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1. Neil Gaiman Praised Terry Pratchett for Going Public

Author Neil Gaiman had a huge amount of respect for how his friend, the late  Terry Pratchett responded to a diagnosis with early onset rear brain alzheimer’s in 2007.

In a recent discussion about Pratchett with author Michael Chabon, Gaiman said: “He did something huge and noble, which was after his diagnosis, he went public and he went loud. He risked being trivialized.”

Here is an excerpt from the discussion:

Terry was someone who fought for years to get people to understand that funny and serious are not opposites. The opposite of funny is not funny. You can absolutely be funny and serious at the same time and Terry was.

So here is somebody who has fought to be taken seriously and to make people realize that you can write a serious novel set in a fantasy context on the back of elephants on the back a giant turtle floating through space and it can still be a real novel and he’s got there. He’s won the Carnegie Medal. He’s got serious critical attention and now he risks losing it, but he did. He announced it to the world and he used it to an opportunity to start the dialog.

(Via Electric Literature).

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2. Director Sam Taylor-Johnson Won’t Return For Fifty Shades Sequels

Fifty Shades TrilogyActors Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson may be set to return for adaptations of Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, but guess who won’t be coming back? Filmmaker Sam Taylor-Johnson has made a formal announcement about her future with this film series.

Despite the great box office success of the first movie, the director will not return to helm the next two film adaptations. For some, this may not be surprising considering the tense working relationship shared between Taylor-Johnson and writer E.L. James. According to The Huffington Post, “the Fifty Shades of Grey author clashed with Taylor-Johnson during production, a battle that was detailed throughout the film’s press tour earlier this year.”

In a statement shared with Deadline.com, Taylor-Johnson explained: “Directing Fifty Shades Of Grey has been an intense and incredible journey for which I am hugely grateful. I have Universal to thank for that. I forged close and lasting relationships with the cast, producers and crew and most especially, with Dakota and Jamie. While I will not be returning to direct the sequels, I wish nothing but success to whosoever takes on the exciting challenges of films two and three.” (via TheWrap.com)

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3. Jeff Kinney’s 10th Wimpy Kid Book is Coming this Fall

The tenth book in Jeff Kinney‘s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is coming out this fall.

The currently unnamed title will hit bookstores Nov. 3.

“The tenth Wimpy Kid book gives me a chance to reset the series,” Kinney said in a statement. “I’ve thought a lot about what’s made these books work and how it all got started. So for me, personally, it’s back to basics. I’m carrying that theme through the book.”

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4. ‘Montauk’ Poetry Video Goes Viral

Sarah Kay, a spoken word poet and the founder of the Project V.O.I.C.E. organization, recited a piece called \"Montauk\" at Inner City Arts. The Button Poetry YouTube channel posted a video (embedded above) featuring Kay’s performance and it has drawn more than 27,000 views.

Kay drew inspiration for this piece from a line found in Richard Siken’s poem, \"Detail of the Woods.\" Follow these links to listen to a reading of Kay’s poem “The Type” and her talk on the TED stage.

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5. Elvis Costello to Pen Memoir

Musician Elvis Costello is working on a memoir.

The book, Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink, will come out on Penguin’s Blue Rider Press in October. Check it out:

Born to a musical family outside of London and relocated to Liverpool, Costello created his own form of punk, became one of the first artists to exploit the newly-burgeoning MTV-Video world and managed to make himself a huge reputation in the UK and the U.S. through both his catchy tunes, provocative, poetic lyrics and more than a few instances of bad behavior. Now, having just turned sixty, Elvis is in the pantheon of elder statesmen musician/rockers, collaborating often with the likes of Paul McCartney, great ballet and opera companies, hip-hop groups, jazz ensembles while appearing frequently in venues like Carnegie Hall and on shows like David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon.

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6. Obama Loved Comics as a Kid

Barack Obama revealed a childhood love for comic books this week in an email he sent to constituents, soliciting Organizing for Action supporters to share how they got involved with the president’s organization.

“Back in the day, I was pretty into Conan the Barbarian and Spiderman,”  he wrote in the email. “Anyone who reads comics can tell you, every main character has an origin story — the fateful and usually unexpected sequence of events that made them who they are.”

The email encourages recipients to share the story of how they got involved in his movement. The winning writer gets to meet the president in DC.

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7. Thunder Road Nabs Film Rights to The Detainee

The DetaineeThunder Road and Film House Germany has picked up the movie rights to Peter Liney’s The Detainee. Screenwriter Grant Pierce Myers has been hired to adapt the novel for a script.

