- Kobo has launched the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, to celebrate Canadian debut authors. The annual award offers three categories of competition: Literary Fiction, Genre Fiction (beginning with Mystery, with a different genre showcased each year), and Non-Fiction. Prizewinners will each receive $10,000, and promotional, marketing, and communications support, as well as access to Kobo experts for publishing advice. Three outstanding judges (who will also provide mentorship to the three winners) will help launch the inaugural awards: Miriam Toews will serve as the judge of the literary fiction category, Charlotte Gray will judge non-fiction, and Ian Hamilton will judge genre fiction.
- A literary life is the dream for most United Kingdom residents. According to a YouGov poll, 60 percent of respondents answered that the most desirable job to have in Britain today is “author.”
- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has selected Eula Biss’s On Immunity: An Inoculation as the next read in his book club, “A Year of Books.” Biss’s book, which has been widely praised by critics, explores the cultural fear of vaccines. “Vaccination is an important and timely topic,” said Zuckerberg.
- Novelist and screenwriter Nick Hornby will adapt Nina Stibbe’s National Book Award–winning memoir, Love, Nina, as a five-part BBC miniseries. Hornby has written numerous books that have been adapted for film, including High Fidelity and About a Boy. Most recently, Hornby adapted the screenplay for Colm Toíbín’s novel, Brooklyn.
- Jennifer Lopez’s (apparently) terrible new movie The Boy Next Door has inspired a misguided quest for first editions of the Iliad. “Lopez plays a divorced English literature high school teacher who has a one-night stand with her younger neighbour played by Ryan Guzman. In one scene, Guzman’s character gives Lopez a copy of The Iliad, which is described as a ‘first edition’ and apparently found for ‘a buck at a garage sale.’ ” Problems: no one knows for certain when the Iliad was even written. It was passed down by oral tradition first. It’s at least three thousand years old. It wasn’t composed in English for first publication in a handsome hardcover.
- Bestselling novelists Jennifer Weiner and Jonathan Franzen are still not getting along. Twitter and gender are involved. Read a rundown of their feud at the Guardian.
- In Selkirk, Scotland, a man has found a previously unseen Sherlock Holmes story in his attic. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle apparently wrote it around 1904 to help raise funds for a new bridge.
- The 2015 #TwitterFiction Festival will take place May 11-15. The festival is presented by the Association of American Publishers and Penguin Random House, and is about “embracing, exploring, and developing the art of storytelling on Twitter.” This year, featured participating authors include Margaret Atwood, Celeste Ng, Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket), and Eric Jerome Dickey, among others.
- The Economist featured a piece on the new era of “authorpreneurship,” in which no one can simply write: “Authors are becoming more like pop stars, who used to make most of their money selling albums but who now use their recordings as promotional tools, earning a living mainly from concerts. The trouble with many budding writers is that they are not cut out for this new world. They are often introverts, preferring solitude to salesmanship.”
So, there are some of the bigger stories that made news in the book world this week. I hope your week has been a good one, and that you have had some time to read. If you are reading something great, I would love to know about it, so please leave a comment. (I could truly chat about books forever. Heh!)