BBC’s Cormoran Strike series

BBC One will be showing a new television series based on Robert Galbraith’s Cormoran Strike novels.

The Cuckoo’s Calling is the first crime novel penned by J.K. Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Strike, a war veteran, is hired to solve the mystery of model’s fatal fall from a Mayfair balcony. This is followed by The Silkworm, where again Strike’s private detective services are required when a novelist writing poisonous pen-portraits vanishes.

Danny Cohen, Director of BBC Television commented: “It’s a wonderful coup for BBC Television to be bringing J.K. Rowling’s latest books to the screen. With the rich character of Cormoran Strike at their heart, these dramas will be event television across the world.”

BBC One will also be showing Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy over three episodes next February.

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Boyd’s new novel to be released next year

The author of Restless, winner of the Costa Novel of the Year, and the James Bond novel Solo William Boyd will have his next novel Sweet Caress published by Bloomsbury next September.

The novel tracks central character Amory Clay’s career progression from early camera lessons with her uncle Greville to snapping socialites for the magazine Beau Monde to becoming one of the first women war photographers.

Alexandra Pringle, group editor-in-chief at Bloomsbury, commented: “We are absolutely thrilled to be publishing Sweet Caress on both sides of the Atlantic. We couldn’t be more ambitious for this, William Boyd’s most beautiful, daring and enthralling novel to date.”

Boyd has recently written a digital thriller for Land Rover The Vanishing Game.

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Simon Callow lends Shakespeare statue a voice

Simon Callow has recorded the winning speech for the British Library’s William Shakespeare statue as part of the Talking Statues project.

Participants of the Give a Statue a Voice public writing competition were asked to write a short and entertaining monologue for statues of Shakespeare, the Leaping Hare, Isis, or T-Rex.

And Ed Wiles became the eventual winner with his speech for the Bard’s statue. The budding screenwriter’s most treasured Shakespeare play is Anthony and Cleopatra, which he makes reference to in his submission.

Wiles said: “It was quite a challenge giving words to our greatest writer.”

Colette Hiller, Creative Director of Sing London, commented: “It’s marvellous how the project has caught the public’s attention right across the world. We feel privileged to have such a stellar line-up of writers and actors.”

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William Boyd writes Land Rover thriller

William Boyd, the author of the James Bond novel Solo, has written a new digital adventure thriller The Vanishing Game for Land Rover.

The story tracks Alec Dunbar’s journey from London to a remote area in Scotland using a range of mixed media content including video, photography, animation, music and narration. Readers can access such material by selecting keywords, for instance, the noun “river” will enable to the viewer to enjoy a video footage of a Land Rover crossing a remote waterway in the Scottish Highlands.

Boyd commented: “One of the collateral pleasures of writing The Vanishing Game was that it made me realize how prominently Land Rover has featured in my life in Africa and Britain to an almost mythic degree. I remember as a boy being driven in a Land Rover through tropical rainforest to the Volta River in Ghana to fish for freshwater barracuda. And, as an even younger boy, climbing into my Uncle Ronnie’s Land Rover, the Scottish day dawning, as we went out to feed the sheep on his farm. A Land Rover is part of the mental geography of almost every British person, I believe. Consequently, to be asked to write a story in which a Land Rover features was immensely appealing, almost an act of homage. What I tried to achieve was to make the Land Rover an inherent presence in the story, something always there – implicit, strong, solid, reliable, ready to function – very like the part it plays in my memory. Welcome to an icon of motor vehicle history.”

Kim McCullough, Vice President of Marketing at Jaguar Land Rover North America, added: “The Vanishing Game project captures how driving and adventures are a rich part of the Land Rover DNA. We are constantly exploring new ways to bring our owners’ passion for their vehicles to life, this time in a commissioned literary project penned by a remarkably talented British author and offered to the world through the latest interactive digital spaces. This project’s platform also allows our owners to complement Boyd’s storytelling with their own adventure-oriented stories. We hope fans of literary adventure thrillers enjoy the story, and perhaps see themselves driving across the Scottish countryside in one of our iconic vehicles.”

The interactive tale is available in the form of a Tumblr page, and as a free eBook.

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H is for Hawk wins Samuel Johnson Prize

Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk is the winner of this year’s £20,000 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction.

The story tracks the author’s obsession with training the £800 goshawk, Mabel, after her father’s death.

