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December 2011

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Tennant to voice Chitty audiobook

Scottish actor David Tennant, known for his roles in “Doctor Who” and with the Royal Shakespeare Company, has been chosen to voice the downloadable audiobook of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again by the family of Ian Fleming.

The novel by Frank Cottrell Boyce, the first official sequel to Fleming’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, will be available as an exclusive download for £10.99 from Audible and iTunes from today (21st December).

Lucy Fleming, niece of Ian Fleming, said: “We are thrilled that David agreed to read the audiobook. He is such a talented actor and his voice brings Frank Cottrell Boyce’s story to life with a wry humour and great characterisation.’

The audiobook also includes an interview between Lucy Fleming and Tennant, who said: “The idea of a flying car is hard to better. I think we would all love to have a car that would take off, escape the traffic, and fly you to any country in the world.’

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again

is also published as hardback and e-book by Macmillan Children’s Books.

News item posted on 22-Dec-2011

E-books in Apple's annual giveaway

Apple is to launch a 12 Days of Christmas giveaway, to begin on Boxing Day, which will include e-books, as yet unspecified, as well as free apps, TV shows, movies and music.  

The giveaway will run from 26th December to 6th January on iTunes, with a different product being offered free for each 24-hour period. The online retailer has run the promotion since Christmas 2008.

Meanwhile,'s own 12 Days of Christmas sale began at the end of November, with 138 titles offered, and a discount of up to 65% being offered on each title.

It also announced its New Year discounting on 12th December, its earliest launch date yet, with up to 70% off books. The internet retailer said it took orders for more than three million items on 5th December, which it branded its own Cyber Monday.

News item posted on 22-Dec-2011

Three more from Fabbri for Corvus

Corvus has bought a further three novels from Robert Fabbri, in his saga charting the rise of Vespasian to become Emperor of Rome. The series began with Tribune of Rome, with the second volume, Rome's Executioner, due out in May 2012.

Atlantic c.e.o. Toby Mundy and Corvus publishing director Nic Cheetham bought world English language rights from Ian Drury at Sheil Land in the next three episodes of the series. Two are print titles, and one an e-book-only novella, based on the story of a supporting character in the novel series, Magnus.

Mundy said Fabbri's series on Vespasian was "an epic piece of world building", adding: "Judging from the responses we have had from Robert's legions of readers, they are hungry for more, and I am delighted we will be publishing the next volumes in this exhilarating series."

News item posted on 21-Dec-2011

Carrère wins first French "prize of prizes"

The first annual literary ‘prize of prizes’ has been awarded to Emmanuel Carrère for his novel Limonov, which was published by P O L and earned him the Renaudot this year.

This was Carrère’s 12th literary prize, two of them received for the entire body of his work.

Candidates for the new prize are the winners of the eight major awards: Décembre; Femina; Flore; French Academy; Goncourt; Interallié; Médicis; and Renaudot. It was created by Pierre Leroy, a top manager at Hachette Livre parent company Lagardére and a former member of the Médicis jury, and has raised questions about whether France really needs yet another literary prize.

News item posted on 21-Dec-2011

Baking brothers rise to the occasion for Headline

Headline has bought world rights to cookery book The Fabulous Baker Brothers.

Deputy publishing director Sarah Emsley acquired the book in a pre-emptive deal from Rowan Lawton at Peters, Fraser & Dunlop, acting on behalf of Betty TV. It will be published on 19th January 2012, to accompany a new Channel Four series devoted to baking brothers Tom and Henry Herbert.

Emsley said the duo were "set to be the new faces of British cookery".

News item posted on 20-Dec-2011

Double jubilee titles for Anova

Anova Books has signed two deals for books marking the Queen's diamond jubilee next year, acquiring a title celebrating the monarch's style as well as a collection of jubilee-themed postcards.

Editor Emily Preece-Morrison signed a deal directly with the author for world English-language rights to Jane Eastoe's Elizabeth: Reigning in Style. She said: "In the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year, there will be many books published looking at all aspects of Her Majesty's life. With this detailed look at the royal wardrobe we hope to find a point of difference. Elizabeth II was a style icon as a princess and young monarch and is once again being seen in those terms." It will be released as a £9.99 hardback in April 2012.

Meanwhile, Anova c.e.o. Polly Powell bought world English language rights from Verlhac Editions in Paris to the book of photographs by Martin Parr, and plans to publish the title under the Pavilion imprint in April 2012.

Fiona Holman, Pavilion editorial director, said: "If you want an original jubilee gift, this set of colourful postcards hits the spot." As-yet untitled, it will include 10 postcards, inspired by the jubilee theme and the British tradition of street parties, and will also be published in April 2012, priced £9.99.

News item posted on 20-Dec-2011

OUP hits 300 with Very Short Introductions

Oxford University Press will be releasing its 300th Very Short Introduction title in January 2012, alongside its first app, which will feature sample chapters and additional content. 