This dystopian fiction novel, the first in a trilogy, was written for adult readers. Jo Fletcher Books, an imprint of Quercus Publishing, released it back in March 2014.

Here’s more from The Hollywood Reporter: “Set in the near future, The Detainee stands apart from recent glut of dystopian films by making the heroes older adults. The story follows ‘Big Guy’ Clancy, who along with the rest of society’s ‘waste,’ has been shipped to the island, a desolate outpost where satellites mete out instant punishment on those who break the rules or try to escape. Worse are the nights when fog prevents the satellites from working, and young gangs conduct terrifying raids. But when Clancy encounters a younger blind woman living in a secret network of underground tunnels, there is suddenly a chance for the elderly to fight back.”

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8. StoryCorps Founder Dave Isay Gives Talk at TED 2015 Conference

StoryCorps founder and author Dave Isay has been chosen as the winner of this year’s TED Prize. This award comes with a one million dollar cash prize.

Isay recently delivered a talk at the TED 2015 conference called “Everyone Around You Has a Story the World Needs to Hear.”  We’ve embedded a video showcasing the entire presentation above—what do you think?

Traditionally, those who win the TED Prize share a wish with the world. According to the TED Blog, Isay hopes “that you will help us to take everything we’ve learned through StoryCorps and bring it to the world so that anyone, anywhere, can easily record a meaningful interview with another human being, which then will be archived for history.”

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9. What if Dr. Seuss Wrote a Story Set in a Chipotle?

buzzfeedCould you ever picture The Cat in The Hat eating tacos? How about The Lorax chowing down on a burrito?

Two members of the BuzzFeed staff, writer Jean-Luc Bouchard and artist Andrea Hickey, collaborated on a story called “Dr. Seuss Goes To Chipotle.” This Theodor Seuss Geisel-inspired piece was created “with heaps of love and respect for Dr. Seuss, as well as full-bellied appreciation for Chipotle.”

Here’s an excerpt: “I asked for one meat. And then?  Why, for two! Ignoring the digestive impact I would rue. And that’s how I made-up a bowl of half-sneetch and a just-as-big ladle serving of beast.”

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10. Steven Spielberg to Direct Ready Player One Adaptation

Steven Spielberg has signed on to direct a film adaptation of Ready Player One, the 2011 cult sci-fi favorite by Ernest Cline, according to a report on Deadline.com.

The book has a lot of potential for the big screen. It is about one man’s experience trying to win the lottery in a virtual video game that players inhabit to escape their bleak realities. The story is set in 2044 inside a virtual world.

The paperback edition comes out in June.

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11. Maude Returns to Top of Self-Published Bestsellers List

Maude by Donna Mabry has returned to the No. 1 slot on the Self-Published Bestsellers List this week.

To help GalleyCat readers discover self-published authors, we compile weekly lists of the top eBooks in three major marketplaces for self-published digital books: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. You can read all the lists below, complete with links to each book.

If you want more resources as an author, try our Free Sites to Promote Your eBook post, How To Sell Your Self-Published Book in Bookstores post and our How to Pitch Your Book to Online Outlets post.

If you are an independent author looking for support, check out our free directory of people looking for writers groups.

Amazon Self-Published Bestsellers for the Week of March 25, 2015

1. Maude by Donna Mabry: “In 1906, I was barely over fourteen years old, and it was my wedding day. My older sister, Helen, came to my room, took me by the hand, and sat me down on the bed. She opened her mouth to say something, but then her face flushed, and she turned her head to look out the window. After a second, she squeezed my hand and looked back in my eyes.”

2. Fisher’s Light by Tara Sivec: “I guess this is it, huh? After fourteen years together, starting a life of our own on this island, five deployments and countless letters I’ve written you through it all, I finally go out to the mailbox and see something I’ve always dreamed of: an envelope with your handwriting on it.”

3. My Stepbrother the Dom by Arabella Quinn: “For years, I had the worst crush on my stepbrother, Cole Hunter. We used to ride bikes, skateboard and go fishing together – now I couldn’t even be in the same room as him without my pulse racing. One cocky half-grin from Cole would have my face blushing while my panties melted. It was insane – and completely humiliating.”

4. Married to the Bad Boy by Vanessa Waltz: “I’m a player. A man whore. Whatever the hell you want to call it, I get around. During the day I crack heads and extort businesses. At night I find girls to f*ck. I live to hear them moan for me, but one night is all they get. No one ever made me want more.”

