A blog about writing and self publishing

Emerging Prize Submissions, Obama’s Library, and an Adaptation Boom: This Week in Book News

Happy Friday, everyone! And happy long weekend if you’re lucky enough to have one! It’s Family Day on Monday in Ontario, so we are gearing up for an extra day of relaxation, but we’ll be back to business as usual on Tuesday. Let’s take a look at what’s been happening in the world of publishing this week, shall we?

Starting off with some exciting Kobo news, the 2021 Kobo’s Emerging Writer’s Prize is open for submissions!

Rakuten Kobo

To qualify, authors must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada, with debut full-length books or collections of short stories published in 2020. Authors can enter books in one of three categories: Literary Fiction, Mystery (a different genre is highlighted each year), or Nonfiction.

The Barack Obama presidential library will break ground this year.

The Obama Presidential Center and Library Breaking Ground This Year

It’s been a long time reaching this point but it is finally happening. The Barack Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park, Chicago, will start pre-construction work in April 2021. Chicago’s South Side has been waiting in eager anticipation for this amazing centre. The Center is more like a campus.

Ruth Dickey will become the executive director of the National Book Foundation.

Ruth Dickey Takes Over at the National Book Foundation

The National Book Foundation has named Ruth Dickey, who currently heads Seattle Arts & Lectures, its next executive director. She will start on May 17, with the foundation’s deputy director, Jordan Smith, continuing on as interim basis until then.


Maria Guaraschelli, the cookbook editor who transformed American cooking, died last weekend.

Maria Guarnaschelli, Book Editor Who Changed What We Cook, Dies at 79

She introduced Americans to new cuisines and helped transform cooking from a domestic chore to a cultural touchstone, inspiring her daughter, Alex, to be a chef. Maria Guarnaschelli, a formidable book editor who helped transform American cooking from a domestic chore to a cultural touchstone, and who presided a major revision of the popular book “Joy of Cooking,” died on Saturday in Manhasset, N.Y.


The 2021 Pen America Literary Awards have been announced.

2021 PEN America Literary Awards Finalists Announced

In December I told you about the 2021 PEN America Literary Awards Longlist. As promised, they have now released their finalists. The virtual Literary Awards Ceremony will be held on April 8, 2021.

Canadian astronaut Christ Hadfield is publishing his first novel this fall.

Chris Hadfield’s first novel, the thriller The Apollo Murders, to be published in October 2021 | CBC Books

Books The Apollo Murders is a thriller set against the backdrop of the Cold War and the Space Race. Chris Hadfield, astronaut and bestselling author, is turning to fiction for the first time. His first thriller, titled The Apollo Murders, will be published by Random House Canada on Oct. 12, 2021.


The pandemic is leading to a boom in literary adaptations.

Everything you should know about Hollywood’s new book boom

Which shows have been your COVID-19 pandemic panaceas as you’ve stumbled through this locked-down, upside-down year? ” The Good Lord Bird”? ” The Queen’s Gambit”? ” The Undoing “?As disparate as they are, these shows have one thing in common: They were all adapted from books.

Paramount is in the midst of a legal battle with Truman Capote’s Literary Trust to remake Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Paramount Fights to Remake ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’

Will Paramount Pictures be able to make a new version of Breakfast at Tiffany’s ? Or will it be another studio? On Feb. 2, Paramount hinted at how it will be defending the claim that it has lost ownership by sitting on rights for too long.

Brian Jacques’ Redwall is being adapted for Netflix.

Redwall is coming to Netflix: where to start for kids (and adults)

f, like me, you are a fan of Brian Jacques, then the news that Netflix is working on an adaptation of Redwall will have you setting the abbey bells a-ringing in joy. Jacques’ bestselling stories of talking mice, squirrels and otters (the goodies) and rats, foxes and wildcats (the baddies) gave me so much happiness as a child.


As much as I dislike the term “cancel culture” (consequence culture seems more accurate), I found this piece on moral clauses in publishing contracts to be both timely and informative.

How Getting Canceled on Social Media Can Derail a Book Deal

Morals clauses are despised by many authors and agents, but big publishers insist that they need a way out if a writer’s reputation takes a nosedive. When Simon & Schuster dropped Senator Josh Hawley’s book a day after the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, the news caused an explosion of attention, condemnation and praise.

And lastly, a cool piece on lockdown libraries, book recommendations, and looking beyond genre for your next read.

Mastering the Art of the Lockdown Book Recommendation

My sister always goes to the same bookshop in Oxfordshire, where she lives. There she seeks out a young bookseller with a shock of black hair from within the stacks. He once recommended her a list of books, and she loved every single one; she’s been returning to him ever since.

Have a wonderful long weekend!


Staff Pick

Rachel, Author Engagement Coordinator

“If there are two things I love, they’re queer love stories and astrology. Written in the Stars is about exactly those things. When Elle and Darcy meet on a blind date, sparks fly but not in a good way. However, with Darcy wanting to get her matchmaking brother off her back, and Elle hoping her family will start to believe she has her life together, they agree to pretend to be dating until the holidays are over… unless their real feelings for one another start to get in the way of their plan.”

Written in the Stars ebook by Alexandria Bellefleur – Rakuten Kobo

Read “Written in the Stars A Novel” by Alexandria Bellefleur available from Rakuten Kobo. “I was hooked from the very first page!” – Christina Lauren, New York Times bestselling author of In a Holidaze “This bo…

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