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Chris Ward

Chris Ward

Chris Ward writes and says things about books and music and films and what have you, even when no one is reading or listening.
He was chief hack and music editor of webzine Brazen from 2006 to 2010, and hosted Left of the Dial on Subcity Radio from 2008 to 2011.
He can be heard semi-regularly on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae ('20th best website in Scotland!' - The List), and in 2011 founded Seen Your Video, a film and music podcast and blog based in Glasgow. He has a Masters degree in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow that will never have any practical application. You are on a hiding to nothing if you follow him on Twitter expecting any kind of hot publishing scoop.

Bill Bryson’s first travel book in 15 years due this autumn

Today in oh holy hell I shall soon be dead: 2015 marks 15 years – 15 years – since Bill Bryson last published a book of travel writing, that particular book being 2000’s jaunt around Australia, Down Under. In the time since, he has published two volumes of Bryson’s Dictionary (one of Troublesome Words, the other for Writers and Editors), two Short Histories of Nearly Everything, a memoir, a biography of Shakespeare, and three books of history about, variously, icons of England, domestic life and America in the summer of 1927, with his only travel writing a short diary of a trip to Kenya published in aid of CARE International.

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BookMachine Week is underway, Twitter chat on Friday

You there! What week is it? No, silly little Dickensian orphan, Christmas was two months ago, this is BookMachine week. Between Monday 23 and Friday 27 February, BookMachine is running a series of events across the world, with publishing folk gathering in Brighton, London, New York, Barcelona and Oxford to hear from a variety of industry speakers. Topics under discussion include the fate of illustrated books in the age of digital, the problems posed by shrinking retail space, the impact of self-publishing and the effect that social media is having on publishing.

In the latter instance, the medium is the message – on Friday afternoon, City University is sponsoring a BookMachine Twitter chat, ideal for those who can’t make it along to any of the real-world events or suddenly think of the perfect witty retort just as they’re leaving and want to seek retribution. The focus, as at the events, will largely be what digital means for images in publishing. The hashtag to use to take part is #BookMachine, which is where you’ll find the questions under discussion too. It kicks off at 3pm GMT/4pm CET/10am EST. The week’s discussions will then be rounded up here on the site for anyone who can’t even muster the energy to look at Twitter come Friday afternoon.

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Newly discovered Dr. Seuss book to be published in July

In what has already been quite the month for new books from authors most thought we’d never hear from again, Random House has revealed that on 28 July it will publish What Pet Should I Get? – a ‘new’ book by Dr. Seuss. The manuscript for the book was rediscovered in 2013 by Seuss’ widow, Audrey Geisel, and his secretary, Claudia Prescott, in a box at his San Diego home, having originally been set aside shortly after his death in 1991. Also present in the box was enough unpublished material to sustain at least two further books.

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Poetry featured heavily in new BBC arts slate

Less than a month ago, Robert Harris used his position as head of the Costa Book of the Year Award judging panel to rail against the lack of airtime given to literature by the BBC’s televisual output. Whilst probably not a direct response to Harris’ particular grievances, it is, however, hard to feel that the Corporation’s newly announced slate of arts programming isn’t delivered in a spirit of recalibration, bringing as it does a poetry season for BBC Four and the latest iteration of the erstwhile Late Review.

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2015 Folio Prize shortlist revealed

The Folio Prize – open to English-language fiction of any genre, form or country of origin – has announced the shortlist for its second year. The eight nominees for the sophomore award are: 10:04 by Ben Lerner; All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews; Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill; Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor; Family Life by Akhil Sharma; How to Be Both by Ali Smith; Nora Webster by Colm Tóibín; and Outline by Rachel Cusk. Those eight were whittled down from a longlist of 80.

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Questions raised – and rebutted – about new Harper Lee novel

As you’ve no doubt heard about, got tired of, called 2 Kill 2 Mockingbirds along with the rest of the internet then got tired of calling 2 Kill 2 Mockingbirds, Harper Lee is set to release a second novel this summer, 55 years after the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird.  On July 14 (happy Bastille Day!) HarperCollins (and William Heinemann in the UK) will publish Go Set a Watchman – an unpublished work Lee set aside 60 years ago to focus on Mockingbird, which will focus on the earlier book’s semi-autobiographical child protagonist Scout as an adult.

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Killer Reads reveals titles acquired from open submission

Last summer we reported that HarperCollins was to relaunch its Killer Reads online community as a digital-first crime and thriller list, and that its initial wave of releases would be discovered via a week of open submissions. Now, with its first publication date of February 19th little over a fortnight away, the imprint has revealed the first three titles it has bought from those submissions, along with three additional titles submitted via literary agents.

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