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February 2010

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Pen Faulkner Award Finalists

The shortlist for the Pen Faulkner Awards have been announced. The list includes, Sherman Alexie for War Dances, Barbara Kingsolver for The Lacuna, Colson Whitehead for Sag Harbor, Lorrie Moore's for Gate at the Stairs and Lorraine N Lopez for Homicide Survivors Picnic and Other Stories.
The winner will be announced 23 March.

News item posted on 26-Feb-2010


Browsing Bookshops the Way to Go

Searching real shelves is the most satisfying way to find literary treasures – but can it survive the rise of Amazon and ebooks? Read on in the Guardian...

News item posted on 25-Feb-2010


The Woman in the Fifth to be Filmed

Variety has reported that Douglas Kennedy's The Woman in the Fifth is to be made into a film starring Ethan Hawke (pictured) and Kristin Scott Thomas. Filming is to start in March in Paris.

News item posted on 24-Feb-2010


J K Back to Court

Publishers could face legal action worldwide over claims that J K Rowling stole ideas for Harry Potter from a British author's book called The Adventures of Willy the Wizard the Guardian has reported. Read more

News item posted on 20-Feb-2010


Koontz Frankenstein for the Big Screen

The film rights to Dean Koontz's 'Frankenstein' series have been sold. Variety has reported that the 'project places the doctor - a socially prominent and successful businessman - and his super-human original creation Deucalion in modern-day New Orleans'. Three titles in the Koontz series - Prodigal Son, City of Night and Dead and Alive - have already been published with a fourth, Lost Souls, to be released this year.
The story centers on a pair of street-smart detectives who encounter Deucalion while investigating a murder, leading them to a bizarre array of 'engineered' humans.

News item posted on 20-Feb-2010


NT Book of the Year Winner

Every Secret Thing by Marie Munkara has won the 2010 Northern Territory Book of the Year Award.
The novel, which has already won the David Unaipon award for unpublished works by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders in 2008, was published last September.

News item posted on 20-Feb-2010


Blake Dawson Shortlist Announced

The titles shortlisted for the Australian 2009 Blake Dawson Prize for Business Literature have been announced.
The shortlisted titles are: 
Gordon Barton: Australia's Maverick Entrepreneur by Sam Everingham
Wired Brown Land? Telstra's Battle for Broadband  by Paul Fletcher
The Big Fella: The Rise and Rise of BHP Billiton  by Robert Macklin & Peter Thompson
Firepower: The Most Spectacular Fraud in Australian History  by Gerard Ryle.
The winner of the $30,000 prize will be announced at a special presentation dinner on Wednesday 27 April.
 

News item posted on 20-Feb-2010


Avatar to Become a Book

Seems director James Cameron has plans to write a novel to go with his blockbusting film Avatar. Producer Jon Landau told MTV News: 'Jim is going to write a novel himself ... Not a novelisation - and there is a distinction. A novelisation basically retells the story of the movie. Jim wants to write a novel that is a big, epic story that fills in a lot of things.'

News item posted on 19-Feb-2010


Commonwealth Writers' Prize Shortlist

Internationally recognised for propelling authors into the literary spotlight, the shortlist for the regional winners from South East Asia and Pacific has been unveiled in the race to win the influential 2010 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. The prize offers an opportunity for new writers to demonstrate their talent and for authors already on the literary scene to strengthen their reputation. Writers across the region are in pole position to compete with the best authors from, Africa, Caribbean and Canada and South Asia and Europe to win the coveted prizes of the Commonwealth’s Best Book and Best First Book.
The shortlisted writers for South East Asia and Pacific Best Book are:
Summertime by J M Coetzee (Australia)
A Good Land by Nada Awar Jarrar (Australia)
The Adventures of Vela by Albert Wendt (Samoa)
Singularity by Charlotte Grimshaw (New Zealand)
The People's Train by Thomas Keneally (Australia)
Parrot and Oliver in America by Peter Carey (Australia)
The shortlisted writers for South East Asia and Pacific Best First Book are:
The Ice Age by Kirsten Reed (Australia)
After the Fire, a Still Small Voice by Evie Wyld (Australia)
Look Who's Morphing by Tom Cho (Australia)
Document Z by Andrew Croome (Australia)
Come Inside by Glenys Osborne (Australia)
Siddon Rock by Glenda Guest (Australia)

News item posted on 19-Feb-2010


Evie Wyld Up For Another Award

Evie Wyld, winner of the 2009 John Llewellyn Rhys prize,  has now been shortlisted for the Authors' Club Best First Novel Award.
The £2,500 prize is awarded to the most promising debut novel issued by a British publisher in the previous year.
The winner will be announced on 7th April.
The shortlist is as follows:
Choke Chain by Jason Donald
The Finest Type of English Womanhood by Rachel Heath
The Rescue Man by Anthony Quinn
Designs for a Happy Home by Matthew Reynolds
The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachan
After the Fire, a Still Small Voice by Evie Wyld

News item posted on 17-Feb-2010


Dick Francis RIP

Dick Francis has passed away at his Caribbean home in Grand Cayman. Francis had a wonderful career as a jockey, being a National Hunt rider, winning 345 races and claiming the title of Champion Jockey for the 1953/54 season.
He went on to use his experience to write his first book, his autobiography Sport of Queens and to work as a correspondent on racing for the Sunday Express.
He published his first thriller in 1962, Dead Cert, going on to publish 38 novels and a collection of short stories.
He was helped by his wife Mary, who became his researcher and collaborator, until her death in 2000 after 53 years of marriage.
Francis is survived by two sons, Felix and Merrick, as well as five grandchildren and one great-grandson.
 

