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Archive by tag: Sian CainReturn
Apr 15, 2021

‘Sophisticated cyber-criminals’ took Valeria Luiselli’s winnings, though a similar fraud attempt on the Baillie Gifford prize was foiled

The Rathbones Folio prize has revealed that it paid £30,000 prize money to scammers posing as the author Valeria Luiselli, who won the award in 2020.

Publishing industry magazine the Bookseller revealed on Wednesday that the Folio, which is awarded to the year’s best work of literature regardless of form, was scammed by “sophisticated cyber-criminals”. The scammers posed as the Mexican author Luiselli, who had won with her novel Lost Children Archive, and requested that the £30,000 payment be made through PayPal.

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Apr 12, 2021

Current laureate Cressida Cowell leads demands to ringfence funds to renew ‘deteriorating’ facilities that fail to appeal to students

All of the UK’s children’s laureates, including Cressida Cowell, Quentin Blake, Malorie Blackman and Michael Rosen, are uniting to call for the government to dedicate £100m a year to revitalising “deteriorating” primary school libraries across the country, amid fears that literacy levels have dropped severely during the pandemic.

In an impassioned letter to prime minister Boris Johnson, Cowell, the current laureate, calls for £100m to be ringfenced for building new and restoring neglected libraries every year, saying that millions of children are “missing out on opportunities to discover the life-changing magic of reading”.

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Apr 07, 2021

Open letter had claimed that the longlisting of the Detransition, Baby author signalled that female writers were unworthy of their own prize

The Women’s prize for fiction has issued a strongly worded statement saying that it “deplores any attempts to malign or bully” authors nominated for the prize, after trans novelist Torrey Peters was targeted in an open letter.

The US writer, who is nominated for the £30,000 award for her debut novel Detransition, Baby, was the subject of a letter published online on Tuesday by the Wild Women Writing Club. The letter, which is signed by several dead women writers including Emily Dickinson and Daphne du Maurier, claims that some signatories were using pseudonyms “because of the threat of harassment by trans extremists and/or cancellation by the book industry”.

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Mar 30, 2021

Kenyan novelist’s The Perfect Nine is first work written in an indigenous African language to be longlisted

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o has become the first writer to be nominated for the International Booker prize as both author and translator of the same book, and the first nominee writing in an indigenous African language.

The 83-year-old Kenyan and perennial Nobel favourite is among 13 authors nominated for the award for best translated fiction, a £50,000 prize split evenly between author and translator. Thiong’o is nominated as writer and translator of The Perfect Nine, a novel-in-verse described by the judges as “a magisterial and poetic tale about women’s place in a society of gods”, and written in the Bantu language Gikuyu.

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Mar 29, 2021

Publisher Scholastic says it will no longer distribute The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future

Captain Underpants author Dav Pilkey has apologised for “harmful racial stereotypes and passively racist imagery” in one of his graphic novels for children, which has been withdrawn by his publisher amid a surge in anti-Asian violence in the US.

The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future, first published in 2010, follows two cavemen who travel to the year 2222 and meet Master Wong, a martial arts instructor. Last week, publisher Scholastic announced that it would stop distributing the book and remove all mention of it from its website, saying it had “the full support” of Pilkey.

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Mar 29, 2021

Game of Thrones author also has a Netflix film on the way, but there is still no word of his finishing the fantasy series that made his name

After the huge success of HBO’s adaptations of his Game of Thrones books, George RR Martin has signed a deal to develop several television series for the network and its streaming arm, HBO Max.

Related: George RR Martin: ‘Game of Thrones finishing is freeing, I’m at my own pace’

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Mar 26, 2021

After America’s youth poet laureate’s ‘mesmerising’ inauguration reading, Cecilia Knapp, Caleb Femi and more reflect on how poetry can empower young people

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Mar 23, 2021

The award-winning poet has written his first picture book, Can Bears Ski?, after being unable to find any children’s titles with a deaf protagonist

There’s a story that Raymond Antrobus often tells, from the time before his deafness was diagnosed when he was six: when his father read him a picture book, Antrobus would nestle into his father’s chest, and feel the story he could not hear through the vibrations of his body. The book was often his favourite, Happy Birthday Moon; both the memory and the book would, decades later, give him the name of a poem in his prize-winning debut The Perseverance. “I’d like to be the Moon, the bear, even the rain. / Dad makes the Moon say something new every night / and we hear each other, really hear each other. / As Dad reads aloud, I follow his finger across the page.”