5. Shopping for a Billionaire Boxed Set by Julia Kent: “No? So it really is just me. Hmm. When you’re a mystery shopper, you get paid to humiliate yourself, all in the name of improving customer service. Romance isn’t in my job description.”

6. Revved by Samantha Towle: “Race car mechanic Andressa \"Andi\" Amaro has one rule—no dating drivers. With a good reason behind the rule, she has no plans on breaking it. Carrick Ryan is the bad boy of Formula One. With a face and body that melts panties on sight, and an Irish lilt that leaves women on their knees, begging for more. He races hard and parties harder.”

7. Departure by A.G. Riddle: \"Flight 305 took off in 2014…But it crashed in a world very different from our own…With time running out, five strangers must unravel why they were taken…And how to get home.\"

8. Falling For My Best Friend’s Brother by J.S. Cooper: “He’s devastatingly handsome, sexy, arrogant and he’s out of reach. He’s my best friend’s brother and the one man I can’t have. However, now that my best friend Liv is getting married, I’m seeing him more than ever.”

9. The Atlantis Gene: A Thriller by A.G. Riddle: “The Immari are good at keeping secrets. For 2,000 years, they’ve hidden the truth about human evolution. They’ve also searched for an ancient enemy–a threat that could wipe out the human race. Now the search is over.”

10. The Hurricane by R.J. Prescott: “Emily McCarthy is living in fear of a dark and dangerous past. A gifted mathematician, she is little more than a hollow, broken shell, trying desperately to make ends meet long enough to finish her degree.”

Smashwords Self-Published Bestsellers for the Week of March 25, 2015

1. Communications for ICT: The Essential Guide By David Tuffley

2. Private Practice Preparedness – The Health Care Professional’s Guide to Closing a Practice Due to Retirement, Death, or Disability By Rob Reinhardt, LPCS, M.Ed., NCC & Anne M. “Nancy” Wheeler

3. Negotiating for Success: Essential Strategies and Skills By George J. Siedel

4. Anela Bay ~ Book Three ~ Evolution By Cheryl L. Hyde

5. The Caphenon By Fletcher DeLancey

6. Winter in Tirane: The Stories of Jiri Kajane By Jiri Kajane

7. Our Universal Journey By George Kavassilas

8. Wedding Favors By Josh Lanyon

9. The Prodigal’s Perspective By Bob Steinkamp

10. The Generous Qur’an: An accurate, modern English translation of the Qur’an, Islam’s holiest book. By Usama Dakdok

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12. Self-Published Author Offers Marketing Advice on Reddit

redditDylan Jones self-published his thriller novel Black Book back in December 2013.

Since its release, over 30,000 readers have downloaded this title. The book has earned more than 100 four-star reviews on Amazon.com. During a Reddit AMA session, one user inquired about Jones’ efforts in marketing and book promotion.

Jones offered several pieces of advice: “Sure, I made a list of all indie book bloggers and reviewers amd emailed each and every one that I could find. I searched Amazon’s most prolific product reviewers and emailed some of those asking if they would consider reading my book.(This got the least favourable results with people being genuinely angry at even being contacted). I entered competitions for book cover design and even won a “gold star” at bookcoverdesign.com or similar (I forget which without going through my emails to check).”

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13. John Green On Why He Writes For Young Adults

John Green TFIOSWhy does John Green focus on the young adult genre? In an interview with The Huffington Post, Green feels that those within this age group exhibit great bravery in tackling difficult questions.

Green explains: “I think we should credit teenagers with the way that they grapple with that. I don’t know — I find them inspirational, actually, and I think they’re a lot of times smarter than I am — a lot smarter than I am — in terms of the way that they grab onto a question and really, really wrestle it without fear.”

When Green isn’t hunched over his writing desk, he can usually be found shooting a vlog or producing a movieClick here to watch the first trailer for the Paper Towns film adaptation.

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14. Kickstarter Breathes New Life Into Completed Campaign Pages

Kickstarter is a great way to raise money for creative projects. But up until now, the project pages have only been good as long as the campaign is live, making them slightly obsolete once a project has been funded. That has changed.

The crowd funding site has introduced Spotlight, a new way to update project pages for projects that have already been funded. The idea is to help creators continue to showcase their work beyond the funding phase and into the production, distribution and sales phases. It makes a lot of sense considering that Kickstarter pages are often in the top search results for projects funded by the site, and these mini web sites include a lot of details about a project.

One of the best parts is that Kickstarter creators can now use these pages to sell completed works. Now an author can list their book for sale on the Kickstarter page and include links to purchase the book from a bookseller like Powell’s or an eBook from iTunes.

