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Prior to his passing, Pratchett resided in this English town for more than two decades. So far, the petition has drawn more than 7,000 signatures.
Some of the supporters behind this project include Pratchett’s family and Pratchett’s longtime friendNeil Gaiman. BBC News reports that “a spokeswoman for the family said he would ‘undoubtedly’ have found the amusement ‘in almost any statue.'” Gaiman wrote a post about this venture on Facebook and encouraged his followers to sign the petition.
Ishmael Beah has signed a deal with the Penguin Random House imprint, Riverhead Books. He plans to write a novel and a memoir.
According to the press release, the novel, entitled The Lively Skeletons of Every Season, “presents the riveting story of five young people living as an ad hoc family in an abandoned airplane in an unnamed African country, attempting to understand its colonized past and to navigate its rapidly shifting future.” The memoir, Beah’s second, will chronicle his “transition to life in America” following his move from Sierra Leone.
Rebecca Saletan, a vice president and editorial director at the imprint, will edit both of Beah’s manuscripts. At this point in time, the publisher has not announced the release dates for either of these projects. (Photo Credit: John Madere)
We’ve collected the books debuting on Indiebound’s Indie Bestseller List for the week ending Jan. 31, 2016–a sneak peek at the books everybody will be talking about next month.
(Debuted at #2 in Young Adult) The Siren by Kiera Cass: “Kahlen is a Siren, bound to serve the Ocean by luring humans to watery graves with her voice, which is deadly to any human who hears it. Akinli is human—a kind, handsome boy who’s everything Kahlen ever dreamed of. Falling in love puts them both in danger…but Kahlen can’t bear to stay away. Will she risk everything to follow her heart?” (Jan. 2016)
(Debuted at #9 in Children’s Illustrated) Ollie’s Valentine by Olivier Dunrea: “Ollie is looking. Looking for a valentine. Gossie, Gertie, Peedie, and BooBoo all have valentines, but Ollie wonders who will be his. His search leads him to a special valentine of his very own—a surprise for Ollie and readers!” (Dec. 2015)
(Debuted at #10 in Hardcover Fiction) The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson: “The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metalminds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.” (Jan. 2016)
Beloved poet and educator Francisco X. Alarcón passed away on January 15, 2016. Francisco was a prolific writer of poetry for children and adults. Born in California and raised in Mexico, Francisco’s poems explore his Chicano identity and celebrate the double joy of being a poet in two languages. His awards include multiple Pura Belpré Honors as well the Chicano Literary Prize and the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award. His passing is a great loss to the world of Latino literature.
We asked some of the authors and artists who knew Francisco to share their memories of him:
Jorge Argueta, Author
I met Francisco X. Alarcón in the early 80’s, shortly after I arrived to San Francisco from El Salvador. Panchito was already a well known poet. He was a member of the Roque Dalton Cultural Brigade along with other poets, Alejandro Murguia (founder of the Brigade and current Poet Laureate of San Francisco), the current Poet Laureate of the United States, Juan Felipe Herrera, Jack Hirschman, Barbara Paschke and David Volpendesta.
I met Francisco at the place where most of us gathered, Café La Boheme in San Francisco’s Mission District. Francisco baptized this coffee house “The Cathredal of poetry.”
I traveled with Francisco four times to El Salvador, to participate in the Annual International Children’s Poetry Festival “Manyula.” Francisco was so happy to contribute. He shared with me the vision that through the gentle power of poetry we could help Salvadoran children and youth stay away from violence and have hope for a better future. Francisco did readings, lectures and poetry workshops for children, youth and teachers.
Years earlier he helped me organize the poems I would publish in my first children’s poetry book, A Movie in my Pillow. I will always be thankful to Francisco for his guidance and recommendations for this book. He truly loved El Salvador, its people, landscape and food.
One day on a break from the festival we walked the short distance from the library, where the festival is held to the San Salvador Cathedral to pay a visit to Monsignor Romero’s crypt (El Salvador’s beloved priest who was assassinated by right wing death squads in the 80’s). Francisco was deeply moved to see his tomb and wrote a poem about this special visit. He shed tears and said to me, “I understand why El Salvador must continue to struggle for justice.”
That evening a wonderful full moon shone in the Salvadoran sky. Francisco laughed with his loud magical smile and said, “Here even the moon is a pupusa*.”
*El Salvador’s most popular food – A round tortilla made with corn dough, stuffed with beans, cheese and other ingredients.
René Colato Laínez, Author
I first met Francisco X Alarcón through his children’s books in my bilingual classroom at Fernangeles Elementary School. All of my students were from Latino families. Most of them were born in the USA. The rest of the students were recent immigrants from Latin America. I loved to read Francisco’s books because in them my students could find their culture, traditions, and as Francisco said, “Their roots/ Sus raices.”
