Happy last Friday of February, writers! It’s wild that we’re already two months through 2021, isn’t it? The weather here in Toronto has been above zero the past few days (by a whopping two degrees) and it has been heavenly. It’s practically t-shirt weather!

We had our live event with Kathleen Sweeney from BookBrush today, and if you weren’t able to tune in you can watch it here!

Now, let’s take a quick look at what’s happening in the publishing world this week!

The literary world lost a legend this week: Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the icon who opened doors for the Beat Generation has died at 101. Ferlinghetti was an icon, who opened the doors for the beat generation and who was, to quote Kobo CEO Michael Tamblin, “The renaissance guy you always hope to be.”

The speculation on the effect that the PRH and S&S merger will have publishing continues:

What Happens When a Publisher Becomes a Megapublisher?

The merger of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster has the potential to touch every part of the industry, including how much authors get paid and how bookstores are run. When Penguin Random House said last year that it planned to buy Simon & Schuster for more than $2 billion, the entire publishing industry snapped to attention.

Dundurn Press has rebranded in an attempt to reflect the new vision for the company.

Dundurn Rebrands, Adding New Storefront and Imprint

Toronto’s Dundurn Press has rebranded and updated its colophon to reflect a new vision for the company. Dundurn, which was founded in 1972, has changed its traditional logo, which featured a castle, to one featuring a progression of arched windows or doors.

A new internet archive has created a free library devoted to West Africa’s food heritage.

Now Online: A Free Library Devoted to West Africa’s Food Heritage

In a Youtube video, entitled A Tale of Two Fritters, Ozoz Sokoh is in her kitchen making both akara, a Nigerian bean fritter, and acarajé, the Brazilian equivalent. As she reviews the ingredients and aromatics-black-eyed peas, Thai and Scotch bonnet peppers for heat, tomatoes, ginger, and orange-red palm oil, it’s easy to see that the two dishes, though from different continents, are obviously related.

In the same vain as our post from earlier this week, authors are sharing how they’re staying creative during lockdowns.

Writer’s blockdown: after a year inside, novelists are struggling to write

n early February, after a month of lockdown, William Sutcliffe wrote on Twitter: “I have been a professional writer for more than twenty years. I have made my living from the resource of my imagination. Last night I had a dream about unloading the dishwasher.”

Olga Tokarczuk’s The Book of Jacob is finally getting an English release.

Olga Tokarczuk’s ‘magnum opus’ finally gets English release – after seven years of translation

The magnum opus of Nobel laureate Olga Tokarczuk – a novel that has taken seven years to translate and has brought its author death threats in her native Poland – is to be published in English.

Paul McCartney is publishing a lyrical autobiography which will sit at a casual 900 pages.

Paul McCartney to publish 900-page lyrical ‘autobiography’

It will be “as close to an autobiography” as Paul McCartney “may ever come”: the former Beatle is set to publish The Lyrics, a deep dive into his life, based on conversations he had with the prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon. The Lyrics, a two-volume, 900-plus page “self-portrait in 154 songs”, will be released on 2 November.

Hillary Clinton is co-writing a thriller with Louise Penny.

Hillary Clinton co-writing thriller with Canadian mystery writer Louise Penny | CBC Books

One of the world’s better known fans of mystery novels, Hillary Rodham Clinton, is now writing one. Clinton is teaming up with her friend, the Canadian novelist Louise Penny, on State of Terror, which has a plot that might occur to someone of Clinton’s background: A “novice” secretary of state, working in the administration of a rival politician, tries to solve a wave of terrorist attacks.

Sarah Polley has signed a two-book deal with Hamish Hamilton Canada; her first book Run Toward Danger is set to be published next spring.

Sarah Polley’s essay collection, Run Towards the Danger, to be published in March 2022 | CBC Books

Books Run Towards the Danger is a collection of five essays that explore memory and the relationship between past and present. Canadian actor, screenwriter and director Sarah Polley is adding author to her impressive resume. Her first book, Run Towards the Danger, will be published in March 2022.

Today in weird literary facts I’m not sure I wanted to know: Keats’s death mask is a collector item valued at over $20,000.

Writ in water, preserved in plaster: how Keats’ death mask became a collector’s item

There’s no mention of John Keats’s name on his tombstone – in fact you might accidentally pass right by it while strolling through the Cimitero Acattolico in Rome, were it not for its distinctly dour epitaph.

And lastly, for a bit of lockdown entertainment, might I suggest this fun Literary Hub quiz:

How Many of the 100 Most Famous Passages in Literature Can You Identify?

If you’re here, you’re probably pretty well read. Congratulations you! Still, it’s one thing to read a great book, but quite another to retain it. Especially considering most of us read a number of the classics in our teenage years, when we were only half paying attention anyway.

Have a great weekend!

Staff Pick

Tara Cremin, Director KWL

“This was recommended by Desus, from Desus & Mero. Their book recommendations are always on point so I picked this up. I listened to the audiobook which was narrated by the author. The book tackles struggles with identity, in relation to race but also adoption and the idea of family. How does one balance a lifetime of learnings & trauma to come to their own sense of identity?”

Surviving the White Gaze audiobook by Rebecca Carroll – Rakuten Kobo

Listen to “Surviving the White Gaze A Memoir” by Rebecca Carroll available from Rakuten Kobo. Narrated by Rebecca Carroll. Start a free 30-day trial today and get your first audiobook free. A stirring and powerful memoir from black cultural critic Rebecca Carroll recounting her painful struggle to o