The Melbourne based writer Christos Tsiolkas has won one of Australia’s most prestigious literary awards in recognition of his work that spans more than a quarter of a century.
The $60,000 Melbourne prize for literature was announced earlier today and was awarded to Tsiolkas for his “outstanding contribution to Australian literature and to cultural and intellectual life”, according to the prize’s judges.
Throughout his career Tsiolkas has written a number of bestselling novels, including Loaded, Barracuda, and The Slap. Many of these have also found themselves being adapted for the big and small screen.
His 2020 novel Damascus also won him last year’s Victorian premier’s prize for fiction.
The author thanked his family and publisher, Jane Palfreyman in a short speech, saying: “I feel like the luckiest fella tonight.”
The essayist and poet Eloise Grills won the $15,000 writer’s prize.
The public is also able to vote for a $3,000 civic choice award however the winner of that prize will not be announced until the 11th of November.
Bloomsbury, the book publisher of the Harry Potter franchise, has announced record sales and profits thanks to the popularity of new titles such as Tom Kerridge’s latest cookbook, this despite the ongoing supply chain issues affecting the UK.
The company said that the increase in reading during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic led people to “rediscover the joy of reading,” with fantasy, escapism, and cookery genres selling particularly well.
It said their revenues for the six months to the end of August were also helped by customers ordering books earlier than normal. Book sales typically peak in the three months leading into the Christmas period, this year that peak seems to have arrived early, likely sparked in part thanks to the supply chain issues across the country.
Last month a number of retailers and publishers warned of potential delays in the run up to Christmas thanks to a national shortage of lorry drivers. The UK’s largest bookseller, Waterstones, said it had upped its stock holding by a quarter to help alleviate any problems.
Bloomsbury has likewise increased its stock levels to almost £37m, this is up from £26m the year previously.
The publishers consumer division has posted a 29% revenue growth, thanks in no small part to books such as A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J Maas and Outdoor Cooking from Michelen-starred chef Tom Kerridge.
The company also said that sales of the Harry Potter series were also good and the books were still amongst its best sellers. They also launched Our Biggest Experiment: A History of the Climate Crisis by Alice Bell back in July, which is performing well in the run up to the Cop26 summit that starts in Glasgow on Saturday.
Overall, the company has revealed they made revenues of £100.7m in the first half, which is up 29%, while their underlying profits before tax were £12.9m, up 220%. They expect to make revenues of £193m and an underlying pre-tax profit of £19.3m by the end of the year.
The Prince will share a number of lessons from his life
The Duke of Sussex will be revealing a number of “mistakes and lessons learned” from his life in a memoir to be published next year.
Prince Harry announced the publishing deal with Penguin Random House saying he would share all the “highs and lows” and be “accurate and wholly truthful”.
Prince Harry, who with his wife Meghan Markle, stepped back from royal duties last year, will be donating the proceeds to charity.
Penguin has not disclosed the details of the deal.
Harry has said in a statement that he will not be writing the book as the “prince he was born as but as the man he has become”.
He also said: “I’ve worn many hats over the years, both literally and figuratively, and my hope is that in telling my story – the highs and lows, the mistakes, the lessons learned – I can help show that no matter where we come from, we have more in common than we think.
“I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to share what I’ve learned over the course of my life so far and excited for people to read a firsthand account of my life that’s accurate and wholly truthful.”
Markus Dohle from Penguin Random House has described the duke as being among “world-renowned leaders, icons, and change-makers we have been privileged to publish over the years”.
A press release from the publishing company has described the book as “intimate and heartfelt” and “honest and moving”.
It also said: “Prince Harry will offer an honest and captivating personal portrait, one that shows readers that behind everything they think they know lies an inspiring, courageous, and uplifting human story.”
I Color Myself Different will be released on 5th April 2022
Colin Kaepernick has just announced he will be releasing a children’s book in 2022 that will be inspired by his own life.
The book, entitled I Color Myself Different, will be published on the 5th of April next year though his own publishing company and Scholastic. According to a statement from the athletes media company this is the first in a multi-book deal. The book’s illustrations will be handled by Eric Wilkerson.
“This story is deeply personal to me, and inspired by real events in my life. I hope that it honors the courage and bravery of young people everywhere by encouraging them to live with authenticity and purpose,” Kaepernick announced in a press release. “I’m excited for Kaepernick Publishing to be collaborating with Scholastic on books with Black and brown voices at the forefront. I hope that our books will inspire readers to walk through the world with confidence, strength and truth in all they do.”
