’s said the work, offered as part of a charity book sale jointly organized with the English PEN writers’ association, was sold to an anonymous bidder by telephone.
Rowling peppered the book with many personal annotations, including editorial decisions, comments on the process of writing and a note on how she came to create the game of Quidditch.
She also drew about two dozen illustrations in the copy, including a sleeping baby Harry on a door step and an Albus Dumbledore Chocolate Frog card.
In addition, a copy of Roald Dahl’s best-selling children’s book “Matilda” containing new drawings by illustrator Quentin Blake fetched 30,000 pounds ($45,500), while an annotated copy of Kazuo Ishiguro’s acclaimed novel “The Remains of the Day” was sold for 18,000 pounds ($27,300).
Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children’s Book Award 2013
This year, for the first time, each of the three shortlisted writers is eligible because of their own cultural origins as well as their stories.
The writers will celebrate at a ceremony at Seven Stories on 23rd May 2013, when the winner will be announced. The award will go to the best work of unpublished fiction for 8-to-12-year-olds by a writer, aged 18 years or over, who has not previously published a novel for children.
* One of a Kind by Jude (Najoud) Ensaff *
One of a Kind follows Raheema, a sixteen-year old living in Northern Iraq. When her parents unexpectedly flee the country, leaving her and her siblings with relatives, life as she knew it is thrown into turmoil. As she watches the country disintegrate, she plans her escape but is it too late? Her brother is arrested, her hometown and uncle’s house occupied and she is left to battle the chaos around her. Reluctantly, she is forced to place her trust in others but will they betray her or help her and her family?
Jude Ensaff has always enjoyed writing, since about the age of seven or eight. She remembers using her mum’s typewriter to create ‘masterpieces’ and then filing them away in a drawer, and telling some of her dad’s friends rather proudly when they asked her what she wanted to be, when she grew up – that she wanted to be ‘a writer’.
* Samosa Girl by Swapna Haddow *
Following a humiliating incident at a family wedding, thirteen-year-old Divya develops superpowers. She hides the secret of her new identity, choosing only to confide in her best friend and pledges to use her powers for good. Divya meets trouble in the form of classmate Sandeep, who thwarts Divya’s good actions, framing her for all his misdemeanours. He too has acquired superpowers but is persuaded by his older brother to use his powers to terrorize. Divya makes mistakes in her fight for justice and finds herself alienated from her family and best friend. Being a superhero isn’t as easy as she thought. With a lesson in humility and help from her best friend, Divya eventually leads the police to the thugs.
Londoner Swapna Haddow has been writing since she was young. Her first poem was published in her school newspaper at the age of twelve. It was about a cat. Her eclectic background, having lived all over London, studied Medicine at university, worked in retail, interned in several East London art galleries and worked for a drawing school, have amassed an Everest-sized mountain of ideas for stories and Swapna has spent the last three years working hard writing for children. She writes for young people under the age of twelve because they enjoy a similar sense of humour and a shared appreciation for bogeys, farts and maverick grandparents.
* You’re Not Proper by Tariq Mehmood *
14 year olds, Kiran and Shamshad live in a town seething with Islamophobia. Short skirt wearing Kiran lives with her white mother and beer guzzling Pakistani father, on the white side of town. Hijab wearing Shamshad lives on the Muslim side. For her, Kiran is not a proper Muslim, just a despicable half-cast, who left Islam. To her white friends, Kiran is not proper white. Written in first person, the narrative moves between each story.
There is a dark secret in their families – one hidden under Kiran’s mother’s floorboards, and in the stony silence of Shamshad’s house. Their fathers come from the same village in Pakistan, where the secret was born. When Kiran asks to be allowed to go to Pakistan, she unleashes a furious argument…
Tariq Mehmood entered the award because his three children are from diverse religious, cultural and religious backgrounds. Kashmiri, Pakistani, Tamil and English. Like many children in England, they have multiple identities. Tariq says: “I have children who are not white, who read a lot, but they themselves are fictionally invisible and where they do come into characters which maybe close to them, at best they are appendages to white characters or they might as well be white. In Diverse Voices, I saw the recognition of the importance of creating a new literary landscape that reflected the world around us, that is blooming with thousands of different flowers, in which children are its scents.”
via Frances Lincoln – Diverse Voices.