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Mar 17, 2021

A supporter of the far-right group Patriotic Alternative identifying herself as Tabatha Stirling has been recorded apologising for publishing authors of colour

Julie Burchill has dropped the new publisher for her book Welcome to the Woke Trials after the publisher was identified as a supporter of the UK white nationalist group Patriotic Alternative .

Tabatha Stirling is the sole director of Stirling Publishing, an independent based in Scotland. On Monday, she announced that she had acquired Welcome to the Woke Trials: How #Identity Killed Progressive Politics, months after it was dropped by publisher Little, Brown over Burchill’s comments about Islam.

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Mar 09, 2021

The US author was beloved for his pun-filled bestseller following a bored boy who drives into a magical kingdom, and for The Dot and the Line

Norton Juster, author of bestselling children’s books The Phantom Tollbooth and The Dot and the Line, has died aged 91. His death was confirmed by his publisher Penguin Random House on Tuesday, but no cause was revealed.

Children’s author and illustrator Mo Willems announced Juster’s death on Twitter on Tuesday. “My lunch partner, Norton Juster, ran out of stories and passed peacefully last night. Best known for THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH + THE DOT & THE LINE, Norton’s greatest work was himself: a tapestry of delightful tales. Miss him,” he wrote, quoting the end of The Dot and the Line: “To the vector goes the spoils.” Author Philip Pullman joined the tributes, calling Juster “a wonderfully inventive writer and a truly lovely man.”

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Feb 16, 2021

The Seventy-Five Pages, out next month, contains germinal versions of episodes developed in In Search of Lost Time and opens ‘the primitive Proustian crypt’

For everyone who decided to bite the madeleine and read all 3,000-odd pages of Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time during lockdown, what’s one more book? French publisher Gallimard has announced that it will be releasing a never-before-published work by the great French writer: Les Soixante-quinze feuillets, or The Seventy-Five Pages, on 18 March.

The texts in The Seventy-Five Pages were written in 1908, around the time Proust began working on In Search of Lost Time, which was published between 1913 and 1927. The papers were part of a collection of documents held by the late publisher Bernard de Fallois, who died in 2018. During his lifetime, De Fallois oversaw the posthumous publication of several Proust works including Jean Santeuil, Proust’s abandoned first novel from the 1890s.

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Feb 04, 2021

Son of US president, and ongoing target for conservatives, will release Beautiful Things in April

Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden and an ongoing target for Republican supporters, has announced that his memoir, Beautiful Things, will be published in April.

Related: Joe, Jill and the Bidens: who are America's new first family?

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Jan 22, 2021

The Hill We Climb will be published as a single book after barnstorming appearance at Joe Biden ceremony

Amanda Gorman, the 22-year-old poet who stole the show with her poem The Hill We Climb at the presidential inauguration on Wednesday, has landed yet another book deal, with her forthcoming debuts shooting straight to the top of the charts.

Hours after she stepped off the dais, publisher Penguin Children’s announced that it would be releasing Gorman’s poem as a hardcover book in spring, with plans to print 150,000 copies in the first run, unprecedented even for a whole poetry collection, “due to overwhelming demand”.

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Jan 20, 2021

Fairytale anthology Wonderland Is for Everyone must now carry warning that its stories contain ‘behaviour inconsistent with traditional gender roles’

Hungary’s government, which has made hostility to LGBT people a central part of its rightwing agenda, on Tuesday ordered a publisher to print disclaimers identifying books containing “behaviour inconsistent with traditional gender roles”.

The government said the action was needed to protect consumers, after Labrisz, an association for lesbian, bisexual and trans women, published a fairytale anthology titled Wonderland Is for Everyone, which included some stories with LGBT themes.

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Jan 15, 2021

Class action lawsuit filed in US claims the houses have colluded with the online giant to keep prices artificially high

Amazon.com and the “Big Five” publishers – Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster – have been accused of colluding to fix ebook prices, in a class action filed by the law firm that successfully sued Apple and the Big Five on the same charge 10 years ago.

The lawsuit, filed in district court in New York on Thursday by Seattle firm Hagens Berman, on behalf of consumers in several US states, names the retail giant as the sole defendant but labels the publishers “co-conspirators”. It alleges Amazon and the publishers use a clause known as “Most Favored Nations” (MFN) to keep ebook prices artificially high, by agreeing to price restraints that force consumers to pay more for ebooks purchased on retail platforms that are not Amazon.com.