Kaepernick’s work is a picture book “inspired by a significant childhood memory of when Kaepernick first documented that he was different from his adopted white family”, Scholastic has said in a press release. “During a kindergarten exercise on drawing families, Kaepernick remembers putting down the yellow crayon he had been using to draw his family and picking up the brown crayon for himself.
This moment crystallized for him the differences marked by his adoption, and how acknowledging those distinctions could encourage us all to be more accepting of ourselves and each other.”
Colin Kaepernick became a national symbol in the US for racial justice when he first decided to take a knee during the US national anthem before a San Francisco 49ers preseason match back in 2016.
He did so to draw attention to police brutality and systemic racism in the US. Since the end of that season Kapernick has not found a team. NFL teams stand accused of blackballing him simply because of his political stance.
Ellie Berger, president of Scholastic said: “Colin Kaepernick’s inspiring story, with themes of identity, race and self-esteem, will resonate deeply with all kids.”
Public support for the England striker has seen sales of his children’s book soar
England footballer Marcus Rashford’s children’s book ‘You Are a Champion’ has just shot to the top of the charts following England’s defeat to Italy in the Euro 2020 final.
The book is a guide for young people in which the footballer shares stories from his own life and discusses how to “find your team”, and to “dream big”. You Are a Champion was published back in May and was co-written with Carl Anka. After it’s release it topped the charts for four weeks before being knocked off by David Walliams’ new book Megamonster.
In the wake of last weekend’s defeat however – and the support that has surrounded Rashford after his missed penalty and the racist abuse that followed – You Are A Champion has shot to the top of Amazon’s book chart, putting it ahead of bestsellers by Walliams, Matt Haig and Richard Osman.
Richard Osman tweeted out his congratulations…
A number of UK bookshops have launched crowdfunding campaigns this week to get as many copies of Rashford’s book as possible into children’s hands. A welsh bookstore called Book-ish has raised more than £8,000 to buy copies for a local secondary school.
“I am overwhelmed by the generosity of people who have donated over £1,000 to get his book to local children,” said Vivian Archer at Newham Bookshop. “One person who bid for a signed copy said he will donate that to a child who could be inspired to go on to great things. Thank you Marcus.”
The books published Pan Macmillian has also pledged to donated 20,000 copies to a number of these campaigns. “It is wonderful to see how our industry has pulled together to take positive action to support Marcus Rashford and his message of hope, and we are delighted to be adding support to the campaigns,” said Macmillan Children’s Books’ Belinda Ioni Rasmussen. “Marcus is an inspirational young man and his book speaks directly to children and young people, reinforcing the message that you can be whatever and whoever you want to be, regardless of your background.”
Shortly after publishing his book Rashford worked with Macmillan to launch the Marcus Rashford Book Club, an organisation that aims to encourage reading and improve literacy in children between the ages of 8 and 12.
Líra Könyv fined £600 for selling a book with ‘a family that is different than a normal family’
A bookshop chain in Hungary has been fined for selling a children’s picture book that depicts the day to day life of a child with same-sex parents, a number of the countries officials have also publicly condemned the book.
The book is a Hungarian translation of two titles by the US author Lawrence Schimel. In it we are shown a young boys morning routine with his two mothers and the night time escapades of a girl with two fathers who doesn’t want to go to bed.
According to Reuters the fine of 250,000 forints (£600) was imposed on the bookshop chain, Líra Könyv, by Pest county, the local authority for the area surrounding Budapest. According to the county commissioner, Richard Tarnai, the bookshop chain had violated the rules on unfair commercial practices by failing to disclose that the book contained what he called “content which deviates from the norm”.
“The book was there among other fairy-tale books and thus committed a violation,” Tarnai said. “There is no way of knowing that this book is about a family that is different than a normal family.”
The books author took to Twitter to accuse the Hungarian government of “trying to normalise hate and prejudice with these concerted attacks against books like mine … which represent for kids the plural and diverse world they live in.” He also spoke to the Guardian to say that the idea behind his books was to “celebrate queer families, to put more queer joy into the world, so that the only books available to children weren’t about conflicts”.
“In these stories, the fact that the parents are two mums or two dads is incidental to the story, as it is to the daily lives of children in rainbow families. These families don’t only experience homophobia, they also have fun,” he said.
