Publishing Round-Up: 11th April 2016.

Barrington Stoke makes its Bucket List

‘Edinburgh-based Barrington Stoke is expanding its offering with the launch of Bucket List, an imprint for diverse, translated and unknown stories.

The indie publisher has previously concentrated on books accessible to children who struggle with reading, engaging well-known authors such as Michael Morpurgo and Malorie Blackman to pen accessible titles.

“Essentially, Bucket List is the first chance for us to look at new voices because the Barrington Stoke list is about established voices,” said m.d. Mairi Kidd. “Children who don’t engage with reading don’t want to be stigmatised, they want to be in the same landscape as everyone else. But with this we will be looking much more to develop voices ourselves.”

The list, which will be edited by Emma Baker, will publish six to eight books in 2017 but will launch with two titles this year.’

Read more about Bucket List here.



Hastings steps down as director of Bloody Scotland

‘Dom Hastings is stepping down as director of Bloody Scotland to take on a new role with The British Council.

Bob McDevitt, currently programmer at Glasgow’s Aye Write! Festival & Pitlochry Winter Words will take on the role of interim director to deliver the 2016 event.

A new permanent director for the festival will be sought in the autumn.

Hastings has been organising the Stirling-based festival since its inception in 2012 and will continue to work with the organisation until the 2016 programme announcement in early June. He is leaving to become programme manager
for festivals and seasons at The British Council – a newly-created role.’

Read more about Hastings’ move here.

ScotLitFestScotLitFest reveals first authors

‘Michel Faber, A. L. Kennedy and Juno Dawson are amongst the authors lined up to celebrate Scottish literature and culture in Scot Lit Fest, Scotland’s first virtual book festival.

On Twitter, A.L. Kennedy will chat about her new book and her work on the latest Doctor Who book. Neu Reekie’s Kevin Williamson will tackle Amazon’s place in the literary ecosystem. 2015 Saltire First Book Award winner Helen McClory will be in discussion with Radio 2 Book Club featured Kirsty Logan. #fèislitalba, our Gaelic programme, will feature award-winners Angus Peter Campbell and Tim Armstrong.’

Read more about the line up here.


Controversial essay from Kirsty Gunn says ‘Controlling agenda threatens Scotland’s culture’

‘Kirsty Gunn says there has been an ‘unofficial politicising’ of literature by Creative Scotland, which is promoting an awards structure favouring Scottish-themed books ahead of art for its own sake.’

‘Where is Scottish literature now? Is it, as it’s always been, at home in a writer’s and reader’s mind? Or, as our current culture would have it, somewhere a little more regimented than that?

“A writer’s country is a place within his own brain” Virginia Woolf wrote in her journal. “A writer has no passport except her own imagination” I wrote myself, in The Conversation, an online discussion around independence and identity that took place at the time of the referendum. A writer, after all, is someone who, as James Kelman so memorably put it in his acceptance speech for the 1994 Booker prize, “has a responsibility to no one or anything other than the empty page in front of him.” Right?

Well, that’s what I’ve always thought, but I’ve come to see that our creative atmosphere is changing.’

Read the rest of Gunn’s piece and responses to it here.


Lena Dunham to launch publishing imprint Lenny

‘Actor and writer Lena Dunham has teamed up with publisher Random House to launch her own publishing imprint, Lenny.

Launching in late 2017, Lenny will publish fiction and non-fiction titles selected by Dunham and Jenni Konner, co-creator of the website Lenny, which covers “feminism, style, health, politics, friendship and everything else”. What began as the weekly bulletin Lenny Letter, has as a website established a track record of attracting significant voices in literature and public debate. Previous features include an interview Dunham conducted with US presidential contender Hillary Clinton, actor Jane Fonda writing about how she became a feminist, and actor Jennifer Lawrence’s much talked-about essay about her anger towards the pay gap in Hollywood.

Dunham told Buzzfeed that her friendship with Konner “often doubles as a book club”.

“We feel like the Lenny voice lends itself to a diverse list of authors and we are so excited to work with Random House – they get our mission completely,” Dunham said. “Lenny books will aspire to push the ball forward on the issues that matter to our audience, with wit and style. We hope to see them sticking out of purses and riding public transportation everywhere.”’

Read more about Lenny here.


Guardian First Book Award to close after 17 years

‘The Guardian First Book Award is to close after 17 years due to a crowded “awards landscape” and the financial constraints of running the prize.

Established in 1999, the prize awarded £10,000 to a debut writer published in English. However, today (7th April), books editor Claire Armitstead announced that the prize is to end.

A statement from The Guardian said: “After almost two decades we have made the decision that we will no longer be running the Guardian First Book Award. The awards landscape has expanded extensively over the years and there are now numerous events which recognise emerging literary talent.”’

Read more about the closure here.

‘Harry Potter’ chair sold for almost $400,000 at auction

‘A chair that author JK Rowling sat on while writing the first two Harry Potter books has sold at a New York auction for nearly $400,000 (£283,000).

The 1930s piece was one of four mismatched chairs that the British author picked up for free in Edinburgh, Scotland, before she rose to fame.

Ms Rowling originally auctioned the chair to benefit her charity in 2002.

She hand-painted the chair, which auctioneer James Gannon said made the piece so valuable.

It features the phrases: “O, you may not find me pretty but don’t judge on what you see” and “I wrote Harry Potter while sitting on this chair”.’

Read more about the chair here.


Lee Child makes it two weeks at number one

‘Lee Child’s Make Me (Bantam) has held the number one spot for a second consecutive week, selling 36,697 copies for £138,058, according to Nielsen BookScan’s Total Consumer Market. The 20th Jack Reacher title improved its volume 5.87% on the week before. In total, Make Me has sold 71,521 copies since its release, the highest two-week total for any Child number one.

Joe Wicks and Alfie Deyes held the second and third spots respectively, so the top three remains identical to the week before. Wicks’ Lean in 15 (Bluebird) increased in volume for a second week running, jumping 8.2% to 22,410 copies sold, and once again trumped Make Me in value, bringing in £182,198 to the paperback’s £138,058.’

Read more about the charts here.


Jeff BezosNew ‘top of the line’ Kindle coming soon

‘Amazon is to release a new version of its Kindle e-reader device soon, c.e.o. and founder Jeff Bezos has revealed.

Bezos tweeted yesterday (4th April) that an “all-new, top of the line Kindle” is “almost ready”. The Amazon boss said it would be the eighth generation of the device, adding that more details would be revealed this week.

Tech news website Engadget has speculated that this new Kindle will be a replacement for the “aging but still powerful” Kindle Voyage, which was released in the US in autumn 2014. Bezos described the Kindle Voyage as being “the next big step in this mission” at the time of the launch. It costs £169 in the UK.’

Read more about the new model here.



booksPrint market up 11.4% for first quarter of 2016

‘The print market is up 11.4% in value for the first 12 weeks of 2016, according to Nielsen Bookscan’s Total Consumer Market. This is the first double-digit year-on-year rise for the first quarter of the year since Nielsen records began.

From the first week of January to the fourth week of March, 39.5m books were sold, worth £312m, the first time the book market has surpassed £300m in value in the first quarter since 2011. It also represents a 7.3% rise in volume on 2015.

Average selling price is also dizzyingly high— at an average of  £7.91 over the past 12 weeks, it is the highest a.s.p since 2004. For the first time since 2002, a.s.p. is yet to drop lower than £7.00 in the first 12 weeks of the year.’

Read more new stats here.


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