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Jan 14, 2021

Hergé’s original artwork for Le Lotus Bleu was rejected as too expensive to reproduce in 1936 and given to editor’s son, who kept it in a drawer for decades

A rejected Tintin cover illustrated by Hergé that was gifted to a child and kept in a drawer for decades has set a new world record as the most expensive comic book artwork, selling at auction for €3.2m (£2.8m) on Thursday.

Le Lotus Bleu was created in 1936 by the Belgian artist, born Georges Remi, using Indian ink, gouache and watercolour. It had been intended for the eponymous cover of his fifth Tintin title, which sees the boy reporter head to China in order to dismantle an opium trafficking ring.

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Jan 14, 2021

Neal Kirby says he was appalled the see symbols of the patriotic action man among the crowds as ‘Captain America is the antithesis of Donald Trump’

The son of Captain America co-creator Jack Kirby has strongly condemned insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol last week wearing or brandishing symbols of the Marvel superhero, saying his father would have been “absolutely sickened” by the sight.

In a statement issued to CNN reporter Jake Tapper, Neal Kirby, 72, said he was “appalled and mortified” to see Trump supporters dressed in Captain America costumes or displaying his iconic star shield on 6 January. His father Jack, along with Joe Simon, created Captain America in 1941, with the comic’s first issue famously showing the superhero punching Adolf Hitler in the face.

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Jan 13, 2021

The system is at fault, not individuals ... a study of burnout makes clear why it’s wrong to portray millennials as flimsy, fickle or lazy

Sometimes, while in the supermarket, Anne Helen Petersen likes to test herself: she purposefully stands in the biggest checkout queue, to observe how long she can live in her own head without distraction and frustration. “I’m addicted to stimulation,” she admits in Can’t Even, her meticulously researched study of burnout among millennials. “I’ve forgotten not just how to wait, but even how to let my mind wander and play.” Some readers may see this as a horrifying indictment of modern life, but to others, it will be completely understandable. When was the last time you simply stood in silence, rather than putting on a podcast or scrolling endlessly through Instagram or responding to an email or notification?

Burnout is a symptom of feeling overworked and undervalued, resulting in what Petersen calls “alienation from the self, and from desire”. Some might recognise it in themselves: an underlying anxiety, an inability to relax, a general fuzziness in the brain. Petersen’s book, born from a BuzzFeed essay that went viral in 2019, has a slightly misleading subtitle: “How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation”. It is really focused on American millennials, and doesn’t argue that only those born between 1981 and 1996 suffer burnout. Rather, millennials are the generation to bear the brunt of economic, social and political decisions made by their parents and grandparents, or generation X and the baby boomers; everyone is feeling the strain.

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Jan 12, 2021

Beautiful World, Where Are You, set to be released on 7 September, follows four young people as they navigate love, friendship and sex

Sally Rooney’s third novel, and her first since the widely acclaimed Normal People, will be published on 7 September.

Beautiful World, Where Are You, announced by Rooney’s UK publisher Faber on Tuesday, follows Alice and Eileen, two friends in their 20s who find themselves on very different trajectories. Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a distribution warehouse and asks him to go to Rome with her; Eileen, recovering from a break-up in Dublin, begins to flirt with Simon, a childhood friend.

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Jan 04, 2021

War Horse author says his Tales from Shakespeare was only ever going to include 10 plays, and he has chosen the ones most likely to appeal to young readers

Michael Morpurgo has denied a Sunday Times report that he “refused” to include The Merchant of Venice in a forthcoming Shakespeare anthology for children due to antisemitism.

The newspaper described the former children’s laureate’s “21st-century sensibilities” as having prevented the inclusion of the play in Tales from Shakespeare, his retelling of 10 Shakespeare plays for children aged six and older. The Merchant of Venice famously features the Jewish moneylender Shylock, who demands a pound of flesh from the merchant Antonio if a loan is not repaid by his deadline.

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Dec 16, 2020

Sotheby’s, which sold the 297 letters, says they reveal ‘a complex and ambiguous relationship where unrequited passion and mistrust mingle’

Almost 300 letters, mostly unpublished, from the influential feminist thinker Simone de Beauvoir to the French novelist Violette Leduc, including The Second Sex author’s rejection of her friend’s romantic advances, have sold for €56,700 (£51,500).