News item posted on 16-Feb-2010


Free February in Full Swing

Did you know we have a facebook page? And this month is 'Free February'. That means that every day there is something to win. What are you waiting for? Check it out!

News item posted on 13-Feb-2010


Lord of the Rings Prequel

The Times Online has reported that 'A Lord of the Rings fan has spent all her savings filming a prequel to the blockbuster trilogy'.
'Kate Madison produced and starred in her hour-long film, Born of Hope, which took six years to make with a volunteer cast and crew of more than 400. Kate said: “I invested my own money after the Lord of the Rings films blew my mind. I was desperate to have a go at making an epic myself. But now it’s all done it’s an amazing feeling. We have created a film on a tiny budget which comes complete with battle scenes, orcs and even a giant hill troll.” Read more ...

News item posted on 13-Feb-2010


Salinger Doco Heading for Cannes

Entertainment Weekly has reported that 'screenwriter Shane Salerno (Shaft) had spent the past five years completing a documentary about the reclusive author, J D Salinger. Even more remarkable, Salerno was able to keep the film, which features over 150 interviews with people like Philip Seymour Hoffman, Edward Norton, and Gore Vidal, a secret. The movie contains interviews with people close to Salinger who have never spoken on camera and it looks at his writing process since 1965, when he stopped publishing. It also features footage of Salinger, materials belonging to him as well as more than 100 photographs of the rarely seen author.'
It is hoping that the film will be released in May at the Cannes Festival. 

News item posted on 12-Feb-2010


Crichton's Artwork to be Auctioned

Michael Crichton, the late bestselling author of Jurassic Park, amongst many other bestselling books, will have his collection of art works go under the hammer at Christie's in New York in May. Crichton had a substantial and impressive collection, including works by Pablo Picasso, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Roy Lichtenstein.
Reuters reported that 'although the auctioneer did not give an estimate of the value of the collection to be sold, the four exhibited works alone are expected to fetch around 20 million pounds (US$32 million).'
 

News item posted on 11-Feb-2010


What's with the Beard?

So why is Brad Pitt sporting a oversized goatie? Seems he's growing it to play the role of British explorer Percy Fawcett in the movie version of The Lost City of Z. His beard has caused the gossip pages to gossip even more with the knock on effect of sending the book up the bestselling charts in the US.

News item posted on 10-Feb-2010


Gormenghast to Get a Finale

Random House wil be publishing the fourth novel in Mervyn Peake's 'Gormenghast' trilogy, which was written by Maeve Gilmore, Peake's widow. The book will be titled Titus Awakes. The UK Bookseller reported that 'Gilmore wrote the book after Mervyn Peake's death in 1968, basing it on a page and a half of fragmented notes left by the author. The manuscript was recently unearthed from a box in the attic of Peake's granddaughter's home.
'The book continues the story of the Titus, the 77th Earl of Groan, following the events related in Titus Groan, Gormenghast and Titus Alone. Peake's son Sebastian said his father had in fact intended to write a whole series of books charting his character's life from cradle to grave.' 
Titus Awakes will be published mid 2011.

 

News item posted on 09-Feb-2010


Lost Symbol Gets Ready for Screen

Variety has reported that 'Columbia Pictures is moving forward with The Lost Symbol' - the third adaptation of the the 'Da Vinci Code' franchise. Apparently 'Tom Hanks, who played Langdon in The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, has not yet committed to reprise the role but is expected to. Brian Grazer and Ron Howard have signed on to produce.'

News item posted on 09-Feb-2010


Anne Frank's Diary Removed

The Diary of Anne Frank, the definitive edition, has been removed from school libraries in Culpeper County, US. It seems someone complained due to the book, which is the unedited version of Ann's diary, havin too many sexual references.

News item posted on 06-Feb-2010


And the Word of the Year is ...?

