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Authors

PJ Harvey & Seamus Murphy Ink Book Deal

bloomsburySinger songwriter PJ Harvey has spent the last few years collaborating with photographer and filmmaker Seamus Murphy on a series of films. The two are continuing their working relationship with a new book, which Bloomsbury just acquired called The Hollow of the Hand.

The poetry/photo book is inspired by a series of trips that the two made together to Kosovo, Afghanistan and Washington in recent years. “Gathering information from secondary sources felt too far removed for what I was trying to write about,” explained Harvey in a statement. “I wanted to smell the air, feel the soil and meet the people of the countries I was fascinated with. My friend Seamus Murphy and I agreed to grow a project together – I would collect words, he would collect pictures, following our instincts on where we should go.”

There will be a hardback edition which will highlight the photography, as well as a reader’s paperback version. The book is slated for publication in Fall 2015. Alexa von Hirschberg will edit the work from the UK and Kathy Belden will edit the book in the US.

Authors Making a Name for Brands

Ron Barrett for the New York Times

Ron Barrett for the New York Times

“Cultivating Thought” is a series of captivating short pieces written by ten noted authors, from Nobel prize winner Toni Morrison to Malcolm Gladwell, printed on Chipolte cups and bags and meant to be read in two minutes. They were the brainchild of Everything is Illuminated writer Jonathan Safran Foer.

In the New York Times, Teddy Wayne looks at “the branding of literature,” companies turning to “literary luminaries to form a collective ‘spokescribe’” as the perfect pitchmen. It can work well for the writers, too. According to Wayne, Moneyball author Michael Lewis told Conan O’Brien on “Conan,” “It pays very well to write a Chipolte cup.”

Neil Blumenthal, co-founder and co-CEO of eyewear company Warby Parker–two names picked from Jack Kerouac’s unpublished journals–told the Times, “We wanted to build a brand that stood for fun, creativity and doing good in the world, and we thought writers best represented that.”

It’s not a match made in corporate heaven for all authors. “Not everyone is willing to be the face (or prose) of a brand,” writes Wayne. Elliott Holt saw her first novel You are One of Them pubbed last year. When a company sought her out to endorse an e-cig (vape, anyone?), she declined.

“‘I felt like being the face of some product would somehow cheapen me as a writer,’ she said, also expressing her reservations about the merchandise’s potential health risks. The offer of $30,000 still gnaws at her, though.”

Jeremy Paxman Inks $1.5M Three Book Deal

bbcnewsBritish journalist Jeremy Paxman has inked a three-book deal for almost $1.5 million.

In the books, Paxman will recount his experiences as a former host at the BBC. The Guardian has more: “The first book of the trilogy will focus on how Britain has changed in the past half-century, the Sunday Times said. The second book with publisher William Collins will tell of his time at the BBC, the paper said, including his experiences of the politicians he interviewed. The content of the third has not yet been decided.”

Paxman recently denied rumors that he was considering running for mayor of London. ”I decided a week ago that I wouldn’t take it on for all the eclairs in Paris,” he said, according to a report in Sky News.

John Green Donates Signed Books to Ferguson Library

tfioscoverFerguson Library Director Scott Bonner recently headlined a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) session. During the conversation, he revealed that John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars is one of the most popular young adult books at his library.

A few hours later, Green joined in with this message: “Hi hi! John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars here. Signed copies of all my books headed your way!”

Here’s more from Mashable: “Scott Bonner, the library’s director, shared his gratitude for the gesture during the AMA, but he also divulged how his staff is coping with the increased need for services, how the library functions monetarily as well as some personal tidbits about his love for table-top role-playing games (think Dungeons & Dragons).”

In addition to this gift from Green, the institution has received over $175,000. More than 7,000 people have sent in monetary donations.

Jacqueline Woodson Responds to the Watermelon Joke

woodsonAuthor Jacqueline Woodson won the 2014 Young People’s Literature Award at the National Book Awards last month.

After being presented with the award at the ceremony in New York, the event’s host, author Daniel Handler, revealed that Jackie is allergic to watermelon and made a joke at her expense. “Just let that sink in your mind,” he said, telling her that she should put a character like that into her next book.

