Billy Bragg writes first in series of political pamphlets by musicians


This post is by Alison Flood from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




The Three Dimensions of Freedom, a polemic about accountability by the singer-songwriter, will launch line of similar works from Faber

Singer-songwriter and leftwing activist Billy Bragg is spearheading the launch of a new line of political pamphlets in the tradition of Thomas Paine, taking on the crisis of accountability in western democracies.

Running to 15,000 words, Bragg’s polemic, The Three Dimensions of Freedom, will be published in May and will tackle the battleground that free speech has become. Bragg argues, said publisher Faber & Faber, “that to protect ourselves from encroaching tyranny, we must look beyond this one-dimensional notion of what it means to be free and, by reconnecting liberty to equality and accountability, restore the individual agency engendered by the three dimensions of freedom”.

Continue reading...

Illustrating Howl’s Moving Castle – in pictures


This post is by Books | The Guardian from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Here are the 25 Book Illustration Competition finalists in the running to illustrate the Folio Society’s new edition of Diana Wynne Jones’s classic novel about a young woman’s adventures with a wizard. The winner will be announced on 26 February

Images provided by the Folio Society and the House of Illustration

Continue reading...

Jacaranda reveals plans to publish 20 black British writers in 2020


This post is by Alison Flood from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Indie publisher says its #Twentyin2020 initiative will cover fiction, non-fiction and poetry and help ‘normalise’ diverse readers

A group of unnamed individuals has donated £25,000 towards an independent publisher’s initiative to publish 20 black British writers in 2020, in the hope it will “normalise” black writing and authors in the UK.

London independent publisher Jacaranda set out to find 20 black British writers in 2018, going through more than 100 submissions to pin down a list that spans from DD Armstrong’s reworking of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, which relocates the story of brotherhood and betrayal to modern inner-city London, to Tolu Agbelusi’s poetry collection Locating Strong Women. Jacaranda founder Valerie Brandes described the list as “a fine mix of established, recognised names and brand new voices delivering brilliant fiction, non-fiction and poetry”.

Continue reading...

No more Americans? What a new sponsor could mean for the Man Booker prize


This post is by Alison Flood and Sian Cain from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Hedge fund’s departure as £1.6m backer of the UK’s leading fiction award has prompted feverish speculation about the prize’s future

Previous Man Booker prize winners are among those keenly awaiting the announcement of the new sponsor of the prestigious literary award, after the prize’s sponsor of almost two decades, Man Group, became the latest in a wave of companies pulling out of backing book prizes.

The hedge fund, which has sponsored the £50,000 literary award since 2002, announced on Sunday that it would end its association with the prize after 2019, which cost them £1.6m a year. On Sunday, the Booker Prize Foundation said that its trustees are already in discussions with a new sponsor “and are confident that new funding will be in place for 2020”.

Continue reading...

Booker prize trustees search for new sponsor after Man Group exit


This post is by Caroline Davies from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Hedge fund firm says it plans to focus its resources instead on its diversity campaign

The Man Booker prize is searching for a new sponsor after the hedge fund company Man Group announced it was ending its 18-year relationship with Britain’s most prestigious literary award.

The Booker Prize Foundation said its trustees were already in discussion with a new sponsor, “and are confident that new funding will be in place for 2020”. It added: “In the meantime the two prizes will run as usual this year.”

Continue reading...

Booker prize trustees search for new sponsor after Man Group exit


This post is by Caroline Davies from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Hedge fund firm says it plans to focus its resources instead on its diversity campaign

The Man Booker prize is searching for a new sponsor after the hedge fund company Man Group announced it was ending its 18-year relationship with Britain’s most prestigious literary award.

The Booker Prize Foundation said its trustees were already in discussion with a new sponsor, “and are confident that new funding will be in place for 2020”. It added: “In the meantime the two prizes will run as usual this year.”

Continue reading...

‘Keats is dead…’: How young women are changing the rules of poetry


This post is by Donna Ferguson from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




A new generation of female writers has attracted millions of online followers and an increasingly diverse audience

Charly Cox is explaining why she thinks her poetry is so popular with young women. “It’s a really difficult age to articulate how you’re feeling,” she says. “We’re all so stressed out. We’re so confused, so lonely. Poetry is an incredible form of solace. If you encounter something in a poem that you feel you’re feeling, it is a freeing, lovely experience.”

Cox, 23, leapt into the list of top 10 bestselling poets last year with She Must Be Mad, her debut collection of poems about her journey from girl to woman. Like Rupi Kaur, the 26-year-old Canadian-Punjabi who dominated the bestsellers last year, Cox first began publishing on Instagram. “A lot of the poets who are coming from online platforms are women or people of colour, and I think ...