The series takes complicated topics—from The History of Art to Ireland or Nothing—and asks experts to distill their knowledge about it into 35,000 words. The 300th title will be Film by Michael Wood (26th January, pb, £7.99), critic and reviewer at the London Review of Books and professor of English at Princeton. The book will cover the history of film, its meanings and intentions, and its future in the digital age. 

VSI commissioning and series editor Andrea Keegan said the series will also cover Stars, Metaphysics, and Biodiversity and Conservation in the next six months. "I think as long as we continue to publish relevant subjects which have interest for the general reader and students, and ensure that the authors continue to be of the top calibre, we can keep the series fresh for years to come," she said. The series is spreading into new areas—new management titles were introduced during 2011, and a new editions programme has started, which will be publishing Archaeology and Islam as second editions in 2012. 

Keegan said: "The books are not primers or surveys, but sophisticated 'takes' on a topic, and we allow the authors to express a point of view, while giving readers a really good way into a subject they may never have encountered before."

The VSI app, which will be free and available on all platforms, is intended to introduce the series to new readers, with a brief overview of each title and information about the authors, as well as a free sample chapter from each title. Its additional content will include a series of questions written by the authors to provoke and direct readers, alongside "Meet the Author" videos.

All VSI titles are released simultaneously as e-books. OUP said the bestselling titles to date are Literary Theory by Jonathan Culler, Globalization by Manfred Steger and Buddhism by Damien Keown.

News item posted on 19-Dec-2011 selling 1m Kindles a week has announced customers are buying over 1 million Kindles a week in the run-up to Christmas.

For the last three weeks the Kindle has sold over a million units a week, with the Kindle Fire being the company’s bestselling product of all the items sold on the site since it was introduced 11 weeks ago.

“Kindle Fire is the most successful product we’ve ever launched,” said Dave Limp, Amazon Kindle vice-president.

The sales figures include all version of the device.

News item posted on 19-Dec-2011

No Exit buys Drive sequel

Indie crime specialist No Exit Press has acquired the sequel to US author James Sallis' Drive, made into a Ryan Gosling film earlier this year. The publisher will also rerelease Sallis' backlist.

Publishing director Ion Mills bought UK and Commonwealth rights (including digital) to Driven from the author's US agent Vicky Bijur through Caspian Dennis at Abner Stein for an undisclosed sum.

The title will be published as a paperback original in June 2012 and follows the nameless protagonist of Drive seven years on as he is forced to face up to his violent past as a Hollywood stuntman who moonlights as a getaway driver for the mob.

No Exit Press will also relaunch Sallis' 12 backlist titles with a new livery in the same month. The Arizona-based author will be in the UK to promote in May and June.

Mills said: "James is a superb writer and a unique talent.


was a breakthrough book and was made into a terrific movie which helped win him a global mainstream audience. The follow-up will be one of the most eagerly awaited crime novels of the year."

News item posted on 16-Dec-2011

Collier wins Pandora Award

Suzanne Collier, founder of, has won this year's Pandora Award, given by Women In Publishing in recognition of  a "significant and sustained contribution to publishing".

Collier, who in 1989 was the youngest person ever to chair the Society of Young Publishers, set up the company to help people in the industry reach their career goals and to support those experiencing redundancy, workplace bullying or stress, or who are keen to start their own business. She runs the Salary Survey which has highlighted the differentials between male and female employees in the industry. In 2009/10, at the height of the recession, Collier set up a job club for unemployed publishers, helping over 40 people back into work.

Collier said: "Winning the Pandora award is such a great honour. As a young girl in publishing, and through the years, I have stood at the WIP awards, and watched as many great names in publishing, such as Carmen Callil and Judy Piatkus have been awarded this prize. To know that my name is added to that list means more to me than any words can say."

Meanwhile Leila Dewji has won Women in Publishing's New Venture Award for Acorn Independent Press, the company she launched a year ago to bring self-publishing into the digital age.

Both awards were given last night (14th December) at Women in Publishing's annual Christmas party.

News item posted on 16-Dec-2011

Daughter of Smoke and Bone heads to screen

Fantasy novel Daughter of Smoke and Bone is set to made into a film after Universal Pictures acquired the worldwide rights.

Written by Oregon-based author Laini Taylor, the Hodder title is the first of a YA trilogy and has been picked as one of's Top Ten Books of 2011. The novels follow an ancient battle between angels and devils and a forbidden romance.

Taylor said: “My goal is always to write stories that readers will want to climb inside of and live in, and which—I hope—will allow them to just lose themselves in the page. It is a hugely thrilling prospect to think about Universal and filmmakers translating my world onscreen and giving it a second life in such a grand way. I’m over the moon.”

The second book in the trilogy will be published in September 2012.

News item posted on 16-Dec-2011

Author Russell Hoban dies

The author Russell Hoban, published by Bloomsbury, died last night at the age of 86.

Hoban is best known for his post-apocalyptic novel Riddley Walker, set in Kent 2,000 years after a nuclear holocaust. Published in 1980, it earned him cult status and has since been included in Harold Bloom’s The Western Canon.

Hoban was born in Pennsylvania and served in the Second World War as a radio operator in both the Philippines and Italy, for which he was later awarded a bronze star for bravery. Initially a children’s author, after moving to London in 1969 he began writing novels aimed at adults.

