Foyles has announced a series of children’s events taking place across its branches in London and Bristol throughout the school summer holidays, dubbing it the ‘Summer of Fun’. Beloved characters including Where’s Wally?, Shaun the Sheep, Thunderbirds, Maisy, Hugless Douglas and Miffy will make appearances at the bookshop’s Bristol branch and its Charing Cross Road, Stratford, Waterloo and Royal Festival Hall branches in London. There will also be a variety of workshops, theatre and storytelling events in-store, running between 25 July and 30 August.
Paula Hawkins’ novel The Girl on the Train has broken UK sales records this week, claiming its 20th consecutive week atop the hardback fiction bestseller lists. It overtakes Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, which stayed at number one for 19 weeks following its release in September 2009, to become the longest reigning bestseller since Nielsen BookScan began monitoring sales in 2001. Not only has it stayed at the top of the hardback chart for longer than any other title, it is second only to Brown’s The Da Vinci Code – which stayed at number one in the paperback chart for a jaw-dropping 65 weeks – in most weeks held at the top of any book chart.
As part of its continuing efforts to sign up shoppers to its premium Prime subscription service, Amazon has announced Prime Day, a ‘one day shopping event’ that promises ‘more deals than Black Friday’. Happening across Amazon stores globally on Wednesday 15 July, the event allows new and existing members of Amazon Prime to shop for ‘thousands’ of lightning deals throughout the day, starting on Amazon.co.uk at midnight BST.
Today (2 July) sees the launch of the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2016, the latest instalment of the annual directory for writers, designers, illustrators and photographers. Published by Bloomsbury, the book contains 4,500 key industry listings, alongside information on copyright, finance, submitting a manuscript, e-publishing, self-publishing, agents, publishers, prizes and awards. New additions this year include articles on writing historical fiction, writing about food, travel writing, becoming a published poet and electronic publishing.
The Office of Intellectual Freedom (OIF), an arm of the American Library Association (ALA), recently released the list of the most banned books in the US during 2014. It’s an annual report, but what’s surprising is that, year upon year, these lists increasingly contain YA and Children’s titles.
Doyenne of all romance publishers Mills & Boon has teamed with WHSmith and Kobo for Romance Writing Life, a competition that aims to find new romance authors (have I used the word ‘romance’ enough yet? Romance romance romance). Interested authors should submit a synopsis of no more than 500 words of their unpublished or self-published novel, in any genre of romantic novel (supernatural, historical, comedy etc.), alongside a first chapter of no more than 5,000 words. The winner will receive a print and digital contract with Mills & Boon. Second and third prize will each receive a Kobo Glo HD on which they’ll be able to read the winner’s much better book.
The longlist has been revealed for the 2015 Warwick Prize for Writing, presented every two years by the University of Warwick to writing in English of any genre, form or nationality. Nominations come from staff, students and alumni of the university and of Australia’s Monash University (and, for the first time this year, publishers’ own submissions), with each able to nominate one piece of work on that year’s chosen theme. For 2015, said theme is instinct. The winner receives £25,000 and the chance of a short placement at the University of Warwick.
In a move that defies every NSFW comic stereotype, the German Publishers & Booksellers Association has been told by the country’s Youth Protection Authority that all digital publications aimed at an adult audience can now only be sold between the hours of 10pm and 6am, effectively instating a watershed comparable to the transmission of adult material on British television after 9pm. When submitting ebooks to digital stores, publishers will now be met with a metadata entry field asking them to specify if the book should be classified as being specifically for adults. If so, the title will only be visible on digital retail sites between the designated hours.
This year’s International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award has been presented to Harvest by English author Jim Crace. Sponsored solely by the city of Dublin, the prize is the world’s largest presented to a single work of fiction, valued at €100,000. It is open to authors of any nationality and novels written in any language so long as an English translation is made available in the same calendar year as its original publication, and is post-dated by two years from date of publication (so all of this year’s nominees were published no later than 2013). Nominations come from public libraries around the world.
The Borders Book Festival has this year awarded its annual Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction to John Spurling for his novel The Ten Thousand Things, which tells the story of 14th century Chinese painter Wang Meng. Spurling took the £25,000 prize over work from Martin Amis (The Zone of Interest), Helen Dunmore (The Lie), Hermione Eyre (Viper Eye), Adam Foulds (In the Wolf’s Mouth), Damon Galgut (Arctic Summer) and Kamila Shamsie (A God in Every Stone). Those other nominees each receive £1,000.