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The Giller Prize Winner, Blue Ivy Narration, and a Brad and Oprah Team Up: This Week in Book News

Photo by Mark Wong on Unsplash

It is Friday the 13th in 2020! What could possibly go wrong?! I kid, I kid, it’s just a normal Friday in a rather unusual year… but maybe avoid walking under ladders today just to be safe. On a less ominous note, we’re almost at the halfway mark for NaNoWriMo! We’re still plugging away at our wordcounts here at Kobo, and I have to say, our weekly write-in sprints have been great for my productivity. If you want to join us for our next one, you can find the info at the bottom of this post!


Hachette recently launched a BIPOC imprint called Legacy Lit.

Hachette Launches BIPOC Imprint: Legacy Lit

Hachette Book Group has launched Legacy Lit, a new imprint that will focus on books by BIPOC writers. The imprint will be led by Krishan Trotman, and will focus primarily on nonfiction titles, publishing 12-15 books a year starting in 2022.

Civil rights pioneer Ruby Bridges has partnered with Scholastic to launch a new publishing program.

Ruby Bridges and Scholastic to Launch New Publishing Program

Scholastic has signed a three-book deal with civil rights pioneer Ruby Bridges, who in November 1960 proved her remarkable mettle at the age of six, when she became the first Black child to attend a New Orleans public elementary school.


Between the pandemic and the call to support local businesses, Canadian indie bookstores have found new ways to connect with their customers.

COVID-19 opening indie booksellers and customers to a world of new possibilities | CBC News

Ask Mosaic Books owner Michael Neill about business during the pandemic, and he gets a little embarrassed. “Overall, it’s amazing,” he said. “The past week we were up 44 per cent. Thirty-six per cent in the last month.” And Neill’s not alone. When the pandemic first hit, independent bookstores felt their share of pain.

The London Book Fair has moved its 2021 dates from spring to the summer.

LBF moves to June 2021, Ventris made director

The London Book Fair is to take place from 29th June to 1st July in 2021, it has been confirmed. It comes as Andy Ventris ( pictured) is named the fair’s new director. LBF was originally scheduled for March next year, but has been moved to “provide the best possible opportunity of creating a live event where the publishing industry can reconnect and do business”.

Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is ending in January 2021.

Kindle Owners’ Lending Library

Kindle owners with Amazon Prime memberships can choose from thousands of books to read for free once a month from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL). KOLL is available for readers on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, and Amazon.co.jp.


Some incredibly sad news, Alex Trebek, host of Jeopardy! and author of his recent memoir, passed away at 80 this past weekend. Who is: the best gameshow host of all time?

Alex Trebek, Longtime Host of ‘Jeopardy!,’ Dies at 80

A good host, he once said, could set his ego aside and let contestants be all they could be. But he let them know when he thought they missed easy answers. At a restaurant several years ago, a stranger went up to Alex Trebek, the longtime host of “Jeopardy!”


Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, has been voted the Women’s prize “Winner of winners”.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie voted Women’s prize ‘winner of winners’

Thirteen years after she won the Women’s prize for fiction, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel about the Biafran war, Half of a Yellow Sun, has been voted the “winner of winners” of the literary award in a public vote.

Souvankham Thammavongsa has won the Scotiabank Giller Prize for her short story collection, How to Pronounce Knife.

Souvankham Thammavongsa wins $100K Scotiabank Giller Prize for short story collection How to Pronounce Knife | CBC Books

Souvankham Thammavongsa won the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize for her short story collection How to Pronounce Knife . The $100,000 prize is the richest in Canadian literature. Thammavongsa is a Toronto writer and poet. She was born in the (Lao) Nong Khai refugee camp in Thailand and was raised and educated in Toronto.

The American Library Association has announced the longlist for the 2021 Andrew Carnegie Medals.

ALA Announces Longlist for 2021 Andrew Carnegie Medals

In all, a total of 46 books (26 fiction, 20 nonfiction) were selected, with a six-title shortlist-three each for the fiction and nonfiction medals-to be announced on November 17. The two medal winners will be announced during an online event set for February 4, 2021.

Matthew Hollet has won the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize.

Poet and photographer Matthew Hollett wins 2020 CBC Poetry Prize | CBC Books

Matthew Hollett has won the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize for Tickling the Scar . Hollett will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and will also receive a writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity . His winning poem has been published on CBC Books.


