First Booker Prize winner to pen Quick Reads book

Roddy Doyle has become the first Man Booker Prize winner to write a Quick Reads title, Dead Man Talking. Doyle was shortlisted for the prestigious award in 1991 for The Van, and eventually took the top prize in 1993 for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha.

The other Quick Reads stories include Paris for One by Jojo Moyes, Pictures Or It Didn’t Happen by Sophie Hannah, Red for Revenge by Fanny Blake, Out of the Dark by Adèle Geras, and Street Cat Bob by James Bowen.

Doyle commented: “I’m delighted to be involved with Quick Reads as they are all about creating new readers and I’ve seen at first-hand how low levels of literacy have a negative effect on people’s lives. Literacy is the key to opening doors for everyone.

“I started to write a story about a man who was pretending to be dead. But as I wrote, it changed and I realised I was writing about death. I wanted the story to be funny and a bit frightening because, while it’s often frightening, death is rarely funny – and I wanted the challenge.”

In the past, Bernardine Evaristo has penned the tale of gang violence outside a chip shop Hello Mum, and John Boyne has written The Dare about a mother who knocks down a little boy.

The six Quick Reads will be released on 5 February next year.

Posted in Authors, Books/Literature | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Morpurgo, Riddell and Sedgwick selected for World Book Day

An announcement has been made that next year’s World Book Day £1 stories will include work by such literary stars as Michael Morpurgo, Chris Riddell and Marcus Sedgwick.

Children will be transported from Friendship Forest to World Frock Night to a dark, dark path leading into the dark, dark woods…in these brilliant tales.

Sophy Henn's illustration for World Book Day.

Sophy Henn’s illustration for World Book Day.

Sophy Henn, author and illustrator of Where Bear?, will be decorating the World Book Day website, tokens, resource packs and display materials with her charming illustrations of eager readers (pictured). She has a Fashion degree at Central Saint Martins, and an MA in Illustration at the University of Brighton. She is taking over the role previously held by Alex T. Smith, creator of Hector and the Big Bad Knight and Foxy Tales: The Cunning Plan.

This year’s World Book Day titles featured David Melling’s Hello, Hugless Douglas, Emily Gravett’s Little Book Day Parade, I am Nit a Loser by Barry Loser, Fun with the Worst Witch by Jill Murphy, The Midnight Picnic by Lauren St. John, Terrible Trenches by Terry Deary, Middle School: How I Got Lost in London by James Patterson, Jack Pepper by Sarah Lean, Rock War: The Audition by Robert Muchamore, and The Boy in the Smoke by Maureen Johnson.

World Book Day 2015 list:

Age 2+:

The Dinosaur That Pooped A Lot! by Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter
Elmer’s Parade by David McKee

Age 5+:

A Pirate’s Guide to Landlubbing by Jonny Duddle
Magic Animal Friends: Lucy Longwhiskers Finds a Friend by Daisy Meadows

Age 7+:

Goth Girl and the Pirate Queen by Chris Riddell
The Diary of Dennis the Menace: World Book Menace Day by Steven Butler

Age 9+:

Best Mates by Michael Morpurgo
Dork Diaries: How to be a Dork! by Rachel Renée Russell

Young Adult:

Geek Girl: Geek Drama by Holly Smale
Killing the Dead by Marcus Sedgwick

Ireland only:

The Fairytale Trap by Erika McGann

Posted in Authors, Books/Literature | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Visit Guardian’s Neverwhere BookBench

Neverwhere BookBenchThe 51st BookBench depicting Neil Gaiman’s story Neverwhere is now available to visit.

In July, Guardian readers were asked to vote for which book or character should be celebrated as a new BookBench sculpture for the National Literacy Trust, and Gaiman’s Neverwhere was the eventual winner. Other titles included in the poll were the classics Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland, as well as contemporary tales Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling and London Fields by Martin Amis.

The Neverwhere BookBench illustrated by Chris Riddell will be displayed until 3 October at the Guardian in King’s Place in London.