Sent between 1945 to a month before Leduc’s death in 1972, the 297 letters reveal the intense friendship between the two women, with Beauvoir serving as an editor and source of unwavering support for Leduc, who she once called “the most interesting woman I know” and drew on her for her analysis of lesbianism in The Second Sex. Despite counting Jean Genet and Albert Camus among her fans, Leduc did not gain fame until the final years of her life, with her frank depiction of lesbian sex regarded as unacceptable for much of her career.

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Dec 12, 2020

David Walliams, Whoopi Goldberg, Bruce Springsteen … when celebrity authors make big money from children’s books, do young readers and other writers pay the price?

What do David Walliams, Lil Nas X, Ricky Gervais, Dermot O’Leary, Geri Halliwell, Bruce Springsteen, Miranda Hart, Greg James, Chris Hoy, Frank Lampard, Clare Balding, Konnie Huq, Marie Kondo, Paul McCartney, Julian Clary, Whoopi Goldberg, Ben Fogle, Tom Fletcher, Julianne Moore, Lupita Nyong’o, Sandi Toksvig, Natalie Portman, Spike Lee, Fearne Cotton, Russell Brand, Pharrell Williams, David Baddiel, Simon Cowell, Danny Baker, Prince Charles, Coleen Rooney, Madonna, LeBron James, Lorraine Kelly, Ben Miller, Sarah Ferguson, Adrian Edmondson, Jamie Lee Curtis and Keith Richards have in common?

They are all children’s authors. And celebrities. Which makes them, depending on who you speak to, either the saviours of publishing or proof of its decline. And of the many celebrities who have tried their luck in children’s books, Walliams is the giant. Since his 2008 debut, The Boy in the Dress, he has sold more than 40m books and racked up more than 180 weeks at No 1 in the children’s charts; a feat even JK Rowling has never achieved. He alone accounted for 14.4% of HarperCollins’ £133m revenue last year, and singlehandedly sold a third of the top 50 children’s books of the year: 2.4m copies from 11 books, compared to 4.7m between the rest.

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Dec 07, 2020

The poet, whose acceptance speech will also be released on Monday, will publish Winter Recipes from the Collective in 2021

Nobel laureate Louise Glück is set to publish her first poetry collection in seven years in 2021 – her first since becoming the 16th female winner of the literature prize.

Glück won the 2020 Nobel prize in October, with the judging committee citing her “unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal”. The 77-year-old is the author of 12 books of poems and two collections of essays, and has previously won the Pulitzer prize, the National Book Award, the National Humanities medal and the gold medal for poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

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Nov 25, 2020

The writer-star has had a baby, lost a close friend and published a memoir in lockdown. She talks about the trouble with male comedy writers – and why she wants to make a sketch show all about the clitoris

On the day in April that Rachel Bloom finally took her newborn daughter home from the hospital, one of her best friends died. Her daughter had arrived with fluid in her lungs, into a maternity ward that was rapidly filling with furniture as other wards were transformed into Covid wards. Bloom, tired and elated to be home, had a nap. Her husband woke her with the news: Adam Schlesinger – the well-loved musician and one of Bloom’s closest collaborators on the musical-dramedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – had died from Covid-19 in a New York hospital, aged 52.

For a wild and strange period, it was unclear how to grieve. Schlesinger, like so many of this year’s dead, had no funeral. Jack Dolgen, the third part of the songwriting trio behind the TV show, came to mourn with Bloom, standing 15ft from her fence. Aline Brosh McKenna, the showrunner, stood in the street. “We didn’t know anything, there was no testing, we didn’t know how this thing spread,” Bloom says. “Now we have a Crazy Ex Zoom, where we all talk. But there’s nothing natural about it.”

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Nov 20, 2020

The Diaries of Alan Rickman, written by the actor until his death with the intention of one day publishing them, will be released in autumn 2022

The diaries of the late actor Alan Rickman are to be published, with 27 handwritten volumes of his “witty, gossipy and utterly candid” thoughts about his career and life spanning more than 25 years set to be edited down into a single book.

Publisher Canongate has acquired the rights the actor’s diaries, which will be published as The Diaries of Alan Rickman in autumn 2022. Rickman began writing the diaries by hand in the early 1990s, with the intention that they would one day be published. By then, his acting career had truly kicked off, him having already built a reputation at the Royal Shakespeare Company and on stage as Valmont in Les Liaisons Dangereuses. He was also a household name for his cinematic turns as the sardonic villain Hans Gruber in 1988’s Die Hard, the Sheriff of Nottingham in 1991’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and as Juliet Stevenson’s dead husband in the 1991 supernatural romance Truly, Madly, Deeply.

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