At that time, my students called me, “The Teacher Full of Stories/ El maestro lleno de cuentos”, because I was always telling stories and turning them into books for the classroom. Francisco’s books were a great inspiration to write my own stories.
I had the big opportunity to meet Francisco in person at the CABE Conference (California Association for Bilingual Education). I was so excited to meet him. He was my rock star writer! I shared with him and the other authors who were also signing books, Amada Irma
Perez and Juan Felipe Herrera, my desire to write books. Francisco told me to keep writing and one day perhaps I will be sitting and signing books with them too.
Those words inspired me to keep writing and submitting my manuscripts for publication. It was a challenge process to publish a book but I did it. Francisco was right! Now I was signing books next to him and other amazing authors.
In 2010 author Jorge Argueta funded a children poetry festival in my native country, El Salvador. As a Salvadoran children’s book author, Jorge invited me to participate in the poetry festival. Margarita Robleda and Francisco X Alarcón were the other two pillars for this amazing festival that we do every year in El Salvador. Many Salvadoran authors also joined us to create the International
Children’s Poetry Festival (Internacional Festival de Poesía Infantil).
Francisco loved El Salvador. During the civil war, he helped recent Salvadoran immigrants in San Francisco. Now, he was in El Salvador visiting and reading his books to children from different parts of the country.
We always had a great time in El Salvador reading our books, eating pupusas, taking pictures, walking around San Salvador, and swimming at the beach.
I will always remember him. Francisco X. Alarcón, descansa en paz amigo.
Maya Christina Gonzalez, Author and Illustrator
Maya wrote on her blog, “Francisco X. Alarcón let go of his body January 15. His passing is moving me very much. I am finishing drawings on our latest book together. A book of days. I look at spending the next few months very intimately sitting with Francisco as the arte unfolds. I am so sad.”
Watch Maya and Francisco talk about their work together:
Louise May, Editorial Director at Lee & Low
Francisco was a joyous force of nature with a generous spirit. His works for children radiate love and celebrate family, all kinds of families. I am always amazed at how his poems continue to delight and often catch you by surprise. We are proud to be the custodians of his children’s poetry collections so that generations to come may get to read his work. And I am honored to have had the opportunity to work with him. Always an experience!
C. Spike Trotman has signed a deal with First Second Books. He plans to create a biographical graphic novel profiling Josephine Baker.
Black Pearl will feature details on Baker’s rise to fame as an international entertainer, her love life, and her stance on politics. The publisher will release Black Pearl: The Graphic Life of Josephine Baker in 2018.
Trotman gave this statement about the project: “I’ve admired Josephine Baker since college, she’s symbolic of so much, to me. Triumph over adversity, for starters. Going your own way. And I’m eager to have a chance to paint a down-to-earth picture of her, one with a lot of truth to it.”
Paul Morley has landed a deal with the Simon & Schuster imprint, Gallery Books. The music journalist plans to write a biography profiling the lateDavid Bowie.
Bowie (pictured, via), a beloved actor and rock star, passed on earlier this year. Morley’s book, entitled The Age of Bowie, will be released in late 2016.
Here’s more from The New York Times: “In addition to chronicling the prime of the rock legend’s career, the biography will also detail the final year of his life, in which he kept his illness from public view while completing the album ‘Blackstar,’ which was released days before his death. Mr. Morley contributed his knowledge of Mr. Bowie to the 2013 exhibition ‘David Bowie Is…” at the Victoria & Albert Museum.” (via Flavorwire)
Marissa Meyer has landed a deal with the Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. She plans to write a young adult duology of graphic novels called Wires and Nerves.
Meyer (pictured, via) revealed in a blog post that she has had an aspiration to write a graphic novel since she was a teenager. The story takes place within the Lunar Chronicles universe; it will pick up after the events described in the fourth installment of the main series Winter.
The Washington Post reveals that Douglas Holgate will create the illustrations for this project. The first book will be released in January 2017.
Author Lili Anolik thinks that readers have gotten Joan Didion all wrong.
In a piece in Vanity Fair this month, she argues that Didion’s rise as an icon is “not just wrong, egregiously wrong, wrong to the point of blasphemy.” Check it out:
I’m talking about the canonization of Didion, Didion as St. Joan, Didion as Our Mother of Sorrows. Didion is not, let me repeat, not a holy figure, nor is she a maternal one. She’s cool-eyed and cold-blooded, and that coolness and coldness—chilling, of course, but also bracing—is the source of her fascination as much as her artistry is; the source of her glamour too, and her seductiveness, because she is seductive, deeply. What she is is a femme fatale, and irresistible. She’s our kiss of death, yet we open our mouths, kiss back.
Johanna Basford, a Scottish artist, has signed a deal with Penguin Random House to create two new coloring books for adults. Book one, entitled Magical Jungle, will be released in August 2016 and book two, entitled Johanna’s Christmas, will follow in October 2016.