Líra Könyv said in a Facebook post that it will now be putting up signs in its stores to warn shoppers that it sold “books with different content than traditional ones”.
“Rainbow families are completely normal, ordinary families,” the book’s Hungarian distributor, Foundation for Rainbow Families, said in its own statement. “These families haven’t had their own story book so far. That’s why we thought it was important to publish a fairytale book about them – and first of all for them.”
Despite what happened in Hungary Schimel has said that he is “more determined to keep trying to create books like these – books that respect the intelligence of children and offer the vast, complex world to them, in fun and accessible ways”.
These books will be published in the UK this autumn in both English and Welsh.
Remark shocked Chief of Staff John Kelly according to author MIchael Bender
During a visit to Europe to mark 100 years since the end of the first world war it is reported that Donald Trump turned to his then chief of staff, John Kelly and uttered the inexplicable words; “Well, Hitler did a lot of good things.”
This remark is said to have stunned Kelly, a retired US Marine Corps General, and is being reported in a new book by Michael Bender of the Wall Street Journal.
The book, “Frankly, We Did Win This Election” is being heavily advertised ahead of its publication next week.
According to Bender the then president Trump made the remark during a quick history lesson during which Kelly had to “[remind] the president which countries were on which side during the conflict” and had to “connect the dots from the first world war to the second world war and all of Hitler’s atrocities”.
Bender is one of a number of authors who has been able to interview Trump since he lost his second election to Joe Biden.
In a statement issued in response to this allegation a Trump spokesperson said: “This is totally false. President Trump never said this. It is made-up fake news, probably by a general who was incompetent and was fired.” This sounds a little familiar if truth be told.
Bender however claims that unnamed sources have reported that Kelly; “told the president that he was wrong, but Trump was undeterred”, apparently the president continued to emphasize the German economic recovery that occured under Hitler during the 1930s.
“Kelly pushed back again,” Bender writes, “and argued that the German people would have been better off poor than subjected to the Nazi genocide.”
Bender adds that Kelly had to tell Trump that even if that economic claim was true; “you cannot ever say anything supportive of Adolf Hitler. You just can’t.” I feel this is just common knowledge to most people.
This international trip saw Trump run into more trouble than normal. He controversially cancelled a trip to an American cemetery and is reported to have called US soldier who died in the war “suckers” and “losers”.
Kelly, who lost his own son in Afghanistan in 2010, left the White House team in 2019 and has spoken critically of the former president ever since, even calling him; “the most flawed person I have ever met in my life”.
Bender reports that Kelly tried his best to educate Trump and overcome his “stunning disregard for history”.
“Senior officials described his understanding of slavery, Jim Crow, or the Black experience in general post-civil war as vague to non-existent,” he writes. “But Trump’s indifference to Black history was similar to his disregard for the history of any race, religion or creed.”
During Trump’s presidency concern over the countries far right movement grew drastically. This concern continues as even in defeat Trump maintains a tight grip over the Republican party. He continues to make positive remarks about far-right and white-supremacist groups.
The Manningtree Witches takes the £10,000 first novel award
The author AK Blakemore has won the Desmond Elliott prize for best debut for her historical novel about the English witch trials in the 17th century. The Manningtree Witches was praised heavily by judges who called it a “stunning achievement”.
The novel follows the character of Rebecca West, a husbandless and fatherless woman who is only just tolerated by the villagers of Manningtree. The story showcases the fallout of events after a pious newcomer called Matthew Hopkins begins to ask villagers about the women on the margins of their society.
This is Blakemore’s first novel, although she does also have two published poetry collections under her belt.
“My dad lives in Manningtree so it was an area I knew quite well. The process of the writing began when I was in a fallow period of writing poetry. I was messing around with prose, just to have something to write, and the story just really sort of jumped out at me,” Blakemore said.
“I didn’t really have the intention of writing and completing a novel, it started as play. But coming at it from poetry, I had a decent sense in writing of aesthetics and a cinematic, graphic way of composing scenes in my mind. And something about having a story from history that already had a beginning, middle and end, was quite liberating in that sense.”
The Manningtree Witches beat other shortlisted novels such as little scratch by Rebecca Watson and The Liar’s Dictionary by Eley Williams. Blakemore will take home the £10,000 prize.
