It’s been a slow week in publishing news, with everyone’s eyes on the National Book Awards long lists. But here’s what has appeared on my radar in the past week.
In the News
NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS: The National Book Foundation announced their long list nominees for the 2013 National Book Award in fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and young people’s literature. Finalists will be announced on October 6, and the winners will be honored at the awards ceremony in late November. I’m sad to say that I haven’t read a single book on the list (what is wrong with me!). What about you? Have you read any of the nominees? You can find the lists here.
FUNDED BY JAMES PATTERSON: Bestselling and multi-genre author James Patterson announced this week that he will be donating $1 million to independent bookstores around the country. Says Patterson, “We’re making this transition to e-books, and that’s fine and good and terrific and wonderful, but we’re not doing it in an organized, sane, civilized way. So what’s happening right now is a lot of bookstores are disappearing.” To be eligible, bookstores must have a viable business model and that their shops must include a children’s section. Store owners can apply on here. This is not the first initiative of Patterson’s to promote book culture; he as an advocate of literacy in children and funds scholarships, as well as the ReadKiddoRead project. (source).
SHOP WITH SHERMAN ALEXIE: Meanwhile, award-winning author Sherman Alexie (best known for his novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian) has joined the American Booksellers Association’s Indies First movement. On Small Business Saturday (November 30), he and several other authors will spend a day as booksellers in their local indie bookstores. In his letter to authors, Alexie writes “We book nerds will become booksellers….We will practice nepotism and urge readers to buy multiple copies of our friends’ books….I think the collective results could be mind-boggling (maybe even world-changing).” Authors and booksellers can sign up to participate here.
CENSORING ELEANOR: Last week, I wrote about Meg Medina, whose book even was canceled after the superintendent became aware of the inappropriate language. News broke this week that best-selling author Rainbow Rowell’s scheduled book event for the beautiful ELEANOR & PARK at a Minnesota school library had been canceled after multiple complaints from a group called the Parents Action League. This group of parents formed in response to a district policy about discussing sexual orientation in the schools in their county… the same county, in fact, that was featured in Rolling Stone’s article on the “war on gay teens”. The Parents Action League objected to the “extreme profanity” and “pornographic” material and called for the book to be banned. Rowell was appalled, saying “Eleanor & Park isn’t some dystopian fantasy about a world where teenagers swear and are cruel to each other, and some kids have terrible parents. Teenagers swear and are cruel to each other. Some kids have terrible parents. Some girls have terrible stepdads who shout profanity at them and call them sluts – and some of those girls still manage to rise above it.” You can read Rowell’s full interview here.
READ, FUTURE MATHEMATICIANS: A study published in Great Britain found that children who read for pleasure test higher in not only language, spelling, and reading skills, but math as well. The British Cohort Study studied thousands of participants, all born within in the same week of 1970. The subjects were interviewed and given cognitive tests at age 5, 10, and 16, and then again at 42 (results pending). The researchers found that, as children, those who read for pleasure more than once a week as adolescents not only scored higher but were also 4 times more likely to test higher than children with parents possessing a college degree. (source)
MOCKINGJAY ROLL CALL: In the past few weeks, several of the new cast members for the final installment of the Hunger Games trilogy have been announced. Franchise newcomers include Tony-nominated Patina Miller as Commander Paylor; The Tudors/Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer as capital filmmaker Cressida; Ashlee Simpson’s boyfriend Evan Ross as her assistant, Messalla; Australian actress Stef Dawson as the fragile Annie Cresta; and Emmy-winning, 4-time Academy Award nominee Julianne Moore as President Alma Coin. (source)
Newsworthy Book Deals
Ricky Martin‘s first picture book, Santiago the Dreamer in Land Among the Stars (illustrated by Patricia Castelao), will be released with Celebra Children’s Books on November 14. Santiago the Dreamer… is based on Martin’s own childhood in Puerto Rico and will be available in both English and Spanish.
Rush Limbaugh has been working with Threshold Editions on a book series to
corrupt our youth teach children about an important event in American history. The first book, Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims, tells the story of a middle school teacher who travels back in time to the first Thanksgiving.
Terry Pratchett, best known his satirical Discworld series, signed a 10-book, 7-figure deal with Doubleday and Anchor Books this week. The first book, Raising Steam, is set to be released in March.
Lexa Hillyer, former HarperCollins Children’s Books and Razorbill (Penguin) editor and co-founder of the literary developer Paper Lantern Lit landed a two-book deal with HarperCollins Children’s Books. Her debut novel, PROOF OF FOREVER, is set to release in 2015. PROOF OF FOREVER is “a lyrical, heart-wrenching novel about four girls who miraculously relive the summer they were fifteen, discovering friendships, second chances, and one devastating secret”. The deal was negotiated between Foundry Literary + Media agent Stephen Barbara and HarperCollins editor Kate Jackson. Rosemary Brosnan will edit both books.