He was the author of over 20 books for children and adults, with combined sales of 80,000 according to Nielsen BookScan, including Amaryllis Night and Day and Turtle Diary, which was filmed with a Harold Pinter screenplay. His last novel, Angelica Lost and Found, was published by Bloomsbury in November 2010.

News item posted on 15-Dec-2011

McGough made president of Poetry Society

Roger McGough has been announced as the new president of the Poetry Society.

The poet has been a member of the society since the 1970s and until recently held the position of vice-president. McGough said: “I believe that poetry will become more relevant and important over the coming years, and an efficient and well-run Poetry Society should be there to embrace it.”

Jo Shapcott, former president of the society, said: “We know Roger McGough for his strong connection with poetry readers, his generosity to other poets and the range and brio of his own work. All this makes him a wonderful new president for the Poetry Society.” Poet Laureate and society vice president Carol Ann Duffy described McGough as “a much-loved performer, children’s poet, and national treasure”.


The development comes as welcome news after troubles earlier this year for the Poetry Society, when Arts Council England withheld the society's quarterly grant payment in the wake of a major internal row and resignations. Judith Palmer stood down as director in May, only to be re-instated in August following a petition.


McGough has written or appeared in over 50 books and is a regular presence on the radio as a presenter of BBC Radio 4’s "Poetry Please". Most recently, he co-wrote a poem with children from 12 schools, which now surrounds the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square

News item posted on 15-Dec-2011

'Downton Abbey's Stevens to judge Man Booker

In a move likely to inflame critics of the Man Booker prize judging process, actor Dan Stevens—best known for playing Matthew Crawley in TV drama series "Downton Abbey"—is to join the judging panel for the 2012 prize.

Stevens, who is editor-at-large for online quarterly The Junket and a regular guest on the BBC's "Review Show", joins academics Dinah Birch and Bharat Tandon and historian Amanda Foreman. The judges will be chaired by TLS editor Sir Peter Stothard.

Stothard commented: "This year's Man Booker judges begin work this week in enthusiasm and expectation. We have two of Britain's finest professional critics, with expertise in novels from the 18th to the 21st century, a distinguished actor who is also an accomplished literary critic and an historian who is one of the most successful biographers of our time.

"We are all looking forward to a feisty Man Booker year—with a background of Jane Austen, John Ruskin, Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire, the Times Literary Supplement and even a hint of the library at Downton Abbey."

Following the row surrounding this year's Man Booker prize, in which it was claimed that the judges had placed too much emphasis on "readability", agent Andrew Kidd announced the founding of a new award titled The Literature Prize which would "establish a clear and uncompromising standard of excellence" via literary expertise.

News item posted on 14-Dec-2011

Head of Zeus makes first fiction buy

Literary agent Fiona Spencer Thomas has sold a thriller by Alex Churton to Anthony Cheetham's new venture, Head of Zeus, which will publish the novel in e-book form in January 2012 before a print publication in the autumn.

Head of Zeus acquired world English language rights to The Babylon Gene, a first thriller from an established author writing under a pseudonym in a new genre. The novel, featuring series character SIS operative Toby Ash, will explore a conspiracy behind the existence of Saddam Hussein's so-called "weapons of mass destruction", exploring "a secret written in the blood and the dawn of history". Spencer Thomas said the thriller was "on the cutting edge of science and technology".

The Babylon Gene is Head of Zeus' first fiction buy.

News item posted on 14-Dec-2011

Mainstream to publish "street-smart" guide to single life

Mainstream has bought a book aimed at guiding modern single girls on their search for love, to be published in June 2012.

M.d. Bill Campbell bought world rights from Jane Graham Maw at Graham Maw Christie to The Still Single Papers: A Modern Girl's Search For Love by journalist Alison Taylor.

Campbell described it as a "hilarious, self-deprecating, street-smart look at dating in the 21st century. Spanning 12 months in the life of one ever-hopeful romantic, it covers what happens before a date, during a date, after a date, and when there are no dates at all."

News item posted on 13-Dec-2011

Second work of memoir from Auster

Faber is to publish Winter Journal, a second work of memoir by American writer Paul Auster, in September 2012. 

In Auster's début work The Invention of Solitude, first published in 1982, he wrote about his late father. By contrast, Winter Journal will concentrate on Auster's mother, including her struggle as a single mother after divorce, the short-lived love she found late in life, her troubled later years, and the anxiety attacks Auster suffered in the face of her death.

The memoir will also include a random series of memories from Auster's own life grasped from the point of view of his life now, including taking part in the anti-Vietnam demonstrations at Columbia University, almost killing his second wife—novelist Siri Hustvedt—and their child in a car accident, as well as falling in and out of love with his first wife, writer Lydia Davis. 

Faber said: "Winter Journal is a wonderful work in which Auster's signature prose allows the events flow effortlessly from one to the other, with page-turning momentum."

