Happy Friday Thursday! We here at KWL are lucky enough to be heading into a four day weekend, and while an extra long weekend without being able to leave the house could be a bit of a bummer, I for one am excited to take some extra time to get away from the news and relax, read, play some video games, and if I’m feeling really ambitious, maybe clean my house. But that’s a big maybe. I hope all of you get a bit of time to yourselves this weekend, whether it’s a long one or not, and if you’re celebrating a holiday, I hope you’re able to virtually connect with your loved ones if the rules of social distancing are keeping you apart.

Before we delve into the news this week, Tara, our Senior Manager for Author Experience, wanted to share something with you all:

“It’s feeling very much like spring with the birds chirping loudly outside my window. It made me want to revisit a favourite book of mine, Birds, Art, Life by Kyo Maclear. Rereading it, I found a quote that felt very apt for these strange times:
The birds tell me not to worry, that the worries that sometimes overwhelm me are little in the grand scheme of things. They tell me it’s all right to be belittled by the bigness of the world. There are some belittlements and diminishments that make you stronger, kinder.

If you have any quotes that have lifted you up in these strange times, or stories of acts of kindness, or feedback from your readers that made you smile, please share them with us! In times like these, the smallest moments of joy can bring an abundance of light.

In some wonderful news, arts organizations in the US have managed to raise TEN MILLION DOLLARS for artists and writers impacted by the coronavirus.

Arts organizations helped raise $10 million for artists and writers impacted by COVID-19.

Though it may be too early to tell how the coronavirus will affect arts-related philanthropy in the US after the crisis, for at least seven major arts organizations this moment has created an opportunity to rally in support of artists and writers across the country.

The Association of University Presses has cancelled their 2020 meetings, but plan to move the entire event online.

AUPresses Cancels 2020 Annual Meeting, Plans Virtual Alternative

The possible risks to the safety and health of our attendees, as well as the uncertain duration of current travel restrictions, have made it impossible for the in-person meeting to proceed, reads a statement from the AUPresses board of directors.

Also moving online is Children’s Book Week, which will be featuring virtual reads and events throughout the celebration.

2020 Children’s Book Week Moves to New Format Amid Pandemic

In response to the coronavirus outbreak that has forced bookstores, libraries, and schools to close their doors for the foreseeable future, next month’s Children’s Book Week is being reconfigured into a virtual celebration.

After announcing the postponement and subsequent cancellation, Bologna Book Fair is also joining in on the virtual fun, and is looking to also launch a virtual rights platform.

Bologna to Launch Virtual Fair, Rights Platform

Following the cancellation of this year’s Bologna Children’s Book Fair, the fair’s administrators, the BolognaFiere, are launching a series of new digital initiatives on May 4. These include a virtual book fair, complete with stages and exhibitions, and the Bologna Children’s Book Fair Global Rights Exchange, a platform that will offer opportunities for licensing and other business transactions facilitated through PubMatch.com.

For the members of the KWL community living in New York, the New York Public Library has launched a virtual book club.

WNYC and the New York Public Library have joined forces for a virtual book club

New Yorkers may have to remain physically apart right now, but we can still all come together through literature. WNYC and the New York Public Library have joined forces to launch a virtual book club for New Yorkers during this time of self-isolation.

April is National Poetry Month, and the New York Times is keeping track of all of the online poetry events happening throughout the month.

National Poetry Month Celebrations Go Online

Open mics, workshops and other gatherings have gone digital because of the coronavirus. Here are some of the goings-on, and archives to check out. April is National Poetry Month. Even though writers and audiences can’t gather in person because of the coronavirus, verse is happening on Facebook or Zoom, in people’s notebooks and in our earbuds.

Speaking of poetry, Thomas King’s debut poetry collection has been longlisted for the 2020 League of Canadian Poet awards. King wrote the collection of 77 poems to celebrate his 77th birthday this past year.

Thomas King among writers longlisted for 2020 League of Canadian Poets awards | CBC Books

Thomas King is among the writers longlisted for the League of Canadian Poets’ 2020 poetry awards. The Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, Pat Lowther Memorial Award and Raymond Souster Award, each worth $2,000, celebrate the best in Canadian poetry. The prizes were created by the League of Canadian Poets, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting poets and poetry in Canada.

Three Canadian authors have been included on the shortlist for the Griffin Poetry Prize.

Canadians Doyali Islam, Chantal Gibson and Kaie Kellough shortlisted for $65K Griffin Poetry Prize | CBC Books

Poets Chantal Gibson, Doyali Islam and Kaie Kelloughare the Canadian finalists for the 2020 Griffin Poetry Prize. The award annually gives out two $65,000 prizes – one to a book of Canadian poetry and one to an international book of poetry – making it one of the world’s richest prizes of its kind.

Children’s author Jean Little sadly passed away this past week at the age of 88.

Children’s author Jean Little dead at 88 | CBC Books

Iconic Canadian children’s writer Jean Little died on April 6, 2020. She was 88 years old. Little had published over 50 books, including Dancing Through the Snow, Mama’s Going to Buy You a Mockingbird, From Anna and Orphan at My Door. Little was born to doctors who were medical missionaries in Taiwan on Jan.

In the UK, despite their proposal being rejected by the government, a group of artists are continuing to fight to have the jail that once housed Oscar Wilde turned into an arts centre.

Government rejects bid to turn Oscar Wilde’s prison into an arts centre

The Ministry of Justice has rejected a bid to turn Reading prison, where Oscar Wilde was jailed for two years in 1895, into an arts centre. The Grade II-listed building, which closed as a working jail in 2014, was put up for sale last year.

As I mentioned earlier, this long weekend offers a great opportunity to turn off the news and open a book for a bit of an escape. If you’re looking for some advice as to what to read, I’ve collected some of my favourite “what you should read during social distancing” lists from the past few weeks should you be looking for inspiration:

Have a great, safe long weekend everyone. To those celebrating holidays, Happy Easter, Chag Sameach, be well.

Staff Pick and Social Distancing Update
Joni Di Placido: Author Engagement Specialist

My roommate and I spent the weekend repainting our dingy white walls, and I decided to reorganize our heaving bookshelf as well, because HEY, LOOK AT ALL THIS FREE TIME! It took forever, but was totally worth it if you ignore the fact that authors and series are split up.

(Hands up if you’re jealous of Joni’s bookshelf!)

My book recommendation (i’m finally able to focus again!) is Followers, the debut novel from Megan Angelo. We interviewed her on the podcast this week and I was so excited to talk to her about her book, because I loved it! It’s a very compelling read about social media and celebrity culture, and how those might impact society over the next couple of decades

Followers ebook by Megan Angelo – Rakuten Kobo

Read “Followers A Novel” by Megan Angelo available from Rakuten Kobo. This dark, pitch-perfect novel about our dependence on technology for validation and human connection is as addictive as…