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The weblog of Michael Thorn, editor of ACHUKA.
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26. Templar Publishing Buys Piccadilly Press

Templar Buys Piccadilly Press

from Publishers Weekly:

In a notable children's deal in the U.K., Piccadilly Press, the children's book publisher founded by Brenda Gardner 29 years ago, has been acquired by Templar Publishing, the children's publisher owned by Bonnier Publishing Ltd. Under Gardner's direction, Piccadilly Press has established a strong position in the teenage fiction market; the company also has a successful picture book list, a young readers' list plus a growing line for parents. ...

Templar Publishing is best known for its children's novelty titles as well as publishing award winning authors including Michael Morpurgo. More recently its has developed a children's fiction list.

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27. Philip Reeve: The Traction Codex

The Traction Codex Now Available As An Individual Purchase

from the Philip Reeve blog:

A couple of years ago I spent a very pleasant few days with Jeremy Levett in Bristol, coming up with something called The Traction Codex. It's a sort of encyclopaedia/history of the World of Mortal Engines, featuring all those things you Always Wanted To Know But Could Never Be Bothered To Ask, like, how did Airhaven get airborne? Why do the cities use heavier-than-air fighters while the Green Storm stick to airships? Who was Red Loki? etc, etc.  We've also added some details which never made it into the books, like the alarming sport of 'Traktionturnieren' or civic jousting...

The codex has recently been bundled with ebook editions of Mortal Engines as an appendix, but readers who already own copies of the print books can now acquire the Codex as a separate purchase (for just 85p):


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28. Passionate advocate of 'books for kids' - obit

Margaret Elizabeth Dunkle, Obit

extract, from The Age

MARGARET ELIZABETH DUNKLE (nee TETER) AUTHOR, EDUCATOR 26-10-1922 - 23-11-2012 MARGARET (Maggie) Dunkle, a leading member of Victoria's children's literature community, has died peacefully in Bali.

Margaret was well known as an author, critic, librarian, lecturer and consultant. She was made an honorary life member of the Victorian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia in recognition of her 15 years on the council executive and her passionate commitment to providing quality literature for children.

.....

In 1979, Maggie resigned from the State Library of Victoria to become a children's literature consultant. In her new career, she became a regular children's literature reviewer for The Age, the Australian Book Review and the Australian Bookseller and Publisher journal, she consulted with and mentored authors and illustrators of children's books, gave lectures and storytelling engagements and was one of the original members of the Storytelling Guild. She also wrote books including guides to children's literature such as Books for Kids - A Guide to the Best in Children's Reading for Australian Parents and Teachers. Her most important scholarly work was Black in focus: a guide to Aboriginality in literature for young people. Her books for children included The Story Makers, a collection of interviews with authors and illustrators of children's books, which stimulated interest among Australian teachers in encouraging children to write to authors. Her final children's books, called the Clean Bali series, were written in Bali and published in English, Balinese and Indonesian.

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29. BETT2013 - My take on the exhibition

My take on the annual BETT (British Education and Training Technology) exhibition:

BETT is the UK's annual exhibition for technology in education. This year was its first at a new venue, the ExCel Centre in London's docklands. Previously it has always been at Olympia.

The new exhibition space is much more spacious and better airconditioned. Olympia could become very stuffy, but I missed the absence of an upper gallery and being able to look down on the main exhibitors below. Also to be found in the upper gallery (and indeed some of the peripheral areas) at Olympia used to be a multiplicity of small stalls from independent exhibitors and entrepreneurs. I suspect the move to the new venue and the cost of floorspace has eliminated such people from making the show. I can remember Crick software's first Bett - a tiny little stand offering the first iteration of Clicker. Now Crick is one of the major exhibitors. But I wonder... If John and Anne Crick were starting out today, would they have been able to invest in a Bett presence, as they were able to do in the early 1990s.

Now all the stands are fairly plush. Yes, there were a handful of small startout stands, but nowhere near as many as in the past.

To tell the truth, ExCel is a little soulless, and the floorplan makes it difficult to be sure you are not missing anything. Indeed, the only way to be sure of seeing it all is to follow a zigzagging route with much backtracking.