Posted in Art and Design, Authors, Books/Literature | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Leo Tolstoy’s Google Doodle

Leo TolstoyLeo Tolstoy’s 186th birthday has been marked today with a Google Doodle depicting scenes from his stories War and Peace, Anna Karenina, and The Death of Ivan Ilyich.

Roman Muradov, illustrator for the Penguin Classics Centennial Edition of James Joyce’s Dubliners, created the striking imagery for the search engine.

Muradov said: “I hardly need to say that making a tribute to Leo Tolstoy was a daunting task. No set of images can sum up a body of work so astonishing in scope, complexity, and vigour – its memorable scenes come to life with seeming effortlessness, fully realized in the immortal lines and between them. Tolstoy’s lasting influence is a testament to the power of his art, which will remain relevant as long as the questions of life and death occupy our minds, which is to say – forever.”

Last month, Sheridan Le Fanu was given a Gothic Doodle, and in February Doodler Mike Dutton depicted Of Mice and Men, The Pearl and other John Steinbeck classics to celebrate the author’s 112th birthday.

Posted in Authors, Books/Literature | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

BBC’s The Outcast drama

Sadie Jones’ Costa First Novel Award-winning story The Outcast will be shown as a two-part drama on the BBC next year.

The story tracks Lewis’ life in post-war Britain from the tragic death of his mother to his increasingly chaotic teenager years.

The title was also shortlisted for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction, and has received positive feedback from Lionel Shriver who called it “Riveting” to Tracy Chevalier who recommended the story as “An elegant, subtle, haunting novel that stayed with me long after I finished it”.

Christine Langan, Head of BBC Films, commented: “The Outcast is a captivating and heart-breaking story of a young man’s desperate situation. I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to work with BBC One to bring a two-part adaptation to screen to retain the essence of Sadie Jones’s award-winning novel.”

Filming has already begun in Buckinghamshire.

Posted in Books/Literature, Film | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Lady Macbeth chocolate shortlisted for Quality Food Award

Lady MacbethSweet Theatre’s Lady Macbeth and Miranda treats as part of the Shakespeare’s Leading Ladies range has been shortlisted in the Quality Food Awards’ Chocolate and Confectionary category. The former is a dark chocolate bar with tangy orange, and the latter is a slab of milk chocolate sprinkled with sea salt.

The other sweet delights competing for the top prize are the Aldi Handmade Tablet, Tesco Finest Belgian Chocolate and Anglesey Sea Salt Fudge, Tesco Finest Sao Tomè 71% Dark Chocolate Bar, Tesco Healthy Living Sugar Free Butter Mintoes, and the Co-operative Ghanaian Milk Chocolate with Toffee and Sea Salt.

The winners will be revealed on 13 November at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane.

Sweet Theatre’s chocolate bar collection also features a range of other flavours from light and sweet white chocolate (Juliet) to plain milk chocolate (Ophelia). These are available to purchase at Harvey Nichols for £3.50 each.

Posted in Art and Design, Books/Literature, Food | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Miniature Sherlock Holmes book to be published

Sherlock HolmesSir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes story How Watson Learned the Trick will be published by Walker Books and the Royal Collection Trust next month as a tiny 38.5 x 30mm book, a replica of the handwritten tale created especially for Queen Mary’s Doll House in 1922.

The precious miniature building is on permanent display at Windsor Castle, and has had over 200 extremely small titles stocked inside it including works by Thomas Harding, Rudyard Kipling and Edith Wharton.

In the detective story, Watson attempts to copy Holmes’ reasoning skills as he forms judgments over his friend’s unshaven face, and interest in the financial news.

Oliver Urquhart Irvine, the Royal Collection Trust’s librarian, commented, “Sherlock Holmes is a world-renowned literary figure and an enduring character, who remains as popular today as in the Victorian society that Conan Doyle characterised. I am delighted that for the first time this Sherlock Holmes tale will be available in the exact format that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle produced nearly 100 years ago.”

How Watson Learned the Trick by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle will be released on 2 October as a £12.99 clothbound hardback in a special presentation box.

Posted in Authors, Books/Literature | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment