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Posts Tagged ‘Yasmina Khadra’

A Further Look at Random House Films

The WSJ’s Jeff Trachtenberg turns his attention to the partnership between Random House and Focus Features and its first collaboration, the Sofia Coppola-directed “Reservation Road”. It’s based from a book by Jonathan Burnham Schwartz and stars Jennifer Connelly and Joaquin Phoenix. The plan is to release two or three such films each year, culled from Random House’s backlist of 33,000 titles. So far, titles in the works include Dean Koontz‘s THE HUSBAND, Ross MacDonald‘s THE GALTON CASE and Yasmina Khadra‘s THE ATTACK. The partners will share production costs, hoping to recoup their investments by selling foreign distribution rights and bringing in other investors. In exchange for its investment, Random House has a voice in picking screenwriters, directors, and actors.

Random House says its move into the film business isn’t mainly about increasing profits via movie tickets and DVDs. Rather, it’s about selling books. “We’re doing this primarily to sell more books as movie tie-ins,” says Peter Olson, CEO of Random House. “If the movies do well at the box office and as DVDs, that’s an additional bonus.” A strategy which worked in a big way with the tie-in to PERFUME (sales jumped to more than 100,000 copies sold from 13,000 copies annually for Patrick Suskind‘s novel) and which offers high hopes for Schwartz, now betting that movie will also give a boost to his next novel, THE COMMONER, published in January by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday. “My hope is that it will catch some of the wind from the movie promotion,” he says.

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World Voices: The Literary Side of Crime

(photo credits: Mary Reagan)

S.J. Rozan
introduced Saturday’s “Literary Thrillers” panel, held at the Bowery Ballroom, by saying the subject was “one close to my heart.” And even though the topic didn’t get addressed directly by panelists Kenji Jasper, Henry Chang and Alicia Giminez-Bartlett until the question period (when I played ringer and asked what, exactly, made thrillers literary) the topic permeated the hour-plus discussion, which quickly established that Chang and Jasper care a great deal about having their characters drive the story and basing said stories on their own respective realities (Jasper grew up in inner-city DC, Chang in New York’s Chinatown, where he still resides.) Bartlett delineated the difference between genre constraints and literary expansiveness and how she felt it was, in some way, easier to write crime fiction as a result.

During the signing portion afterwards I finally had the chance to meet Giminez-Bartlett’s panelmates from the previous night’s “Mediterranean Noir” event, Carlo Lucarelli and Massimo Carlotto. Neither Italian writer is comfortable enough speaking English (something I didn’t figure out until my attempt at conversation with Lucarelli) so translator Michael Reynolds intermediated between me and Carlotto, who was also in town for the Edgar Awards (where he was nominated for Best Paperback Original.) When I asked Carlotto if it was odd to have read from “his newest novel” IL FUGGIASCO – really his first, written twelve years ago – he said no because he’s frequently asked to speak about his voluminous legal woes in and around Italy. He did add that the “Carlotto Case,” as it’s known there, is not exactly fresh material for him anymore.

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