A previous winner of the prize, Lisa McInerney, was one of this year’s judges and said that Blakemore’s tale “takes limited historical detail and, with what seems like effortless grace and imagination, crafts a breathing, complex world full of wrenchingly human characters, and tells us their stories in language that bears endless rereading, so clever and unexpected and pleasurable it is”.
The author herself said that she was “really, really thrilled” to win. “And honoured – the shortlist was just full of amazing books.”
The extract has been exclusively published by New York magazine.
The journalists first book on Trump, Fire and Fury, exploded onto bookshelves in January 2018 and created a new genre of scandalous political books. While his first book did very well however his sequel, Siege, did not meet expectations.
On January 6th this year, while Congress met to confirm Biden’s election win, Trump spoke to his supporters and told them: “We’re going to walk down [to the Capitol to protest] – and I’ll be there with you.”
According to the excerpt Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, was approached by concerned secret service agents but said: “No. There’s no way we are going to the Capitol.”
Wolff writes that when the president was approached by Meadows he seemed unsure of what his chief of staff was talking about.
“You said you were going to march with them to the Capitol,” Meadows reportedly said. “How would we do that? We can’t organize that. We can’t.”
“I didn’t mean it literally,” Trump then replied.
The former president is also reported to have been puzzled when his supports began a riot that led to five people losing their lives.
Wolff also claims that Trump was confused and disappointed by: “who these people were with their low-rent ‘trailer camp’ bearing and their ‘get-ups’, once joking that he should have invested in a chain of tattoo parlors and shaking his head about ‘the great unwashed’.”
Trump and his close family would watch the attack unfold on TV at the White House.
According to Wolff the exchange between the president and his chief of staff shed’s light on how Trump abandoned his most fervent supporters.
As Wolff reports the White House quickly came to the realisation that Mike Pence had “concluded that he was not able to reject votes unilaterally or, in effect, to do anything else, beyond playing his ceremonial role, that the president might want him to do”.
Trump’s aid Jason Miller is then reported as saying, “oh shit” before turning to the president’s lawyer and election fraud cheerleader, Rudy Giuliani.
The writer reports that the former New York mayor was: “drinking heavily and in a constant state of excitation, often almost incoherent in his agitation and mania”.
As the attempted insurrection escalated Trump posted a tweet attacking his vice-president and continued to ignore the numerous aids who were pleading with him to ask his supporters to stand down.
Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and advisor is reported to have seen the attack as nothing more than an optics issue. Wolff states that it took an hour for Trump to make the: “transition from seeing the mob as people protesting the election – defending him so he would defend them – to seeing them as ‘not our people’”.
Trump the reportedly asked Meadows: “How bad is this? This looks terrible. This is really bad. Who are these people? These aren’t our people, these idiots with these outfits. They look like Democrats.”
He then added: “We didn’t tell people to do something like this. We told people to be peaceful. I even said ‘peaceful’ and ‘patriotic’ in my speech!”
$200,000 raised so far to help rebuild Gaza bookstore destroyed by Israeli airstrikes
Money and books have been donated in an effort to help rebuild one of Gaza’s largest bookstores, the two storey Samir Mansour, which was destroyed by Israeli air strikes back in May.
The shop was founded 21 years ago by Palestinian Mansour and since then it has become a beloved part of the local community and housed tens of thousands of books. Sadly it was reduced to rubble on the 18th of May during the latest conflict in the region, a conflict that ultimately killed more than 250 people in Gaza and 13 in Israel.
Rukhsana said that the response from around the world has been brilliant.
“Dropping bombs on Samir Mansour’s bookshop is not the worst tragedy to have hit the people of Gaza – but this particular air strike targeted access to books. It was an attack on the knowledge and literacy of this community. Samir lost almost 100,000 books and served schoolchildren and adults alike,” she said. “I knew hospital and roads would receive funding, but secondary cultural institutions such as libraries are often overlooked but equally critical to the community.”
The aim of the fundraiser though is not just to replace all 100,000 lost books and rebuild the store, it also aims to help Mansour with his new project: the Gaza Cultural Centre, a large library Mansour wants to build where people can read books without having to pay.
“[In Mansour’s shop], people were allowed to stay, have tea and read his books for as long as they wanted free of charge without an obligation to purchase … he has decided to use all gently used and some new books to create a true library,” she said.
In a written statement released to the press Mansour said his “heart was burning” when he learnt that missiles had destroyed his beloved bookstore.