One of the pleasures of Bett in the days of Macromedia was watching the demonstrations of software in action. Adobe doesn't even have its own presence at Bett this year (and didn't have last year either) which I find surprising, given the way it has been hardselling the education discount on its Creative Cloud subscription (and fantastic value it was on its pre-Christmas offer).

The only demonstrations I sat in on yesterday that impressed at all were iPad based. Although Apple does not have its own stand at Bett, there are plenty of outfits offering iPad 'solutions' to schools - e.g. Toucan Computing.

No one seemed terribly interested in the learning platform (VLE) stands. Compare that with 2-3 years ago!

There were some 'promote your school on the web' stands, including one company that will design your school a mobile friendly website for, wait for it, £3000 (£2900 to be exact) - and then charge hosting fees. But I expected more emphasis on this (reaching parents via mobile devices) and more competition. I'm sure it's out there, but not at Bett.

To me the biggest mystery of my visit yesterday was the complete absence of any Kindle/ereader 'solutions'. There were stands that mentioned ebooks on their backing boards, including one fronted up by a brightly-clad glamour girl. And maybe Bett will be like this in years to come. Swathes of printer companies, display board companies, tablet companies and fashionable creatures pulling in the punters.

As I reported on this blog last October, the US education system is beginning to use Kindles for the bulk distribution of books to banks of ereaders. I made enquiries at the time, and there were then no current plans to bring Whispercast to the UK. But we urgently need some such system to use with ereaders in schools and I couldn't find an exhibitor offering anything like what is required.

Here are some of the exhibitors that did catch my eye:

Mediacore
If there was any 2013 'thread' running through Bett this year it was the emphasis on teaching and learning via video.
Mediacore is a platfrom to share video or audio within your organization. "It makes media management and delivery with a learning-centric focus a breeze."
I'm very impressed by what I've seen so far.

Appshed
Easy online app creation.

Yellow Dot
Nothing revolutionary here, just some attractively designed online learning resources, from a company that originates in Poland.

Showbie
A straightforward tool to manage students' workflow. There's an iPad app that works well for the teacher but students do not have to have Macs. As well as useful in school settings, this would be a great tool for a home tutor who likes to set assignments between home visits.

IntoWords
Perhaps the simplest but the niftiest find of all. Free (till April). Beautifully simple wordprocessor for early writers or dyslexic students with predictive word bank as you type. Also has a very handy built in text scanner (OCR) with really accurate performance, making this a useful app for everyone.

Lynda.com
I was aware of Lynda.com before, having watched a few of their videos online. For those who learn well from videos the indepth training on a wealth of applications is well worth checking out. Choose a period when you have some time to dedicate and a monthly subscription will be well-spent.


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30. Hilary Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies: a middlebrow triumph

Robert McCrum Putting Some Perspective Into Costa Triumph

Robert McCrum thinks the judges picked a crowd-pleasing winner:


A middlebrow triumph in a distinctly odd middlebrow prize by a dedicated writer who has struck a chord with the British reading public in a way that few English novelists have, this will certainly score a footnote in the history of early 21st-century British fiction.

Mantel's only serious competition came from the immensely gifted Scots poet Kathleen Jamie's exciting collection, The Overhaul - a lovely, lyrical celebration of Scottishness and the Scots tongue. The judges would indeed have been bold to make that their final choice. Costa juries, traditionally, tend to take only the most gilt-edged risks.
...
Mantel has made her career with fiction and non-fiction of stunning originality. Naturally brave, she has been the opposite of predictable. This novel, however, is nothing if not reassuring. First, it takes one of medieval England's greatest thrillers (the persecution, trial and death of Anne Boleyn) and gives it a clever contemporary spin. Mixed with sharp, modern dialogue, the narrative exploits the historic present tense to give an essentially hardcore historical novel some extra literary pizzazz.

It also meets the demand for a cracking good read - the carefully-crafted entrapment of Boleyn and the alleged plotters is superbly told. Superior to Wolf Hall, its predecessor, Bring Up the Bodies will stimulate a feel-good factor throughout the nation's book groups.

Whether it will be read as anything more than a fascinating curiosity in years to come is another matter. Posterity is generally rather unkind towards crowd-pleasing prizewinners. And this is a prizewinner with knobs on.

