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Writers' News

Novelist Tim Winton left 'deeply wounded' by axing of his publisher Ben Ball

smh.com.au – Wednesday May 16, 2018

Leading Australian novelist Tim Winton says he has been left "deeply wounded" by the decision of the country's biggest publishing company, Penguin Random House, to axe his highly respected publisher, Ben Ball.

Ball was appointed publishing director of the newly created Penguin Random House Literary division less than a year ago and has an illustrious career publishing literary heavyweights including Winton, Peter Carey, Robert Drewe and Sonya Hartnett.

[Read the full article]

Marian Keyes to fund Curtis Brown scholarship for budding author

thebookseller.com – Tuesday May 15, 2018

Bestselling author Marian Keyes is funding a £2,600 place on Curtis Brown’s online six-month writing course for one “talented writer with limited financial means”.

Keyes is providing financial support for the place on Curtis Brown Creative’s (CBC) next novel-writing course starting in September.

The scholarship will be awarded on the basis of quality of material – applicants fulfilling the eligibility criteria should send in the opening 3,000 words and one-page synopsis for the novel they would like to work on during the course.

[Read the full article]

Amazon Publishing launches non-fiction arm

thebookseller.com – Monday May 14, 2018

Amazon Publishing is breaking into non-fiction in the UK through imprint Little A.

The retailer's publishing arm has been “keen to explore quality non-fiction from UK authors for some time”, according to editorial director Laura Deacon, and is calling on agents to submit a broad range of titles ranging from history, science, lifestyle and popular culture. Agents The Bookseller spoke to have greeted the news with enthusiasm.

Amazon Publishing currently publishes fiction under four imprints in the UK: Thomas & Mercer, Lake Union Publishing, Montlake Romance and 47 North. In the US, Little A publishes literary fiction and non-fiction, but in the UK it will currently just focus on non-fiction.

[Read the full article]

Daily Mail and PRH launch third £20k writers' competition

thebookseller.com – Tuesday May 8, 2018

The Daily Mail and Penguin Random House have launched the third year of their nationwide competition to search for a new writing talent.

The winner will receive a £20,000 advance and publishing contract with PRH imprint Century and the services of literary agent Luigi Bonomi.

Entrants are invited to submit the first 5,000 words of their novel, along with a 600-word synopsis. Submissions can be of any adult genre except for saga, science fiction and fantasy. Entrants must not have had a novel published before.

The competition will be judged by a panel of experts: author and TV presenter Fern Britton; Bonomi, managing director of LBA Literary Agents; crime writer Simon Kernick; the Daily Mail's literary editor Sandra Parsons; and Selina Walker, publisher for Century & Arrow.

[Read the full article]

An Indian-American filmmaker wants fans to help 'fix' Simpsons character Apu

digitalspy.com – Friday May 4, 2018

Indian-American filmmaker Adi Shankar has come up with a solution to the problem of The Simpsons' character Apu: he wants to hand the character over to the fans for a rewrite.

The character has become the subject of controversy in recent months, especially after the release of 2017 documentary The Problem With Apuwhich discussed the way the long-running TV series has helped to perpetuate the (negative) stereotypes of Indian-Americans, as well as the problems of having a white actor putting on a heavy accent to voice the character.

[Read the full article]

Traditional Publishing Ebook Sales Dropped 10% In 2017

forbes.com – Sunday April 29, 2018

Traditional publishers sold 10% fewer ebook units in 2017 compared with the previous year, according to data released by PubTrack Digital. Total sales were 162 million in 2017 rather than the 180 million units sold the year before.

The news won't come as a surprise to anyone who has followed traditional ebook sales trends over the past few years: Nielsen's reports put 2016 ebook unit sales from the top 30 traditional publishers down a full 16% from their 2015 numbers. But this isn't a comeback story for print, and shouldn't be considered evidence of a waning public interest in ebooks. The fact that traditionally published ebook sales fell 10% last year isn't the full picture. As traditional publishers saw sales drop, audiences moved to indie publishers, largely on Amazon. The reason, according to Jonathan Stolper, who was the SVP and global managing director for Nielsen Book in 2016, comes down to pricing. Nielsen’s Books and Consumers survey, according to a Publishers Weekly paraphrase of Stolper, found "that price is the top priority for e-book buyers when considering which book to purchase." In 2015, the Big Five publishing houses raised ebook prices to around $8 a book, far higher than the $3-a-book price point independent publishers settled on.

[Read the full article]

Researchers built an AI capable of writing poetry that's equal parts woeful and impressive

mashable.com – Saturday April 28, 2018

As if the world weren't already full enough of awful human poetry, now the robot overlords want in.

Researchers from Microsoft and Kyoto University were interested in whether they could invent an AI that writes poetry inspired from images, "generating poems to satisfy both relevance to the image and poeticness in language level." Some of the poems produced are pretty objectively abysmal. Others, surprisingly passable.

Here's one inspired by a photo of a dead crab:

[Read the full article]

Lovegrove launches magazine for Caribbean writing

thebookseller.com – Monday April 23, 2018

Sharmaine Lovegrove has launched an online magazine dedicated to Caribbean literature.

Pree offers new contemporary writing from and about the Caribbean, including fiction, non-fiction, essays, interviews and experimental writing giving the authors “international visibility far beyond the islands”.

Lovegrove is publisher of the magazine and also publisher at Little, Brown imprint Dialogue Books, which is dedicated to inclusivity. Joining her at the online magazine is editor-in-chief Annie Paul, who is based at University of the West Indies, and editors include Jamaican writer and environmental activist Diana McCaulay, cultural analyst Isis Semaj-Hall and New York-based essayist Garnette Cadogan. The magazine’s creative director is designer Nerys Hudson.

[Read the full article]

Richard & Judy 'Search for a Bestseller' competition returns

thebookseller.com – Thursday April 19, 2018

Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan are launching their third “Search for a Bestseller” competition to find a promising first-time writer. The prize is a £30,000 publishing deal with Bonnier Zaffre with specialist advice from literary agency Furniss Lawton.

The competition is supported by W H Smith and will open to unpublished writers today (19th April 2018). Writers must submit 10,000 words, plus a synopsis of the novel and the work must be a piece of original fiction aimed at adults. The full terms and conditions can be found on the Richard and Judy website.

[Read the full article]

Former Rogers president Ken Whyte launches non-fiction publishing house, acquires small press

theglobeandmail.com – Saturday April 14, 2018

Kenneth Whyte, former president of Rogers Publishing Ltd. and past editor of Maclean’s and the National Post, announced this week that he is launching a publishing venture that represents a departure from his decades in journalism: Canada’s newest publishing company, The Sutherland House, will release its first books in early 2019.

The press will be devoted to the publication of literary non-fiction, with books already under contract including We, The Meeple, an examination of culture, history, society and relationships through the medium of board games by former Walrus editor Jonathan Kay and board-game expert Jonathan Moriarty, and Perfect City, a guided tour of the world’s great cities by urban strategist Joe Berridge.

[Read the full article]

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