News item posted on 13-Dec-2011

BBC Short Story Award goes global for 2012

The BBC's award for short fiction is to turn international for one year to celebrate the Olympics, with the shortlist to be expanded from five stories to 10. The judging panel will be chaired by broadcaster Clive Anderson.

For 2012 only, the BBC International Short Story Award will accept stories globally for the £15,000 prize for the first time. The shortlist of 10, will be announced on BBC Radio 4 "Front Row", with the winner and runner-up revealed at an event also broadcast on the programme, late next summer. All 10 stories will be broadcast on the station over the two weeks after the shortlist announcement.

The short stories will again be published in a special anthology and made available as free audio downloads. Scottish Book Trust will also run four short story workshops in Edinburgh alongside the awards.

Gwyneth Williams,  BBC Radio 4 controller, said: "I am delighted to announce that in this Olympic year the BBC Short Story Award is going international. We will be celebrating the best of writing around the world in English and looking forward to entries from some of the greatest exponents of the form."

Anderson said: "A great short story can combine the structure of a good joke with the impact of a miniature masterpiece. I shall enjoy trying to choose between what I expect to be a competitive and entertaining field."

The award is now open for submissions from publishers, agents and authors from anywhere in the world who have been published in the UK. The closing date for entries is 27th February at 5 p.m.

News item posted on 12-Dec-2011

Ross wins Educational Writers' Award

The £2,000 Educational Writers' Award 2011 has gone to Moon: Apollo 11 and Beyond . . . The Ultimate Guide to Our Nearest Neighbour by Stewart Ross (OUP).

The prize, which aims to celebrate educational writing that encourages creativity and wide reading, was awarded at the winter reception of the Authors Licensing & Collecting Society (ALCS) and the Society of Authors at the House of Commons on 6th December.

The winning book is for children aged 8+, and is full of facts about the moon, covering subjects ranging from gods associated with the moon to lunar poetry and the "One small step . . . " speech made by astronaut Neil Armstrong.

The judges, children's writer Nicola Davies, teacher Chris Freudenberg and librarian Fiona Kirk, described the title as "a fascinating mix of science, history, literature and religion, with a strong and engaging authorial voice, that will appeal to a wide audience".

News item posted on 09-Dec-2011

Kinsella joins Oswald in withdrawing from T S Eliot Award

A second poet shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize for Poetry has withdrawn from the
award, citing ethical issues over sponsor Aurum Funds.

Australian John Kinsella, shortlisted for collection Armour (Picador), praised as his most spiritual work to date, said he withdrew from the prize yesterday for ethical reasons. Faber poet Alice Oswald withdrew from the prize shortlist earlier this week.

"I support Alice," he said. "My politics and ethics are such that I can't accept money from such a source. I fully understand why the Poetry Book Society has looked elsewhere for funding, given the horrendous way they were treated, but as an anticapitalist in full-on form, that is my position."

Kinsella added that it was not any particular activities of Aurum's that he had a difficulty with, but the general principle of having the investment company as sponsor. "Hedge funds are at the very pointy end of capitalism, if I can put it that way," he said.

Oswald withdrew her book Memorial from the prize saying she was "uncomfortable about the fact that Aurum Funds, an investment company which exclusively manages funds of hedge funds, is sponsoring the administration".

Poetry Book Society vice-chair Desmond Clarke defended the organisation's sponsorship. "I respect the decision of Alice and John to withdraw as it's their right, but I think it is misguided," he said. "All our pension funds use investment managers such as Aurum, and Aurum's clients include the pension funds of the public sector and not for profit organisations. For some time financial institutions such as Man, EFG and Duncan Lawrie, the private bank that supports Arvon, have sponsored prizes, literary festivals and competitions."

The withdrawals leave only John Burnside, poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Leontia Flynn, David Harsent, Esther Morgan, Daljit Nagra, Sean O'Brien and Bernard O'Donoghue in contention for the £15,000 prize, due to be awarded in January.

The Poetry Book Society, which has lost its Arts Council regularly funded status, announced in October that it had obtained "substantial" three-year sponsorship from Aurum Funds to support the award's management costs.

There is no association between Aurum Funds and Aurum the publisher.

News item posted on 09-Dec-2011

Hall wins Green Carnation Prize

Catherine Hall has beaten authors including Colm Tóibín and Jackie Kay to this year’s Green Carnation Prize for her second novel The Proof of Love.

The prize celebrates writing by LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) authors. It attracted some controversy earlier in the year for not including Alan Hollinghurst, Philip Hensher or Ali Smith on its shortlist.

Chair of judges Simon Savidge said: “I am thrilled, along with all the other judges, that Catherine Hall has won this year's Green Carnation prize . . . This is one of those rare novels in which you get so lost you forget that it is fiction." He added: "It is the sort of  novel that storytelling and reading are all about, wonderfully written and a book you want to pass on and recommend to everyone you know.”

Hall said “I’m utterly delighted to have won the Green Carnation Prize—a completely unexpected pleasure, especially given the calibre of the other writers on the shortlist. It’s a great way of raising the profile of LGBT writing, which I think can only be a good thing.”

