Thursday, 13 June 2019

Compass Points 309

Well, I think we can agree that the publicity story of the week has been the Tory leadership race, and in particular what Michael Gove has up his nostrils. Michael Gove: Man in A Hurry (978 1785904400, £20, hb) by journalist of the moment Owen Bennett has had widespread review coverage in all the national papers and is published on 18 July by Biteback. From an Edinburgh orphanage to standing for the leadership of the Conservatives, his story could have come straight from the pages of a Charles Dickens novel. A charming man to his friends, and a cold-blooded zealot to his enemies, Gove is set to play a crucial role in the future of the UK. It’s all been serialised in the Daily Mail; here's the first part of this explosive biography, the second episode is here  – that’s the “heart-warming tale of how he rose from the very humblest of origins”, and here is the “five in a bed romp” which is worth clicking on just for the hilarious pictures of the young Gove I’d say! Owen has been interviewed this week on Daily Politics, Good Morning Britain, Newsnight, Sky and LBC and the book has been featured pretty much everywhere!

On the subject of books about repellent politicians, here's a thought-provoking piece in the Bookseller entitled “Why we must publish books we hate.” It asks whether we should “be willing to assist in the promotion of the sort of people and policies we abhor? Political books have exploded because politics has morphed into entertainment.” It points out that “the players all want to write books. Even Donald Trump, who has almost certainly never read a complete book in his adult life, understands that being a published author can lead to real power and real change. If Trump hadn’t put his name to The Art of the Deal, he would probably not have been chosen to front the US version of The Apprentice, a show which convinced enough people to vote him President.” So, should a publisher refuse to publish a manuscript on the grounds that it might result in an unwanted success for the author? Should a ghostwriter turn down a client because they might one day turn out to be a ruthless dictator? Interesting stuff!

Widespread coverage for Gerald Murnane continues, which hasn't let up since the UK publication of Border Districts (978 1911508380, £8.99, pb) and Tamarisk Row (978 1911508366, £10.99, pb) were published by And Other Stories in January and February this year. Last Sunday, Murnane's work was featured on BBC Radio 4's Open Book, with initially sceptical host Mariella Frostrup declaring herself “seduced” by Munane's writing, also described during the programme as “addictive” and “exciting and gripping.”
There really has been some superb coverage for these two titles over the last six months, so if you haven’t discovered Gerald Murnane for your bookshop yet – you’re really missing out! The Sunday Times said “Border Districts excavates a fascinating subject: the experience of encountering fiction, and what our minds unconsciously conjure for us as we read.”, the New Statesman said “Murnane’s books are expeditions that encompass a territory unlike any other”, the Guardian called them “strange and luminous” and the Spectator wrote Tamarisk Row is a remarkably acute portrayal of what it is to be a bullied, confused boy, while Border Districts is dazzling for its austerity, its cruel purity. Their sentences ring in the ear, and the novels stay with you.” with the Irish Times saying “his books are so good and so important. They are strange, unique and uncategorisable.”

Many congratulations to Glen James Brown and Ironopolis (£9.99, pb, 978 1912681099) which has made the shortlist for the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction. The Orwell Prizes are the UK’s most prestigious prizes for political writing an every year, the Foundation awards prizes for the work which comes closest to George Orwell’s ambition “to make political writing into an art”; you can see the shortlists in full here.  Published by Parthian, this is, as Northern Soul wrote, “an unflinching tale about narratives at the heart of working-class communities and the struggle to keep them alive.” The Morning Star called it “the most accomplished working-class novel of the last few years” and the Bookseller, an “edgy and arresting debut.”

E. Sylvia Pankhurst: A Suffragette in America Reflections on Prisoners, Pickets and Political Change (£16.99, pb, 978 0745339368) is an important and fascinating collection of Sylvia Pankhurst's writing on her visits to America in 1911. Unlike the standard suffragette tours which focused on courting progressive members of America's social elite for money, Pankhurst got her hands dirty, meeting striking laundry workers in New York, visiting female prisoners in Philadelphia and Chicago and grappling with horrific racism in Nashville, Tennessee. These never-before-published writings mark a significant stage in the development of the suffragette's thought, and bringing her own experiences of imprisonment and misogyny from her political work in Britain; she found many parallels between the two countries. There’s an interesting interview with its editor Katherine Connelly in the Morning Star here and a review in Counterfire here. It’s just been published by Pluto.

Industry insiders have reacted angrily to analysis from the Guardian (that’s here) covering the “highly concerning” story that the top 100 illustrated children’s books published last year showed a growing marginalisation of female and minority ethnic characters. However, the analysis did not take into account 66% of the picture book market, by only focusing on the top 100 books, and did not look at the number of titles that do not feature any human characters. You can read more on this in the Bookseller here.

Sometimes poetry can shine new light on difficult subjects, and in the light of all the discussion over the UK’s attempt to become carbon neutral by 2050, it is rewarding to read Isabel Galleymore’s debut collection of poems Significant Other (£9.99, pb, 978 1784107116) which explore ecology, extinction and climate change. These are, as poet Jessica Traynor wrote, “jewel-like poems which approach the natural through the eyes of a miniaturist”, and Isabel’s influences are poets such as Jen Hadfield, Jorie Graham and Les Murray. She has just been shortlisted for the prestigious Gladstone's Library Residency next year, and is also currently shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. You can find out more on the Carcanet website here.

I am loving this terrific till-side display at Foyles for Pluto’s 50th Birthday! Remember, Bertrams are offering special terms throughout June on Pluto titles, and there is POS material available on request to support in store promotions – see your Compass rep for details! If you want to find out more about fifty years of independent radical publishing, the Pluto website is very informative!

