Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Bookman is away

I'm heading for 4 days holiday in deepest Coromandel and suspect I will be out of digital link so it may be Monday before normal blog service resumes.
Wishing you a good weekend.

Latest from The Bookseller

Stephen Hawking
Transworld's managing director Larry Finlay has paid tribute to "one of the world's greatest thinkers" following the death of Stephen Hawking, aged 76.
Philip Hammond
The Chancellor’s decision to bring business rates revaluations forward by a year is akin to “putting a plaster on a gunshot wound”, according to retail consultant John Webber.
Creative Industries Federation
The Creative Industries Federation has published a report claiming the true value of the UK's creative digital exports, including from the publishing sector, is much higher than originally thought.
Brain Freeze
Tom Fletcher and Shane Devries’ Brain Freeze (Puffin) has eased into the UK Official Top 50 number one spot for a second week running, selling 46,028 copies.
Emma Woolf
The great-niece of Virginia Woolf is to publish her debut novel in July with Three Hares Publishing.
robot in bookshop
Twenty automated bookstores staffed by robots are reportedly expected to open in Beijing later this year, offering a 24-hour-a-day service.

Sara Miller McCune
Sara Miller McCune, founder and executive chairman of Sage Publishing, is to be awarded the London Book Fair Lifetime Achievement Award 2018. 
Sarah Pakenham
Sarah Pakenham, who announced her resignation from Andersen Press this week, is setting up a new picture book publishing company called Scallywag Press.
The Publishers Association says school textbooks only need to save teachers four and a half minutes a day to pay for themselves, arguing that not buying them to save money is a "false economy".
Borough Press
Borough Press has partnered with the Evening Standard to launch the newspaper’s first podcast series, with 11 original stories about the London Underground from authors such as Lionel Shriver and Joanna Cannon.
Helga Flatland
Orenda Books has signed bestselling Norwegian author Helga Flatland in a pre-empt ahead of London Book Fair.
Making the Americas Modern
Laurence King Publishing is launching a new series of richly-illustrated student titles “placing art within a global geography and opening up new possibilities for interpretation”.

Publishers Lunch

Today's Meal

Leslie Meredith has joined Mary Evans as a literary agent, representing memoirs and works on psychology, science, health, nature, animal behavior, spirituality, and mind-body-spirit. She was most recently an editor for 15 years at Simon & Schuster imprints Atria and Free Press.

Flatiron Books publisher
Amy Einhorn has been promoted to executive vice president, now with all of editorial, both fiction and nonfiction, reporting to her.

Melissa Edwards will provide consultation services under MLE Consulting, her new publishing contract service for literary agents and authors, while continuing as literary agent at Stonesong.

Serena Longo has been promoted to marketing and events manager for Harvard Book Store, succeeding Alex Meriwether, who is now general manager.

Larry Finlay at Transworld is among the many
paying tribute to the late Stephen Hawking: 76, who died at home early Wednesday: "It is truly our privilege to have been Stephen Hawking's publisher for the last three decades. He has increased the popular understanding of scientific theory like no-one else since Einstein. Not only was he one of the world's greatest thinkers, he was also a man with an infectious sense of mischief and wit."


The Book Thief
author Markus Zusak's BRIDGE OF CLAY will be published on October 9, 2018 in an announced 500,000-copy first printing from Knopf Children's. The book's acquisition was first announced in 2006. Zusak says in the announcement, "BRIDGE OF CLAY was never meant to be easy. It's a boy in search of a miracle, and that’s how I feel about finishing." The publisher says Zusak will tour 12 cities in the US. The Book Thief is reported to have sold 16 million copies worldwide.

The Audio Publishers Association's Author Tea at Book Expo on Friday, June 1 will feature Laini Taylor (Strange the Dreamer), Gayle Forman (If I Stay), Jason Fry (Star Wars: The Last Jedi), and actor Kathryn Hahn (My Wish for You).


The London Book Fair's Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to founder and executive chairman of SAGE Publishing Sara Miller McCune.

Anne Applebaum will
receive the Lionel Gelber Prize for RED FAMINE: Stalin's War on Ukraine.


Today's Meal

Stephanie Smirnov has joined Scholastic as evp, head of global corporate communications, reporting jointly to chairman, president, and ceo Richard Robinson and chief strategy officer Iole Lucchese. Smirnov was previously managing director, brand practice at Edelman New York and ceo for the US region of DeVries Global.