The Proof of Love, published by Portobello, follows a young Cambridge mathematician who takes on a job as a farm labourer in the Lake District during the hot summer of 1976.

The other shortlisted titles were:

The Strange Case of the Composer and his Judge

by Patricia Duncker (Bloomsbury);

Red Dust Road

by Jackie Kay (Picador);

Remembrance of Things I Forgot

by Bob Smith (Terrace Books);

Ever Fallen in Love

by Zoe Strachan (Sandstone Press); and Colm Tóibín's

The Empty Family

(Penguin Books).

News item posted on 08-Dec-2011

Guterson takes Bad Sex award

David Guterson's reimagining of the Oedipus myth, Ed King, has won the Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award, edging out entries from Haruki Murakami and Lee Child.

The Bloomsbury author, who won the 1995 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for his debut Snow Falling on Cedars, was unable to receive the award, which was presented at a ceremony last night (6th December) by "Carry On" and "Eastenders" star Barbara Windsor. However he said in response: "Oedipus practically invented bad sex, so I'm not in the least bit surprised".

The Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award, now in its 19th year, was set up by Auberon Waugh in order to draw attention to the "crude, tasteless, and often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in contemporary novels, and to discourage it".

Previous winners include Iain Hollingshead, A  A Gill and Jonathan Littell, with Rowan Somerville taking the award last year.

This year's shortlist also included:


by Haruki Murakami;

On Canaan's Side

by Sebastian Barry;

The Final Testament of the Holy Bible

by James Frey;

Parallel Stories

by Péter Nádas;


by Stephen King;

The Land of Painted Caves

by Jean M Auel;

The Affair

by Lee Child;

Dead Europe

by Christos Tsiolkas;

Outside the Ordinary World

by Dori Ostermiller;

Everything Beautiful Began After

by Simon Van Booy; and

The Great Night

by Chris Adrian.

News item posted on 08-Dec-2011

Bloomsbury launches online service for unpublished authors

Bloomsbury is to offer online services to help unpublished authors learn about the publishing process, as well as access to advice from editors and agents.

The services are an extension of the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook, published by Bloomsbury, and are online at The scheme breaks the process down into four stages—Starting Out; Developing Your Talent and Growing as a Writer; Emerging and Selling Your Stories; and Promoting and Publishing.

The 'How Strong is Your Book Idea?' service features in stage one, and is priced £99.99. The agents and editors who will be giving the feedback will be freelance.

Product director Eela Devani described the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook as an "independent and impartial brand", adding: "We've responded to the needs of the market by creating simple bespoke services to help and support creative spirits from the early stages of the writing process through to the publishing and promoting phase.

"We have spent over 100 years supporting writers and artists with our Yearbook and so this is a natural step for us."

News item posted on 07-Dec-2011

Faber, Unbound and Rebecca Smart win at FutureBook Innovation Awards

Faber, Nosy Crow, Dorling Kindersley and Harvill Secker were the winners at the FutureBook Digital Innovation Awards, along with start-ups Bardowl and Unbound. Rebecca Smart, managing director of Osprey, won the award for "most inspiring digital person". Lonely Planet won "best website".

Faber, along with Touch Press, picked up the best adult app prize for The Waste Land, while Nosy Crow's Cinderella scooped the children's award. Dorling Kindersley's The Human Body won the prize in the reference category. Judges, who included Profile's Michael Bhaskar, and Random House's digital editor Dan Franklin, praised the high quality of this year's entries, with The Human Body described by Bhaskar as "beautifully designed, elegantly functional".

Unbound was the choice as best start-up. Franklin said the company had demonstrated a commitment to publishing following a high profile launch. "I—like a few others—was initially cynical when Unbound launched with much fanfare as 'Kickstarter for Books'. Unbound has shown since a relentless determination and energy to spread awareness of what they're doing. I hope they go on to scale the business up and continue to deliver on the promise of their first six months."

Audiobook streaming service Bardowl was selected as the winner in the "best technology innovation" category. The Bath-based firm is expected to launch its consumer service in February.

Best digital marketing campaign was won by Vintage imprint Harvill Secker's team for The Night Circus; with Pan Macmillan gaining a highly-commended mention for the launch of Alan Sugar’s The Way I See it.

Best website went to Lonely Planet, for doing "all the things" publishers are expected to do with their websites. Judge Alex Ingram from Waterstone’s added: "A key part of their achievement has been not just to set up as a successful and ambitious site but to make it sustainable with strong refreshed content and the thriving Thorn Tree forum which supports their sales, both physical and digital."

Smart was the popular and unanimous choice for "most inspiring digital person". George Walkley, Hachette's digital director, spoke for the judges when he said: "Under Rebecca Smart's leadership, the Osprey Group's businesses have demonstrated success across the range of digital publishing—including apps, online services and e-books—that many larger houses would envy. In giving this award to Rebecca, the judging panel also took into account her generosity in sharing her knowledge through conferences and industry events, and her open and informative use of social media. This willingness to inform and inspire others makes her a deserved winner."

