Hello writers, and happy Friday! We’ve had a great, albeit slightly warm week here in Toronto and hope everyone is managing to stay cool. We hosted a Q&A with Self-Pub Boot Camp’s Carla King this week. If you missed the live event be sure to catch it on our Youtube channel.

Let’s take a quick look at what’s been going down in the publishing world this week.

Review bombers are holding books ransom on Goodreads.

Goodreads’ Problem With Extortion Scams and Review Bombing

Many authors and publishers now see Goodreads as a “necessary evil” along claims of scams, online abuse and more.

A study shows that book censorship is on the rise.

Censorship on the Rise Worldwide

Since the start of the Covid pandemic, there’s been a rise in instances of government censorship of books around the world. In October 2020, the International Publishers Association released a 106-page report, “Freedom to Publish: Challenges, Violations and Countries of Concern,” that outlined 847 instances of censorship in a host of countries, including France, Iran, Serbia, and the United Kingdom, as well as the United States.

The ALA is partnering with Communities for Immunity to boost vaccine confidence in American communities.

Libraries Join Effort to Boost Covid-19 Vaccine Confidence

The American Library Association (ALA) this week announced that it is partnering with Communities for Immunity, a collaborative effort among libraries and museums to boost Covid-19 information and vaccine confidence in communities across the United States. “Access to information about vaccines and trusted messengers to effectively convey it locally is a matter of life and death,” said Patty Wong, president of ALA.

The Society of Authors has distanced itself from Phillip Pullman after the author sent out some problematic tweets.

Society of Authors distances itself from Philip Pullman’s tweets

The Society of Authors (SoA) has asked the writers it represents “to be mindful of privilege and of the impact of what they create, do and say” in an email to committee members responding to the recent criticism of Kate Clanchy’s 2019 Orwell-prize winning book, Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me.

Robin, of Batman and Robin fame, is joining the LGBTQ+ community in a new comic.

Batman’s sidekick, Robin, comes out as LGBTQ in new comic

More than 80 years since he was first introduced to readers, and after decades of homoerotic subtext with his companion Batman, comics’ most trusty sidekick Robin has canonically come out as LGBTQ+.

Speaking of comic books, Marvel and DC are under fire for underpaying writers and artists.

Marvel and DC face backlash over pay: ‘They sent a thank you note and $5,000 – the movie made $1bn’

atch any superhero movie and you will see a credit along the lines of “based on the comic book created by”, usually with the name of a beloved and/or long-dead writer or artist.

PRH and Amanda Gorman are launching a Poetry Award.

PRH and Amanda Gorman Launch Creative Writing Award for Poetry

Penguin Random House has announced its partnership with Amanda Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, to launch the Amanda Gorman Award for Poetry, a new creative writing award focused on poetry for public high school students. With a first-place prize of $10,000, the award will recognize a student for an original literary composition in English for poetry.

Dolly Parton is partnering with James Patterson to write her first book.

Dolly Parton to publish her first novel in 2022

First globally successful entertainer, then heroic sponsor of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine, and now novelist … Dolly Parton seems determined to prove that there are few things she can’t do. The singer, best known for country-pop hits including Jolene and 9 to 5, has written her first novel, to be published by Penguin Random House next year.

John Le Carre’s final novel is coming out this fall.

John Le Carré’s final novel is coming in October – see the first look

The legendary spy novelist’s posthumous novel Silverview hits shelves this fall. 2021 marks the 60th anniversary of John le Carré’s first novel, Call for the Dead, and this October the legendary spy novelist would have turned 90 years old.

Harvey Fierstein is releasing a memoir next spring.

First look: Harvey Fierstein is writing a memoir, and he promises it’s ‘juicy’ and ‘scary’

I Was Better Last Night will hit shelves in March 2022. Harvey Fierstein has seen it all – whether it’s from his vantage point as a legendary gay-rights activist, the view from the Broadway stage thanks to his work in shows like La Cage aux Folles and Kinky Boots, or his years of experience in Hollywood.

And last but not least, an interesting piece that asks: how has the pandemic changed our relationship to physical books?

Perspective | Physical books are alive with memories. Has the pandemic pushed them into the ether for good?

When I think about books after this odd, grim, pandemic-struck time, I think about Moe Berg. A longtime catcher for the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox, Berg was less famous for his middling career on the diamond than for his stint as a spy for the United States during and after World War II.

Have a great weekend!

Staff Pick

Rachel, Author Engagement Coordinator

“It’s fall 2007 and a whistleblower reveals that the US has made contact with aliens. Cora wants absolutely nothing to do with it, especially since the whistleblower is her father, but of course she finds herself smack dab in the middle of everything. Axiom’s end is filled with alternate history, aliens, government conspiracies, and a whole lot of fun.”

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