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31. Amazon shares hit record $288 on better- than-expected fourth-quarter profit - NYPOST.com

Amazon Ebook Sales Grew By 70% In 2012

as reported in the New York Post:

Amazon.com shares hit a new record yesterday after it reported better-than-expected quarterly profit, fueled by the growth of higher-margin businesses during the fiercely competitive holiday quarter.

The world's largest Internet retailer said that its cloud-computing services, video content sales and aggressive expansion in e-books helped increase profitability.

Chief Executive Jeff Bezos highlighted the Kindle's e-book business, calling it a multibillion-dollar category that grew about 70 percent in 2012. Its traditional physical book business rose about 5 percent in the same period, he noted.

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32. Bartoleme, The Infanta's Pet


Little Island Press is an Irish publisher of quality fiction by Irish and international authors for older children and teenagers. Rachel Van Kooij, as her name suggests, is Dutch-born, but lives in Austria and writes in German. The book being reviewed was first published in 2003 and has only recently become available in an English translation (by Siobhan Parkinson).

This is a wonderfully well-paced and realised story about a young deformed dwarf who, at the start of the book, is growing up in the Spanish countryside with a father absent for long periods working in the royal court in Madrid.

All changes when the father announces that the family is to up sticks and move to the city to be with him. But he does not want to take Bartoleme with them, fearing the boy will only be ridiculed and be nothing but a source of embarrassment for the family. Eventually he agrees that Bartoleme can come, but only if he remains hidden from view at all times.

The first half of the book concerns this hidden life, and Bartlome's determination to better himself and prove himself to others by learning to read and write. However, when an accident exposes him on the streets he is spotted by the young princess - the Infanta - who mistakes him at first for a dog, and insists on it becoming her pet plaything.

The back of the eye-catching book jacket shows a scene from Valasquez' painting Las Meninas, the significance of which becomes cleverly apparent towards the end of a novel which is thought-provoking, moving, entertaining, life-enhancing and powered by a dignified narrative momentum. This is a book that takes the reader beyond their present-day experience and presents them with the issues faced by those who have a handicap or are otherwise physically very different from most other people.

The father is insensitive and unfeeling and has a thuggish streak - there is one upsetting scene of domestic violence - but is never depicted as a pure brute.

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33. American Library Association announces 2013 youth media award winners - Yahoo! News

Michael L Printz Award

Nick Lake wins the Michael Printz (YA) Award

Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults:
In Darkness written by Nick Lake, is the 2013 Printz Award winner. The book is published by Bloomsbury Books for Young Readers.
Four Printz Honor Books also were named: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz, published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division; Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, published by Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book Group; Dodger by Terry Pratchett, published by HarperCollins Children's Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers; The White Bicycle by Beverley Brenna, published by Red Deer Press.

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34. Cool Not Cute

Cool Not Cute

Are boys put off books at a crucial age because they perceive them as too cute and feminine?

Read the very well-argued pdf and see what you think.

It's my experience [says Emmett] that a great many books that the industry perceives as having cross-gender appeal (including many I've written) are actually far more appealing to girls. And, while books targeted at girls are usually uncompromising in the way that they maximise their girl-appeal, books targeted at boys usually have their boy-appeal compromised to some degree. In short, the picture book industry is biased towards producing books that appeal more to girls than boys.

Do read the whole piece. It really is worth your time.


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35. ALA Press Release | American Library Association

Newbery & Caldecott Medal Winners

Katherine Applegate, author of The One and Only Ivan and Jon Klassen, illustrator of This Is Not My Hat are the 2013 winners of the John Newbery and Randolph Caldecott Medals.


Three Newbery Honor Books were named:

"Splendors and Glooms" by Laura Amy Schlitz, published by Candlewick Press. Lizzie Rose, Parsefall and Clara are caught in the clutches of a wicked puppeteer and a powerful witch in this deliciously dark and complex tale set in Dickensian England, where adventure and suspense are interwoven into nuanced explorations of good versus evil.

Laura Amy Schlitz is a librarian, storyteller and author in Baltimore, Maryland. Her books for children include "A Drowned Maiden's Hair," "The Night Fairy" and "Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village," for which she won the 2008 Newbery Medal. Making marionettes is one of her many hobbies.