The awards were presented at the end of FutureBook 2011, the UK's biggest digital publishing conference, which was attended by more than 550 delegates.

News item posted on 07-Dec-2011

Coates to launch Bilbary e-book site

Former Waterstone's m.d. Tim Coates is to launch Bilbary (, an international online consumer site for the sale and lending of e-books.

Coates is in final negotiations with five of the big six trade publishers, with agreements already in place with "most"  major academic publishers. He said he expects 300,000–400,000 titles—half academic and half trade—to be available on the site when it goes live in the UK, US and Australia either shortly before Christmas or in the new year.

The venture is backed by private investors including John Bartle of ad agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty. It operates from a London office in Bedford Square, WC1, with a small team including site editor Amy Riach and technical director Vijay Sodiwala. There are also offices in New York and California, where US trade stalwart Con Sayer is handling publisher relations.  

Coates said the site would "bring the skill of the bookseller and librarian" to the online arena, with panels of booksellers set to offer "shop window" recommendations, and with librarians available to answer readers' questions.

"Readers are going to be the obsessive focus of this site," said Coates. "It won't sell anything else. It's the site to come to for everything, for readers' groups, for recommendations, and it will be linked to Facebook." He added: "The student can get hold of a book you can't get from the university library direct from the publisher. Academic publishers see real potential."

The digitisation of large literature backlists is also a priority for Bilbary.

The site is dealing both on agency agreements and traditional distribution agreements, with publishers set to take 80% of the revenue. A typical charge for lending is likely to be 25% of a book's r.r.p. for a 20-day loan.

Publishers can track sales patterns through the site, and Coates has promised a swift transfer of revenues. "The money can go literally from the customer to the publisher and author," he said.

A long-time library campaigner, Coates said Bilbary would aid public libraries. "Trade publishers don't want to lend at present. There has been huge sales growth in e-books this year and nobody wants to damage that. In time, we think there will be lending, and here is a space where they can experiment.

"The public library service doesn't have to create its own e-digital library by buying speculatively, they can use this as a service. Publishers will be paid for every loan. It could solve the problem, [currently causing a stalemate on e-lending], and then the library service would have an e-book solution. "

News item posted on 06-Dec-2011

Jamie Crook wins Luke Bitmead Writer's Bursary

Unpublished author Jamie Crook has won this year's Luke Bitmead Writer's Bursary for his novel Sleeping Patterns.

He was presented with the £2,500 cheque as well as a publishing contract with Legend Press at a ceremony in central London last night (1st December).

Joanna Gocke took second place for her novel The River House, with Mike Griffiths handed third place for his novel One Day I had a Hiccup.

M.d. Tom Chalmers praised Sleeping Patterns as "a fantastic novel, which is unique and engaging in its literary style, with great commercial potential. The judging panel were gripped with Jamie's narrative and the Legend Press team cannot wait to start working with Jamie on this outstanding novel."

He added: "Life is often incredibly tough for aspiring writers, and this bursary offers the perfect opportunity to support and develop talented authors. It is an honour to be working with Luke's family on this brilliant award, and I know Luke would be delighted by the opportunities the prize creates."

The fund was set up following the death of novelist Luke Bitmead in 2006 at the age of 34; his novel

White Summer

was one of the first to be published by Legend Press.

News item posted on 06-Dec-2011

Clockwork Prince releases today

Today, Tuesday 6th December 2011, worldwide cult-teen literature sensation Cassandra Clare releases the hugely anticipated second instalment in the bestselling urban fantasy series The Infernal Devices today.


With an incomparable underground fan following, The Infernal Devices is the prequel trilogy to international bestselling series The Mortal Instruments, which has sold over two million copies worldwide and has been translated into more than 19 languages.


Set in the magical underworld of Victorian London during the reign of Queen Victoria, 16-year-old orphan Tessa Gray has at last found shelter with the Shadowhunters, a band of warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons. Still reeling from her terrifying confrontation with the mysterious and murderous Magister, and her own brother’s betrayal, Tessa finds herself drawn ever-deeper into the Shadowhunter’s dangerous supernatural underworld.

In a desperate attempt to help her friends, Tessa tries to uncover the truth about the Magister and learns that his vendetta against the Shadowhunters is deeply personal, blaming them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life.

Meanwhile, Tessa’s feelings for the fiercely devoted Jem and the handsome yet self-destructive Will are growing more complicated, and soon she is forced to acknowledge that any choice she makes will either save the Shadowhunters of London – or end them forever.

The first book in The Infernal Devices series, Clockwork Angel, debuted at number one on the New York Times Bestseller list and spent ten weeks in the charts.

Cassandra’s first book in The Mortal Instruments series, City of Bones, is being made into a blockbuster Hollywood film set to star Lily Collins (The Blind Side, Abduction) and Jamie Campbell-Bower (Harry Potter, Twilight) in the lead roles.

To find out more about The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments series visit:

News item posted on 06-Dec-2011

Orion sculpts 20th anniversary releases

Orion will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2012, marking the milestone by re-releasing 20 of its most distinctive titles with a united cover look using specially commissioned sculptures.