‘Keats is dead…’: How young women are changing the rules of poetry


This post is by Donna Ferguson from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




A new generation of female writers has attracted millions of online followers and an increasingly diverse audience

Charly Cox is explaining why she thinks her poetry is so popular with young women. “It’s a really difficult age to articulate how you’re feeling,” she says. “We’re all so stressed out. We’re so confused, so lonely. Poetry is an incredible form of solace. If you encounter something in a poem that you feel you’re feeling, it is a freeing, lovely experience.”

Cox, 23, leapt into the list of top 10 bestselling poets last year with She Must Be Mad, her debut collection of poems about her journey from girl to woman. Like Rupi Kaur, the 26-year-old Canadian-Punjabi who dominated the bestsellers last year, Cox first began publishing on Instagram. “A lot of the poets who are coming from online platforms are women or people of colour, and I think ...

A miracle in action: Diana Athill’s editorial genius


This post is by Christobel Kent from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Joining André Deutsch in the late 80s, I saw a great editor at the top of her game, tirelessly working to bring good writing to perfection

Independent publishing was at a dangerous moment in 1987 when I was ushered at the age of 26 into a lowly place in the publicity department of André Deutsch Ltd. But the company was flourishing. Deutsch had Gore Vidal, Molly Keane and John Updike. Penelope Lively won the Booker for Moon Tiger in my first week and the backlist-bookshelves lining the corridor to the dim publicity offices were a treasurehouse of the boldest and the best in fiction, from Don DeLillo to Jean Rhys, Jack Kerouac, Wole Soyinka and VS Naipaul. But most significant for me was the unparalleled commitment and intelligence of an editorial department led by Diana Athill.

It is hard to overstate the importance of those editors – who were almost ...

Diana Athill was the sharpest of wits and finest of friends | Damian Barr


This post is by Damian Barr from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




The writer remembers the keen eye of a tough but inspiring editor and a warm, unshockable confidante

It is a rare and special privilege to be seen. Not simply noticed or even admired, but assessed and appreciated as you really are, flaws and all. It takes a particularly powerful and kind observer to see truly and in her 101 years Diana Athill saw everything and missed nothing. “Looking at things is never time wasted,” she wrote.

“Beady” is how she described her eyes. They were the exact blue of the Delft hyacinths she loved. She couldn’t have them in her cosy nook at the old people’s home because they made her sneeze, so in spring I’d take her miniature blue irises instead.

Continue reading...

UK publishers need to change the story when it comes to race


This post is by Sharmaine Lovegrove from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




A report showing that UK publishing has failed to reflect regional and racial diversity is a vital reminder that, despite all the initiatives, our work isn’t done

As a young woman my hobby was reading, and it never occurred to me that I might be excluded from the process of creating books. My childhood was filled with stories about and by people from across the globe and my experiences of the world felt richer because I knew that my future contained untapped experiences that would be mine for the taking.

Working in a bookshop in south-west London from the age of 16 further instilled my commitment to books. I met some inspirational people who confirmed my belief that reading made you empathic and creative. I have carried these ideas throughout my life. It is only recently that they have been sullied by the empirical evidence that while books should be ...

‘Leading the entertainment pack’: UK print book sales rise again


This post is by Alison Flood from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Bestsellers including Michelle Obama’s Becoming cited as reasons for success, with industry voices praising sector for fourth consecutive year of growth

Former first lady Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming, which sold more than half a million copies in less than two months, has helped the UK book market to a fourth consecutive year of growth.

Statistics from UK book sales monitor Nielsen BookScan show that the print book market in the UK grew 2.1% in value and 0.3% in volume in 2018. In total, 190.9m books were sold last year, for £1.63bn. The Bookseller magazine said this was up £34m on 2017. Volume also increased, although more marginally, with an extra 627,000 books sold last year.

Continue reading...

Why we are fascinated by miniature books


This post is by Alison Flood from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




From a tiny copy of the Divine Comedy and a once-illegal birth control guide to a Bible the size of a stamp, these strange artefacts are masterpieces writ small

It is known as the “fly’s eye Dante”: an 1878 edition of the Divine Comedy which is so small – just 11/4 by 13/4 inches – that it is said to have taken 11 years to print, and to have damaged the eyes of both its compositor and corrector. Bound in red leather embossed with gold, the world’s smallest edition of Dante’s classic poem, which was printed by the Salmin Brothers in Padua, is one of almost 50 officially designated miniature books housed in the London Library. Nomenclature is important here: according to the US-based Miniature Book Society, a miniature book “is no more than three inches in height, width, or thickness”, and while the London Library has some ...