"Bomb: The Race to Build--and Steal--the World's Most Dangerous Weapon" by Steve Sheinkin, published by Flash Point, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press. Balancing intersecting threads of scientific discovery, political intrigue and military strategy, "Bomb" is a riveting historical nonfiction drama. Sheinkin's engaging narrative explores the complex series of events that led to the creation of the ultimate weapon and introduces many memorable personalities involved in the pursuit.

Steve Sheinkin was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up reading action stories and outdoor adventures. He has written short stories, screenplays, comics and textbooks, as well as "The Notorious Benedict Arnold," a biography for children.

"Three Times Lucky" by Sheila Turnage, published by Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group. In the rich tradition of Southern storytelling, rising sixth-grader Mo LoBeau leads the eccentric residents of Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, on a rollicking journey of mystery, adventure and small-town intrigue as she investigates a murder and searches for her long-lost mother.

Sheila Turnage grew up on a farm in Eastern North Carolina. She now lives on a North Carolina farm with her family, which includes "a smart dog, an ill-tempered cat, a dozen chickens and a flock of guineas." "Three Times Lucky" is her first novel for middle-grade readers.

Five Caldecott Honor Books were named:

"Creepy Carrots!" illustrated by Peter Brown, written by Aaron Reynolds and published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division. Jasper the rabbit loves carrots until he notices they are everywhere. He is convinced they're coming for him! Pronounced shadows, black borders and shaded edges enhance this ever so slightly sinister tale with a distinctly cinematic feel. This is one serving of carrots children will eagerly devour.

"Extra Yarn," illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett and published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. A selfish archduke threatens to halt a little girl's transformation of a colorless town and steal her box of magical yarn. Klassen's innovative digital technique results in shifts of color that signal character change and critical turns of plot -all done with just the right stitches of humor.

"Green," illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger, written by Laura Vaccaro Seeger and published by Neal Porter Books, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press. In this original concept book, Seeger engages all the senses with her fresh approach to the multiple meanings of "green." Using thickly-layered acrylics, word pairings and cleverly placed die cuts, she invites readers to pause, pay attention and wonder.

"One Cool Friend," illustrated by David Small, written by Toni Buzzeo and published by Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group. Energetic line and dizzying perspective combine for a rollicking tale of Father, Elliot and a highly improbable pet (or two). Buzzeo's text, brimming with sly wordplay, earns its perfect counterpoint in Small's ink, watercolor and pencil illustrations with chilly details and visual jokes that invite many repeated readings.

"Sleep Like a Tiger," illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, written by Mary Logue and

published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. This bedtime story features a little girl who does not want to go to sleep. Surrounded with dreamlike images of crowns, ornate patterns and repeated visual motifs, her parents coax her into bed. Using mixed media artwork on wood enhanced with computer illustrations, this is a whimsical story with universal appeal.

Members of the 2013 Newbery Medal Committee are: Chair Steven Engelfried, Wilsonville (Ore.) Public Library; Blair Christolon, Prince William (Va.) Public Library; Virginia Collier, Roswell (Ga.) Library; Amber Creger, Arlington Heights (Ill.) Memorial Library; Sheri L. Daun-Bedford, Woodridge (Ill.) Public Library; Roxanne Feldman, The Dalton School, New York; Jos N. Holman, Tippecanoe County Public Library, Lafayette, Ind.; Kate Houston, Multnomah County Library, Portland, Ore.; Caroline M. Kienzle, Apalachicola, Fla.; Amy A. McClure, Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, Ohio; Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library; Elizabeth Moreau, Anchorage (Alaska) Public Library; Susannah Richards, Eastern Connecticut State University, Willimantic, Conn.; Barbara Scotto, Children's Literature New England, Brookline, Mass.; and Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills (Calif.) Public Library.

Members of the 2013 Caldecott Medal Committee are: Chair Sandra J. Imdieke, Ph.D., Northern Michigan University,Marquette, Mich.; Elise DeGuiseppi, Pierce County Library System, Tacoma, Wash.; Kerry J. Gleason, Wilmington (Del.) Institute Library; Sarah J. Howard, Daniel Boone Regional Library, Columbia, Mo.; Nancy J. Johnson, Ph.D., Singapore American School; JoAnn M. Jonas, San Diego County Library; Dr. Melanie D. Koss, Northern Illinois University, Department of Literacy Education, DeKalb; Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library, Washington, D.C.; Dr. Miriam Martinez, University of Texas at San Antonio; Dr. Claudette S. McLinn, Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature, Inglewood, Calif.; Kiera Parrott, Darien (Conn.) Library; Carol Hanson Sibley, Minnesota State University, Moorhead, Minn.; Michelle M. Willis, Scotch Plains (N.J.) Public Library; Maida Wong, South

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36. Teachers thwarted by new curriculum, claims author | Herald Scotland

Julia Donaldson Criticizes New Scottish Curriculum

"If a child is whimsical and chatty, but very interested in foxes, on their report card teachers cannot say, 'loves foxes, but I wish she wouldn't chat so much', they have to say she could be a more responsible citizen.