If you’re like me and absolutely devoured the Netflix adaptation of The Queen’s Gambit, you might enjoy this piece on how the story of Beth Harmon mirrors that of the novel’s author, Walter Tevis.

The Man Who Brought ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ to Life

Walter Tevis, the author of the book upon which the Netflix hit is based, spent his life gambling and drinking in pool halls before turning to chess. But once you know his story, it’s stunning that the book ever came out at all.

Bestselling thriller writer (and recent Kobo in Conversation guest) Linwood Barclay’s book Fear the Worst is getting a movie adaptation.

Linwood Barclay’s ‘Fear the Worst’ to get movie treatment starring Jason Priestley

Another bestselling thriller by Canadian author Linwood Barclay is about to get the Hollywood treatment. Barclay’s 2019 book “Fear the Worst,” about a divorced father searching for his missing teenage daughter, is set to star Jason Priestley, who will also executive produce the project.

Oprah and Brad Pitt have teamed up to bring Ta-Nehisi Coates’s The Water Dancer to the screen.

Brad Pitt and Oprah to Produce Adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s The Water Dancer

Producer fairy godparents Brad Pitt and Oprah Winfrey are behind a film adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s The Water Dancer for MGM, per The Hollywood Reporter . Six years after coming together for the Oscar-nominated Selma , Pitt’s Plan B and Winfrey’s Harpo Films will produce alongside Kamilah Forbes, executive director of the Apollo Theater.


Blue Ivy Carter has narrated the audiobook adaptation of the Oscar winning short Hair Love.

Blue Ivy Carter Narrates Hair Love Audiobook, Stays Booked

Blue Ivy Carter is begging you to pick up a book. The illustrious 8-year-old mogul has scored yet another bag and added yet another legacy to her name. This time, she’s narrating the audiobook adaptation of Hair Love by Matthew A.


Are you looking to find new readers for your older backlist? Literary Hub is recommending people find comfort in reading older books that are new to them.

Want to Feel Better? Stop Reading New Books.

It’s been a hard year, to say the least. I’m sure I don’t need to rehash the many ways in which the year has been hard, or the one way it has just recently gotten a little bit better, or the other …

If you’re a crime writer and are looking for murder weapon inspiration, how about a list of the weirdest ones yet?

The Most Unusual Murder Weapons in Crime Fiction

One of the first things you discover as a crime writer is that the range of plausible murder methods is disappointingly small. Basically, it’s stabbing, throat-cutting, strangling, shooting, drowning, burning alive (yike), asphyxiating, pushing off a high building, or bonking on the head.


When Covid-19 became real in March, many of us were reminded by publications and social media alike that Shakespeare wrote King Lear while in isolation during a plague. The Washington Post is now posing the question: what great art will emerge from this pandemic?

Perspective | Shakespeare wrote ‘King Lear’ during a plague. What great work will emerge from this pandemic?

More than 400 years ago, as epidemics raged in London, forcing theaters and other public places to shutter, William Shakespeare was busy crafting stories of kings going mad and thanes coveting power. He was, scholars believe, in the midst of an astonishingly potent creative period, one that produced some of the most extraordinary tragedies ever written – “King Lear” and “Macbeth” among them.


And to end things with a laugh: When meme culture meets classic literature – Four Seasons Total Landscaping edition

Twitter Makes Four Seasons Total Landscaping A Literary Meme

Four Seasons Total Landscaping will go down in history as a stranger-than-fiction footnote. In an effort to delegitimize our democracy, the Trump Administration hastily planned a press conference in Philadelphia, not at the grandeur of the Four Seasons hotel. No….

Best of luck with the rest of your Friday the 13th, and have a great weekend!


KoboWriMo Update

“We’re officially halfway through NaNoWriMo and I have definitely not hit my stride. I am not writing as much as I hoped to, but I’m not giving up yet.  I will say that writing in a group has really pushed me. Every Wednesday the KoboWriMo team spends 12:00 PM-1:00 PM EST writing together on Zoom and using an OhWrite sprint room, and each time I have hit 1000+ words in under an hour. I want that gold star!! The sprint room really brings out your competitive spirit – if you’re like me and need a nudge, don’t miss next week’s write-in. You can join us here!”
– Laura, Author Engagement Specialist

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