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Writers' News

The State of the Crime Novel, Part 1: Writing Life – Tuesday April 30, 2024

Once again, the Edgar Awards are upon us, and once again, I’ve had the privilege of asking dozens of great writers to contribute to our annual roundtable discussion on the state of the genre. This year’s roundtable, like in previous years, is divided into two parts: the first, running today, is focused on craft advice and the writing life, while the second, running tomorrow, will address issues in the genre and the future of crime writing. Thanks so much to the more than 30 nominees who sent in thoughtful, fascinating, and often hilarious responses. The award ceremony is this Wednesday night, and you’ll be able to follow along on social media as winners are announced or take a look at CrimeReads first thing on Thursday morning.


William Kent Krueger (nominated for Best Novel – The River We Remember): First piece of advice: Write every day, and write because you love it, not because you hope you’ll get rich and famous from the effort. Second piece of advice: Marry someone with a good job.

The best piece of advice given to me when I was about to become a published author was to get to know the booksellers. If the booksellers like you and appreciate your work, they’ll sell you like crazy and spread the word. I found this to be true.

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The one-man-band literary review that’s outpacing the monthly magazines – Tuesday April 30, 2024

Ed Needham edits and publishes Strong Words almost singlehandedly from a room in his west London home

Strong Words is an extraordinary magazine about books. Each edition runs to 84 pages and 45,000 words, including reviews of up to 35 new novels and volumes of non-fiction. This writing and reading is done, almost entirely, by one person.

“It is a seven-day-a-week job,” says Ed Needham, who edits and publishes Strong Words from a room in his west London house. “I worked out that it’s the equivalent of writing The Great Gatsby every issue and reading the equivalent of War and Peace every week.”

Such is Needham’s devotion to literature that he has followed this punishing schedule for six years and Strong Words has reached its 50th issue, which is testimony to the quality of the publication and the validity of its founding mission: to write about books in the engaging format of a popular magazine.

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Writing SFF With Paper and Pen Spurs Memory and Creativity – Tuesday April 23, 2024

I recently went back to something for the first time in many years: I wrote the entire first draft of two SFF works, a short story, and a novel, in longhand. There was an ease of flow to the writing that surprised me. A plethora of vocabulary jumped to the page. The memory of previous lines was prevalent, quickening my writing pace as the story grew, and the quality of the written words—the prose, oh, the prose!—sang.

But why?

Researchers for the last two decades have been exploring the benefits of using pen and paper. Writers have attested to them, too. Here are a few examples to help you decide if writing by hand is just what your own creative practice needs as well.

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Major International Publisher Acquires Chelsea Green Publishing – Saturday April 20, 2024

Rizzoli International Publications, the New York City-based subsidiary of Italian publishing house Mondadori Group, will acquire Chelsea Green Publishing, the 40-year-old White River Junction company known for its titles on the politics and practice of sustainable living.

Mondadori announced on April 15 that Rizzoli will pay $5 million for the Vermont company and its London subsidiary, Chelsea Green Publishing UK Ltd. The deal is expected to close by June 30.

"This partnership aligns perfectly with our vision of promoting meaningful content that resonates with global audiences while addressing crucial issues related to sustainability and eco-friendly living," Rizzoli's CEO and president Stefano Peccatori said. Rizzoli International publishes illustrated books about fashion, interior design, art, architecture, photography, travel, sports and food. The company began in 1964 as a New York City bookstore, which still operates.

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Literary mag launches new writing prize for short stories – Saturday April 20, 2024

Attention, short story writers: Montreal-based literary journal yolk is launching the Montreal Fiction Prize.

The prize, open to Canadian writers of stories up to 4,000 words long, carries a $2,000 purse, with two $500 awards for the second- and third-place stories.

Giller Prize-winning author Souvankham Thammavongsa will be the guest judge for the prize’s inaugural year.

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A look ahead to The 2024 Bournemouth Writing Festival – Saturday April 20, 2024

Dominic Wong, director of the Bournemouth Writing Festival, reveals how this event helps both aspiring and established writers to network and gain valuable skills.

The Bournemouth Writing Festival returns this April after its hugely successful inaugural launch last year. Set to be bigger, better and more inclusive, over 80 events and activities are due to take place over the three-day weekend (April 26-28) with the aim to improve and progress people’s writing – and help them to get published!

A mix of free and ticketed events, involving nearly 100 experienced writers and professionals, have been curated by the Bournemouth Writing Festival team to foster inspiration, networking and stimulate creativity. New for 2024 will be 1-2-1 sessions with literary agents and writing professionals, a free Poetry Hub and a photography studio to get those all-important headshots for book covers and publicity.

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S&S UK to Launch Summit Books U.K. with Ravi Mirchandani at the Helm – Thursday April 18, 2024

On the heels of Simon & Schuster's recent revival of Summit Books, headed up by former Little, Brown editor-in-chief Judy Clain, Simon & Schuster UK has announced it will relaunch the imprint in the U.K., tapping Picador editor-in-chief Ravi Mirchandani as publisher.

Mirchandani has helmed Picador in the U.K. since 2019, and has spent the past decade at the Pan Macmillan imprint. There, his authors include Patrick Radden Keefe, Douglas Stuart, and Hanya Yanagihara. His publishing career has spanned nearly 40 years, and prior to Picador, he served as editor-in-chief of Atlantic Books, publishing director of William Heinemann, and editorial director at Penguin Books. At Summit Books UK, Mirchandani will report to Suzanne Baboneau, managing director of Simon & Schuster UK’s adult publishing division, effective September 2.

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Trade debates shift towards shorter books for children – Thursday April 18, 2024

A notable shift towards shorter children’s books is being reported by publishers, agents and librarians, with many welcoming what they see as a challenge to the idea of length as “a marker of merit”, particularly in relation to middle-grade titles. The development is also seen as a way of getting reluctant readers “back into reading” following the pandemic and its impact on comprehension and enjoyment levels.

Discussions at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair around declining reading levels, exacerbated by the pandemic, were accompanied by discussions about book length, difficulty level, and what some see as “unrealistic expectations” around middle-grade titles. One attendee told the Bookseller that “there is a real feeling that books are too long and need to be shortened as attention spans and comprehension decline".

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New Literary Agent Listing: Ciara Finan – Thursday April 18, 2024

I am looking for fantasy, romantasy, dark academia, rom-coms and romance, book club fiction, psychological thrillers, historical fiction and commercial non-fiction. I’m particularly interested in finding and championing stories by writers from underrepresented backgrounds and communities.

[See the full listing]

Dead Ink launches open call for northern crime fiction – Wednesday April 17, 2024

Dead Ink Books is launching an open call for short literary crime stories from northern authors ahead of a new list focused entirely on northern crime fiction. 

The scheme is a collaboration between the indie publisher and literary agencies Curtis Brown and Conville & Walsh. Agents from Curtis Brown and Conville & Walsh will be reading initial submissions. The winners’ stories will be published in an anthology, Motives Unknown, in addition to a "small fee" and a consultation with a literary agent. 

Dead Ink director Nathan Connolly said: “We’re looking for works in the genre that have that Dead Ink touch – compellingly written, transgressive, bold and daring. We’re on the hunt for new talent as we prepare for a new venture and we want to foreground writers from our home region.

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