A blog about writing and self publishing

Kobo Emerging Writers Prize Winners, Bookselling During Phase Two, and New (Very Old) Louisa May Alcott: This Week in Book News

Photo by Keenan Constance on Unsplash

Good afternoon and Happy Friday everyone! The speed at which time is flying by is really out of control. Was I not just saying I couldn’t believe it was June? And July has the audacity to be next week? Is anyone else feeling this way or is social distancing finally getting to me?

The big news in the Kobo offices this week was the announcement of the Kobo Emerging Writers Prize winners! We usually host a fancy gala for this event, but given the current circumstances surrounding large gatherings (i.e. don’t have them), the winners were informed via video conference, and you can watch their incredibly wholesome reactions here:


As the publishing industry begins to dismantle the systemic racism within, this essay takes a hark look at the allies of whiteness in the industry.

The Allies of Whiteness | Rafia Zakaria

A few long weeks ago, during the Covid-19 pandemic but before the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department, I wrote about racism in publishing, looking particularly at whom publishing lauds and applauds. The Pulitzer Prizes, those cherished gewgaws of the would-be kings and queens of publishing, had just been handed out a few days earlier.

Many folks have made the decision to put in active work toward being anti-racsist, and a lot are doing so by purchasing antiracist books from Black bookstores. This has left a lot of Black booksellers asking these new patrons to be patient as they scramble to fill an unprecedented number of orders, many of which are for the same few titles.

Overwhelmed With Orders, Some Black-Owned Bookstores Ask for Patience

“We are running as fast as we can,” a Boston shop told customers who are clamoring for antiracism books that are soaring in popularity but hard to keep in stock. On Friday and Saturday, people lined up down the block to enter Semicolon Bookstore in Chicago – not for a famous speaker or a big event, but to buy books on race and antiracism.

If you’ve also been inspired by recent events to unlearn racism and becoming actively antiracist, this article makes the case for reading some Black Science Fiction Authors.

If You Really Want to Unlearn Racism, Read Black Sci-Fi Authors

I needed some hope. I shared this with my sociology professor, and he went to his bookshelf and took down The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Leguin. After that, you could say that a love affair bloomed, and when I finally sat down with some science fiction written by black women, my life was changed forever.


The CEO of MacMillan has announced he will be stepping back from day to day responsibilities.

Macmillan CEO Steps Back From Day-To-Day Operations

The CEO of Macmillan – one of the Big Five book publishing houses – has announced he’ll step back from day-to-day responsibilities, following an industry-wide day of action protest against racism organized by five Macmillan employees.


Cities around the world are starting to enter different phases of reopening; here’s a look at how UK publishers and booksellers alike are tackling Phase Two.

Why booksellers have thrived during lockdown

Like every other business, the publishing industry suffered a major blow during lockdown. Even as the demand for reading books in print, digital and audio, from War and Peace to Sally Rooney, surged, so bookshops had to shut. Supplies were halted and publication dates have been shifted, while festivals, launches and book fairs have been largely either cancelled or moved online.

Waterstones, a bookseller in the UK, attempted to reduce the touching of books by stocking them with the blurb facing out, which resulted in a lot of angry cover designers.

Flipping hell: book designers lament Waterstones’ back-to-front displays

It was understandable but slightly “heartbreaking”, designer Anna Morrison said of the news that Waterstones is asking shoppers to judge a book by its back cover. The retailer has offered its apologies to book designers after some newly reopened branches began displaying books back to front so browsers could read the blurb without picking it up.


You can now read a previously unpublished story written by a 17 year old Louisa May Alcott’s unfinished story, but you might not be a fan of the ending.

Louisa May Alcott’s unfinished story has been published for the first time – and you can write the ending | CBC Radio

Andrew Gulli was blown away the first time he came upon a never-before-published story written by Little Women author Louisa May Alcott when she was just 17. As the editor of Strand Magazine, Gulli has made it his life’s work to unearth unpublished works of literary value, so he’s read the youthful ramblings of many famous authors.

Great news Game of Thrones fans, George R. R. Martin is hopeful the next book will be out in 2021.

