Happy Friday, writers! It’s hard to believe it’s almost May. I feel like I make the same surprised statement about the passing of time whenever a new month is upon us, but I stand by it. Time during a lockdown is meaningless and I am truly shocked that, it the immortal words of N*SYNC, it’s gonna be may.

Its Gonna Be May Justin Timberlake GIF – Find & Share on GIPHY

Discover & share this Music GIF with everyone you know. GIPHY is how you search, share, discover, and create GIFs.

Now that I’m done making terrible jokes, let’s take a look at what’s been happening in publishing this week, shall we?

Starting off with some exciting Kobo news: We have launched Kobo Plus in Portugal!

Kobo Plus e_LeYa Launches in Portugal

The controversy surrounding Simon & Schuster’s decision to publish Mike Pence continues, and it seems as though the book will get published so matter what.

Simon & Schuster Will Die on the Hill That Is Mike Pence’s Multimillion-Dollar Book Deal

Simon & Schuster has a Mike Pence-shaped blowup on its hands. On Monday, higher-ups at the publishing house received a petition signed by over 200 employees, as well as more than 3,500 outside supporters, the Wall Street Journal reports, demanding that it stop cutting deals with authors tied to Donald Trump’s administration and cancel Pence’s forthcoming memoir.

A new task force has been created to press Disney into paying royalties owed to authors.

Writers Orgs Form #DisneyMustPay Joint Task Force

Half a dozen professional writers’ organizations have joined with the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in forming a joint task to press the Walt Disney Company to ensure it pays all royalties owed to authors.

Speaking of, Disney is returning to adult publishing with the launch of Hyperion Avenue.

Disney Reimagines Its Book Business

Approximately eight years after the Walt Disney Co. sold the lion’s share of its adult book business to Hachette Book Group, Disney Publishing is returning to that market with the launch of Hyperion Avenue.

The Philip Roth biography by Blake Bailey has officially been cancelled after allegations against the author.

Publisher cancels Philip Roth biography after sexual abuse claims against Blake Bailey

The publisher of a highly anticipated and widely discussed biography of Philip Roth is pulling the book and cutting ties with author Blake Bailey, who faces multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault.

Apple and Spotify are both going to be offering paid podcast subscriptions, giving podcast creators the opportunity to go exclusive.

Apple, Spotify and the New Battle Over Who Wins Podcasting

The battle for podcast dominance is on. A pair of announcements this week- Apple Inc.’s introduction of paid podcast subscriptions and Facebook Inc.’s new partnership with Spotify Technology SA to spur discovery and listening on the social network’s platforms-are the latest for a rapidly growing medium that is attracting top talent and top dollar.

Reese’s Book Club is launching their own writing retreat for five emerging writers.

Reese’s Book Club

Who is eligible? Candidates must be diverse (as defined below) women writers who are also unagented and unpublished. If you identify as a woman, this program is for you. We subscribe to We Need Diverse Books’ Definition of Diversity and recognize all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, Native, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities*, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.

Book Riot published this is a very interesting and informative look at disability representation in children’s books.

The Current State of Disability Representation in Children’s Books

I began this piece out of frustration. Despite the many initiatives to make children’s books more diverse and representative of everyone instead of a select white, able-bodied, cis het population, it’s still hard to find disability representation in children’s books, particularly ones written by disabled folk, and particularly ones that depict multiple identities (Black and disabled, for example).

The shortlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction has been announced.

Here’s the shortlist for the 2021 Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Today, the UK’s Women’s Prize for Fiction announced the shortlist for this year’s prize, which seeks to recognize the best fiction written by women every year, to the tune of £30,000, and a bronze figurine known as the “Bessie.”

For the mystery and crime writers among us, here’s a great interview on the current state of crime novels with the 2021 Edgar Award nominees.

The State of the Crime Novel in 2021: A Roundtable With the Edgar Awards Nominees

After a very, very long year, the Edgar Awards are once again upon us. 2021 marks the 75th year that Mystery Writers of America will celebrate the best crime and mystery writing, and while 2020 was an abysmal year by any other metric, it was a stellar year for great new books.

And for the Fantasy and sci-fi writers: NK Jemisin is teaching a MasterClass on genre writing and world building!

N.K. Jemisin wants to help you build better worlds for your stories

The celebrated fantasy author tells EW about her new MasterClass course and gives an update on The City We Became sequel. Modern world-building doesn’t get much better than N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth series.

A few new memoir announcements this week: Lil’ Kim is publishing a memoir!

Lil’ Kim is publishing a memoir.

Huge news: Kimberly Denise Jones-aka rap legend Lil’ Kim-has written a “deeply personal and revealing” memoir, and we get to read it later this year. THE QUEEN BEE, written with Kathy Iandoli, will be published in November 2021 by Hachette Books. THE QUEEN BEE gives readers Lil Kim’s side of the story for the very first time.

And Gabrielle Union is writing a follow-up to her memoir, We’re Going to Need More Wine

Gabrielle Union to Release New Memoir, You Got Anything Stronger?

Multi-hyphenate Gabrielle Union is coming out with a new memoir, appropriately titled You Got Anything Stronger? (after her first memoir, We’re Going to Need More Wine). “Because I had more s**t to say … My new book “You Got Anything Stronger?” is available for preorder now at the link in bio,” Union wrote on social media.

The musical adaptation of The Great Gatsby has gone from something no one asked for to something I very much want to see with the announcement of Florence Welch as the composer!

Florence Welch (of Florence and The Machine) to score Great Gatsby on Broadway.

Do we really need another version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ubiquitous classic? Probably not, but I guess this is what happens when story calcifies into myth: its trace elements show up everywhere, forever. And now it’ll be on Broadway!

And some news about another Florence: Florence Pugh is set to star in the adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s The Wonder.

Florence Pugh To Star In Sebastián Lelio’s Adaptation of ‘The Wonder’

EXCLUSIVE: Even with Black Widow set to make its world premiere this July, Florence Pugh is continuing to add to that ever-growing dance card as she is set to star in the adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s The Wonder. A Fantastic Woman director Sebastián Lelio will helm the pic.

And as per usual, my favourite piece of the week: I loved this short and sweet piece by Kirsten Arnett (admittedly one of my current favourite authors) on the use and re-use of jokes in writing.

Craft Capsule: What’s So Funny?

This is no. 96 in a series of craft essays exploring the finer points of writing. Check back each week for a new Craft Capsule. I do not consider myself a craft expert, but I do consider myself an aficionado of the dumb stuff that makes me laugh.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Staff Pick

Tara, Director of Kobo Writing Life

“Powerful book. I couldn’t put it down. It tells the intertwined story of five people that have been through the residential school system, and how their life unfolds after they leave.”