PEN – the international writers association (Poets, Essayists and Novelists, if you were wondering) – has announced that this year, its prestigious Pinter Prize will be awarded to the revered playwright Tom Stoppard. The award was established by the organisation in 2009 in tribute, of course, to Harold Pinter, who died in 2008.
Popular mystery author David Hewson will this week release his latest novel, The Flood. His fans, however, will not be able to read it – at least in the strictest sense of the word – until some time next year, because the novel will initially see release exclusively as an audiobook, with print editions to follow at an as yet unspecified date. Further than that, The Independent reports, Hewson has intimated he may eventually move to writing exclusively for audiobooks.
If you purposefully avoided any and all news coming out of San Diego’s Comic-Con this past weekend, well, who could blame you, but amongst the attendees in ill-fitting lycra bodysuits and the adverts for adverts for forthcoming Hollywood blockbusters sat the panel of authors “Ode to Nerds”, and on that panel sat Chuck Palahniuk, who dropped a piece of comic book news that may even be of interest to those who don’t know that Spider-Man is hyphenated. Asked by an audience member what he was currently working on, the ever-prolific Palahniuk revealed that, following his soon-to-be-published novel Doomed, another novel, Beautiful You, and a book of short stories, both due for publication in 2014, he plans to release a sequel to his iconic 1996 debut Fight Club – as a graphic novel.
Hey, remember last year when the estate of William Faulkner brought a lawsuit against Sony Pictures Classics for copyright infringement after Woody Allen’s literary 2011 comedy Midnight In Paris paraphrased a famous line consisting of nine words from Faulkner’s Requiem for a Nun as the set-up for an otherwise throwaway gag? No, of course you don’t, because the triumph of such a lawsuit would prove nonsensically restrictive to the dialogue that has existed between works of art since time immemorial, its ultimate defeat so foregone a conclusion that to commit even the generalities of the suit to memory would be a waste of grey matter that might be better used amassing quotations from Faulkner’s corpus with which to taunt the miserly spirit who brought the case in the first place. And so it went, with federal judge Michael Mills (not that one) this past Thursday agreeing with Sony that Allen’s nod to the author of The Sound and the Fury did indeed constitute fair usage so [INSERT HACKY JOKE ABOUT SOUND AND FURY SIGNIFYING NOTHING].
Never a man to do things the easy way, whether it’s recording a song that runs a full 24 hours or proceeding to embed five copies of said song on USBs in actual real-life human skulls, Flaming Lips frontman, acid casualty (if ‘casualty’ is the right word) and noted Google Maps bathtub dweller Wayne Coyne has revealed plans for his debut foray into publishing, and needless to say it’s far from the straightforward memoir you might expect from such an alt-rock institution. No, instead Coyne has written and drawn a comic book, The Sun is Sick, which will see its initial release at this weekend’s Comic-Con in San Diego before going on sale in The Flaming Lips’ official webstore this coming Monday, July 22nd. Long-time Lips followers will be in no way surprised to discover that the cover features a naked woman holding a gory eyeball against a psychedelic backdrop, given that that’s a pretty apt summation of where Coyne and the band have been at lately, i.e. always.
Proving once and for all that nothing sells a book like a little showmanship and/or discovering that the author is one of the biggest sellers in the history of print, readers across the country are eagerly awaiting a reprint of Robert Galbraith’s debut novel The Cuckoo’s Calling following Galbraith’s admission to the Sunday Times at the weekend that he isn’t actually a former plain-clothes Royal Military Police investigator who had left the armed forces in 2003 to work in the civilian security industry but is in fact JK Rowling. JK Rowling, in case there was any doubt, is not some coincidentally initialled guy called James Kevin Rowling or something but is definitely the self-same author of the Harry Potter novels and The Casual Vacancy. In other news, this means my own theory that ‘Cormac McCarthy’ is just the pen name James Patterson uses when he wants to stretch his wings a little could still be in play.
In its continuing efforts to leave no income stream untapped, especially if other people are already drinking from it, definite potential comic book supervillain Amazon has found an entirely appropriate new means of expanding its plans for world domination: By itself printing the adventures of comic book supervillains, with the launch of its new comic and graphic novel imprint Jet City Comics. In a move akin to Apple deciding it wants iTunes to branch out into vinyl, the imprint will publish in both digital and print formats.
Back in February, we reported that the Melita Hume Poetry Prize was open for submissions for its second year of discovering young UK poetry talent. Five months later, publishers and award backers Eyewear and judge Jon Stone have whittled entries down to a shortlist of thirteen nominees which was announced late last week. Having initially predicted a shortlist of between six and ten, the publisher says the number of nominees is down to the year, so for better odds we’d suggest holding off entering as long as you can whilst still being eligible to participate.
In slightly more optimistic news of sci-fi death than we’ve been accustomed to of late, a strand of Arthur C. Clarke’s hair is set to be launched into space on the Sunjammer solar sail next year. Named after Clarke’s eponymous 1963 short story, the sail will be launched by aerospace funeral company (definitely a thing) Celestis on a memorial flight into deep space, bearing that one piece of the revered author’s remains alongside ash samples from Star Trek creator Gene Rodenberry, his wife Majel Barrett Rodenberry and James Doohan, who played Scotty on the original Star Trek series. Somewhere out there, several fanboys are currently mulling over some decisions about their future.
In what has been an exceptionally cruel twelve months for beloved authors of science-fiction, following the deaths of both Ray Bradbury and Iain Banks, word has now also come that Richard Matheson has died aged 87 after a long illness at his home in Calabasas, California. Perhaps best known as a writer of short stories and novels - several of which were adapted into well-known films and episodes of television – his body of work also spanned screenplays, teleplays and even a piece of spiritual philosophy, all of which proved hugely influential to subsequent dabblers in the realm of the fantastic