A blog about writing and self publishing

Literary Prizes, Presidential Memoirs, and New Tolkien: This Week in Book News

Photo by Anders Nord on Unsplash

Hello and happy Friday everyone! We here at KWL have had a pretty busy week and are definitely looking forward to a nice, relaxing weekend. Even if it is calling for snow. Aside from working diligently(ish) on our NaNoWriMo projects, we also announced our next Takeover event this week, and we launched our 2020 KWL Indie Cover Contest! Be sure to check out the takeover with Dale Roberts next Tuesday November 24 for tips on utilizing YouTube as an author, and if you’ve published a book with us this year you should definitely be entering our cover contest.

Now let’s see what the rest of the publishing world has been up to this week, shall we?


This was a huge week for literary prizes, so let’s start there! First up, Douglas Stuart has won the 2020 Booker Prize for his debut novel, Shuggie Bain.

Douglas Stuart wins Booker prize for debut Shuggie Bain

The Scottish-American author Douglas Stuart has won the Booker prize for his first novel, Shuggie Bain, a story based on his own life that follows a boy growing up in poverty in 1980s Glasgow with a mother who is battling addiction.

The Writers’ Trust Prizes for Fiction and Nonfiction were also announced this week.

Gil Adamson wins $50K Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize for Ridgerunner | CBC Books

Toronto writer Gil Adamson has won the 2020 Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize for her novel Ridgerunner. The $50,000 prize annually recognizes the best in Canadian fiction. Ridgerunner is a novel about William Moreland, the notorious thief known as Ridgerunner, as he moves through the Rocky Mountains, determined to secure financial stability for his son.

And lastly, The Winners of the National Book Awards were announced this week! And if you’re really looking to add to your TBR list, here’s a list of every previous winner in both fiction and nonfiction.

Charles Yu Wins National Book Award for ‘Interior Chinatown’

The nonfiction prize went to Les Payne and Tamara Payne for “The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X.” The crime novelist Walter Mosley received a lifetime achievement award. [The Best Books of 2020 : View our full list.]

Speaking of TBR lists, The New York Times has released their list of notable books released in 2020.

100 Notable Books of 2020

The year’s notable fiction, poetry and nonfiction, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review


Albert Whitman & Co. have come under fire due to delayed royalty payments.

Authors Demand Better Treatment from Albert Whitman & Co.

For months, the children’s publishing community has been communicating about Albert Whitman & Co. not paying authors their royalties in a timely fashion, amplified by a lack of responsiveness to their agents. Last week, the complaints spilled onto social media after Joan He, whose debut novel, Descendant of the Crane, was published by the Chicagoland company in 2019, posted a series of tweets about her experience.

And Disney has also been in the news this week for allegedly not paying one of their authors.

‘Star Wars’ Author, Sci-Fi Writers’ Association Demand Disney Pay Overdue Royalties

Alan Dean Foster is the author behind many “Star Wars” and “Alien” novelizations and claims Disney is not paying him. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) is demanding Disney pay overdue royalty fees to one of its members, Alan Dean Foster, best known as the writer of the original ” Star Wars” novelization, published in 1976, six months before the release of the film, under the title “Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker.”


Following the London Book Fair’s lead, the Bologna Book fair has rescheduled its event from the spring to the summer of 2021, and has added a general publishing conference to its lineup.

Bologna Fair Moves to June 2021, Adds General Book Program

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair has changed its dates for 2021, moving from April to June 14-17. In addition, the fair has announced the launch of BolognaBookPlus, a new general publishing conference that will take place alongside the Children’s Fair.

French authors have offered to pay fines imposed on bookshop owners who remain open despite the nation’s lockdown orders.

French authors offer to pay bookshops’ Covid lockdown fines

A group of French authors has promised to pay fines imposed on the country’s bookshops that remain open in defiance of coronavirus lockdown rules. The pledge was made by the bestselling writer Alexandre Jardin, who said authors were getting together to support booksellers during the crisis.


Six YA powerhouse authors are collaborating on a new book.

Six top YA authors are collaborating on one of 2021’s most exciting books

Blackout is a novel made up of interlinked stories celebrating Black love. On Monday, a post started circling on social media that sent YA fans spiraling (in a good way). Authors Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon posed for a group photo (virtually!), with knowing smirks and the caption “Lights out.”

President Obama’s memoir has not only been hotly anticipated by readers, but by struggling bookstores as well.

Readers Have Been Eagerly Waiting for Barack Obama’s New Memoir. Struggling Booksellers Have, Too.

“A Promised Land” is a potential lifeline for booksellers whose sales have plummeted during the pandemic. Shortly after President Barack Obama left office in 2017, in the aftermath of a contentious election that cost his party the presidency, he sat down with a yellow notepad and began writing an account of his time in the White House.

While we’re talking about presidential memoirs, many are speculating if publishers can afford to publish a Trump memoir.

A Trump Memoir Would Sell. Will Publishers Buy It?

Some publishing executives worry their authors and staff might rebel, but they say their bigger concern would be ensuring the book’s accuracy. When American presidents leave office, regardless of their parties or approval ratings, a common ritual awaits: They write books, capturing the moment for history and sharing insight into one of the world’s most unusual jobs.


A new collection of JRR Tolkien’s writing will be hitting shelves next year.

New collection of J.R.R. Tolkien’s writing coming next year

After all these years, there’s still more to learn about Middle-earth. On Thursday, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced they will be publishing what they describe as a “previously unseen” collection of writings by The Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien. This new volume will be titled The Nature of Middle-earth.

Over 200 additional copies of Sir Isaac Newton’s groundbreaking physics book Principia have been found.


An eleven-year-old girl from Stoney Creek has started an Instagram account highlighting books with BIPOC main characters.

11-year-old’s Instagram account celebrates books with Black characters | CBC News

Ainara Alleyne loves digging into a good book with strong, relatable characters. But whenever the 11-year-old from Stoney Creek visited her school library, she’d never see anyone in a book who looked like her. That’s why she started Ainara’s Bookshelf – an Instagram account that highlights books whose main characters are Black and people of colour.

Quentin Tarantino will be penning the novelization of his award-winning screenplay Once Upon A Time in Hollywood.

Quentin Tarantino signs deal to write ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ novelization

Director will also write nonfiction book about ’70s cinema. The filmmaker has signed a two-book deal with Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, to write a novelization of his acclaimed 2019 hit Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and a nonfiction book called Cinema Speculation, a deep dive into ’70s cinema which will include essays, reviews, personal writing, and “what if’s.”


Lastly, as someone who has both sent work to friends to read and has been lucky enough to read early drafts of my friends’ work, I absolutely loved this piece on finding trusted readers.

Sheila Heti on the Importance of Finding Trusted Readers

A few days ago, I read the first chapters of the latest draft of a novel written by a friend. I had reviewed her previous book for the London Review of Books, at which time I didn’t know her. That …

Have a wonderful weekend!


KoboWriMo Update

“I’m working on a travel romcom, which has been a fun form of escapism! I recently decided to take advantage of the remote work policy, and flew to my family home in Edinburgh in mid-November, which really threw off my NaNo project; with a lot of frantic packing and little sleep, I barely wrote for a week. I am now taking advantage of the 14-day quarantine alone to sit and write. I’m still hopeful that I’ll catch up at hit the goal by the end of the month!”
– Joni, Author Engagement Specialist

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