The Authors Guild elected Monique Truong, author of The Book of Salt and Bitter in the Mouth, as vice president. D.T. Max, author of Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story, has joined the governing council as a member.

Chelsea Handler and Daniel Novack have each been named senior counsel for Penguin Random House.

Publisher and editorial director at Parallax Press Rachel Neumann is leaving that position. She will join Shambhala Publications as associate publisher on April 23. Based in Berkeley, she will focus on acquisitions and the publishing programs of the Shambhala, Roost Books, and upcoming Bala Kids imprints.

Former vp and general manager of Disney Publishing Worldwide Jonathan Symington has launched The Lantic Group based in Los Angeles, a consultancy focusing on "building brands through product launches, licensing strategies, and international expansion." Clients include Deer Little Forest, an arts & lifestyle brand created by Jo Rose.

With Amazon's planned 10,000-square-foot bookstore opening today in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC, the news is that the company has leased a space in the new Palisades Village mall in Pacific Palisades, CA, set to open September 22. The neighborhood was formerly home to Village Books, and Amazon Books vp tells the LAT the new location is "in an area that we know is full of readers." It will be Amazon's second store in the Los Angeles area.

The Roundup withPW


The ‘Killing Joke’ at 30: Acclaimed comic book writer Alan Moore’s 1989 Batman graphic novel, 'The Killing Joke,' is violent, sexualized and a perennial bestseller for 30 years.

Students Speak Out: With the support of authors Neil Gaiman, Judy Blume and Gene Yang, CBLDF and NCAC team to publish a comic book that teaches students how to exercise their free speech rights.

Oscar Winner Pens Picture Book Sequel: Oscar winning actress Viola Davis writes ‘Corduroy Takes a Bow,’ a sequel to Don Freeman’s 1968 picture book, which featured an African American heroine.

Stephen Hawking’s Unlikely Bestseller: In 1982 physicist Stephen Hawking set out to write a popular account of a very difficult subject and succeeded beyond all expectations.

Obituary: Stephen Hawking: The brilliant physicist, cosmologist and author, Stephen Hawking, has died at 76


Obituary: Penny Vincenzi: The British fashion journalist, turned bestselling romance novelist, has died at 78.

Short Fiction Isn't Seeing a Comeback: It's always been here, strong as ever, claims Chris Power in 'The Guardian.'

Tayari Jones Talks: The author of 'An American Marriage' dishes on biscuits, marriage and being an Oprah pick.

Netflix Nabs 'Guernsey' for New Series: The streaming giant has optioned ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ to adapt into a series.

How Audible and Amazon Became Bedfellows: A meeting back in 1996 first brought the two companies together. Now, Audible, which is owned by Amazon, dominates the audiobook industry.

Globally Recognised Writers and Thinkers Feature at 2018 Auckland Writers Festival

The country’s largest literary showcase, the Auckland Writers Festival, brings a world of stories and ideas to the city from the 15th to the 20th May, offering laughter, knowledge, ideas and inspiration for audiences of all ages with more than 160 of the planet’s best writers alive today. 

Appearing exclusively at the Festival is Norwegian literary rock star Karl Ove Knausgaard. He joins a stellar line-up including US New York Times number one bestselling author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and The Jane Austen Book Club, Karen Joy Fowler; CWA Gold Dagger winner Jane Harper and Australian literary statesman Alex Miller; award winning New Zealand writers: Festival co-founder Peter Wells, globally lauded Lloyd Jones and national treasure Anne Salmond; leading American neuroscientist David Eagleman; Kiwi cartoonist Tom Scott; leading journalist and memoirist Diana Wichtel; New Zealand’s 2017 Venice Art Biennale representative Lisa Reihana; British novelist, the great-granddaughter of Sigmund Freud, Susie Boyt; US Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Amy Goldstein; Kenyan Nobel contender Ngugi wa Thiong’o; New Zealand’s poet laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh; poet, novelist and critic C.K. Stead; Bill Gates-backed originator of the Big History genre, David Christian; Australian broadcaster, director, children’s writer and daughter of the late, great John Clarke, Lorin Clarke; Rolling Stone editor and environmental writer Jeff Goodell; renowned British philosopher and author A.C. Grayling; Kurdistani poet and feminist who established the region’s first tertiary gender studies programme Choman Hardi; global literary star, former UN under-secretary and writer Shashi Tharoor; New Zealander novelists Catherine Chidgey and Linda Olsson; Bulgarian-Kiwi historian, travel writer, novelist and poet Kapka Kassabova; The New Yorker’s music critic, Alex Ross; freelance journalist and Myanmar specialist Francis Wade; and prolific science fiction writer and futurist Neal Stephenson.