The Macquarie Australian Word of the Year is:
shovel-ready
adjective (of a building or infrastructure project) capable of being initiated immediately as soon as funding is assured.
The People's Choice went to:
tweet
verb (i) 1. to post a message on the social network site Twitter.
–verb (t) 2. to post such a message to (someone).
–noun 3. such a message.
Honourable mentions went to:
heritage media (communications)
noun media, as print newspapers, television, etc., which, although strong and influential in the past, are thought to be losing viability in the face of changing methods of communication. Compare social media
petrichor (ecology)
noun a mixture of natural oils and terpenes released by eucalypts which, when washed by rain into watercourses, is a signal to fish, invertebrates, etc., that the season is sufficiently wet to support breeding. [Greek petros stone + ichor fluid; coined by Australian geochemists Richard
head-nodder (politics)
noun a supporter of a politician or other media figure who stands beside them in the frame of a television shot and nods his or her head in agreement with what the speaker is saying.
–head-nodding, noun
cyberbully (psychology)
noun (plural cyberbullies) 1. a person who bullies another using email, chat rooms, social network sites, etc.
–verb (t) (cyberbullied, cyberbullying) 2. to bully (another) in this way. Also, cyber bully, cyber-bully.
–cyberbullying, noun
roar factor (sport)
noun Sport the influence that a home crowd has on a referee or umpire in making adjudications. [from the roar of protest from the crowd at a perceived infringement by a player]

News item posted on 06-Feb-2010


Moorhouse Boycotts China

Australian Author Frank Moorhouse has cancelled his March writers' tour of China, as a protest against the imprisonment of Chinese writer Liu Xiaobo. 
The tour was being funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Moorhouse wrote in an open letter to the Australian ambassador to China, 'The trip would give us opportunities to read our work, speak, and visit universities during "Australian Writers' Weeks" in the cities of Beijing and Chengdu and would also include participation in the international writers' festivals in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Having at first accepted I have now chosen to withdraw following the gaoling on Christmas Day 2009 of the Chinese writer Liu Xiaobo for eleven years and the disappearance around this time of Liu Di a supporter of Liu Xiaobo which confirms that the Chinese government, against international expectations, is not moving in the direction of freedom of expression as expressed in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.'

News item posted on 06-Feb-2010


Stolen! $240 000 worth of pop-up books

More than 12,000 copies of a pop-up book written by comedian Ricky Gervais disappeared while on route to an Indiana warehouse--$240,000 worth of books.

Flanimals Pop-Up was written by the star of the British television series, The Office and illustrated by Rob Steen.

The publisher sent along a statement from Gervais about the crime: "This is obviously a misguided Flanimal Rights Group or an organized gang of 8 year olds. Just like the books, the thieves will fold under questioning."

According to the company, the book hijacking has all the trappings of a heist movie: "The shipment of more than 12,000 copies was printed overseas and delivered by ship to a West Coast port in the United States. The books were then transported by train and were transferred to a trucker at the railhead as scheduled. While the trucker was en route to the warehouse he made a stop; when the trucker returned he discovered the container of Flanimals Pop-Up was missing."
 

News item posted on 04-Feb-2010


Who will win the 1970 Booker?

Organisers of the Man Booker Prize have announced a special one-off award for books published in 1970, which missed out the first time around. Booker Foundation archivist Peter Straus discovered books published in 1970 had never had the chance to compete when the prize was changed from being awarded retrospectively, to books published that year.

At the same time, the date on which the award was given moved from April to November. As a result, there was whole year's gap in which books were simply never considered for the prize. Authors such as Muriel Spark, J G Farrell, Melvyn Bragg and Patrick White are among the 22 who have been longlisted for the award.

A panel of three judges - all of whom were born in or around 1970 - has been appointed to select a shortlist of six novels from those books. They are journalist and critic, Rachel Cooke, ITN newsreader, Katie Derham and poet and novelist, Tobias Hill.

The shortlist will be announced in March but, as with the Best of the Booker in 2008, the international reading public will decide the winner by voting via the Man Booker Prize website. The overall winner will be announced in May.

Ion Trewin, literary director of the Man Booker Prizes, said: "Our longlist demonstrates that 1970 was a remarkable year for fiction written in English. Recognition for these novels and the eventual winner is long overdue."

1970 Booker Longlist

o Brian Aldiss, The Hand Reared Boy
o H.E.Bates, A Little Of What You Fancy?
o Nina Bawden, The Birds On The Trees
o Melvyn Bragg, A Place In England
o Christy Brown, Down All The Days
o Len Deighton, Bomber
o J.G.Farrell, Troubles
o Elaine Feinstein, The Circle
o Shirley Hazzard, The Bay Of Noon
o Reginald Hill, A Clubbable Woman
o Susan Hill, I'm The King Of The Castle o Francis King, A Domestic Animal
o Margaret Laurence, The Fire Dwellers
o David Lodge, Out Of The Shelter
o Iris Murdoch, A Fairly Honourable Defeat o Shiva Naipaul, Fireflies
o Patrick O'Brian, Master and Commander
o Joe Orton, Head To Toe
o Mary Renault, Fire From Heaven
o Ruth Rendell, A Guilty Thing Surprised
o Muriel Spark, The Driver's Seat
o Patrick White, The Vivisector
 

News item posted on 02-Feb-2010