"I feel sorry for teachers having to toe the line and tick the boxes...

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37. Teen fiction and the shadow of cancer | Books | The Guardian

Guardian Review

I have always admired Mal Peet's reviewing and I think this piece - both a review of John Green's The Fault In Our Stars and an incisive musing upon the current spate of young adult novels about characters with a terminal illness - is his best yet:

One of the stranger recent cultural shifts is that teenage fiction has become a branch of oncology. Cancer is rampant. You're barely a chapter in before a tumour erupts or a lymphatic system turns nasty. Young heroes and heroines are terminal from page one, or a friend is, or a parent. The shadow of premature death has fallen upon the genre: one half-expects

It is axiomatic (though wrong) that teenagers will read only books that reflect teenage experience. It is blithely asserted, for instance, that their hunger for dystopian fiction is whetted by having to live in a bleak world under the pitiless authority of adults. Is cancer, likewise, a metaphor for the incurable cruelty of being young? Perhaps, but I doubt it. I suspect that the real reason for the pandemic is that cancer is an exceedingly convenient subject for teen authors.

Sex and death, the magnetic poles of fiction, attract us children's writers no less than adult authors, but we have to be more leery of their pull. We have gatekeepers to sneak past - and we have a "sense of responsibility", of course. Cancer is handy because it is all-permissive. Sex is omnipresent in teenage cancer novels, and who dare complain? How cruel to insist on virginity in the face of death: it would be perverse of us not to write scenes of last-chance deflowering... MAL PEET

Reading of whole piece highly recommended.

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38. Man Booker International Prize 2013 Finalists Announced | The Man Booker Prizes

Man Booker International Prize 2013 Finalists

No author from the UK has made it onto the list of finalists for the 2013 Man Booker International Prize, worth £60,000 to the winner.

The ten authors are:
U R Ananthamurthy (India)
Aharon Appelfeld (Israel)
Lydia Davis (USA)
Intizar Husain (Pakistan)
Yan Lianke (China)
Marie NDiaye (France)
Josip Novakovich (Canada)
Marilynne Robinson (USA)
Vladimir Sorokin (Russia)
Peter Stamm (Switzerland)

The Man Booker International Prize is chosen solely at the discretion of the judges. This year, for the first time, there are five judges (Christopher Ricks, Elif Batuman, Aminatta Forna, Yiyun Li and Tim Parks) - previously there had been three.

The announcement of this year's prize recipient will be made at a dinner at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London on 22nd May.

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39. Marsh Award Winner

Marsh Award Winner

Translator Howard Curtis was announced last night as the Marsh award for his powerful translation of a bestselling Italian novel, In the Sea There Are Crocodiles.

Fabio Geda's book tells the true story of 10-year-old Enaiatollah Akbadi who escapes Taliban-occupied Afghanistan for asylum in Italy. It was described by Marsh judge Wendy Cooling as "a book to inspire and nourish young people".

See here for all the books on the shortlist.

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40. BBC - Authors Live

Authors Live

Darren Shan appears on Authors Live today at 11am.

Authors Live is a series of live webcasts, presented in partnership with the Scottish Book Trust, featuring some of the biggest names writing books for children today.

On the website you can currently watch 116 video clips from the series....

And there are some full-length broadcasts viewable on iPlayer...

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41. I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I read?: Shaun Tan: The Exclusive Pre-#NY13SCBWI Interview

Shaun Tan Interview

Extract from the end of a Lee Wind blog interview with Shaun Tan:

Lee:  As a writer, I'm familiar with the revision process for words. What's your revision process for images?

