A blog about writing and self publishing

Fiction & Social Cognition, Funny Boy at the Oscars, and Author’s Spookiest Characters: This Week in Book News

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Happy Friday and Happy almost Halloween! We hope everyone is able to enjoy some safe, spooky scary times this weekend (other than just being alive in 2020)! I was able to host a Halloween trivia night over zoom this week, and am hoping to have a scary movie marathon on Saturday while eating the two boxes of Halloween candy I bought for myself (no trick-or-treating in my neck of the woods!). I would love to hear how you’re celebrating Halloween this year; let us know in the comments!

Before we get into the news this week, it’s almost time to start NaNoWriMo! If you’re participating this year, be sure to check out our last minute advice from Team KoboWriMo and follow us on socials for more updates and advice as we embark on this challenge!


Christy Ottaviano Books is moving from MacMillan Children’s Publishing Group to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Christy Ottaviano Books Moves to Little, Brown

Publisher Christy Ottaviano is taking her eponymous imprint from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, as of November 30. The imprint’s first list at LBYR will debut in 2022. Ottaviano, who will take on the title of v-p and publisher, will work alongside editor Jessica Anderson, currently associate editor at Henry Holt Books for Young Readers.

A new study suggests that the type of fiction a person reads will affect their social cognition.

Reading literary versus popular fiction promotes different socio-cognitive processes, study suggests

A study published in suggests that the type of fiction a person reads affects their social cognition in different ways. Specifically, literary fiction was associated with increased attributional complexity and accuracy in predicting social attitudes, while popular fiction was linked to increased egocentric bias.


Darnella Frazier, the teen who filmed the final moments of George Floyd’s life, is set to receive the 2020 PEN/Benenson Courage award from PEN America.

17-year-old teenager who filmed George Floyd’s death in May will receive a prestigious literary award for her cell phone footage

The 17-year-old teenager who filmed the final moments of George Floyd’s death will receive an award for her cellphone video, according to a report by the Associated Press. Darnella Frazier will receive the 2020 PEN/Benenson Courage Award from PEN America, the Associated Press reported.

Hilary Mantel has shared some excellent advice for writers — definitely check this out if you’re starting NaNo on Sunday!

Hilary Mantel on How Writers Learn to Trust Themselves

Interviews seldom offer the chance to say anything worth hearing, no matter how well-prepared the interviewer. You are invited to rehash your material, saying it again in worse words. “What did you mean when you said….?” etc. Or “Why did you write this book?”


Daniel Menaker, a longtime fiction editor for the New Yorker and former Random House executive editor-in-chief, passed away at 79 this week.

Daniel Menaker, veteran writer and magazine and book editor, dies

Daniel Menaker, a longtime fiction editor for the New Yorker and former executive editor-in-chief of Random House, where he edited Salman Rushdie and Alice Munro, among others, has died. He died Monday in his home in New Marlborough, Mass., from pancreatic cancer, his son announced. He was 79.

Author of the Booker-shortlisted novel No Country for Young Men, Julia O’Faolain, has passed away.

Author Julia O’Faolain has died, aged 88

President Michael D Higgoiins has led tributes to the Irish writer Julia O’Faolain, who died in London yesterday, aged 88. President Higgins said: “The news of the death of Julia O’Faolain will have been received with sadness by her many readers who appreciated the excellence she brought to her writing.


The adaptation of Shyam Selvadurai’s novel Funny Boy will represent Canada at the 2021 Oscars.

Funny Boy chosen as Canada’s Oscars submission for best international film | CBC News

Director Deepa Mehta’s film Funny Boy will represent Canada at the 93rd Academy Awards as the submission for best international film, Telefilm Canada’s executive director Christa Dickenson announced on Thursday. Mehta, whose previous film Water competed for best foreign language film – the category’s previous name – in 2007, said she could barely believe it when she heard about the nomination.

Award-winning Canadian poet Billy-Ray Belcourt will be publishing his debut novel in 2022.

Billy-Ray Belcourt’s debut novel, A Minor Chorus, to be published in 2022 | CBC Books

Griffin Poetry Prize-winning poet Billy-Ray Belcourt is publishing a novel. Minor Chorus will be released by Hamish Hamilton, an imprint of Penguin Random House Canada, in 2022. The novel was acquired as part of a two-book deal.

Jimmy Fallon has released a children’s Christmas book.

Jimmy Fallon loves Christmas so much he channeled it into a children’s book

“I’m obsessed with the holiday,” Fallon tells EW. “I love the music. I love the Lifetime movies. I love the Hallmark movies. That’s the perfect holiday for me. It’s the spirit. It’s giving. It’s all that stuff. I love the coziness of it. I love the sweaters. I love hot cocoa.

Mindy Kaling is set to star in HBO Max’s adaptation of Jennifer Weiner’s Good in Bed.

Mindy Kaling to star in film adaptation of Jennifer Weiner’s ‘Good in Bed’ for HBO Max

The Never Have I Ever co-creator will produce and star in a film adaptation of Jennifer Weiner’s acclaimed debut novel, Good in Bed. Liz Sarnoff (, HBO’s ) will pen the script for the film, which HBO Max will release.


For our UK readers, there’s a chance to win a lifetime supply of books from a London bookshop!

The London bookshop where you can win a lifetime supply of books for free

If you need a bit of shelf improvement you might be in for some luck. Sadly that is not an original pun, but instead the name of a new competition being run by a bookshop in Mayfair. Heywood Hill is a well-known bookshop in the heart of Central London, loved by readers and collectors alike.

As Halloween approaches, authors look back at their scariest characters.

‘I spooked myself right before bedtime’: authors on their scariest creations

I’ve created an awful lot of things. Some would point to the little kid in the Click Clack the Rattle Bag story. But for me, it’s got to be the Other Mother from Coraline. She is absolutely terrifying. I’ve created an awful lot of things.

If you’ve been reading these roundups you’ve probably realized I love a good list, so here’s another one! The 50 best Dracula’s ranked:

The 50 Best Draculas, Ranked

The real immortality of the ancient vampire Dracula, the villain who finally meets his demise in the last chapter of Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel of the same name, resides less in the difficulty of killing him and more in how, once you kill him, he doesn’t stay dead for long before springing up-robust, red-blooded, and thirsty-in another new version of the story.

And finally, if you need some inspiration for your Halloween celebrations tomorrow, how about a spooky book/movie double feature?

Which Scary Books Should You Pair With Scary Movies This Halloween Weekend?

Halloween is on a Saturday, there’s a blue moon, and we get an extra hour of sleep the next morning thanks to daylight savings. Only catch? We’re still in a pandemic. So, while it would be wicked fun to run around in costumes, go bar hopping and howl at the moon, the safest way to celebrate is to stay home.

Have a great Halloween weekend, everyone!


Staff Pick
Rachel, Author Engagement Intern

“I have never read anything quite like In the Dream House. First, it’s a memoir about a relatively taboo subject – domestic abuse in the queer community – and second, the narrative structure is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I recommend this book with a huge content warning that this book does discuss abuse, but if you are in a place where you can read this, please do. It’s fantastic.”

In the Dream House ebook by Carmen Maria Machado – Rakuten Kobo

Read “In the Dream House A Memoir” by Carmen Maria Machado available from Rakuten Kobo. A revolutionary memoir about domestic abuse by the award-winning author of Her Body and Other Parties. In the Dream Hous…

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