January saw the launch of “BookMachine channels” – a place for publishing professionals to head for the very latest information about book design, publicity, editorial or production. Getty Images are supporting the design channel and showcasing their spectacular images.
News is just in that The Lie Tree, a Victorian murder mystery by Young Adult fiction and children’s author Frances Hardinge, has been named the 2015 Costa Book of the Year. It is only the second children’s book to take the overall prize, and the first since Philip Pullman won with The Amber Spyglass in 2001.
The Lie Tree, the author’s seventh novel, tells the story of Faith Sunderly whose family have shipped out from England to a remote island to escape scandal. When Faith’s father is found dead under mysterious circumstances, she is determined to untangle the truth from the lies. Searching through his belongings for clues she discovers a strange tree that feeds off whispered lies. It will take all Faith’s courage to discover the truth behind the curious events on the island of Vane, and what, or who, killed her beloved father.
James Heneage, chair of the final judges, said: “Part horror, part detective, part historical, this is a fantastic story with great central characters and narrative tension. It’s not only a fabulous children’s book but a book that readers of all ages will love.”
The Costa Book Award is the only major UK book prize open solely to authors resident in the UK and Ireland. The top prize is now worth a whopping £35,000 and will be announced tomorrow evening in London.
The odds, from bookmakers William Hill have debut novelist, Andrew Michael Hurley, winner of the Costa First Novel Award, as favourite for the Costa Book of the Year at 6-4 with The Loney: a slow-burn gothic horror story the judges called ‘as close to the perfect first novel as you can get’.
In second place is novelist and 1995 Book of the Year winner, Kate Atkinson, with A God in Ruins: the story of Teddy Todd – would-be poet, RAF bomber pilot, husband and father – as he navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century, winner of the Costa Novel Award at 3-1.
Close behind in third place is historian and writer Andrea Wulf, winner of the Costa Biography Award, for The Invention of Nature: The Adventures of Alexander Von Humboldt, The Lost Hero of Science at 4-1. Biography won the 2014 Book of the Year with H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, her personal account of training a goshawk as a way of dealing with grief following her father’s death.
In joint fourth place at 5-1 are Young Adult fiction and children’s writer Frances Hardinge, winner of the Costa Children’s Book Award for The Lie Tree: a Victorian murder mystery; and Scottish poet, writer and musician Don Paterson for his latest collection, 40 Sonnets, winner of the Costa Poetry Award, which the judges called ‘a tour de force by a poet at the height of his powers..’
Both Lucy Malagoni and Manpreet Grewal have been promoted, in a move that recognises their brilliant work at Sphere.
Lucy Malagoni is promoted to Editorial Director and will continue to acquire general fiction, with a focus on Book Club fiction, for Sphere. Lucy was chosen as a Rising Star in The Bookseller in 2015 and works on the publications of Robert Galbraith, Val McDermid and CWA Gold Award winner Michael Robotham. Lucy also published the 500,000 copy selling I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh in 2015 and will be publishing Clare’s next novel, I See You, later this year.
Lucy said, ‘Sphere is a truly exciting place to be and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to step up within such a dynamic team as we continue to publish exceptional books.’
Manpreet Grewal is promoted to Senior Commissioning Editor, publishing commercial women’s fiction and general fiction for the Sphere list. Manpreet was recently awarded Editor of the Year by the Love Stories Awards and has signed a number of exciting authors to the Sphere list, including Queen of the Jungle Vicky Pattison, award-winning Sarra Manning, historical drama from Jenny Ashcroft, contemporary book club fiction from Virginia Macgregor and the debut novel from actress and Sunday Times number 1 bestseller, Carrie Hope Fletcher.
Manpreet said, ‘Sphere has one of the best and strongest lists in the business and I’m honoured to be part of a team that publishes such a wonderful array of authors. It’s a pleasure to work with such creative, focused and dynamic people who are always looking to push boundaries and be innovative and with exciting plans for the future, I’m really looking forward to what lies ahead.’
Did you always know you wanted to work in publishing? No? Many young people don’t know about the industry and all the opportunities it provides. The Publishers Association have launched a new programme where people in publishing go into schools, colleges and universities to share their knowledge.
We all know that publishers are conscious of the need to attract a wider range of people to its workforce. However, to make this happen young people need to know about the wide range of jobs and opportunities on offer. This is the aim of this new initiative, to share knowledge so that it is seen as a viable career option from an early age.
To get involved, people are being asked to volunteer as publishing ambassadors with their local schools. This can be done be contacting schools, colleges or universities in their local area or previously attended by the person. Alternatively it will be possible to register on the PA’s People Database to receive updates on upcoming opportunities to give hold a session.
