Publishing Round-Up: 7th December 2015.

‘Father of Tartan Noir’ William McIlvanney dies 

The Guardian have posted a tribute to the life and work of William McIlvanney, who passed away this week:

William McIlvanney, who has died aged 79, grew into the title “the godfather of tartan noir” – the term for Scottish crime fiction – though it was not one he fully welcomed. His grander ambitions are represented by the autobiographical novel Docherty (1975), a kind of Sons and Lovers of the industrial west of Scotland, for which McIlvanney was awarded the Whitbread prize. It was, however, the Glasgow-based crime novel Laidlaw, published two years later, which caught the fancy of the broader reading public.

“Detectives with existential anxieties, marriage problems and a deep literary hinterland are not uncommon now, but Detective Inspector Jack Laidlaw was a bright arrival on a dull Scottish literary scene in 1977. In policing the rougher territories of Glasgow and environs, Laidlaw found many things stacked against him; what he had going for him were a realistic outlook on life, abundantly laced with wit and philosophical reflection – a voice he inherited from his highly articulate creator.”

Read the rest on McIlvanney’s life and legacy here.


The Fox and the Star wins Waterstones Book of the Year

Children’s book The Fox and the Star by a Penguin cover designer Coralie Bickford-Smith has beaten Harper Lee and Paula Hawkins to be crowned The Waterstones Book of the Year 2015.

The title, published by Particular Books and inspired by William Blake’s Eternity and the graphic work of William Morris, has a “classic feel of a fable” and tells the story of a fox whose only friend had been Star who lit its path through the forest each night, until one night it was no longer there and the fox had to face the dark wood alone.

James Daunt, the chain bookseller’s m.d, said the title was chosen as the winner because of the “impassioned advocacy of our outstanding children’s booksellers.”

Read more about the winner here.


The Girl on the Train wins WH Smith Book of the Year

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (Doubleday) has been named as the WH Smith ‘Book of the Year’.

The chain retailer selected the book from the year’s bestsellers and from titles which it viewed to have “ultimately taken the market by storm.”

The company said the title, published in January 2015, “first captured reader’s imaginations earlier this year and has sold phenomenally well going from strength to strength.”

Read more about the winner here.


Booksellers dub ‘Civilised Saturday’ a success

The Edinburgh Bookshop hosted a “jazz-singing butler” and served customers Buck’s Fizz and mince pies, while staff dressed in black tie costumes (right).

Marie Moser, owner the shop, said: “The customers were delighted with it, it all went down very well. When we explained the concept to people and they all said ‘what a lovely idea’. It would have been a busy Saturday anyway, but it put a nice feeling onto it for customers.”

She added that suggestions the name of the theme sounded “smug” was to misunderstand the point of the day.

“The point if Civilised Saturday is to say ‘you are out shopping in a busy period but it doesn’t have to be fraught, it can be a nice experience’,” Moser said. “It is a really good thing. It reminds people it is not all about having punch ups. We cannot afford to partake in deep Black Friday promotions, so this is a way we can capitalize on that busy weekend.”

Read more about the weekend here.


Morrissey wins Bad Sex in Fiction award

Singer and debut novelist Morrissey has won this year’s Bad Sex in Fiction award for his debut book, titled List of the Lost.

The judges said they were swayed by an “ecstatic scene” involving two of the lead characters.

The book contains the lines: “Eliza and Ezra rolled together into one giggling snowball of full-figured copulation, shouting and screaming.”

Morrissey was unable to attend the ceremony due to touring commitments.

Read more about the award here.


Voting opens for 2015 Costa Short Story Award

Voting has opened for the 2015 Costa Short Story Award, an Award launched in 2012 for a single short story, run in association with the Costa Book Awards but judged independently of the main five-category system.

The general public is now invited to vote for its favourite from the shortlist of six stories which can be downloaded either to read or listen to from the Costa Book Awards website.

Over 1000 entries were received to the competition which is now in its fourth year. Open to both published and unpublished writers, the Award is for a single, previously unpublished short story of up to 4,000 words, written in English by an author aged 18 years or over.

Read more about the award here.


Future of book publishing is mobile, says Stephen Page

The chief executive of publisher Faber & Faber has challenged the book publishing industry to respond to the rapid increase in smartphone use, particularly by young readers.

“Perhaps in the 21st century the zero-law of publishing will be understand mobile. Because without expert understanding of it, we may not be able to create the new audiences,” said Stephen Page, speaking at the FutureBook publishing industry conference in London.

“That’s true for booksellers, for publishers, for writers. We have to put mobile at the centre of our thinking,” he said, while suggesting that for book publishers, mobile’s key challenge is a marketing one.

“Yeah, I think e-reading might migrate to phones, but that’s not really the issue. This isn’t about formats, it’s about marketing,” he said.

Read more about Page’s keynote here.


Every 16-year-old in Sweden to be given copy of We Should All Be Feminists

Less than a month after it was revealed that the UK is planning to drop feminism from the politics A-level, every 16-year-old in Sweden is being given a copy of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s call to arms, We Should All Be Feminists.

The essay, adapted from Adichie’s award-winning TED talk of the same name, is being distributed in Swedish to high-school students by the Swedish Women’s Lobby and publisher Albert Bonniers. Launching the project at Norra Real high school in Stockholm this week, they said they hoped the book would “work as a stepping stone for a discussion about gender equality and feminism”.

Read more about the book here.


Founder behind Girls Who Code partners with Penguin Young Readers

Reshma Saujani, the founder of the Girls Who Code non-profit organization, has established a partnership with Penguin Young Readers.

Some of the projects in-the-works include a nonfiction title that features an introduction to coding, a doodling book, a coding-themed journal, a middle-grade fiction series, and a board books series. The release date for the nonfiction book has been scheduled for Summer 2017.

Read more about the partnership here.


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