The Festival is internationally recognised now as one of the best literature celebrations in the world, with six days of ideas, readings, debates, stand-up poetry, literary theatre, children’s writers and free public and family events. Festival attendance has grown exponentially with audiences topping 73,000 last year.


Auckland Writers Festival director Anne O’Brien says this year sees a heady mix of high profile and cutting edge literary stars.


“I’m thrilled to present the Festival’s most diverse line-up of writers yet,” she says.


“We know that our audience loves to discover and learn and in response to this demand, there is a depth of talent the likes of which we have never seen. Sharlene Teo, Durga Chew-Bose, Annalese Jochems and Jenny Zhang – young women producing extraordinary work - sit alongside global literary luminaries like Karl Ove Knausgaard, Alex Miller, Lloyd Jones and Catherine Chidgey.


“I encourage you all to see not only those writers you know and love, but also those with interesting backgrounds and areas of interest.


“This Festival offers writers on a scale unique in New Zealand. It only happens once a year. Don’t miss it!” 


Multi-million copy bestselling children’s author, Jeff Kinney, joins the Festival early – on 1 May – to entertain readers big and small with his Diary of a Wimpy Kid stories. Former British Children’s Laureate and political observer Chris Riddell will be a highlight for many, too, mid-Festival on Wednesday 16 May.


Comedians the Festival has,  including our own Michele A’Court with tales of love and marriage; major English writer, actor and one half of the double act Mitchell and Webb – Robert Webb and Australian actor, writer, producer, director and broadcaster Peter Helliar who will discuss his first children’s book series Frankie Fish appear in events throughout the Festival.


The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards is the first public event of the programme at the Aotea Centre on Tuesday 15 May. Come and see who will take home the big prizes, with Stacey Morrison as MC and Glasgow-based writer, journalist and founding editor of the Scottish Review of Books Alan Taylor joining the New Zealand judging team in selecting the Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize winner.  It’s the book awards’ 50th anniversary this year, and what better way to celebrate than with a quiz on who’s who in NZ lit’ – and you’re all invited!


Rhodes Scholar and author Damon Salesa challenges us in this year’s Michael King Lecture, to embrace our Pacific talent, and finally act like a Pacific Nation on Saturday 19 May.


Following the successful of last year’s Walk on High, the Festival presents Call On O’Connell on Friday May 18, in which more than 30 writers treat audiences to restyled news delivered from barbershop stools; under the table tales from the Wine Chamber; racy readings with chocolate, past writers remembered, and reports from abroad besides!


Come and find out ‘what happens next’ in the #METOO movement at the University of Auckland’s Festival Forum on Wednesday 16 May, featuring Kurdistan Region feminist Choman Hardi, Māori development and media specialist Ella Henry, US scientist Hope Jahren and British comedian and writer Robert Webb.


The sparkling Heartland Festival Room returns, right in the middle of Aotea Square, treating audiences from the morning til late into the night, with a wide selection of stories, including musical moments from Nadia Reid, Lawrence Arabia and Moana Maniapoto.  Further to all things musical, cultural critic and author Alex Ross shares the concert stage with mezzo-soprano Bianca Andrew and Aotearoa’s pre-eminent modern ensemble STROMA. Together they present a companion soundtrack to Ross’s book, The Rest Is Noise, featuring some of the most beautiful and intriguing compositions of the last 100 years. This will be a very special event held in the Town Hall on Sunday 20 May, presented by Chamber Music New Zealand in association with the Festival.  And Auckland chanteuse Linn Lorkin joins forces with playwright Dean Parker in a performance piece based on Parker’s Man Alone sequel, Johnson.