“The Israeli airstrikes bombed half of the building and my bookshop was in the other half. I wished they would stop … My feet took me a few steps forward, towards the bookshop. The last missile came and destroyed the building,” he said.
“It was six in the morning. I didn’t know what to do. I started searching among the rubble for anything related to my library. But everything was under the rubble.”
He searched the rubble for hours trying to find anything that he could salvage before returning home. “I sat thinking about why my shop was bombed,” he said. “I did not publish, write, or attack any country or person in my life. I did not spread hatred but spread culture, science and love. I did not find answers to my questions.” But he promised himself that he would “rebuild all over again, no matter what it took from me”.
The UK-based online children’s bookseller Books2Door has donated 1,000 books to the campaign with the company founder Abdul Thada describing the situation as heart-breaking.
“Without any hesitation I knew we could help,” he said. “We were kindly informed by the fundraisers that Samir had a diverse, eclectic collection, so we hope we have done him proud.”
Rukhsana and Stafford Smith have said that all donations will help the bookshop “rise as a phoenix from the ashes”.
“With this kind of support now all we need is some humanitarian cooperation from the Israeli and Gaza authorities,” they said.
The author takes top prize for the grand finale of her Thomas Cromwell trilogy
Hilary Mantel has managed to bag herself the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction for a second time.
The novelist won the award for her novel The Mirror and the Light, the final instalment in her Thomas Cromwell trilogy, the first book in the series, Wolf Hall won her the first award 11 years ago.
The author said she was “amazed and delighted2 to once again win the £25,000 prize.
Mantel will also be taking part in the Borders Book Festival later this year to celebrate her win and mark the 250th anniversary of Walter Scott’s birth.
The Walter Scott award was set up in 2010 when Ms Mantel won the inaugural award for her brilliant novel Wolf Hall.
The award is normally announced at the Borders Book Festival in June however that has been moved back to November in the hopes that it will be able to go ahead with fewer Covid restrictions.
Judges said that Mantel had “achieved the almost unachievable” with a novel which closed a trilogy but could also stand “magnificently alone”.
“With consummate technical skill married to the keenest ear for dialogue and the sharpest eye for rich and telling detail, Hilary Mantel resettles the reader at Thomas Cromwell’s shoulder for a psychodrama that begins and ends with a blade,” they said.
“The finale is both well-known and inevitable and yet – as the judges long pondered with astonished admiration – the suspense never fades.”
The author said that the prize will bring “great hope” to historical fiction authors.
“I’m so happy personally that The Mirror and the Light has won this recognition,” she said.
“It was certainly the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I know the author isn’t always the best person to judge, but it seems to me to be the strongest of my trilogy of novels about Thomas Cromwell.
“It launched the trilogy in fine style when the first volume Wolf Hall won the Walter Scott Prize, and now this rounds off the many years of effort.”
Michael Wolff’s final book on Trump, Landslide, will cover his ‘tumultuous’ last months in the White House
The American journalist Michael Wolff has announced that he will be publishing a third book about Donald Trump, this time focusing on his final days as US president. The book is set to be released in July and has the wonderfully provocative title: Landslide.
Trump lost the 202 election to his Democrat rival Joe Biden by more than 7m votes and by 306 – 232 in the electoral college, a result he himself called a landslide when it was in his favour against Hillary Clinton back in 2016.
Trump, never the one to admit defeat, has continued to spout the lie that Biden’s victory was the result of electoral fraud, a speech on this topic helped fuel the deadly attack on the US Capitol on 6th of January.
Wolff published his first book on trump’s presidency in 2018, rocking the White House and Trump’s administration.
Hunter Biden will be publishing a memoir in April that explores his struggle with drugs.
Trump attempted to block publication of the book, titled Fire and Fury, calling Wolff “a total loser who made up stories in order to sell this really boring and untruthful book”. The public however ignored the president. The brilliantly explosive exposé went on to sell some 1.7m copies in just three weeks.
Wolff found himself marginalised and stripped of privileges by the White House press team, but that didn’t stop him publishing his next book, Siege, in 2019 which looked at a “presidency under fire”. The book tackled topics like Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference and possible ties between Trump and Moscow. He even managed to produce another bombshell by exposing the fact that Mueller and his team had shelved an indictment against the president on three counts of obstruction of justice.
