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LBF is Cancelled, Simon and Schuster is for Sale, A Walkout at HBG: This Week in Book News

It has been a big week for book news as the effects of the Coronavirus continue to hit the publishing industry. There were also some big moves in publishing house leadership and ownership, and an acquisition stirred so much controversy it caused a walk out. Don’t worry, though, it’s not all bad news.


The biggest news this week has been the cancellation of the London Book Fair. Reed Exhibitions announced on Wednesday that due to the escalation of the virus it would be cancelling the 2020 event.

London book fair cancelled over coronavirus fears, amid growing anger

One of the world’s biggest international literary events, the London book fair, has been cancelled over coronavirus fears, amid growing anger that the delay in calling it off was putting people’s health at risk and an unfair financial strain on publishers.

After standing firm all week that the con would go on (despite vendors and fans alike bailing on the event), ReedPop has officially postponed Emerald City Comic Con due to coronavirus.

A Statement From Reedpop – Organizers Of Emerald City Comic Con – Emerald City Comic Con

March 6, 2020, [1:30]pm eastern- Each year the Emerald City Comic Con team works their hardest to do right by the thousands of fans that come together in Seattle. We want to create a space for you to gather, be yourselves and make memories with those who matter to you most.

Not all conventions, fairs, and conferences are being cancelled, however. BookExpo and BookCon are both expected to proceed as planned; and the AWP is still moving forward with their event, although both writers and publishers are bailing on the event and the Execultive Co-director Diane Zinna resigned due to the decision to proceed.

AWP may still technically be on, but writers and publishers are bailing fast.

If you’ve been anywhere near Literary Twitter™ in the last 48 hours, I don’t have to tell you that there has been some major AWP anxiety going down.


Simon and Schuster’s parent company, Viacom, announced this week that they would be selling the publishing house, stating it is not a “core asset” for the video-based business.

Bob Bakish: ViacomCBS to Sell Publishing Unit Simon & Schuster

ViacomCBS is preparing to sell its venerable publishing unit, Simon & Schuster, as the company re-evaluates all its assets in a fast-changing business landscape. ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish told investors Wednesday that the company is taking a hard look at all operations.

The president and publisher of House of Anansi, Sarah MacLachan, will be leaving the press after sixteen years.

News from House of Anansi and Groundwood Books

After sixteen years at the helm of House of Anansi, President and Publisher Sarah MacLachlan will leave the press at the end of June 2020. MacLachlan joined Anansi as President in December 2003, not long after Scott Griffin bought House of Anansi Press out of the General Publishing bankruptcy.


After it was announced that Grand Central Publishing had acquired Woody Allen’s memoir, employees of Hachette Book Group staged a walk-out both in protest of the acquisition, and in support of Allen’s son, Ronan Farrow, whose book Catch and Kill was published by GCP imprint Little, Brown last year.  Farrow has since cut ties with the publisher.

HBG Staffers Stage Walkout Over Woody Allen Memoir

Three days after Grand Central Publishing announced that it would publish director Woody Allen’s forthcoming memoir Apropos of Nothing, employees at the imprint and at Little, Brown, a sister imprint at Hachette Book Group, staged a walkout in protest of the acquisition.

UPDATE: Hachette has dropped Allen’s memoir

While many of us feel like the controversy surrounding the new novel My Dark Vanessa has settled,the situation is still too hot for Oprah, who is still reeling from the controversy of her last book club pick My Dark Vanessa has officially been dropped as Oprah Book Club’s March pick.

Oprah’s Book Club drops My Dark Vanessa as a pick because of Twitter controversy.

After the massive blowback from its selection of American Dirt-a book about the migrant experience widely denounced for having very little connection to the migrant experience (or to Mexico, where the book is set)-it makes sense that Oprah’s Book Club would make future selections more thoughtfully.

A new Missouri bill aims to hold libraries and librarians responsible for children acquiring age-inappropriate material. If passed, librarians who defy the proposed “review board” could face misdemeanor charges, fines and even jail time.

