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A MacMillan Departure, The Booker Shortlist, and a Presidential Memoir: This Week in Book News

Photo by Bino Le on Unsplash

Happy Friday, everyone! We hope you’re having a good week, are staying healthy, and are staying safe. It’s definitely starting to get chillier here in Toronto… I got a frost warning for my hometown this morning so in the words of Jon Snow, “winter is coming” (I’ll be honest, I’ve never read or seen a Game of Thrones so I have no idea who actually said that, I just attributed it to the guy with the winter-y-est name. Don’t @ me). We’re getting ready for another Facebook Live event next week with author Ines Johnson! Get your questions ready and join us next Tuesday at noon for a Q&A!

Now onto a bit of publishing news:


MacMillan CEO John Sargent has announced he is leaving the publishing house.

Macmillan C.E.O. John Sargent Is Departing

The longtime publishing executive is leaving the company, which has faced months of turmoil, because of disagreements over its direction. John Sargent, Macmillan’s longtime chief executive, will leave the publishing company in January because of disagreements over its direction, according to an announcement from its parent company, Holtzbrinck, on Thursday.

Parneshia Jones has been named Director of Northwestern University Press, becoming the first Black person to hold the position in the press’s history.

Parneshia Jones Named Director of Northwestern University Press

Parneshia Jones, Nothwestern University Press editorial director for trade and engagement since 2019, has been named director of the press on Northwestern University’s campus in Evanston, Ill., effective September 21. She replaces Jane Bunker, who moved to Cornell University Press in March.


The Department of Justice has opened a criminal inquiry related to John Bolton’s tell-all to investigate whether or not the author mishandled classified information.

Justice Department subpoenas publisher of John Bolton’s tell-all book about Trump, reports say

The Department of Justice has opened a criminal inquiry related to the publication of former national security advisor John Bolton’s highly critical tell-all book about his time working for President Donald Trump, multiple outlets reported Tuesday.


Audible’s romance subscription service Audible Escape will no longer be available as of November 1, 2020.

What is happening to Audible Escape?

As of September 15, 2020, we are ending all signups for Audible Escape. Starting November 1, we will no longer be offering Audible Escape. For a new plan that lets you listen all you want to a great selection of titles, including Romance, check out Audible Plus.

Is Goodreads’ reign as book website supreme coming to an end?

Why Goodreads is bad for books

On a typical day, a long-time user of Goodreads, the world’s largest community for reviewing and recommending books, will feel like they’re losing their mind.

The wildfires sweeping the west coast of the United States are taking a toll on booksellers in the region.

Wildfires Taking Toll on Booksellers, Publishers

Scores of wildfires continue to blaze across the western United States, taking a toll on booksellers and publishing professionals across California, Washington State, and Oregon. The situation was acute in Oregon, where recent fires had burned through a million acres and the state put an estimated 500,000 people on evacuation notice last week.


A LOT of literary prizes have been announced in the past week, so we won’t get to them all (especially the incredibly specific ones), but the biggest announcement has definitely been the Booker Prize shortlist!

The Booker Prize shortlist includes four debut novels and zero novels by Hilary Mantel.

From a longlist dominated by debuts comes a shortlist dominated by debuts-four out of six!-but the biggest surprise might be the fact that Hilary Mantel will not, after all, be getting that three-peat. Less surprising is the fact that after a single year off, the Americans are back.

Another big prize announcement: The National Book Awards have named their 2020 nominees.

National Book Awards Names 2020 Nominees

Fiction contenders include Brit Bennett, the author of “The Vanishing Half”; Randall Kenan, a beloved writer who died in August; and Douglas Stuart, a debut novelist who is also a Booker Prize finalist. Two acclaimed debut novels and a story collection whose author died last month are among the 10 fiction contenders for this year’s National Book Award.

Margaret Atwood has been awarded the 2020 Dayton Literary Peace Prize lifetime achievement award.

Margaret Atwood awarded 2020 Dayton Literary Peace Prize | CBC Books

Margaret Atwood is the winner of the 2020 Dayton Literary Peace Prize’s lifetime achievement award. The award celebrates literature’s power to foster peace, social justice and global understanding. The Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award is named for the late U.S. diplomat who brokered the 1995 Bosnian peace accords reached in the Ohio city.

The longlist for the CBC 2020 nonfiction prize has been announced.

35 writers from across Canada longlisted for 2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize | CBC Books

CBC Literary Prizes The winner will receive $6,000, attend a two-week writing residency and will have their work published on CBC Books. The shortlist will be announced on Sept. 24. Thirty-five writers from across Canada have made the longlist for the 2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize.

The only specific prize list I’m going to share – I love the city of Toronto and really love books about my favourite city, so you’d better believe I’m all about the books on the Toronto Book Award longlist:

Samra Habib, Desmond Cole, Vivek Shraya longlisted for $10K Toronto Book Awards | CBC Books

We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib, The Subtweet by Vivek Shraya and The Skin We’re In by Desmond Cole are among the 12 books longlisted for the 2020 Toronto Book Awards, an annual $10,000 prize that goes to the book that best evokes the city of Toronto.


The first volume of Barack Obama’s memoir has a release date!

First volume of Barack Obama’s presidential memoir to be published in November | CBC Books

Former president of the United States, Barack Obama, has written a book about his time in the Oval Office. The memoir, titled A Promised Land, will be available on Nov. 17, 2020. A Promised Land will cover his swift and historic rise to the White House and his first term in office.

Rupi Kaur will be publishing a new poetry collection this November.

Rupi Kaur to publish new poetry collection, home body, in Nov. 2020 | CBC Books

Rupi Kaur, the bestselling poet who made a name for herself on Instagram, will release her third poetry collection this fall. home body will explore the concept of self and reflect on home, mental health, love and acceptance. The collection will feature illustrations by Kaur. home body will be published on Nov.


It’s not quite another remix of Old Town Road; Lil Nas X is writing a children’s book titled, C is for Country

Lil Nas X Is Dropping a Children’s Book

Between racking up Grammy nominations and fending off Twitter stan drama, Lil Nas X somehow found the time to write a children’s picture book. The book, titled “C Is for Country,” comes out on January 5, 2021, he announced in a tweet.

Leslie Jordan, of Will & Grace and Instagram fame, is writing a collection of essays due to be released next spring.

Leslie Jordan’s Instagram account nabbed him a book deal

Instagram sensation and ‘Will & Grace’ actor Leslie Jordan is taking his talents to the publishing world in a book of personal essays titled ‘How Y’all Doing?’ that includes personal stories about Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, and getting in a fight at a West Hollywood Starbucks.


And finally, my favourite piece of the week: this must-read essay by Roxanne Gay on Audre Lorde.

The Legacy of Audre Lorde

There is this thing that happens, all too often, when a Black woman is being introduced in a professional setting. Her accomplishments tend to be diminished. The introducer might laugh awkwardly, rushing through whatever impoverished remarks they have prepared. Rarely do they do the necessary research to offer any sense of whom they are introducing.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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