While Wolff said that he has obtained documents relating to this revelation from “sources close to the Office of the Special Counsel”. The special counsel itself rejected his claim, saying: “The documents that you’ve described do not exist.”
Due to this controversy, and a number of competiting Trump focused books, Siege did not sell as well as Fire and Fury.
According to his latest books publisher Wolff managed to interview the former president for an inside looks at what have been described as Trump’s “tumultuous last months at the helm of the country”.
Trump himself recently claimed to be writing “the book of all books” and according to the former president he has already “turned down two book deals, from the most unlikely of publishers”, adding: “I do not want a deal right now. I’m writing like crazy anyway, however.”
After major figures in the publishing world said they would not touch a Trump memoir he insisted “two of the biggest and most prestigious publishing houses have made very substantial offers which I have rejected”.
“That doesn’t mean I won’t accept them sometime in the future,” he said. “… If my book will be the biggest of them all … does anybody really believe that they are above making a lot of money?”
Mike Pence, Trump’s vice-president, has himself landed a seven-figure two book deal with Simon & Schuster, despite a staff rebellion at the publishing house.
Jared Kushner, the former presidents son in law, has already bagged himself a publishing contract with his book slated for release sometime in 2022, the details of this deal are not known.
Clearly there is still an insatiable appetite for books about the divisive Trump administration.
Friends of the National Libraries aims to raise £15m to save “once in a generation” library from falling into private hands
A huge consortium of libraries and museums across the UK have come together in an “unprecedented” attempt to raise £15m to save an “astonishingly important” collection of literary manuscripts for the nation.
This consortium includes the likes of the British Library and the library of Scotland Museum and was announced last month after the lost Honresfield library was put up for auction at Sotheby’s. This library was put together by industrialists William and Alfred Law in the early 1900’s and has been inaccessible since 1939. When it was announced that this literary jewel would be going on sale experts warned that action needed to be taken to prevent it being sold off piece by piece to private individuals.
The initiative to purchase these manuscripts on behalf of the nation is being led by the charity Friends of the National Libraries (FNL), which includes institutes such at the British Library, the Bodleian, the National Library of Scotland, the Brontë Parsonage Museum and many other smaller libraries and museums.
The FNL is currently in discussions with both private philanthropists and public funders as it desperatly seeks to raise the £15m it believes would be necessary to secure the entirety of the Honresfield library. It will also be launching a crowdfunding appeal.
The Honresfield library contains a veritable treasure trove of rare items, including a handwritten manuscript of Emily Brontë’s poems, once thought by experts to have been lost to time. It was also revealed on Thursday that the collection includes two “hugely significant” letters written by Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra, one of which deals with the reception to her novels Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility. The other letter meanwhile was written on the eve of a ball as Austen humorously anticipates the end of a love affair: “At length the day is come on which I am to flirt my last with Tom Lefroy, and when you receive this it will be over. My tears flow at the melancholy idea.”
All in all the collection contains more than 500 manuscripts, first edition novels and letters, including the working manuscript of Sir Walter Scott’s famous novel Rob Roy.
While the FNL attempts to raise the funds the vendors and Sotheby’s have graciously agreed to postpone the auction for the first part of the library which had been due to take place in July. The FNL has stated that once the library is purchased individual items will be passed to the appropriate institute across the UK.
“Once in a generation, a collection of books and manuscripts appears from almost nowhere that is met with a mixture of awe and stunned silence, followed by concerted action to bring it into public ownership,” said John Scally, chief executive of the National Library of Scotland. “The UK-wide consortium is determined to raise the funds to ensure we can save the Honresfield library for everyone to share and enjoy.”
Charles Sebag-Montefiore, trustee and treasurer of FNL, described the charity’s plans as “a crucial national endeavour to raise enough funds to keep this unique treasure trove in Britain”.
The alliance of libraries and museums was first formed after the Brontë Society raised a call to action about the upcoming sale, describing the auction as a “calculated act of heritage dispersal”. As more institutions got involved, the FNL was approached to spearhead the campaign.
Gabriel Heaton, Sotheby’s historical manuscripts specialist, said the auction house was “pleased to play our part in this potential outcome for this great library”.
“This proposed acquisition is a fitting tribute to the Law brothers’ voracious literary interests and their family’s excellent care of this material for over a century. The unprecedented initiative is testament to the continued power of literature to inspire the public so many years after these writers first put pen to paper,” he added.
