Very disappointed to have missed last night’s the preview party (aboard the Golden Hinde) for this jointly created book by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre, out in September.
Curious Fox has acquired a number of novels for its 2014 list, exploring topics as diverse as time-travelling in medieval England, a transgender teenager, and the diary of a downtrodden, ferret-loving metalhead.
The new raft of acquisitions, led by Publisher Catherine Clarke, will build on Curious Fox’s successful launch year which saw retailer promotions with WHSmiths, Foyles and Amazon, and marketing partnerships with Westfield shopping centre, the Reading Agency, Bliss magazine and a national library tour.
Catherine Clarke comments “I’m so excited about our new acquisitions. We’ve had a hugely positive reaction to our launch list and, going in to our second year, we’ve honed our focus further to ensure we are publishing stand-out, unique and often quirky books for young people.
Our 2014 list offers something for everyone – I only have to look at the titles to see the range we are offering young readers: Half my Facebook Friends are Ferrets, The Serpent House, Alex As Well – what an offering!”
The 2014 books come from a mix of established and debut authors. The Serpent House is a historical fantasy novel that weaves between a Victorian manor and medieval leper hospital. A time-travelling 12-year-old girl must retrieve a book of medical cures belonging to a sinister doctor and guarded by fearsome serpents. Written by ex-BBC journalist Bea Davenport and publishing in June 2014, The Serpent House was shortlisted for the 2010 Times/Chicken House award and described by the judges as “very powerful”.
Alex As Well is a challenging YA novel about an intersex and transgender teenager desperately seeking her identity and place in the world. Written by established author Alyssa Brugman, the novel has already published in her native Australia to critical acclaim: “Brutally honest and at times sad, happy, funny, perceptive, human and compulsive. You will not forget this novel in a hurry” and “Brugman is to be congratulated on the tender care and leavening humour she has brought to an important and potentially confronting subject.” The deal was done with Curious Fox by agent Jane Finigan from Lutyens & Rubinstein. Alex As Well is set for UK publication in May 2014.
On the other end of the spectrum, J.A. Buckle’s Half My Facebook Friends are Ferrets is a hilarious diary novel following Josh, a wannabe metalhead, as he navigates the trials of teenage life and tries, with mixed results, to tick milestones off his list before his sixteenth birthday. Roars of laughter reverberated around Curious Fox’s Oxford office when this manuscript was received; Josh’s brutal honesty, crazy ambitions and his questionable language make this a stand-out novel for publication in January 2014.
Also coming from Curious Fox in 2014 are sequels to two successful launches this year: The Ruby Airship will build on the popularity of Sharon Gosling’s first steampunk adventure, The Diamond Thief. For older readers, Stewart Ross takes us back to the dark world of warring teenagers created in The Soterion Mission, with his sequel, The Revenge of the Zeds.
Another sad day in the history of photographic film…
Fujifilm Tokyo confirmed that the Neopan 400 B&W film and the Provia 400X slide film have been discontinued. Following the fate of Neopan 1600, Fujifilm takes another loved and acclaimed B&W negative film emulsion off the market. That leaves Neopan 100 as the only remaining B&W film manufactured by Fujifilm. And with Provia 400X, the last high-speed slide film is now finally gone, leaving Provia 100F, Velvia 100 and Velvia 50 in Fujifilm’s slide film lineup.
A new Web app called Hi is being touted as “Instagram for writers.”
Conceived by Craig Mod, a writer, designer, and digital publishing entrepreneur based out of San Francisco, the “networked storytelling tool” is designed to share stories attached to specific geographic locations (referred to as “narrative mapping”).
A post starts out as a “Sketch,” which includes a photo, a geo-tag, and up to 20 words describing the moment or place. Each Sketch can then be further developed into an “Extended Moment,” allowing writers to write multiple drafts and longer stories, without the pressures of time or character limits.
Cambridge, Mass.,start-up BoomWriter Media, a content creation, delivery, and collaboration platform used in 5,000 schools in 80 countries, seems aptly named for a growing concern. In June, it added 400 schools to its roster and now has a presence in all 50 states. Next week its Online Storytellers Camp, presented in partnership with WGBH Boston, goes live with a tale begun by Jeff Kinney, which campers get to finish. In addition, BoomWriter is working with WGBH on a pilot for a television series featuring the avatars BoomWriter created to protect the identities of children using the platform. The company is also partnering with Barnes & Noble to develop apps for the Nook. And it’s about to seek new funding after raising $940,000 over the past year.
Founded in 2010, BoomWriter grew out of a conversation between current CEO Chris Twyman, who also started the HR technology company Zapoint, and Ken Haynes, v-p of product development, who taught Twyman’s daughter at the Pierce School in Brookline, Mass. Twyman wanted to break down the writing process into smaller, more easily digestible pieces and allow people to work collaboratively. Haynes was looking for a way to bring more technology into the classroom. Together they developed, tested, and launched the platform with cofounder and CTO Ian Garland, who lives in England.