Diverse Voices Children’s Book Award was jointly founded by Frances Lincoln Ltd and Seven Stories – National Centre for Children’s Books in memory of Frances Lincoln (1945-2001). The award aims to encourage and promote diversity in children’s fiction.
[Waterstones] staff were told last night (20th May) in an email communication from Waterstones managing director James Daunt that those holding the positions of branch manager, assistant manager, general manager and deputy manager will enter into a consultation before the company restructures and those roles are abolished. A new “bookshop manager” role will be created instead to encompass those positions, which will “call on different skills”, he said.
It is not clear how many members of staff will leave the company. Existing managers will be able to apply for the new role and there may be multiple bookshop managers at some stores.
“I would not be entering into this unless I thought it necessary, and unless I was sure that we will emerge a better, stronger bookseller for having done it . . . I am acutely aware that we do this at the very moment that we are doing well. Sales are robust, costs and operational process greatly improved and the net performance of Waterstones has made a step-change for the better. The substantial part of this improvement is down to your individual and collective effort… …The context, however, is the current unforgiving bookselling environment. We may be running better bookshops, and running these in a very different manner to before, but we have yet to recognise this in our management structure. If we are to secure the future of Waterstones, we must take the difficult step to do so.”
The Winning Logo for the Federation of Children’s Book Groups Festival of Children’s Literature
Many congratulations to Giada Giusti who submitted this striking and winning design to our competition to design a logo for our November Festival of Children’s Literature.
We had 52 entries to the competition, and the National Executive met last Saturday to draw up a shortlist of 5 from which they selected the winner.
Of Giusti’s logo Julia Miller, Chair of the Federation of Children’s Book Groups, said, “The Federation was delighted to have so many high quality entries into the logo competition for our exciting Festival of Children’s Literature event to be held at the Birmingham Conservatoire on Saturday 9th November. The National Executive had a lot of fun viewing and selecting the top five, all of which would have been excellent winners.
The final winner, Giada Giusti, has designed a logo with tremendous visual impact, using simple lines and strong colour and we send her our congratulations.
Lots of pictures and comment from Sarah’s weekend at the CBI Conference in Dublin.
A leading Welsh author has warned that a literacy crisis among TV-obsessed school pupils is threatening the future of children who are leaving primary education without the ability to write a legible sentence.
Award winning writer and former literary critic Jennifer Sullivan has described the alarming 20-year decline in standards as “depressing and upsetting.”
Dr Sullivan has also called for more home involvement from parents, citing late night TV as a threat to literacy.
She said: “In one school I was asked if I had children, and where they lived.
“I said, three grown-up daughters, living in London, Essex and Northern Ireland.
“One small girl shrieked with excitement: ‘Oh, Miss, the one what do live in Essex (sic)? Is she famous? Is she on Towie (The Only Way Is Essex)? Oh, I want to be an Essex girl when I grow up!’
“I asked how come a nine-year-old was allowed to stay up to watch The Only Way Is Essex.
“‘I got a telly in my bedroom, Miss.’
“I asked how many other children had TVs in their bedrooms.
“Those children who did not have TVs or computer games consoles in their rooms could be counted on the fingers of one hand.
“I asked them what time they actually went to sleep. Not one confessed to turning out the light before 10pm at the earliest and staff confirmed that children often dozed off in class.”
She added: “This battle for literacy must start with parents.
“Parents should be begged, as a first step – for the sake of their children’s immediate health and their future success – to remove televisions and games consoles from their children’s bedrooms.”
Happening in my own backyard, so to speak.
An academy running four schools is paying its US parent company £100,000 a year to use its patented global curriculum, which has been criticised by Ofsted for lacking a “local” focus.
Aurora Academies Trust insists that the Paragon curriculum is transforming the fortunes of the primary schools in East Sussex. But unions and local Labour activists question whether the licensing deal represents the first step in plans to allow private companies to run schools for profit….
Aurora pays Mosaica £100 per pupil per year in royalties to use its curriculum. There are about 1,000 children at the four schools, meaning Mosaica receives about £100,000 a year from the arrangement.