The books will be released on 20th February 2012, priced between £4.99 and £9.99. The 20 titles are: The Copper Beach by Maeve Binchy, The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Antonia Fraser, The Black Ice by Michael Connelly, Horrid Henry by Francesca Simon, Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder, Black and Blue by Ian Rankin, The Reader by Benhard Schlink, A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer, Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds, Tell No One by Harlan Coben, Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore, The Shadow of the Wind by ­Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Himalaya by Michael Palin, Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver, Labyrinth by Kate Mosse, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday, No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay, Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris, Life by Keith Richards, and The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht.

The publisher took inspiration from china, which is the traditional 20th anniversary gift, with the team—including designer Loulou Clark and creative director Lucie Stericker—working with sculptor Ben Twiston-Davies to create physical sculptures of a central motif or character for each of the titles. Each sculpture was then photographed to provide the cover image for the books.

Stand-out covers include sculptures of an open copy of War and Peace, with real German text inscribed into it, for Schlink's title; a jumping salmon for Paul Torday's novel; and a topographically accurate mountain for Palin's Himalaya. The Roman numerals XX will be embossed on the inside front covers, alongside the cover images from the entire 20 titles.  

Orion m.d. Susan Lamb promised the titles would be collectable, and said of the list: "It had to be quite balanced, but it was the books we think defined this company over 20 years, whether they've been with us since their first publication, like Maeve Binchy and Antonia Fraser, or not. The Tiger's Wife, which was only published this year, was very defining for us, because we hadn't had an Orange Prize winner before."

News item posted on 05-Dec-2011

Paddington Bear app launched, e-books to follow

HarperCollins Children's Books has produced a new app for classic picturebook Paddington, with e-books to come in early 2012 for all the Paddington Bear titles, written by 85-year-old Michael Bond.

The Paddington bear app, adapted by HCB and Bold Creative and available now on the Apple App store at £3.99, allows parents to record several video readings of the story so that a child can choose his or her storyteller for the evening each time they view it.

The R W Alley illustrations have been combined with animation, and Paddington fans can also take frame photos of themselves with the Paddington character to send to family and friends.

HCB said the digital adaptation had been done "carefully" to ensure the rhythm of the story is not interrupted with the interactivity. Digital publishing manager Tom Conway said: "This is not just an electronic version of the book—it's a new way of telling, and sharing, a much-loved story."

News item posted on 05-Dec-2011

Donaldson phonics tales get OUP reissue

Oxford University Press Children's Books is to re-release stories written by children's ­laureate Julia Donaldson to help children who are learning to read grasp the subject of phonics.

The stories were originally published individually in 2006 as staple-bound tales for use in schools. The new OUP editions package the stories into groups, bound up together, as the Songbirds series. The new series is designed to appeal to parents wanting to practise phonics with their children.

The first collections—Top Cat and Other Stories; The Odd Pet and Other Stories; The Ox and the Yak and Other Stories; and Scrap Rocket and Other Stories—will be published in January (all £8.99), with further collections set to come in March and June. The volumes are gradated in levels from one to six so that children can progress through all the stages of phonics learning.

OUP head of marketing and publicity Elaine McQuade said the publisher had rushed out the titles to enable it to publish in the new year, ahead of the official start of screening checks on phonics for all Year One children scheduled for June 2012. "Parents are going to be concerned about phonics, and it is nice to practice with full, rich stories from Julia," she said.

News item posted on 02-Dec-2011

Changes to Daggers announced as Martin wins Ellis Peters

Andrew Martin’s First World War novel The Somme Stations (Faber) has won this year’s Crime Writers Association (CWA) Ellis Peters Award, as the CWA announces changes including a new awards ceremony.

Martin received the £3,000 prize at a ceremony last night (30th November) for the award, which is given to the best historical crime novel, and commemorates the life and work of Cadfael creator Ellis Peters.

CWA chair Peter James said:  “Yet again, our judging panel had a tough task but after much deliberation came up with a truly worthy winner. Historical crime fiction is certainly in a healthy position with so many talented writers at work.”

From 2012, the Ellis Peters Award will rejoin the CWA Daggers stable as part of the organisation’s plans to increase the profile of those awards not included as part of the autumn's ITV3 Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards (the International, Non-Fiction, Short Story, Library and Debut Daggers).

These prizes will now be presented as part of a new awards ceremony in summer 2012, including the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger, although it is not yet confirmed whether the awards will remain in their current home as part of July's Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.

Submission dates will gradually move to correspond with the other CWA awards, with full details to be announced on the CWA site.

News item posted on 02-Dec-2011

The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee wins the Guardian First Book Award

Siddhartha Mukherjee was tonight named the winner of the 2011 Guardian First Book Award at a ceremony in London.

His book, The Emperor of All Maladies - published by Fourth Estate - was the only non-fiction title on the shortlist, and has been described by its author as a "biography" of cancer, "an attempt to enter the mind of this immortal illness, to understand its personality, to demystify its behaviour". The book also enters the minds of cancer patients, interweaving personal stories of struggles to survive with the science and politics of cancer research.