Librarians could be jailed and fined under a proposed censorship law

(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.) Nicole Cooke, University of South Carolina (THE CONVERSATION) A bill pending in Missouri’s legislature takes aim at libraries and librarians who are making “age-inappropriate sexual material” available to children.

That’s all of the bad news out of the way, let’s move onto some happier stories, shall we?


The break-out star of Disney’s Aladdin, Mena Massoud, will be publishing a vegan cookbook this fall.

Mena Massoud, Canadian-Egyptian star of Aladdin, publishing vegan cookbook | CBC Books

Books Evolving Vegan, part-cookbook, part-travel guide, focuses on plant-based home cooked meals and explores what it means to eat vegan. It will be available in September 2020. Canadian-Egyptian actor Mena Massoud has released a cookbook entitled Evolving Vegan. Evolving Vegan,part-cookbook, part-travel guide, focuses on plant-based home cooked meals and explores what it means to eat vegan.It will be available in September 2020.


A couple of big screen adaptations of childhood classics were announced this week!

First, Taika Waititi, fresh off his Oscar win for adapting Jojo Rabbit, will be at the helm for TWO adaptations of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I’m starting my vision board for Janelle Monae as Willy Wonka now.

Taika Waititi Adds Netflix Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Projects to His Busy Schedule

Fresh off winning an Oscar last month, Taika Waititi is the latest filmmaker to climb aboard the Snowpiercer train that is Netflix. The streaming service announced Wednesday that Waititi will serve as writer, director, and executive producer on two animated series based upon Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Second, Lionsgate won what I can only imagine was a very competitive auction for the film rights to Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. No details about the adaptation have been released but I’m already excited.

Lionsgate Finally Answers Prayers With Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret Pic

Depending on what age you were and which version you read, you were either extremely helped, extremely confused or both by Judy Blume’s 1970 YA book Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret. Now, the next generation can experience the classic novel in film form, as Lionsgate has won the rights to the book’s movie adaptation at auction.


The Audie Awards, which celebrate excellence in Audio Books, were this week with The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 taking home the big prize. You can find the full list of winners here:

2020 Audie Awards®

by Garrett M. Graff Narrated by a Full 45-Person Cast with Holter Graham, published by Simon & Schuster Audio Award-winning journalist and author Graff paints a comprehensive, minute-by-minute account of the September 11 attacks, told in the words of those who experienced that dramatic and tragic day.

The Longlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction has been announced, just in time for International Women’s Day this Sunday.

Bernardine Evaristo, Hilary Mantel and Taffy Brodesser-Akner on 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist | CBC Books

British writers Bernardine Evaristo, Hilary Mantel and American journalist Taffy Brodesser-Akner are among the 16 authors longlisted for the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction. Evaristo, Mantel and Brodesser-Akner are being recognized for their novels Girl, Woman, Other , The Mirror and the Light and Fleishman is in Trouble , respectively.


Finally, as a huge fan of procedural dramas I thoroughly enjoyed this list ranking the best 19 fictional writers turned detectives. For our crime/thriller writers out there, where would you fall on this list?

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Have a great weekend everyone, and Happy International Women’s Day!


Staff Reads and Recommendations:
Rachel Wharton: Author Engagement Intern

To Be Taught, If Fortunate ebook by Becky Chambers – Rakuten Kobo

Read “To Be Taught, If Fortunate A Novella” by Becky Chambers available from Rakuten Kobo. In the future, instead of terraforming planets to sustain human life, explorers of the galaxy transform themselves. *FRO…

“Becky Chambers’ newest novella, To Be Taught, If Fortunate follows four explorers on their mission to find a hospitable planet as a dying Earth becomes more and more inhabitable. I could not put it down. The amount of world building and character development that Chambers manages to fit into 161 pages is astounding, and is one of the many reasons why she’s my favourite science fiction author at the moment. “

Potential Book Bingo Squares: A Book with a Five-Word Title, A Work of Fiction by an LGBTQ+ author

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