Shaun:  Very similar actually, like moving paragraphs around, rewording sentences, adding and subtracting here and there. For images, I tend to do equivalent visual adjustments by drawing over the top of previous draft sketches using a lightbox. I keep the bits I like - trace them off - and rework the bits I don't like. I'll sometimes use scissors and tape to cut out and rearrange parts; since working digitally, I can do a lot of this in Photoshop too. In fact, although almost all my final art is hand-made, there's a lot of digital editing that goes in in my preliminary sketches.

Lee:  That's fascinating! What have you learned over the course of your career so far that you wish you had known when you started?

Shaun:  I think to just relax and have more faith in my intuition. As a younger artist, I worried too much about where my work fit in, its significance and so on, not to mention the problems of generating income. Most of those issues resolved when I just trusted in my own ideas, beginning with a picture book 'The Rabbits', where I more or less thought, to hell with it, I'll just do whatever I want and not care if it all falls in a heap or even gets published. As it turns out, that book was the turning point in my career as an illustrator, doing something nobody else had really seen before (including me!).


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42. Goldsmiths launch £10,000 literature prize - Telegraph



from the Telegraph:

A new literature prize is being launched today by Goldsmiths, University of London in association with the New Statesman. The Goldsmiths Prize, worth £10,000, aims to reward "boldly original fiction". This prize joins the new £40,000 Literature Prize, whose sponsor will be announced in February, and the relaunched £30,000 Women's Prize for Fiction, formerly the Orange Prize. Although the Goldsmiths Prize's award of £10, 000 may seem like small change, particularly when compared to the £50, 000 awarded to the Man Booker Prize winner, agents and authors - in this age of dwindling advances and royalties - will no doubt be delighted. Blake Morrison, poet, author and Professor of Creative & Life Writing at Goldsmiths, said: "As to the new Prize, we hope it will encourage more risk-taking among novelists, editors and agents alike. There's an idea that innovative and genre-busting books are bound to be inaccessible. We don't believe that's the case." The Goldsmiths Prize is open to novels published in 2013 and there is no limit to the number of titles that may be entered by a publisher or bona fide imprint, provided the works entered meet all other entry requirements. Publishers are invited to submit their entries from Friday 25 January 2013 to Friday 22 March 2013.

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43. Orion Children's Books buys two from Unsworth | The Bookseller

Orion Acquires Twi Novels From Tania Unsworth

from The Bookseller:

Orion Children's Books has acquired two novels by Tania Unsworth, her first for children, with plans to publish in spring 2014 in the UK.
Managing director and publisher for Orion Children's Books Fiona Kennedy bought world rights, excluding USA, in Unsworth's novels from Rebecca Carter at Janklow and Nesbit.
The first title, The One Safe Place, is set in the near future, where the gulf between the technology-owning rich and the technology-lacking poor is immense.
Kennedy said: "The One Safe Place is one of those scripts that I really could not put down - a measured, beautifully imagined novel, rich and insightful. It has characters easy to warm to and care about, an extraordinary sense of place and a truly page turning plot. It's suspenseful, thrilling, disconcerting and uplifting. We are thrilled to be working with Tania and look forward to publishing her impressive children's debut."
Unsworth has previously published two novels for adults with Viking/Fig Tree, and is the daughter of the late author Barry Unsworth.

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44. An Awfully Big Blog Adventure: Getting it Wrong! - Ruth Symes/Megan Rix

I Used To Think...

Ruth Symes and Five Misconceptions about Being A Writer

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45. the book corner

The Book Corner

Nice straightforward Tumblr blog recommending picture books...
Also can be followed on Twitter @TheBookCornerUK

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46. Short Story Competition Longlist

Short Story Competition Longlist

Ali Smith, Toby Litt, Mark Haddon, Orange prize-winning Helen Dunmore, Adam Foulds, Sarah Hall and Booker Prize-winning Graham Swift, are among those in the running for the £30,000 Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award - the richest prize in the world for an individual short story.

12 out of the 16 stories on the longlist come from UK- based authors. In its previous three years, the Award has not yet been won by a Briton, with the top prize going to New Zealand, the USA and Ireland so far.

From over 500 entries the judges have arrived at a longlist of 16 - six women and ten men.

