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July 31, 2013

Mixed response to Man Booker longlist


booker-longlist-2013-smaller-pic  By Joshua Farrington

The newly released Man Booker Prize longlist has been praised by the media for its diversity, but criticised for missing several big names and including multiple titles that have yet to be published.

The Guardian praised the judges, and said: “This is a jury not afraid to be experimental.”

It commended the scope of the longlist and said: “The longlist casts a wide net in terms of both geography and time, ranging from the slimmest of novels—Colm Tóibín’s stark, surprising The Testament of Mary conjures the gospel according to Jesus’s mother in a mere 100-odd pages—to vast doorstops, playful with genre and form.”

The Daily Mail focused on authors it saw as being “snubbed” from the Booker list, describing the nominated authors as “obscure . . . mostly unknown”. It said: “This year’s longlist is notable for the number of big-name authors who have been overlooked, including J M Coetzee, Roddy Doyle and Margaret Atwood. Five of the books have yet to be published.”

The Daily Mail also quoted Alex Donohue of bookmaker Ladbrokes, which has appointed Jim Crace as the current favourite at 9/2.

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May 22, 2013

Baha Mousa book wins George Orwell Prize

very_british | By Joshua Farrington

The £3,000 Orwell Book Prize for political writing has been awarded to A Very British Killing: The Death of Baha Mousa by AT Williams, published by Jonathan Cape.

A special Orwell Prize was given to the late Marie Colvin’s On the Front Line (HarperPress).

A Very British Killing follows events in Basra in 2003.

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Self-published book among Commonwealth regional winners

booksstacked_| By Joshua Farrington

A self-published author has featured among the regional winners of the Commonwealth Book Prize.

Ezekel Alan from Jamaica won in the Caribbean category with his self-published book, Disposable People, published via CreateSpace.

He will now go forwards with the other regional winners to compete to be the overall winner of the prize, which is given to the best first novel from a Commonwealth writer. The winner will be announced at Hay Festival on 31st May.

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May 15, 2013

Comma strikes twice on Edge Hill shortlist

thestonethrower| Joshua Farrington

Small independent publisher Comma Press has had two titles shortlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize.

The books, by Adam Marek and Jane Rogers, are shortlisted alongside titles from Jonathan Cape, Pan Macmillan and Bloomsbury, which also has two nominations.

The award, now in its seventh year, is given for a published collection of short stories by a single author. The winner will be announced in a ceremony at Waterstones Piccadilly on 4th July.

Judges for this year’s prize are last year’s winner Sarah Hall, author Lesley McDowell and Waterstones regional buyer Jim Lee.

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May 14, 2013

RNIB hails Kindle app ‘breakthrough’

amazon | By Joshua Farrington

A new Kindle app from Amazon will help blind and partially sighted people to access 1.5m titles.

The app works with the in-built magnification and speech functions of iPhones, iPads and some other Apple devices, while also creating an electronic Braille display.

Amazon consulted with blind and partially sighted people in the UK to help develop the app, which has previously been impossible due to compatibility issues with Apple’s own accessibility features.

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May 8, 2013

Folio Prize to allow self-published work

folioprize| By  Joshua Farrington

The Folio Prize has confirmed it is to consider self-published entries, a move which has been welcomed by the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).

Sixty titles on the 80-strong longlist will be put forward by the Folio’s academy, made up of members of the literary community, and it is understood they will be allowed to select self-published works.

The remaining 20 will be called in by judges following publishers writing letters of support for particular titles. Self-published authors will be able to act as publishers and write letters of support for their own titles, which will then be considered to be called in.

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May 7, 2013

Anne Somerset wins Elizabeth Longford Prize

queen_anne | By Joshua Farrington

Anne Somerset’s biography Queen Anne has won the 2013 Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography.

The book, published by HarperPress, was described by chair of judges Professor Roy Foster as: “a psychologically subtle and surprisingly vivid portrait of a ruler who has hitherto remained obscure to her biographers”.

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April 29, 2013

Two for Harvill on Indy shortlist

iffp_logo | By Joshua Farrington

Two titles from Harvill Secker have been shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.

The Detour by Gerbrand Bakker, translated from the Dutch by David Colmer is in the running alongside Dublinesque by Enrique Vila-Matas, translated from the Spanish by Rosalind Harvey and Anne McLean.

Indies make up the rest of the shortlist, with Trieste by Daša Drndic, translated from the Croatian by Ellen Elias-Bursac (Maclehose Press); Bundu by Chris Barnard, translated from the Afrikaans by Michiel Heyns (Alma Books); The Fall of the Stone City by Ismail Kadare, translated from the Albanian by John Hodgson (Canongate); and Traveller of the Century by Andrés Neuman, translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor and Lorenza Garcia (Pushkin Press).

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April 23, 2013

TES poll reveals teachers’ favourite reads

| By Joshua Farrington

A list of teachers’ favourite books compiled by the Times Educational Supplement (TES) has declared Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice as number one. Harper Lee’s popular school text, To Kill a Mockingbird, came in second, while JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series came in third.

500 teachers responded to an online survey to name their favourite books, to create a list which TES editor Gerard Kelly called: “a masterpiece of erudition and entertainment” which “could be one of the few things that Michaels Gove and Rosen agree on”.

In the magazine’s leader column, he wrote: “Strip out the children’s books, the inclusion of which is only to be expected from people whose job it is to engage children, and what you are left with is a pretty canonical list. There’s enough Dickens, Steinbeck, Hardy, Wilde, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Hugo and Eliot to satisfy even the most conservative of politicians, and of course, plenty of modern greats: Kerouac, Ishiguro, Roy and Plath, to please the modernists.”

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April 12, 2013

Record numbers sign up for World Book Night

Filed under: Publishers — Tags: , , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 10:38 am

wbn_logo_2013 | By Joshua Farrington

World Book Night has had a record number of givers sign up, with more than 23,000 people volunteering to hand out books in their communities.

More than half of the applicants have never taken part in the event before, with people applying from across the country, including the Scilly Isles and Outer Hebrides.

Taking place on April 23rd, World Book Night will see delivery service Yodel distribute 400,000 books to giver collection points, while a further 100,000 books will be sent directly to hospitals, prisons and care homes in an attempt to reach communities with low literacy levels.

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