To make such visits as easy as possible, The PA has created a wide variety of digital resources accessible via Dropbox. The resources can be tailored and adapted to suit the user’s style and content. They include:
- PowerPoint presentations
- Tips for presenters
For more information please contact Seonaid email@example.com
This is a guest post by Desmond Clarke. Desmond retired as President & CEO of Thomson Publishing Services Group and he is a former director of Faber & Faber. He is a veteran library campaigner.
2016 is expected to be a critical year for public libraries as the next round of austerity bites and local authorities move to close many more libraries or transfer them to volunteer groups. This is in addition to the 549 UK libraries closed since 2010.
The librarians’ professional body, CILIP is so concerned that it has warned national and local government that it is prepared to legally challenge the failure to provide a comprehensive and efficient public library service as defined in the 1964 Libraries and Museums Act. A number of prominent authors led by the Society of Authors have voiced their concerns and expressed their willingness to back legal action.
Public libraries are enormously popular and are visited by a third of the population, and by almost a half of those living in the most deprived areas. They are essential to supporting literacy, reading, education and the acquisition of information and knowledge. They also help people get online, do their homework, find employment and build strong communities. The main reasons that people visit libraries are to access a wide range of books in all formats, and to go online. Last year there were 225 million visits to public libraries just in England.
The popularity of libraries explains why several hundred protest and friends groups have sprung up to protect their local library. Councilors are lobbied, petitions are signed, letters are written to the local press and protesters fill the public benches at council meetings. Councils blame the cuts on national government while ministers at the DCMS and officials at the agencies responsible for developing and improving public libraries sat on their hands. It is only in the past eighteen months that the DCMS has even admitted that there may be a crisis and established an independent inquiry led by William Sieghart.
Sieghart highlighted that libraries are not only safe places for literacy and learning, but they have also been the starting point for empowerment for many citizens who lack opportunities at home. Furthermore, libraries benefit, and engage with, local lives and communities. We must never underestimate the importance of public libraries, especially to the young, the elderly and the disadvantaged. Libraries are essential to improving literacy standards, to closing the digital divide and as community hubs for the well-being of the nation. To lose them would be a national disaster.
Public libraries have long been the Cinderella of local government as elected members try to cope with the ever increasing demands of other statutory services. Libraries lack the shroud factor and are often seen as a soft option for cuts. It is too easy to cut the book budget, reduce opening hours or threaten to close branch libraries unless they are taken over by volunteers. A few councils have even proposed retaining only their central library and either closing or transferring their other libraries to be run by willing volunteers. Others have looked to outsource their libraries to public service mutuals. It is not an exaggeration to say that our public library service is being strangled by local government even though they represent less than 2% of councils’ total spend.
Austerity cuts are the most immediate crisis facing libraries but the service has long been neglected by successive governments which commissioned numerous reports and consultancies studies but failed to implement the recommendations. While library usage and borrowing have declined at an alarming rate as services are cut, this decline started more than a decade ago as the service failed to meet the needs of its users. The public inevitably walk away if their library is tired, poorly stocked and unwelcoming.
The service has long been in need of radical reform, not least to merge or share services across the 151 separately managed authorities just in England. It is badly in need of investment in a digital infrastructure and a plan to re-invigorate its network. It also needs to establish a national user entitlement stating what we should expect from our local library whatever our post code.
The Government’s response to the Sieghart Inquiry has been to establish a Taskforce, led by the chief executive of Northamptonshire County Council with a small executive but a large management committee made up of representatives of the numerous stakeholder bodies. It is fair to say that the Taskforce has made a slow start in its first nine months, essentially lobbying decision makers in national and local government and completing the installation of wi fi in branch libraries. What we have not seen is a clear vision for a modern library service and an action plan to make that a reality.
In the meantime we should join forces with CILIP and send a very clear message to our MPs and the Government that the library network must not be destroyed in the search for financial cuts. That remains a real risk.
This blog is based on an article by the author and published by The Guardian on 18 December 2015.
Why does academic publishing get so little attention? For a multimillion-pound business whose products ought to be familiar to every graduate working in publishing, it’s surprisingly obscure.
Grand Central Publishing (Hachette) have bought English language rights in a good six-figure deal in bestselling ‘indie’ author Kirsty Moseley’s next two novels.
Fighting to be free was first published on Wattpad and attracted over 5.7 million online reads. GCP will publish in the US in print and digital in March 2016; Book 2, Worth fighting for, will follow in Autumn 2016.
HarperCollins Children’s Books is delighted to announce a new multi-book deal with master storyteller Michael Morpurgo. The deal for world rights, concluded by Executive Publisher Ann-Janine Murtagh and Veronique Baxter at David Higham, sees HarperCollins remain the principle home for Michael’s fiction until 2019.