George R.R. Martin hopes ‘The Winds of Winter’ will be released in 2021: ‘A huge book’

‘It’s a huge book’: The Game of Thrones author has posted an update on his long-awaited A Song of Ice and Fire novel. A pandemic silver lining: George R.R. Martin has made significant progress on The Winds of Winter.


A book of 40 letters from 40 prominent Canadians will be released in honour of the 40th anniversary of Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope.

New book will commemorate 40th anniversary of Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope | CBC Books

A new book will commemorate the 40th anniversary of Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope. Called Forever Terry: A Legacy in Letters, the book will feature 40 letters by 40 prominent Canadians reflecting on Terry Fox’s life and legacy. The book was edited by Terry Fox’s younger brother Darrell Fox.

Grammy nominated singer Halsey is set to release a poetry collection.

Future Best-selling Author Halsey to Release Poetry Collection

If you love Googling the lyrics to songs, boy, do we have a treat for you. This November, singer-songwriter- recent protester Halsey will publish a book of original poetry, I Would Leave Me If I Could, bringing the lyricism you know and love from her music to the page.

Canadian broadcasting icon Peter Mansbridge is set to publish a book this fall.

Peter Mansbridge publishing book about Canadians who are making a difference in fall 2020 | CBC Books

Former anchor of CBC’s The National Peter Mansbridge and former CBC producer Mark Bulgutch are releasing a collection of stories exploring what it means to be Canadian. In Extraordinary Canadians: Stories from the Heart of Our Nation, Mansbridge and Bulgutch spotlight individuals who have “overcome adversity and broken down barriers to champion the rights and freedoms that are shared by everyone who calls Canada home.”

Don DeLillo will be publishing a new novel The Silence this fall.

Don DeLillo to publish new novel The Silence in October 2020 | CBC Books

Books The Silence will take place in 2022 amid a digital shutdown in New York City, the author’s publisher Scribner announced. Don DeLillo will have something to say this fall about fear and isolation. The 83-year-old American author, known for imagining disaster in White Noise, End Zone and other works, has a novel coming in October.

The team behind Hulu’s adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Normal People have reuniting to bring the author’s other hit novel, Conversations with Friends, to the screen.

Hulu Picks Up Sally Rooney’s Conversations With Friends Series

Shiv Roy’s favorite beach read is becoming a series. Hulu announced a 12-episode, straight-to-series order of Sally Rooney’s debut novel, Conversations With Friends , in association with BBC Three. The drama series will consist of half-hour episodes helmed by Irish director Lenny Abrahamson, who also directed Hulu’s adaptation of Rooney’s other novel, Normal People.


This weekend is the last weekend of Pride month, and once you’ve made your way through our Pride Reading List, check out these highly anticipated books by LGBTQ+ authors coming out in the second half of 2020.

17 of the Most Anticipated Books by LGBTQIA+ Authors For the Second Half of 2020

feat. Akwaeke Emezi, Bryan Washington, Audre Lorde, David Adjmi, and more


And finally, my favourite article of the week is an essay in defense of swearing in literature. Warning, this article contains a lot of (impressively creative) cursing.

I Can’t Believe Readers Are Still Getting Upset Over F*cking Swearing

I recently binge-watched a show called The Good Place. It’s silly and profound, hilarious and heart-breaking-my favorite kind of entertainment. In the first episode the main character Eleanor (played by Kristin Bell) is told she’s dead and now inhabits “The Good Place” in the after-life.


Staff Pick
Rachel, Author Engagement Intern

I stumbled across this book on my Twitter feed being described as, “What if Buffy fell down the rabbit hole instead of Alice? What if she was a Black bi girl from Atlanta” by the author and immediately purchased it. It is an action packed contemporary fantasy novel with some excellent nods to the source material, incredible friendship, and a kick ass protagonist. I can’t wait to dive into the second book.”

A Blade So Black ebook by L.L. McKinney – Rakuten Kobo

Read “A Blade So Black” by L.L. McKinney available from Rakuten Kobo. “A Blade So Black is the fantasy book I’ve been waiting for my whole life.” -Angie Thomas, #1 New York Times-bestselling…

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