The Guardian First Book Award recognises the finest new authors who have had their first book published in English in the last year. As winner, Siddhartha receives a £10,000 prize plus an advertising package in the Guardian and the Observer.

Siddhartha Mukherjee, an American oncologist and award-winning science writer, said: "It is a great and distinct honor to be selected for this award. In recognising The Emperor of All Maladies, the judges have also recognised the extraordinary courage and resilience of the men and women who struggle with illness, and the men and women who struggle to treat illnesses. I am delighted and honoured to join a formidable list of writers and scholars - Zadie Smith, Alexandra Harris, Petina Gappah, Alex Ross among them. Thank you."

Author and academic Sarah Churchwell, who was on the judging panel, said: "The Emperor of All Maladies is a cultural history of cancer and its treatment, from its first identification as a disease in the ancient world to 21st century research into its cellular genesis and treatment.

"Siddhartha Mukherjee has marshalled an immense amount of material into a readable and inspiring story. The result is a gripping, enlightening read about the nature of illness and our battle against what begins to look like mortality itself."


Notes to editors:

The Guardian First Book Award is in association with Davidstow.

Siddhartha Mukherjee
Siddhartha Mukherjee is a cancer physician and researcher. His book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in general non-fiction. Mukherjee is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and a staff cancer physician at Columbia University Medical Center. A Rhodes scholar, he graduated from Stanford University, University of Oxford, Harvard Medical School. He has published articles in Nature, The New England Journal of Medicine, The New York Times, and The New Republic. He lives in New York with his wife and daughters.

This year's judging panel were:

David Nicholls, author and screenwriter
Antonia Fraser, author
Sarah Churchwell, author and academic
Stuart Broom, events programmer, Waterstones
Katharine Viner, deputy editor, the Guardian
Lisa Allardice, editor, Guardian Review and chair of the judging panel

The other shortlisted titles were:

Pigeon English, Stephen Kelman (Bloomsbury)
Down The Rabbit Hole, Juan Pablo Villalobos (And Other Stories)
The Collaborator, Mirza Waheed (Viking)
The Submission, Amy Waldman (William Heinemann)

The shortlist was selected in collaboration with UK wide reading groups, run in partnership with Waterstones bookstores. The reading groups selected their favourite books from the longlist and these suggestions assisted the judging panel in selecting the final shortlist.

News item posted on 02-Dec-2011

Makinson predicts "dark clouds" for 2012 book trade

Penguin chief executive John Makinson has said he sees "dark clouds" on the horizon for the book business in 2012. He also said Penguin’s publishing list for the fourth quarter, though strong, was not as strong as the “truly extraordinary” list last year, which included Jamie Oliver’s 30-minute Meals.

According to a Reuters report, the Penguin c.e.o. said at the London leg of the Reuters Global Media Summit: "Last year, we had a truly extraordinary fourth quarter. We don't expect publishing performance in the fourth quarter to be quite as strong as in the fourth quarter of 2010, but it won't be bad.” He pointed to books such as Lee Evans' autobiography, Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and Tom Clancy's latest novel as likely highlights of Penguin's Christmas offering.

He added: "There are things that influence the size and shape of the industry, and clearly we're going through an enormous amount of change in that respect at the moment."

Looking to 2012, Makinson said he saw "dark clouds", reports Reuters.

He added: "This is a business which has always been driven very much by supply rather than demand factors. Consumer taste doesn't actually change all that much but what does change is the availability of books in different channels.

"It is tougher to predict how we will be 12 months from now, as an industry, than pretty much any time that I can remember."

This follows Penguin's nine-month interim results, reported on 3rd November, which showed overall sales were flat for Penguin to 30th September, with e-book sales more than doubling over the same period.

News item posted on 01-Dec-2011

Sphere snaps up Amazon star

Sphere has acquired two novels in a new crime series by Elizabeth Haynes, whose debut Into the Darkest Corner was chosen as Amazon's Book of the Year.

The acquisition marks the author's move from indie Myriad Editions to the Hachette publisher.

Editorial director Catherine Burke bought UK and Commonwealth rights excluding Canada, from agent Annette Green. Sphere will publish the first book in the new series in July 2013, titled Under a Hunter's Moon. Meanwhile Myriad will publish two further stand-alone psychological suspense novels by Haynes, including her second book Revenge of the Tide in March 2012, and Human Remains in early 2013.

Burke said: "Elizabeth is a ferociously talented author and I know her background as a police intelligence analyst combined with her addictive storytelling and brilliant writing will make this unmissable. I am absolutely delighted to be launching Elizabeth's new crime series at Sphere."

Burke added: “Under a Hunter's Moon will introduce Inspector Lou Smith as she begins her first major crime inquiry as lead officer. Haynes has used narrative voices from both sides of the murder investigation and as the story unfolds, source documents embedded in the text will allow the reader to investigate the murder alongside the crime team.”

As well as having her debut named Amazon's Book of the Year 2011, Haynes also won Amazon's 2011 Rising Star Award.

News item posted on 01-Dec-2011