Another week of social distancing and it’s starting to feel a bit more normal. As normal as staying in my small, Toronto apartment full time can feel that is. I am definitely wearing sweatpants more frequently than I normally would (which I’m really not complaining about). We here at KWL hope that you are all staying safe, and that if you are able, you’re continuing to write. To quote Joni in this month’s newsletter, “People need books right now, more than ever. People all over the world are turning to stories, to distract them from a worrying reality, and to keep them feeling safe and entertained at home. As writers you are providing a valuable service, and we wanted to thank you for what you do every day. So keep on writing, if you are able, and for those who are struggling to focus right now; be kind to yourselves and give yourself the breaks that you need to get through this.”

Now onto some literary news, and a couple of fun articles from around the literary web this week.


The effects of Covid-19 continue to hit the publishing world as MacMillan has made temporary layoffs and salary cuts.

Macmillan Lays Off Some Staff, Temporarily Cuts Some Salaries

Macmillan Publishers has laid off an undisclosed number of employees across all divisions, temporarily reduced pay for select employees, and implemented a hiring freeze, effective April 2. As a result of the layoffs, the Thomas Dunne imprint has been shuttered.

In happier news, Portland independent bookstore Powell’s has had to rehire some of the workers they laid off at the beginning of the pandemic in order to help fulfill the influx of orders the store has received.

Portland’s iconic Powell’s Books rehires 100 laid-off workers to meet online surge in orders

Powell’s Books, the legendary Oregon-based bookstore, announced it has rehired more than 100 of its workers amid the flood of online orders it has received since closing its stores amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Penguin Random House is now completely owned by Bertelsmann.

Bertelsmann Now Owns 100% of PRH

Bertelsmann has completed the acquisition of Pearson’s remaining 25% stake in Penguin Random House, making it the sole owner of the world’s largest trade publisher. The sale, which was announced last December, is valued at approximately $675 million.


The shortlist for the International Booker Prize has been released. The prize is awarded to a work of fiction from around the world that has been translated into English and published in the UK or Ireland.

Women dominate shortlist for $86K International Booker Prize | CBC Books

Five novels by women have made the 2020 International Booker Prize shortlist. Previously shortlisted English translator Sophie Hughes is among this year’s finalists for Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor. Hurricane Season, Fernanda Melchor’s English-language debut, is about how a murder of an older woman known as the Witch unravels a small Mexican town.

The Astrid Lindgren prize, the “richest prize in Children’s Literature”, was awarded to South Korean author, Baek Heena.

South Korea’s Baek Heena wins $700K Astrid Lindgren Award, the world’s richest children’s literature prize | CBC Books

South Korean author-illustrator Baek Heena has won the 2020 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the world’s largest international children’s and young adult book award. The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, worth SEK 5 million (approx. $712,289 Cdn), recognizes authors, illustrators, oral storytellers and reading promoters in children’s literature.

Are you a Canadian poet hoping to win some prize money of your own? The CBC Poetry Prize is now open for submissions!


There has been a bit of controversy this week surrounding the American “National Emergency Library” and whether or not it violates copyright laws.

Authors Guild, AAP Outraged by IA’s ‘National Emergency Library’

The outcry from publisher and author groups has been swift and furious after the Internet Archive announced last week the launch of its National Emergency Library, which has removed access restrictions for some 1.4 million scans of mostly 20th century books in the IA’s Open Library initiative, making them available for unlimited borrowing during the Covid-19 Outbreak.


The Canadian National Arts Centre has been promoting artists throughout the pandemic, and will now be including writers in their “events”, kicking things off with Margaret Atwood.

National Arts Centre to add writers to #CanadaPerforms | CBC Books

The National Arts Centre (NAC) is adding writers to their #CanadaPerforms initiative. Canadian authors who have had book tours and launch events cancelled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic can apply to participate. #CanadaPerforms is designed to support artists during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first trailer for the Hulu adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel Normal People has been released (and I can’t wait to watch this show)!

JK Rowling has launched some more Harry Potter content for kids all of us, in the online Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The site also includes the audiobook and eBook of the first Harry Potter book for free!

J.K. Rowling Launches Harry Potter At Home Hub

J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, today launched a new Harry Potter At Home hub via WizardingWorld.com, bringing new resources to readers in collaboration with partners at Audible, Bloomsbury, OverDrive, Pottermore Publishing and Scholastic. The hub also gives access to the first Harry Potter book for free.


Looking for more things to entertain your little ones while you’re social distancing? You’re in luck! Both Dolly Parton and astronaut Christina Koch are reading children’s books live online! Levar Burton is also joining the live streaming reads party by moving his weekly short story podcast onto twitter; he has content for kids, teens, and adults on various nights of the week.

Damon Lindelof is writing a short story for Next Draft to keep us all entertained (and probably confused) throughout social distancing.

Something, Something, Something Murder

The excellentDamon Lindelof is writing this exclusive, serialized story for to help us, and him, through the quarantine. Chapters will update here periodically, but for the epic experience and all the day’s real news, get the free newsletter or app by touching the head below (please use a rubber glove).


And if you’re looking for something a bit on the shorter side to read, a few of my favourite articles this week have included this fascinating piece on what it’s like to be an author with aphantasia; this wild collection of 19th century parlour games (if you play any of these with friends over Zoom, please let us know); this hilarious re-imagining of what Shakespeare actually did in social isolation when he supposedly wrote King Lear; and this incredible list of what our favourite TV characters would be doing in a pandemic themed episode.

We hope you all have a safe and healthy weekend!


Staff Pick and Social Distancing Update
Laura Granger – Author Engagement Specialist

A Hunger Like No Other ebook by Kresley Cole – Rakuten Kobo

Read “A Hunger Like No Other” by Kresley Cole available from Rakuten Kobo. In New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Kresley Cole’s sizzling series, a fierce werewolf and a bewitching va…

Book Pick: Steph, our Publisher Operations Specialist, recommended A Hunger Like No Other to me, and I’ve been immersed in Kresley Cole’s world ever since. The book follows Emma, who’s half Vampire and half Valkyrie, and Lachlan, a lykae. The youngest in a family of wild Valkyries, it’s going to take a bit of convincing for Emma to believe she’s meant to be with a Lykae, but there’s something about Lachlan that she can’t shake. When an ancient evil from Emma’s past appears, she’ll have to embrace her inner warrior to save Lachlan and her family. If you’re looking for escapism right now, the Immortals After Dark series provides the perfect dose of paranormal romance – and with 17 books to get through you’ve got lots of reading to do (and they keep getting better!).

How We’re Dealing with Social Distancing:

Laura has been keeping busy at home with Scout, her new miniature schnauzer puppy! He is sweet and playful ball of energy, but luckily he makes time for naps too. Do you have a work from home buddy too? Email us at writinglife@kobo.com for a chance for a feature!

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