There’s a change of pace in the Festival’s Art Gallery Series this year, with films featuring literary greats including Maurice Sendak, Margaret Atwood, Hone Tuwhare, Amoz Oz, Virago Press and Margaret Mahy.


Theatrical writing is celebrated, too. Internationally acclaimed as the successor to Billie Whitelaw for her brilliant interpretations of the work of Samuel Beckett, Irish actor Lisa Dwan delivers a performance lecture in celebration of the Nobel Prize winner on Friday 18 May. Director Nancy Brunning honours labourer turned award-winning Māori writer Rowley Habib with a distinguished cast including: Rawiri Paratene; Te Kahu Rolleston; Tanea Heke and Mitch Tawhi Thomas performing throughout the Festival; as is Melbourne solo performer Emma Mary Hall with her monologue piece We May Have To Choose.


Five of Auckland’s brightest spoken word artists take to the stage with globally lauded performer greats, in an outstanding showcase of talent in Best Best Showcase on Friday 18 May.


Always a sell-out, this year’s Festival Gala Night is True Stories Told Live: Under Cover on Thursday 17 May at the Aotea Centre. Susie Boyt (England), Lisa Dwan (Ireland); Gigi Fenster (South Africa/NZ); Alex Ross (US); Damon Salesa (Samoa/NZ); Tom Scott (NZ); Shashi Tharoor (India); and Jenny Zhang (US) tell us a seven minute true story propless and scriptless. Expect these stories from the heart to linger with you long after the lights go down. 


Head on down to the Town Hall on Sunday 20 May for Family Day, where there’s a packed day of performances, presentations, animals and insects, story time and activities for children. James Russell’s hugely popular Dragon Brothers series is ‘almost’ present with an augmented reality treat in Aotea Square throughout the Festival.


The event finale on Sunday afternoon is an hour with Honoured New Zealand Writer, Witi Ihimaera (Te Aitanga-a-Mahāki, Tūhoe, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui). His writing has touched generations of readers and is awarded and celebrated here and around the world. The first Māori writer to publish both a book of short stories and a novel, he has since written more than 30 books for adults and children, as well as screenplays, scripts, essays and libretto. Join us in this free event paying tribute to one of our literary taonga.


“The last few years has seen unprecedented interest in the Festival from audiences who travel not only from all over Auckland, but around the country and abroad to listen to globally lauded writers and ideas, men and women who deepen our thinking, make us laugh, move us and help us to make sense of this increasingly complicated world.


Ms O’Brien says it’s a privilege to present such diverse and talented writers from here and around the world.


“I encourage everyone to come along and engage with words and ideas offered in books, song, stand-up, performances, prose, in debates and conversations, from voices both familiar and new.”


The 2018 Auckland Writers Festival programme is launched at an invitation-only event at the Auckland Art Gallery on the evening of Wednesday 14 March.


A preferential booking period for Festival Patrons and Friends follows, with public tickets on sale from 9.00am, Friday 16 March from


The Auckland Writers Festival warmly thanks Platinum Partner: Heartland Bank; Gold Partners: The University of Auckland, Freemasons Foundation, Ockham and Creative New Zealand; and all our Silver, Bronze and Supporting Partners.  

We are also enormously grateful to our Festival patrons for their enthusiasm and generosity.

Go to for more information on appearing writers and their events.




1 May                    Jeff Kinney (Aotea Centre)


15-20 May           Full Festival Programme (Aotea Centre, Auckland Art Gallery, Heartland Festival Room in Aotea Square)


15 May                 Auckland Writers Festival Schools Programme (Aotea Centre)

                                Ockham New Zealand Book Awards (Aotea Centre)


16 May                 Auckland Writers Festival Schools Programme (Aotea Centre)

                                The University of Auckland Festival Forum (Aotea Centre)


17 May Auckland Writers Festival Schools Programme (Aotea Centre)

                                Euro Lunch with A. C. Grayling                  

                                Festival Gala Night (Aotea Centre)


18 May                 Call on O’Connell (O’Connell St, Auckland central - various venues)

Best Best Showcase (Aotea Centre)
                        The Great New Zealand Lit Quiz (Heartland Festival Room)


20 May                 FREE Family Day Programme. (Town Hall Concert Chamber & Balcony Bar)

                                Honoured New Zealand Writer event (Aotea Centre, free entry)