Figures at major publishing houses say it would be ‘too hard to get a book that was factually accurate’
Donald Trump has revealed he is writing “the book of all books”, this despite major figures within the US publishing industry saying it was unlikely that any big publishing house would touch the memoir of the 45th president as it may cause a “a staff uprising”, and that it would be difficult “to get a book that was factually accurate”.
To be fair that fear is not without merit. When Trump exited the White House for the final time in January the Washington Post reported that he had made 30,573 false or misleading claims while President.
It is common practice for former presidents to write their own memoirs when they leave office, Barack Obama’s “A Promised Land” was a roaring success. Trump’s announcement therefore is not unexpected.
In a statement last week the 75 year old former president said he had already “turned down two book deals, from the most unlikely of publishers”, which he of course did not name. “I do not want a deal right now,” he said. “I’m writing like crazy anyway, however, and when the time comes, you’ll see the book of all books.”
The New York Times recently reported that a two-book deal Mike Pence landed with Simon & Schuster was “grating” on Trump, this was denied by a Trump spokesman. The Pence deal however caused problems for the publishing company, with many of its staff saying the company should not promote bigotry. Other rightwingers have run into publishing problems since the attempted coup on the 6th of January.
Simon & Schuster itself dropped a planned book on antitrust written by the Missouri senator Josh Hawley, a man who encouraged the rioters and objected to the electoral college results. His book was eventually picked up by rightwing publisher Regnery and will still be distributed by Simon & Schuster.
Any Trump memoir looks likely to be published in a similar manner, outside of the mainstream. Politico has reported that senior figures at Harper Collins, Penguin Random House, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster have said they would not touch a Trump penned memoir. “It would be too hard to get a book that was factually accurate, actually,” one was quoted as saying. “That would be the problem. If he can’t even admit that he lost the election, then how do you publish that?”
Another senior figure said he was “skeptical” about Trump’s claim to have had two offers, saying: “He’s screwed over so many publishers before he ran for president none of the big five would work with [him] any more.”
Keith Urbahn of Javelin, an agent who has represented numerous Trump books told Politico: “It doesn’t matter what the upside on a Trump book deal is, the headaches the project would bring would far outweigh the potential in the eyes of a major publisher.
“Any editor bold enough to acquire the Trump memoir is looking at a factchecking nightmare, an exodus of other authors and a staff uprising in the unlikely event they strike a deal with the former president.”
Trump hit back by once again insisting that “two of the biggest and most prestigious publishing houses have made very substantial offers which I have rejected”. Once again he wouldn’t name them.
“That doesn’t mean I won’t accept them sometime in the future, as I have started writing the book,” he added. “If my book will be the biggest of them all, and with 39 books written or being written about me, does anybody really believe that they are above making a lot of money?
“Some of the biggest sleezebags [sic] on earth run these companies.”
Trump’s personal worth has plummeted since his first year in office, and now he faces extensive legal proceedings. The fact that memoirs written by his predecessor sold for $65m may have given him some idea on how to raise some more funds.
The lack of diversity in the publishing industry is set to be the focus of a new comedic play by award-winning writers Yvette Edwards and Irenosen Okjie. The writers say they want this play to be a “subtle and pertinent” reminder of the obstacles facing black writers.
The play is entitled The Green Room and will be directed by Roy Alexander Weise who said he hoped the play would be a “reminder for publishers and writers of all backgrounds of what black creatives have to navigate in their chosen careers.”
The play focuses on six authors who are backstage at a diversity in literature award they are all nominated for. It is described as “a timely and clear-eyed exploration of the publishing industry”, as well as the additional obstacles black writers face as they try to create a career in the UK.
Edwards has said that her play’s edgy comedy mirrors the dark humour black authors use as a means of protection “against the trauma of having to constantly relive all the mechanisms that obstruct our access to fair and equal inclusion and progress” in real life. She also added that some black authors were still being invited to literary discussions to explore the issue the of diversity instead of to promote their own work,
She added that black authors were still being invited to literary festivals to discuss the issue of diversity instead of promoting their own work, “as if the resolution rested with them and not with the industry itself”.
Okojie went on to add: “We chose comedy to tell the story because we want to impact people in ways that are subtle and pertinent, while leaving them with something to think about.”
As of now the cast has still not been announced.
If you wish to view the play yourself it will be livestreamed from Theatre Peckham on the 4th of July.