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 Interested authors should submit a synopsis of no more than 500 words of their unpublished or self-published novel, in any genre of romantic novel (supernatural, historical, comedy etc.), alongside a first chapter of no more than 5,000 words.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.
Illustrator Chris Riddell has been named as the new Children’s Laureate, taking over from author Malorie Blackman, who has held the post since 2013. Awarded every two years and managed by Book Trust, the post celebrates outstanding achievement in the field of children’s books, and bestows upon the recipient a bursary of £15,000 and a silver medal. Riddell is the first illustrator to hold the post since Anthony Browne, who was Children’s Laureate from 2009 to 2011.
The shortlists have been unveiled for this year’s Forward Poetry Prizes, commonly thought of as the Booker Prize of the poetry world. Prizes are awarded for best collection (£10,000), best first collection (£5,000) and best single poem (£1,000), with all nominees published in the UK and Ireland between October 2014 and September 2015.
The Orwell Prize, given annually to the best in British political writing, has this year awarded its prize for books to novelist James Meek, for his non-fictional examination of the privatisation of UK public services, Private Island. The book is a collection of essays largely drawn from the pages of the London Review of Books, to which Meek is a contributing editor. Though Meek has previously worked as a journalist, and remained on staff at The Guardian until 2005 having been the newspaper’s Moscow bureau chief throughout the 1990s, he is best known as a novelist, finding his widest success with the Booker-longlisted The People’s Act of Love that same year.
The biennial Man Booker International Prize, awarded to living authors of any nationality for a body of work readily available (either in its native tongue or in translation) in English, has this year been presented to Hungarian author László Krasznahorkai. It is the first time the award has been given to an author whose work was not originally published in English since the inaugural prize in 2005, when it was presented to the Albanian Ismail Kadare. It is also the first time a non-North American author has won the award since its sophomore prize in 2007 went to Chinua Achebe.