The first project will blossoms, tropical plants, and monkeys. The second project will feature snowflakes, gingerbread houses, and wrapped gifts.
Basford (pictured, via) gave this statement in the press release: “I’m so excited to be working on two new books this year with Penguin Random House. It’s the biggest honor to have my inky imagined worlds brought to life by colorists around the globe, a chance to collaborate with literally millions of people! I create books so they can make masterpieces.”
The cover has been unveiled for Tahereh Mafi’s forthcoming book, Furthermore. We’ve embedded the full image for the jacket design above—what do you think?
Dutton Books for Young Readers has scheduled the publication date for May 3. This project marks Mafi’s debut as a middle grade author.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Mafi explains that she had never intended to write a middle grade story. She reveals that “it was my editor, Julie Strauss-Gabel, who wisely pointed out that the heart of my story was middle grade through and through. It was only after I realized how much of this book was a love letter to my favorite middle-grade stories — Anne of Green Gables; Alice in Wonderland; The Secret Garden; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; everything by Roald Dahl — that I understood how very right she was.”
Here are some literary events to pencil in your calendar this week.
To get your event posted on our calendar, visit our Facebook Your Literary Event page. Please post your event at least one week prior to its date.
Five writers will take part in the Teen Author Reading Night panel at the Jefferson Market branch of the New York Public Library. Join in on Wednesday, Feb. 3 starting 6 p.m. (New York, NY)
Diane Vallere will celebrate the launch of her mystery novel A Disguise to Die For at Ozzie Dots Vintage & Costume. Meet her on Wednesday, Feb. 3 starting 7 p.m. (Los Angeles, CA)
Alexander Chee will discuss his forthcoming novel The Queen of the Night at the next session of the Macaulay Author Series. Check it out on Thursday, Feb. 4 at Macaulay Honors College starting 7 p.m. (New York, NY)
Book’d in Burbank will launch the 2016 season with a night of mystery, romance, and young adult story readings. See how it all goes down on Thursday, Jan. 28 at The Group Repertory/Lonny Chapman Theatre starting 8 p.m. (North Hollywood, Calif.)
Google has created a Doodle to celebrate Frederick Douglass’ 198th Birthday. He was a social reformer, abolitionist, orator and writer.
Here’s more from the Google Doodle webpage: “To help us commemorate Frederick Douglass’s legacy, the Gilder Lehman Institute curated an exhibit of photographs and ephemera that you can explore here. Through our partnership with Open Road Integrated Media, Google Play Books is offering a free download of Douglass’s seminal autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: an American Slave, which is available starting today, February 1, 2016.”
Last January, my local SCBWI chapter held a discussion on writing goals for the new year. At the time I had been processing a quote from Brenda Ueland as well as a recent email exchange with my critique partner, Valerie Geary, and was inspired to declare 2015 the year I learn to Write Smart and Not Scared.
Regular readers around here will know I’ve blogged about Smart and Not Scared writing throughout 2015. I’m still learning what this sort of writing looks like in my own life and will continue to do so in the year to come. Here’s a recap of the blog posts I’ve run and the topics I’ve covered. I hope you might click through to read them and join me in learning what it means to approach creativity in this way.
One way I’m choosing to free up the overwhelming creating-something-from-nothing phase is to do a little mental word play. Much like I trick myself into steady work by focusing on the story’s present moment (rather than reminding myself I’m writing a whole darn book), I’m going to claim two words from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic:
I’m not going to write right now. I’m going to make. I’m going to create.
I find it interesting that Allende has only recently learned to “go easily with confidence” when it comes to her writing. “If I sit long enough, it will happen,” she says. She’s twenty-one novels in, but only recently has she realized she has a skill. Now she knows “If given enough time, I can write almost anything.”
Simon & Schuster has unveiled the book trailer for Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. The video embedded above features Angela Duckworth, a prominent psychologist, discussing her research.
The publisher has scheduled the release date for May 3. Back in 2013, Duckworth has given a talk on “The Key to Success? Grit” at the TED Talks Education conference; follow this link to watch Duckworth’s TED talk.
The cover has been unveiled for Jessica Taylor’s forthcoming young adult novel, Wandering Wild.
According to the Publishing Crawl blog, this story belongs to the magical realism genre. For the author, magical realism can be defined as “a story that is not decidedly supernatural but can possibly encompass the supernatural.”
We’ve embedded the full image for the jacket design above—what do you think? Sky Pony Press has scheduled the publication date for May 3.
Writer and researcher Oscar Schwartz gave a talk at the TEDxYouth@Sydney conference to discuss this question: “Can a Computer Write Poetry?” We’ve embedded the full presentation in the video above—what do you think?