Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Off the Shelf


We Were Girls Once: You Must Read This Beloved Coming of Age Novel

The phrase “coming-of-age” is frequently thrown about in the book world. I feel like every other book I read uses that descriptor. The plots of these coming-of-age tales often center on a major event that drastically alters a character’s current situation and expected future: a loss, a change of perspective, a victory. But the three individuals at the center of THE MOTHERS, Brit Bennett’s bestselling debut novel, have already experienced hinge moments before the end of chapter one.

The Roundup with PW including 'Watership Down' Author's Auction

Clemmons Ditches Lenny Letter: Novelist Zinzi Clemmons has left Lenny Letter following a harassment scandal surrounding 'Girls' writer and executive producer Murray Miller.

'Watership Down' Author's Auction: Richard Adams’s books, going to auction in December, include a first edition Austen and Shakespeare’s Second Folio.

LeGuin On 'Writing Nameless Things': Ursula K. LeGuin—whose second and third Library of America collections are now out—on what she shares with Philip Roth and more.

Kinetic Adaptations of Victorian Novels: Kate Hamill has turned 'Sense and Sensibility' and 'Vanity Fair' into fast-paced romps. Now she's tackling 'Pride and Prejudice.'

What's Your Favorite Book Adaptation?: When the movies are arguably better than the books—from 'Jurrasic Park' to 'Big Little Lies' and more.


One of this country’s most experienced and successful publishers has joined the Editorial Board of Massey University Press. Kevin Chapman has worked in book publishing for over thirty years, in New Zealand, the UK, Canada, the US and Australia. He has worked in general trade publishing and book packaging, and prior to starting Upstart Press was Managing Director of Hachette NZ (previously Hodder Moa Beckett) for over fifteen years. Kevin has been heavily involved in publishing industry activities for many years, including as a former president of PANZ.

‘We are so delighted that Kevin has agreed to join our board,’ says MUP Board chair Associate Professor Anna Brown. ‘He brings enormous business acumen, a love for publishing and great energy and enthusiasm to the board table, and will assist us in building further on the impressive achievements of this new Press.’

‘I have always had an interest in academic publishing,’ says Kevin Chapman. ‘And as an alumnus I think that I can offer some value to a university for which I have a great affection.’

Massey University Press was established in 2015. Its publisher, Nicola Legat, former Publishing Director of Random House New Zealand, came on board in August 2015. The Press will have published thirty-two books by the end of 2017. It also publishes for Te Papa Press, under an agreement between Massey University and Te Papa.

Off the Shelf


Stars and Stripes: 10 Must-Read Biographies of Our Favorite American Icons

If I have one literary weakness (aside from Hemingway, of course), it’s big, comprehensive biographies of fascinating cultural figures. I’m always up for a deep dive into the remarkable lives of people who’ve shaped our history—be they musicians, writers, actors, inventors, or journalists—and the way we see, hear, and live in the world. Here’s a list of books about iconic Americans who have done just that.

Publishers Lunch

Today's Meal

At the National Book Awards on Wednesday evening, 15 of 20 finalists were women and three of the four awards went to women as well. The fiction prize went to Sing, Unburied, Sing (Scribner) by Jesmyn Ward, who won also won in 2011 for Salvage the Bones. In her speech, Ward said, “You looked at my poor, my black, my southern women, and you saw yourself. I am deeply honored to each and every one of you who looks at my work and sees something in it.”

Masha Gessen's
The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia (Riverhead) was awarded the nonfiction prize. She opened her remarks by saying, "I never thought that a Russia book could ever be longlisted or shortlisted for the National Book Award, but of course, things have changed." Nonfiction panel chair Paula J. Giddings noted that the finalists in her category had in common a national or transnational scope and all "spoke to the tyranny of the state."

Frank Bidart for
Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016 (Farrar, Straus) won the poetry prize. He said: "I'm almost twice as old as any of the finalists. Writing the poems is how I survived." He added, "I hope these journeys these poems go on will help others to survive as well."

Robin Benway's
Far from the Tree (Harper Teen) took the Young People's Literature prize. She said, about writing for young readers, "they are the toughest audience because they need to hear the truth more than anything, especially in days like today."