The 16 longlisted writers and the titles of their short stories:

Caroline Adderson - 'Erection Man'   
Junot Diaz - 'Miss Lora' 
Helen Dunmore - 'Spotted Dick'
Adam Foulds - 'Tunnelling'
Mark Haddon - 'The Gun'
Sarah Hall - 'Evie'
Cynan Jones - 'The Dig'
Philomena Kearney Byrne - 'Honda Fifty'
Toby Litt - 'Call it "The Bug" Because I Have No Time to Think of a Better Title'
Belinda McKeon - 'Eyes on Me, Eyes on You'
Mark McNay - 'Ten Years Too Late'
C D Rose - 'Arkady Who Couldn't See and Artem Who Couldn't Hear'
Ali Smith - 'The Beholder'
Graham Swift - 'I Live Alone'
Claire Vaye Watkins - 'Rondine al Nido'
Samuel Wright - 'Best Friend'
 
The winner will receive £30,000, and the five other shortlisted writers will each receive £1,000. The shortlist will be announced in The Sunday Times on 24 February.

The winner will be announced at a gala dinner at The Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival on 22 March.

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47. Curious Fox Launch

"Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect."
Samuel Johnson said that.
So it was fitting that the "bold new imprint for children" should be launched at Dr Johnson's house in Gough Square, just off Fleet Street, last Thursday (17th January).

Miles Stevens-Hoare is the managing director and Catherine Clarke the publishing director.

The list has been a year in preparation. The result is that they are launching with a good mix of titles. Soul Shadows by Alex Woolf (publishing in April) looks as if it will be the one most to my taste.

There was a good buzz at the launch party.

Here are some photos from the event:

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48. Amazon Children's Publishing Names Two New Imprints

from Publishers Weekly:

Roughly a year after the Amazon Children's Publishing division launched, it has announced two new imprints. Two Lions will be home to picture books, chapter books and middle-grade fiction, and Skyscape will be devoted to titles for young adults, encompassing works from both established authors and new voices. Margery Cuyler is editorial manager for Two Lions, and Tim Ditlow is editorial manager for Skyscape. Amazon Children's Publishing's general manager is Amy Hosford; Larry Kirshbaum, publisher for Amazon Publishing, oversees the editorial leadership for the company's Seattle and New York adult imprints, as well as Amazon Children's Publishing.

Amazon Publishing acquired more than 450 titles from Marshall Cavendish Children's Books in late 2011 and Cuyler, who had been publisher of MCCB (and is also an author), retained her title when she joined Amazon at that time. Ditlow came on board as associate publisher of Amazon's children's publishing unit in January of last year.

The launch season for the two new imprints is spring 2013. Titles on the inaugural Two Lions list include Gandhi: A March to the Sea by Alice B. McGinty, illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez, a biography written in free-verse; and Poco Loco, a debut picture book about a mouse inventor by J.R. Krause, illustrated by Maria Chua. Titles under the Skyscape umbrella include You Know What You Have to Do by Bonnie Shimko, about a 15-year-old girl who hears voices in her head telling her to kill people; and Reason to Breathe, the first book in the Breathing Series trilogy by Rebecca Donovan, an initially self-published title that had already earned a dedicated readership.

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49. Literary London: Jenny Valentine's guide to children's stories - video | Books | guardian.co.uk

Literary London - Jenny Valentine's Video Guide


Filmed in Daunt's Marlyebone High Street bookshop, Valentine grabs an armful of books set in London, including one by herself, and talks disarmingly about them.

Highly recommended.

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50. Teen Titles 55

Teen Titles 55

The ACHUKA office recently took delivery of the new Teen Titles , now on edition #55.

Produced by the City of Edinburgh Council, this continues to be a fantastically colourful and salivating survey of all the latest teenage reading, with reviews written by teenage readers themselves (from Scottish schools).

In addition to the reviews each copy includes various features (in #55 these include an interview with Cassandra Clare, author of Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices, and new Author Factfiles of, amongst others, M G Harris, Gill Lewis and Rosie Rushton.)


Another interview is with Georgina Merry, a former Teen Titles reviewer and now published novelist. The first part of a trilogy called The Devil's Light, Georgina's debut novel is The Ferryman's Wife, described as a "fast-paced and funny fantasy adventure novel" by one of its reviewers.

To find out how you can subscribe to Teen Titles, either as an individual, a school or a library, follow the link above.

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