Claire Tomalin, chair of judges, said: “Congratulations to Helen Macdonald, who has written a book unlike any other.”

Previous winners include Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest by Wade Davis, The Suspicions of Mr Whicher or The Murder at Road Hill House by Kate Summerscale, and 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare by James Shapiro.

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Anthony Horowitz on National Book Awards’ Crime/Thriller shortlist

Anthony Horowitz’s second Sherlock Holmes novel Moriarty has been shortlisted in the Specsavers National Book Awards’ Crime/Thriller Book of the Year category alongside Robert Galbraith’s The Silkworm, Terry Hayes’ I Am Pilgrim, Sophie Hannah’s The Monogram Murders, and Lee Child’s Personal. Horowitz’s story set after the death of the famous sleuth, has been praised by the Sunday Telegraph as “An exciting, well-crafted novel”, and by Shortlist as “An unpredictable and twist-filled mystery from start to finish”. Horowitz recently toured London by horse and carriage to promote the tale, passing several well-known landmarks and stopping at seven branches of Waterstones.

Previous winners of the Crime Thriller of the Year awards include The Carrier by Sophie Hannah, A Wanted Man by Lee Child, and Before I Go to Sleep by SJ Watson.

Last year’s Book of the Year winner was Neil Gaiman with his fantasy fiction The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

Dame Mary Perkins, Specsavers founder, said: “We’re delighted to be involved in the National Book Awards for the third consecutive year. The event is a very special celebration of literary talent and the awards are so well deserved. I hope more people will join us in support of the industry and authors alike to buy and share these fantastic reads.”

The winners for each of the categories will be revealed on 26 November, and the overall winner a month later.

Full shortlist:

Crime/Thriller Book of the Year:
Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah
Personal by Lee Child

Magic FM Autobiography/Biography of the Year:
The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books by John Carey
So, Anyway… by John Cleese
Napoleon the Great by Andrew Roberts
Only When I Laugh: My Autobiography by Paul Merton
Please, Mister Postman: A Memoir by Alan Johnson

Food & Drink Book of the Year:
The Art Of Eating Well by Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley
Mary Berry Cooks by Mary Berry
Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes by Tom Kerridge
Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi
River Cottage Light & Easy: Healthy Recipes for Every Day by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Children’s Book of the Year:
Animalium by Jenny Broom and Katie Scott
Archie Green And The Magician’s Secret by D. D. Everest
Awful Auntie by David Walliams
Goth Girl and the Fete Worse Than Death by Chris Riddell
Minecraft: The Official Construction Handbook by Matthew Neeler and Phil Southam Audiobook of the Year:
Awful Auntie by David Walliams
More Fool Me by Stephen Fry
Walking Home by Clare Balding
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
Man At The Helm by Nina Stibbe

International Author of the Year:
The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride
The Long Haul (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) by Jeff Kinney
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Books Are My Bag New Writer of the Year:
Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey
In the Light of What We Know by Zia Haider Rahman
Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life by Nina Stibbe
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
Wake by Anna Hope

Specsavers Popular Fiction Book of the Year:
The Shock Of The Fall by Nathan Filer
Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey
How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran
The Taxidermist’s Daughter by Kate Mosse
Secrets of the Lighthouse by Santa Montefiore

Non-fiction Book of the Year:
Curious by Rebecca Front
How To Speak Money by John Lanchester
Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life by Nina Stibbe
Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys by Viv Albertine
Waterloo: The History Of Four Days, Three Armies And Three Battles by Bernard Cornwell

UK Author of the Year:
How To Be Both by Ali Smith
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
Us by David Nicholls
The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

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Design ghost for Jonathan Stroud’s next book

Jonathan Stroud would like young readers aged between 9 and 15 years to create a new ghost character for his next Lockwood & Co. book.

Inspiration can be found in the scribe’s A guide to ghosts article on the Guardian website where he describes cold maidens, spectres, wraiths and more.

Those interested in the competition need to send their submissions to by 10 November 2014. Make sure the description includes the ghastly creature’s name, special powers, and any distinctive features.

The winner will also be sent signed copies of the first two Lockwood & Co. books: The Screaming Staircase and the Whispering Skull, as well as the newest instalment in the series when it is published in Autumn next year.

Last year, the author asked bibliophiles to help him write an interactive Halloween story. Stroud picked Guardian reader Gill’s description of a creepy caretaker ghost with large eyes and rotting skin to become a part of his scary tale.

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