Host Cynthia Nixon opened the night by alluding to the political moment: "To remain on the defensive in nearly every waking hour takes it toll." In what would be a theme of the night, she emphasized that books are "among the most powerful weapons we have in an increasingly hostile world."

Lifetime achievement awards were also presented earlier in the evening. President Bill Clinton was greeted with a standing ovation when he took the stage to present the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the Literary community to Scholastic president and ceo Richard Robinson. "I'm grateful to Dick for personal reasons," joked Clinton. "He sent Hillary and me copies of the Harry Potter books the night they came out so we didn't have to wait in line." He said of Robinson's career, "You don't have to be in elected office to do public good. Private citizens can. And in a time of great division, they must."

Robinson highlighted the importance of widespread literacy. "We have a huge stake in establishing a level playing field where everyone reads and understands," he said. He concluded by inviting the audience to join him in "tonight's message and battle cry: reading for all."

Anne Hathaway presented the Medal for the Distinguished Contribution to American Letters to Annie Proulx, reading an excerpt from "Brokeback Mountain." When Proulx took the stage, she took on politics directly, calling our era "Kafka-esque" and "a garbage-laden tsunami of raw data." She said, "For some, this is a heady time of brilliant technological innovation that is bringing us into an exciting new world. For others, it is the opening of a savagely difficult book without a happy ending." She added, "But we keep on trying. Because there's nothing else to do."

Separately, as announced at the ceremony and
reported by the NYT, the National Book Foundation has received a grant from the Art for Justice Fund, part of a $22 million commitment to furthering criminal justice reform. The NBF will use their grant money to launch a "Literature for Justice" initiative. The next round of Art for Justice grants will be announced in the spring of 2018.

Putnam executive vice president, associate publisher and editor-in-chief Neil Nyren will retire at the end of the year after more than 33 years with the imprint. Putnam, Dutton, and Berkley President Ivan Held noted Nyren has been "a beloved presence in the mystery and thriller communities" and the most recent winner of theMystery Writers of America's Ellery Queen Award. (Nyren's plans include projects with MWA as well as "other initiatives within the crime fiction community.") Held continued: "In addition to losing his presence as a lifelong representative of Red Sox Nation, we will miss his encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture, art, and film. And of course his amazing ability to read (and fix) a 600-page manuscript overnight. Neil's publishing adventures are enough to fill—yes—a book, though he has not threatened that yet. Please join us in wishing him a great retirement."

Jen Ung has been promoted to editor for Simon Pulse.

At Amazon Publishing, Kristin King and Sarah Shaw have both been promoted to author relations manager.

At P.S. Literary Agency, vp, senior agent
Carly Watters will take on the position of director, literary branding, while Amanda Schiffmann will add responsibilities as brand development coordinator in addition to her current role as digital and social media coordinator. In addition, Maria Vicente and Eric Smith have both been promoted to agent.

In promotions at Penguin Random House Audio: Jennifer Rubins is now associate director, creative marketing; Taraneh Djangi moves up to senior manager, creative marketing; Victoria Tomao has been promoted to associate director, marketing strategy; Robert Guzman is senior manager, marketing strategy; Dennis Tyrrell advances to associate director, digital products; and Nicole Morano is now publicity manager.

At Scholastic Education, Victoria Burwell has joined as senior vice president, strategic marketing; previously she was senior vice president, chief marketing officer at McGraw-Hill Education. Carol Chanter, has joined as senior vice president, professional learning services; she was most recently with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Achieve3000. Finally, Janelle Cherrington has been promoted to senior vice president, publisher.

In the UK, Amanda Ridout has resigned as ceo of Head of Zeus and will leave the company at the end of November. Chairman Anthony Cheetham will serve as ceo as well.

Author Anne Tyler has signed with Gersh for film and television representation Her next novel, Clock Dance, will be published by Knopf in Fall 2018. Jesseca Salky at Hannigan Salky Getzler remains Tyler's literary agent  

Jennifer Klonsky will join Putnam Children's as vice president and publisher starting January 2, reporting to Jen Loja, filling the position vacated when Jennifer Besser moved to Macmillan Children's earlier this fall. Klonsky has been editorial director at Harper Children's. Jen Loja said in the announcement, I'm sure that her mix of publishing savvy and a terrific nose for great reads will be a perfect addition to Putnam and we look forward to many years of successful book making with her and her team here."

