Happy Friday and welcome to the first news roundup of 2022! We hope everyone had a wonderful and relaxing holiday season and is hitting the ground running to meet their writing goals in the new year. We are definitely off to a busy start here at KWL and there’s a ton of news to catch up on so let’s dive right in, shall we?

The 2022 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize is open for submissions! If you’re a Canadian writer who first published in 2021 you should definitely check it out.

Kobo’s 2022 Emerging Writer Prize is Open for Submissions

An arrest has been made in the Case of the Stolen Unpublished Manuscripts.

Literary mystery may finally be solved as man arrested for allegedly stealing unpublished books

A mysterious fraudster who impersonated publishers and agents to steal book manuscripts in an international phishing scam may have finally been caught, with the FBI arresting a 29-year-old man at John F Kennedy airport in New York on Wednesday. Filippo Bernardini, an Italian citizen who worked at UK publisher Simon & Schuster, was arrested upon landing in the US on Wednesday.

Maya Angelou is the first Black woman to appear on a US quarter.

Maya Angelou is the first Black woman to appear on the U.S. quarter.

Long-awaited news: the U.S. Mint has announced they have officially begun shipping a new quarter honoring Maya Angelou. Angelou is seen on the tails side of the quarter; the image, designed by Emily Damstra and sculpted by Craig A. Campbell, shows Angelou with uplifted arms in front of a bird in flight and rising sun-“inspired by her poetry,” the U.S.

Authors have won big in a Global Piracy Lawsuit.

Authors Win $7.8 Million Default Judgment in Global Piracy Lawsuit

A federal judge has issued a default judgment against a major overseas e-book piracy operation known as the KISS Library. In addition to a permanent injunction barring the service from operating, the court also awarded the plaintiffs the maximum amount of damages under the law, totaling some $7.8 million.

A record number of libraries hit the one million digital lending mark in 2021.

OverDrive: Record Number of Libraries Hit Million Digital Lend Mark

Leading library service provider OverDrive this week reported that a total of 121 public libraries and consortia across seven countries and from 37 U.S. states surpassed one million digital lends in 2021, a significant jump from 2020, when 102 libraries hit the mark.

Two indie presses, Black Ocean and Not a Cult, have merged to form Chapter House Publishing Group.

Chapter House Is Turning A New Page For Indie Book Publishing

The merger of indie presses Black Ocean and Not a Cult into a new publishing group offers new path for competitive small-press publishing in the digital era. As debates about the metaverse rage on, a new development in publishing is proving that digital transformation is core to the future of one of the most legacy media formats in existence: books.

Random House is launching a Children’s Nonfiction Imprint.

Random House Children’s Launches Nonfiction Imprint

In a quest to satisfy young readers’ appetites for engaging, informative books, Random House Children’s Books has expanded its portfolio with an educational nonfiction imprint for ages three and up. Called Bright Matter Books, the new line will launch with nine titles, including reference books, study guides, workbooks and activity books.

Harlequin has launched their subscription service.

Harlequin’s New Subscription Service Debuts

Harlequin has launched Harlequin Plus, a new multimedia subscription service. Priced at $14.99 per month, Harlequin Plus will offer subscribers monthly book bundles, access to an e-book library, and a regularly updated selection of movies and games, all geared toward romance readers. The service will be available through both the Harlequin Plus website and app.

BookLife’s Indie Author Forum is set for March 19th.

BookLife Indie Author Forum Set for March 19

BookLife, PW ‘s subsidiary devoted to helping self-published authors, will hold the first BookLife Indie Author Forum on March 19 from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET. The forum will cover the writing and publishing of adult and children’s books and will feature a variety of panels.

London Book Fair has opened registration for their April show.

London Book Fair Opens Registration for In-Person Show

The London Book Fair, scheduled for April 5-7, is now open for registration, affirming its intention to run an in person show. The fair sent an email to potential attendees announcing “Yes, we’re back,” and outlined a variety of safety protocols for potential attendees, including proof of vaccination or a negative test before entering The Olympia, where the fair takes place.