The concept behind BoomWriter is relatively straightforward. Teachers assign one of the company’s projects, like Suki’s Alligator, which was recently completed by students at Milton High School in Milton, Mass. The first chapter, or “story start,” will have already been written, sometimes by a celebrity like Jordan Knight, lead singer of New Kids on the Block, or by an author like Kinney, or, in the case of Suki’s Alligator, by a local Boston freelance writer. The remaining chapters are written collaboratively, one by one. Groups of students each submit their second chapters to their teacher, who then edits and posts them. The students vote anonymously on which entry they like the best, using BoomWriter software, and the winning chapter becomes chapter 2. The process is repeated until the book is finished.
The first children’s book based on the Warcraft franchise will go on pre-sale later this year and make its premiere at BlizzCon, Blizzard Entertainment announced at San Diego Comic-Con today.
The debut children’s book, titled Snowfight, is written by senior VP of story and franchise development Chris Metzen and illustrated by Blizzard artist Wei Wang. "I’ve been thinking about it for a while," Metzen said, saying that he’s watched his "rugrats" grow up alongside World of Warcraft, which will turn nine years old this November, and that they’ve been curious about the characters and lore.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux has announced that Frances Foster, who has headed up Frances Foster Books since 1994, is retiring after a long illness. The editor (née Frances Starbuck) has worked in children’s publishing for more than 55 years.
After starting as an assistant to Alice Dalgliesh, founding editor of the children’s book department at Scribner’s, Foster worked as a freelance editor while her children were growing up, then moved on to an editorial position at Knopf, where she edited books by such icons as Leo Lionni and Roald Dahl.
For the past nine years, Foster published about 12 books annually under her eponymous imprint, many of which were honored with or nominated for Newbery or Caldecott Medals, National Book Awards, and other major prizes.
The winners of the Sony Young Movellist of the Year Awards have been announced at the Kings Place Gallery in London.
Rebecca Davies reports:
A ‘movellist’ in case you were wondering, is a member of the online writing community Movellas.com, which allows young authors to share their work with other readers and writers their age. The Movella awards are open to writers aged between 13 and 19 years and the entrants had the auspicious honour of being judged by none other than new children’s laureate Malorie Blackman (who sadly couldn’t make the awards ceremony because she was ill and reportedly feared the Daily Mail headline: ‘Children’s Laureate is sick on young award winner’s shoes’). The prize, besides a pretty glass trophy, is a publishing contract from Random House Children’s Publishers – the Holy Grail for many authors whatever their age.
Chatting to a few of the 10 shortlisted writers before the ceremony was a fairly jaw-dropping experience. Many of them have been writing for as long as they can remember and some have eight full novels under their belts before they’ve even left their teens. Competition, then, was pretty stiff.
In the end, the overall award went to 19-year-old Helen Hiorns from Coventry, whose novel The Name on Your Wrist was e-published by Random House on the same day as the ceremony. Malorie Blackman praised the novel for its rebellious central character and because she ‘couldn’t predict the ending’. While Natalie Doherty of Random House said: ‘This entry instantly stood out for us, for the quality of the writing, the feisty and complicated but extremely likeable main character, and the fact that it gripped us right from the first paragraph.’
The winner herself was endearingly modest about her achievement, saying that winning the award had surpassed her previous plans for the summer, which had mainly involved finding her name on a Coca-Cola bottle and eating a hamburger in Hamburg – a feat she failed to realise due to being called back to England for the awards ceremony.
Kyra Schlachter and Emma Yeo were announced as runners up, for their novels My Corrupted Lungs and Girl With a Thousand Faces respectively. I asked Emma, who is 17 now and has been writing since the age of 12, what piece of advice she would like to share with other young novelists. Her encouraging answer: ‘Keep writing and you will get better! I look at stuff I wrote years ago and I just want to rip it up and burn it. But you just have to keep going!’
Despite the astonishing amount of talent on show, one thing was notable by its absence among the candidates: the presence of any boys. This could be explained at least in part because the sorts of novels that inspired this year’s shortlisters – which ranged from Jane Eyre to Twilight – on the whole tended to be more typically girl-friendly stories.
Significant Stat – Ebook Edition of Gone Girl Outsells Physical Book In US
Orion has reported that e-book sales of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl have accounted for 60% of [UK] paperback sales.
The publisher said the novel had sold 250,000 e-books since release across all territories, compared with 410,000 mass market paperbacks, citing it as Orion’s highest ever proportion of e-book to physical sales. In the US, the e-book has sold more than double the copies of the physical book, the publisher added.
Nielsen BookScan has recorded 418,879 copies sold through the UK TCM since the book’s release last year, for a value of £2.2m.
Orion General m.d. Lisa Milton said: “Only a year ago it would have been impossible to believe a novel could sell over a quarter of a million e-books within a few months. As long as there are readers, how anyone chooses to read a book—whether hardback, paperback, audio or e-book—doesn’t matter.”