At Algonquin Books, Debra Linn has been promoted to director of digital marketing, while both Amy Gash and Kathy Pories move up to executive editor. In addition, Jodie Cohen has joined as marketing director for Algonquin Young Readers, based in New York. Cohen spent the past decade at Penguin Random House, where she created and executed both retail and institutional marketing programs for the Listening Library juvenile audio program.

At Bonnier Publishing UK, Ben Dunn has been promoted to managing director of Kings Road Publishing, and Helen Edwards switches to run children's publishing for Kings Road, reporting to Dunn. Helen Wicks moves over to business development and group licensing director, and Natalie Jerome is promoted to acquisitions director and publisher for the group, both reporting to ceo Perminder Mann.

Nina Nocciolino will join Cave Henricks Communications as publicity director on December 4. She has been senior media & communications manager at Harvard Business Review Press.

Jim Maly joins Edwards Brothers Malloy as digital operations manager, reporting to ceo John Edward, at the end of November.

Mystery Writers of America announced that Jane Langton, William Link, and Peter Lovesey have been chosen as Grand Masters for 2018. In addition, The Raven Bookstore in Lawrence, Kansas and book blogger Kristopher Zgorski are the recipients of the Raven Award, while French publisher and translator Robert Pépin will receive the Ellery Queen Award.

Latest from The Bookseller

Ben Dunn
Bonnier Publishing UK has made a raft of promotions in its senior management team as “it prepares for further growth under the leadership of c.e.o Perminder Mann”.
Christmas bookselling
Children’s booksellers are gearing up for Christmas, with several events lined up and “positive” sales pointing to a “strong festive period” for the sector.
Blackwell’s has revealed the shortlist for its Book of the Year, featuring Arundhati Roy and Adam Kay.
Mr Underbed
Andersen Press has launched a trade-wide marketing campaign for Chris Riddell's classic picture book Mr Underbed, after Riddell accused retailer John Lewis of plagiarising it in its new Christmas advert.
The Story of a Brief Marriage
Anuk Arudpragasam has won the prestigious ​DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2017 for his novel, ​The Story of a Brief Marriage, published by Granta.
A ‘One Card’ pilot scheme that can be used in any Scottish library has been launched.

Molly Ker Hawn
Literary agent Molly Ker Hawn has been appointed director of The Bent Agency UK.
Ed Christie
DK has appointed an interim sales director after Ian Moore has decided to leave the business to start a new life with his family in Cornwall.
Zeba Talkhani
Sceptre is to publish a "powerful and timely memoir" by 26-year-old writer Zeba Talkhani entitled My Past is a Foreign Country.
Camilla Fayed
Aster, part of the Octopus Publishing Group, is to publish a plant-based recipe book by the founder of the restaurant the Farmacy Kitchen, Camilla Fayed.

Read to Succeed - well known Kiwis back the book

What do a Shortland St star, three reality TV stars and four media broadcasters have in common? They know how important it is to love reading.

 Today the New Zealand Book Council launches their advocacy campaign #ReadToSucceed.

“We published research earlier this year that found almost 400,000 Kiwis didn’t read a book last year. The increasing demands of society and work mean more than ever New Zealanders need to be able to read to function effectively at work and everyday life. The #ReadToSucceed campaign is the first of many that the Book Council will run to inspire more Kiwis to read, and to buy and borrow more books,” says Book Council Chief Executive Jo Cribb.

From now until Christmas, the Book Council will share how much reading matters. Their Kiwi book ambassadors will help spread the word about where a love of reading can take you. The public will be encouraged to join in as well – they can post photos of themselves reading with friends and whānau online for a chance to win a bookshelf of books for the family home this Christmas.

Here are what the Book Council Kiwi book ambassadors have to say about reading:

Jayden Daniels (Curtis Hannah, Shortland St)

“I’m a huge reader. It’s really important in my job – each week I have to read pages and pages of scripts, memorise them, and understand them so I can give the performance that hopefully you will love!”