The new spotlight view also includes a timeline feature, that shows a creator’s story at a glance. This helps supporters gain a quick visual chronology of news and updates about the project. The original project page will continue to exist behind a “Story” tab. Below is a video demo which explains how it all works.

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15. Indiegogo Campaign Launched For a Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Documentary

Producer Cody Meirick has launched a crowdfunding venture on Indiegogo. He hopes to raise $28,000.00 to shoot a documentary about Alvin Schartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

The film will explore several topics including gothic folklore, censorship, and Schartz’s process for creating this classic children’s book. We’ve embedded a video above that features more details about this movie.

Here’s more about the project: “This upcoming documentary will explore the history and background of one of the most controversial works of modern children’s literature: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. In many American libraries of the ’80s and ’90s these books developed a growing interest from boys and girls who were taken in by the gothic tales, the whimsical tone, and the ghostly illustrations. Now the Scary Stories book series stands as the most challenged children’s book of the last 30 years and a testament to the power of something that is often taken for granted: a good scary story.” (via Nerdist.com)

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16. Christian Lorentzen Joins New York Magazine Team

New York Magazine LogoChristian Lorentzen has been hired to serve as a book critic for New York magazine.

Lorentzen’s pieces will appear in both the publication itself and the entertainment website Vulture.com. He will be responsible for crafting book reviews, essays, and commentary pieces.

Here’s more from the press release: “Lorentzen was most recently a senior editor at the London Review of Books, where he will remain an editor-at-large, and previously worked as culture editor at the New York Observer and a senior editor at Harper’s. His writing has appeared in Bookforum, n+1, The New York Times, and Slate.”

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17. The Russo Brothers to Direct The Avengers: Infinity Wars Movies

avengers age of ultron logoMarvel has hired Anthony and Joe Russo as the directors for the two-part conclusion of The Avengers movie series. The Russo Brothers collaborated together on Captain America: The Winter Soldier; they will return for the Captain America: Civil War adaptation.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, “they’ll film Infinity War in one long shoot beginning sometime in 2016, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter. No writers are attached, but the brothers will likely reunite with Winter Soldier’s Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.” Part 1 will hit theaters on May 04, 2018. Part 2 will follow on May 03, 2019.

Some fans may feel sad that Joss Whedon won’t take the helm for this project. Whedon, the director and screenwriter behind the first film and Age of Ultron, has earned great praise for his work on the two Avengers films. Earlier this year, he sat for an interview with Empire Magazine. SlashFilm.com reports that Whedon felt “very doubtful” about “the two-part Infinity War movie that would eat up the next four years of my life. I obviously still want to be a part of the Marvel Universe – I love these guys – but it ain’t easy.” (via The Huffington Post)

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18. Go Set a Watchman Book Cover Revealed

A1rBZedGc0LHarper has revealed the cover to  Go Set a Watchman, the highly anticipated new work from To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee.

The book will be available on July 14th and is currently available for presale on Amazon. It is a kind of sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, however it was finished earlier. It features Scout as an adult woman, who has flashbacks to her childhood.

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19. Oyster Hires First CFO & New Advisor

Oyster, the eBook subscription service that has been described as a Netflix for books, has hired Jeannie Mun as the company’s first CFO. The company has also hired Barry McCarthy, as a new advisor.

Mun comes to Oyster from advertising technology company MediaMath. “Jeannie’s not only an impressive and experienced executive—she’s also an enthusiastic Oyster reader herself,” explains the Oyster blog. “Recently, she’s been reading the Berenstain Bears on Oyster to her kids, and she used our travel selection to guide her on a last-minute trip to Panama in February.”

McCarthy previously served as the CFO of Netflix. He is also on the boards of Spotify, Rent the Runway, Chegg, Eventbrite, NatureBox and Wealthfront.

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20. Melville House Graduates Debut Online Magazine About Small Town America

Charles Day and Ellie Robins, former employees of Melville House, have left New York for the great outdoors. The two have launched a new digital magazine called Someplace, which is all about small-town America.

“We knew there were countless important, surprising things going on all over the US that we’d never hear about in the big-city media, so we decided to find some of those things for ourselves,” the two writers explain on their new site. “We travel to small towns and spend anywhere between a few days and a few months meeting people and gathering stories.”

Each issue is based on a town. The first issue is about Joshua Tree, CA and includes insights the two garnered spending three months in the area. They have not revealed where the next issue will be. “Because of this exploratory, nomadic style of journalism, we have no publishing schedule,” the site explains. (Via Melville House.)