‘The drought is over’: mass expiration of US copyright sees books, film and art enter public domain


This post is by Alison Flood from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Legislation in 1998 extended copyright by 20 years, so this year marks the first time in two decades that the pool of freely available work has been added to

Robert Frost’s haunting little poem, Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening, entered the public domain in the US on 1 January alongside thousands of works, by authors from Agatha Christie to Virginia Woolf, in an unprecedented expiration of copyrights. Unprecedented because it has been 21 years since the last major expiration in the US: the passing of the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act added a further 20 years to existing copyrights, meaning that the swathe of 1922 works which passed into the public domain in 1998, after a 75-year copyright term, are only now being followed by works first published in the US in 1923.

“The drought is over,” proclaims Duke Law School’s Center for the Public ...

The 100 bestselling books of the year: from Eleanor Oliphant to Michelle Obama


This post is by John Dugdale from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




While Gail Honeyman is completely fine, where have all the female writers gone? John Dugdale takes a look at 2018’s biggest books and the year’s trends

There are two contrasting strategies for achieving a mega-seller, as illustrated by the uppermost books in 2018’s chart. You can publish it in mid-winter, or alternatively April, and then watch it accumulate stonking sales: that worked in the past for newcomers such as Paula Hawkins, Joe Wicks and EL James, and it has propelled Adam Kay, Yuval Noah Harari, Heather Morris and Tom Kerridge (beating Jamie Oliver, last year’s No 1 for the first time) into the list’s elite. Most spectacularly, it was the recipe for the success of Gail Honeyman’s debut, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, published in paperback on 25 January and 11 months later more ...

Audiobooks, inclusivity and #MeToo … how books changed in 2018


This post is by Alex Clark from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




New agents and imprints, Northern Ireland’s first Man Booker winner … this year, the books world turned towards inclusivity and a broadening of perspectives

“You brought it on yourself, longest friend. I informed you and informed you. I mean for the longest time ever since primary school I’ve been warning you to kill out that habit you insist on and that I now suspect you’re addicted to – that reading in public as you’re walking about.” Such behaviour, the speaker continues, is unnerving, disturbing, deviant, much to the bemusement of the errant flâneuse, who wonders why it’s acceptable for a terrorist to promenade with Semtex, but beyond the pale for her to do the same with Jane Eyre.

The characters are from Milkman, the novel by Anna Burns that scooped this year’s Man Booker prize and lobbed ...

Penguin Random House pledges £15,000 to diverse children’s bookshop


This post is by Alison Flood from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Publisher says it hopes to help the #ReadtheOnePercent pop-up store in south London ‘smash its target’ of £30,000, which it is crowdfunding in order to become permanent

Penguin Random House has pledged £15,000 to south London’s #ReadtheOnePercent bookshop, which only stocks children’s books with characters from diverse backgrounds, praising it for playing “a critical role” in highlighting books that better reflect society.

Related: ‘Mum this is me!’: the pop-up bookshop that only sells diverse children's books

Continue reading...

‘Terrible times are coming’: the Holocaust diary that lay unread for 70 years


This post is by Alison Flood from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Jewish teenager Renia Spiegel was executed in Poland days after her 18th birthday. Decades after her diary resurfaced in America, it is finally set to read by the world

Seventy years after writing her final entry, the diary of Polish teenager Renia Spiegel, who has drawn comparisons to Anne Frank for her moving account of life as a Jew during the Nazi occupation of Poland and who was shot on the streets days after her 18th birthday, appeared in English this week for the first time.

Running to almost 700 pages, Spiegel’s diary begins in January 1939, when she was 15, and ends on the last day of her life, 30 July 1942, when she was executed by German soldiers. The last lines in the journal are written by her boyfriend, Zygmunt Schwarzer, who ended it with his account of her death and that of his parents: “Three shots! ...

From Madonna’s Sex to Lady Chatterley: inside the Bodleian’s explicit book club


This post is by Richard Ovenden from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Created at the height of Victorian prudishness, the Bodleian Library’s Phi collection was designed to protect young minds from ‘immoral’ books. More than a century later, they’re going on display for the first time

Libraries today take a dim view of censorship. They are places where knowledge is preserved and shared freely, and where ideas that may seem challenging to some, are nevertheless part of what libraries see as their role in society to make ideas accessible to all.

But this was not always the case. My own institution, the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford, created a restricted class, a special category for books that were deemed to be too sexually explicit. These books were given the shelfmark Φ – the Greek letter phi – and students had to submit a college tutor’s letter of support in order to access the racy materials that were contained there. The Bodleian was certainly ...

‘Single-use’ named 2018 word of the year


This post is by Alison Flood from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Collins Dictionary picks term referring to products made to be used once and thrown away as word of the year after rise in environmental awareness

Single-use, a term referring to products – often made of plastic –that are made to be used once and thrown away, has been named Collins Dictionary’s word of the year for 2018.

Backstop

Continue reading...