“I love reading! It’s a great way to stimulate your brain and transport you to another world.”
– Matilda

“It’s so much better for your brain and mental well being than scrolling through social media!”
– Art


“Information is ammunition. Reading helps kids to cope with the challenges that they’re going to face in life.

“Books are great, they’ve always been a part of my life – I’ve always enjoyed reading. Brains love new stuff, and books are full of new stuff!  So get a couch and a good book and read.”

“I think it’s one of the most precious times a parent can have with a child, instilling in them a love of books and a love of reading, and just spending incredibly intimate bonding time together. It would be my one word of advice for new parents – read to your kids.”


“Reading is the most important thing I do for my job every day. I spend about 6 hours a day reading in preparation for the 12–15 interviews that I conduct on Radio Live Drive every afternoon and I need to be able to comprehend and analyse every piece of background information that I read.”

“Reading expands your world! It gave me a whole bunch more options.”

Reading matters a great deal. It’s a form of escapism, it’s educational, and it increases your knowledge base.”

Monday, November 20, 2017

The most read stories of the past week on The Bookseller




Radio with Pictures

This week's stories


False River

In False River, writer Paula Morris takes us from the dark days of Hurricane Katrina to a witch burning in Denmark to very personal reflections on her remarkable mother. Paula told Lynn Freeman why some of the works in her latest collection are described as fiction that are now essays, while others were essays she now calls fiction.
Nov 19, 2017 02:25 pm

The Benefactor

When an older man takes in a struggling artist in New York City, tongues are bound to wag. But in Sebastian Hampson's novel The Benefactor Henry Calder's intentions really are kindly rather than sinister. The magazine editor has been widowed for less than a year and he's lonely, while at the same time at a crossroads in what's been a lucrative career.
Nov 19, 2017 01:50 pm

Screen Gems – Artists on celluloid

What is it about the movies and artists? We love watching people slapping that paint on - whether it's Timothy Spall as Turner, Colin Firth creating The Girl with a Pearl Earring, or Jack painting Rose on the Titanic. Clearly it's much more visually engaging than watching someone writing a book or composing a symphony. Irene Gardiner was inspired for this week's Screen Gems by a new film about Vincent Van Gogh - Loving Vincent. Irene's picks include Pollock and Colin McCahan I Am.
Nov 19, 2017 01:40 pm

An unlikely Kiwi Christmas

New Zealand film-makers certainly make a lot of genres - from Middle Earth spectaculars and horror spoofs to the experimental drama of Waru. But we do tend towards the dark side. It's very rare we go in for bright, family comedies. Until now... Simon Morris speaks to Tony Simpson, the writer and director of the unashamed family film Kiwi Christmas.
Nov 19, 2017 01:30 pm

Dick Frizzell and Johnson Witehira’s Art Ache

Art Ache is for the budding art-lover who wants to connect with New Zealand art, but isn't quite sure where to start. It's a twice-yearly exhibition started some five years ago in Auckland, and is now being rolled out around the country. The intention of director Aimee Ralfini is to make art affordable. With that purpose she's invited some established, and opinionated artists like Dick Frizzell and Johnson Witehira - to sell and chat about their works.
Nov 19, 2017 12:45 pm

Photographer Ans Westra’s digital drive

An Ans Westra exhibit at Suite Gallery marks the end of a 3-year project by the National Library to digitise and preserve her life's work. Ans is the photographer behind many famous images of life in New Zealand including the legendary Washday at the Pa series in 1963. There are 150,000 images in total documenting life since Ans arrived sixty years ago. The driving force behind both the exhibition and digitization project is her friend and agent David Alsop. Charlotte Wilson talked to him and Ans' half-sister Yvonne. Link to the National Library archive here:
Nov 19, 2017 12:30 pm

No Such Thing As A Fish live!

We need to talk about fish - or rather English podcast No Such Thing As A Fish. The researchers of quiz show QI have produced an online phenomenon, and are bringing it out to New Zealand. Simon Morris spoke to lead Fishman/Elf Dan Schreiber.
Nov 19, 2017 12:15 pm

Older stories

Not all audio is available due to copyright restrictions