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21. Alexander Watson Wins Guggenheim Prize

Alexander Watson has won the Guggenheim-Lehrman Prize in Military History for Ring of Steel: Germany and Austria-Hungary in World War I. The prize, which is awarded annually to the best book in military history in English, includes a $50,000 purse.

The winner was announced at ceremony at the New-York Historical Society last night. The book, from Basic Books, is an analysis of World War I from the perspective of the Central Powers.

The title was one of three works that were shortlisted for the prize. The Opium War: Drugs, Dreams, and the Making of Modern China by Julia Lovell (Overlook Press) and The Long Shadow: The Legacies of the Great War in the Twentieth Century by David Reynolds were also nominated for the award.


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22. Wonder Woman Gets a New Costume

Wonder WomanGuess which Amazon princess is getting a makeover? Issue #41 of the Wonder Woman series features the titular heroine donning a new uniform that features full-length sleeves and pants.

Both the interior art and the cover were created by Jonathan Glapion and David Finch. The story was written by Meredith Finch. DC Comics will release this comic book on June 17th.

Here’s more from HitFix: “Why is Diana wearing a what looks like a body suit under her armor? Where did she get those wonderful wrist blades and are they retractable? What caused this sudden change in wardrobe? For now, DC Comics isn’t saying. Let the wild rumpus speculation begin!” (via TheMarySue.com)

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23. Man Booker International Prize 2015 Finalists Revealed

The Man Booker International Prize judges have revealed the ten finalists for its sixth annual prize, which honors writers for achievements in fiction.

The authors come from all around the globe and stand to win a purse of £60,000 award. Six new nationalities are represented on the list for the first time this year. This includes writers from: Libya, Mozambique, Guadeloupe, Hungary, South Africa and Congo. Eighty percent of the authors have been translated into English, a large proportion compared to year’s past.

We’ve got the complete list after the jump.

Man Booker International Prize 2015 Finalists

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24. Paper Towns Joins iBooks Bestsellers List

Paper Towns by John Green has debuted on the iBooks bestsellers list this week at No. 2.

Apple has released its top selling books list for paid books from iBooks in the U.S. for week ending March 23, 2015. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins remained at No. 1 and NYPD Red 3 by James Patterson & Marshall Karp landed the No 3 slot.

We’ve included Apple’s entire list.

iBooks US Bestseller List – Paid Books 3/23/15

1. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – 9780698185395 – (Penguin Publishing Group) 2. Paper Towns by John Green – 9781101010938 – (Penguin Young Readers Group) 3. NYPD Red 3 by James Patterson & Marshall Karp – 9780316284561 – (Little, Brown and Company) 4. The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks – 9781455520664 – (Grand Central Publishing) 5. Fifty Shades Darker by E L James – 9781612130590 – (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group) 6. Fifty Shades Freed by E L James – 9781612130613 – (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group) 7. Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James – 9781612130293 – (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group) 8. Becoming Steve Jobs by Brent Schlender & Rick Tetzeli – 9780385347419 – (The Crown Publishing Group) 9. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – 9781476746609 – (Scribner) 10. Allegiant by Veronica Roth – 9780062209276 – (Katherine Tegen Books) 11. Divergent by Veronica Roth – 9780062077011 – (Katherine Tegen Books) 12. Almost Broken by Portia Moore – No ISBN Available – (Portia Moore) 13. Dead Wake by Erik Larson – 9780553446753 – (Crown/Archetype) 14. Beautifully Broken by Portia Moore – No ISBN Available – (Portia MOore) 15. Insurgent by Veronica Roth – 9780062114457 – (Katherine Tegen Books) 16. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – 9781466850606 – (St. Martin’s Press) 17. Before I Break by Portia Moore – No ISBN Available – (Portia Moore) 18. Prey by Michael Crichton – 9780061750236 – (HarperCollins e-books) 19. A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler – 9781101874288 – (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group) 20. The Stranger by Harlan Coben – 9780698186200 – (Penguin Publishing Group)

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25. Europa Editions to Publish an English Translation of Muriel Barbery’s New Novel

La vie des elfesEuropa Editions has picked up the U.S. and Canadian rights to The Life of The Elves by Muriel Barbery.

According to the press release, Gallimard recently published the book in Barbery’s native France. It “debuted at number 10 on the national best-seller list.”

Alison Anderson will serve as the translator for this project. The English edition is slated for release in March 2016.

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