While this happened before the new year, we would be remiss to not mention the passing of literary legend Joan Didion.

Joan Didion, American journalist and author, dies at age 87

Joan Didion, the eminent journalist, author and anthropologist of contemporary American politics and culture – a singularly clear, precise voice across a multitude of subjects for more than 60 years – has died at her home in Manhattan, New York. She was 87.

One of my favourite Canadian traditions is starting up: the Canada Reads 2022 longlist has been announced!

Here is the Canada Reads 2022 longlist | CBC Books

Fifteen books are on the Canada Reads longlist for 2022. From deeply personal memoirs, engaging short story collections, expansive stories and gothic fiction, this year’s longlisted books inspire readers to reflect on community and who we are in the world we live in.

The Booker Prize has announced their jury for the 2022 prize.

Booker Prize announces 2022 jury for $84K literary award | CBC Books

The Booker Prize has announced the jury for the 2022 prize. Neil MacGregor, cultural historian, writer and broadcaster, will chair the five-person panel. Joining him are critics Shahidha Bari and M. John Harrison, historian Helen Castor and novelist and poet Alain Mabanckou.

If you, like most of the Kobo Office, are obsessed with Wordle (there is no busier Slack channel first thing in the morning than #wordle), then you will most definitely want to read this study on finding the perfect first word.

What to Do When Playing the Word Game Wordle Isn’t Enough? Solve It.

If you’ve spent much time on Twitter in recent weeks, you’ve doubtless seen the grids of green, yellow, and gray squares that have swept across the platform. In what felt like the space of a few days, scorecards from the word game Wordle went from novel to unavoidable as a deluge of puzzlers eagerly compared their daily results.

Sorry arachnophobes! A new jumping spider has been named after beloved children’s author Eric Carle.

Newly discovered jumping spider named for children’s author

A new spectacular jumping spider has been discovered and named in honour of Eric Carle, the famous author of children’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar. A spider expert at the Manchester Museum has confirmed a new species of jumping spider discovered in a park in Hong Kong.

Do you vaguely remember a book you loved as a kid but can’t for the life of you remember what it was called? There’s an Instagram for that.

Still looking for that picture book you loved as a kid? Try asking Instagram

subscribe to NPR’s Book of the Day podcast Monear Fatemi was on the hunt for a children’s book she had loved as a kid in the 1980s. She remembered so many vivid details: the family in the book ate lima beans, the dad had a bushy mustache, the cat’s name was “Dog.”

This is a fascinating piece on what garners certain books a cult following.

Fixating on Cult Books: Why Do They Obsess Us? | Book Riot

The thing about cult books, fiction or not, is that reading them changes you forever. Back when I was, as Britney once wisely said, not a girl but not yet a woman, I fell head-over-sneaker-soles in love with the books of Francesca Lia Block.

And last but not least, as we enter year three of the pandemic, maybe starting to track the books you read and the shows you watch is actually a good idea.

Love, Loss, and What We Watched: The Case for Tracking Your Film and TV Consumption

As the Gregorian calendar rolled over into 2022, the sentiments on Twitter-aka where I sense the vibes of my peers-was that this whole “time” thing is all nonsense, our lives have been in stasis since March 2020 and continue to be stalled, we’re all just waiting for the wheels to start turning again, to break out of the loop.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Staff Pick

Rachel, Promotions Specialist

I’m not sure I’ve ever read anything quite like Gideon the Ninth. And I’m not sure I can properly explain the plot of this phenomenal book. Often described as “lesbian necromancers in space”, Gideon the Ninth is part sci-fi, part fantasy, part murder mystery, and just all around fascinating and so much fun to read. When Harrowhark Nonagesimus is summoned by the emperor to attempt a deadly trial, she knows she must accept. If she succeeds, she will become immortal and all powerful. Unfortunately for her, she cannot ascend without her cavalier, Gideon Nav, who happens to view Harrow as her nemesis. If you like extraordinary world building, mind-bending plots, and dialogue that will make you laugh out loud, I cannot recommend this book enough.

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