Woodson has responded to the racist joke in a New York Times op-ed saying that “it was the last place in the world I thought I’d hear the watermelon joke.” Here is an excerpt from her response:  Read more

Neil Gaiman Announces Air Dates For ‘Good Omens’ Radio Adaptation

BBC Radio 4′s Good Omens dramatization will air from December 22nd to 27th.

Neil Gaiman, who co-wrote the book with Terry Pratchett, made an announcement on Twitter. The cast includes Colin Morgan, Charlotte Ritchie, Mark Heap, Peter Serafinowicz, Paterson Joseph, and Louise Brealey.

Here’s more from RadioTimes.com: “Good Omens follows the attempts of an angel and a demon (Heap and Serafinowicz) to save the world from the antichrist, but all is not as it seems thanks to a bureaucratic mix-up. Soon, the fate of humanity is left to a gang of young children, a trainee witchfinder (Morgan) and a collection of garbled flashcards.”

List of ‘Hollywood’s 25 Most Powerful Authors’ Unveiled

rowlingHollywood has been chasing after popular books for inspiration. Titles such as the Harry Potter seriesThe Hunger Games trilogy, and The Fault in our Stars novel have been transformed into blockbluster film franchises.

At this point in time, a diverse array of adaptation projects are being developed for YouTube, Hulu, and the silver screen. In recognition of book creators, The Hollywood Reporter has crafted a list of “Hollywood’s 25 Most Powerful Authors.”

J.K. Rowling claimed the number one spot because arguably speaking, “no single creator has had so much influence on a megafranchise since George Lucas and the original Star Wars trilogy.” We’ve posted the list of the top 10 authors below—what do you think?

Read more

Neil Gaiman Reads a Poorly Written ‘Neil Gaiman’ Style Story

What does a poorly written Neil Gaiman short story sound like? The Wits radio station hosted the “Bad Gaiman Challenge” to try to answer that question. Hundreds of submissions came in.

The video embedded above features Gaiman reading the “worst of the worst” pieces—what do you think? Follow this link to view photos. Click here to watch a video clip from the event.

100 Authors Sign Books to Help Boost Holiday Sales at Barnes & Noble

barnes-noble-logo11 (1)Barnes & Noble asked 100 authors to sign 5,000 copies of their latest books. Some of the participants include The Goldfinch author Donna Tartt, Inferno novelist Dan BrownFifty Shades of Grey trilogy writer E. L. JamesHumans of New York blogger Brandon Stanton, and children’s book creator Jeff Kinney.

These 500,000 autographed books will be made available at Barnes & Noble’s 650+ brick-and-mortar locations. The data from the previous two holiday seasons show that the retailer’s sales figures have been in decline for both the digital store and physical shops.

Here’s more from The New York Times: “Drawing customers into its physical stores has become an urgent priority for Barnes & Noble. The chain has been battered in recent years by competition from Amazon and by a sluggish book market. It has closed more than 20 stores since summer 2013 and will spin off its money-losing Nook division into a separate company next year…Some authors said they hoped the new campaign would help the struggling chain.”

Gabriel García Márquez Archive Finds a Home at the Harry Ransom Center

GabrielThe Harry Ransom Center, an institution based at the University of Texas at Austin, has acquired the archive of the late Gabriel García Márquez.

The Nobel Prize-winning writer had passed on earlier this year. Some of the items in the García Márquez archive include letters, photo albums, typewriters, computers, scrapbooks, drafts of his 1982 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, and the manuscripts for One Hundred Years of SolitudeLove in the Time of Cholera, and Memories of My Melancholy Whore.

Here’s more from the press release: “Highlights in the archive include multiple drafts of García Márquez’s unpublished novel We’ll See Each Other in August, research for The General in His Labyrinth (1989) and a heavily annotated typescript of the novella Chronicle of a Death Foretold (1981). The materials document the gestation and changes of García Márquez’s works, revealing the writer’s struggle with language and structure…The archive will reside at the Ransom Center alongside the work of many of the 20th century’s most notable authors, including Jorge Luis Borges, William Faulkner, and James Joyce, who all influenced García Márquez.”

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