If you and your customers are fed up with the crap UK weather, then you’re probably planning a summer getaway to warmer climes – and where better than Italy! This week the Mail Online featured twenty gorgeous images from Amber’s new Visual Explorer Guide: Italy (£9.99, pb, 978 1782748700 ) by Claudia Martin which is a stunning collection of pictures ranging from the natural beauty of lakes to the vineyards in Tuscany to the glory of Venice's canals and palaces, the magnificence of classical antiquity in Rome, the Arab-Norman architecture of Palermo and Renaissance Florence. And as well as the famous highlights, the book also features lesser known unexplored sides to the country, be it the abandoned cave towns of Puglia and the 16th century star-shaped town of Palmanova; there’s plenty of information about each gorgeous photograph too.  You can salivate over them here.

Great to see Jane Yeh’s Discipline (£9.99, pb, 978 1784107079) featured in the Guardian’s Best Books of 2019 So Far, that’s here. They said “Yeh can evoke a feeling or concept with alarming exactitude, and, like the paintings of Kirsten Glass that inspire the title poem, she shows that the elegant and the macabre are never far apart.”

Quite a lot of nice publicity for The Perfect Afternoon Tea (£15, hb, 978 0754834519)  – it’s heavily featured in the latest issue of Baking Heaven and also  in The Lady. This delightful recipe book presents 200 delicious dishes to serve for afternoon tea, together with a brief history of afternoon tea traditions, a guide to specialty teas of the world and of course information on how to choose, blend and make the perfect cuppa. It is sumptuously illustrated throughout – and there really are some mouth-watering recipes! This edition is new from Lorenz.

Nice to finish with some music, so let’s have a little bit  of Jack Buchanan from 1935; Everything Stops for Tea!

That’s all folks, more next week!

This weekly blog is written for the UK book trade. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the Compass office on 020 8326 5696. Every Friday an e-newsletter containing highlights from the blog is sent out to over 700 booksellers and if you’d like to receive this then please contact

Friday, 7 June 2019

Compass Points 308

From Russia to India, Mongolia to Germany, Saudi Arabia to Turkey, and America, Canis lupus – the grey wolf – is widely distributed around the globe. Social animals, wolves hunt in packs and travel in families. They are territorial, and, as supreme predators, only humans and tigers pose a serious threat to them, although in folk memory it is we humans who fear the wolves. Endangered and protected, their numbers are now increasing as they are gradually reintroduced, or finding their own way into more locations. Wolves (£9.99, hb, 978 1782747673) is a brilliant examination of these intelligent, adaptable, playful and fierce creatures. With around two hundred outstanding colour photographs including some stunning close ups and amazing action shots; it has just been published by Amber. Zoology graduate and leading natural history writer Tom Jackson has worked on more than sixty books and was on Talk Radio Europe last week talking about it this stunning title, and an image from it was also included in the Mail online's Picture This feature.

There is no doubt that wolves exert a powerful grip on our imagination. Here are the ten best wolves in literature and here are the top ten wolves in film!

Here's a very thought-provoking article about what happens when children realise that their entire life is already up there for all to see, online. The article focusses on group of 11-year-olds who discover that their mothers have been posting photos of them (without prior approval, obviously since babies can’t give consent!)  for much of their life. A pertinent discussion, which leads us to the launch of The Mummy Bloggers by Holly Wainwright (pb, £8.99, 978 1789550535) which is published by Legend this week. The book includes a cover endorsement from YOU Magazine who called it “Hilarious, warm, witty and oh so real” and there will be a major blog tour for the books with 29 key bloggers and Instagrammers - you can see the deatils here. There was an interview with Holly in last weekend’s Mail on Sunday.

Lots of controversy surrounding the new film about Ted Bundy, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile starring Zac Efron and Lily Collins, which is out now. You can see a trailer here. With excellent timing, Ted Bundy: America’s Most Evil Serial Killer (978 1789501773, pb, £9.99) has just been published by Arcturus. Much was made in the media of whether Zac Efron was too good looking to play Bundy, but as the book explains, Ted Bundy was indeed handsome, fun and very charming and many women found him irresistible. But deep inside he was an evil monster, using his insider knowledge of law enforcement to evade detection and escaping from imprisonment twice before his eventual capture. While he confessed to thirty killings, the real figure was probably much higher and many of the bodies have never been found. Crime writer and journalist Al Cimino delves into this astonishing and tragic tale, providing a detailed account of Bundy's crimes.

We love a picturesque books table – and they don’t come much more scenic than this selection at Waterstone’s in Kendall – featuring loads of the fabulous Wild Things titles. Thanks guys!

A double spread in the Express for D-Day: The First 24 Hours by Will Fowler (hb, £19.99, 978 1782747550) and a big feature in the Mail Online which you can see here.  Beginning with an overview of the immense preparations for this historic event, it looks at the airborne and glider landings that preceded the main assault, and each of the individual beach landings, from west to east, bringing the turning point of World War II vividly to life. It’s published by Amber

A very well attended and interesting panel discussion at Waterstone’s High Street Kensington this week with Leanne Maskell author of The Model Manifesto discussing exploitation in the fashion industry. This followed a big spread in the Mirror entitled Bullies, body-Shaming and weekly Weighs-ins: Model reveals dark side of fashion which you can see here.  

Have you ever felt stuck or unmotivated about life? Are there things you want to do or dreams you want to achieve, but you don't know how to get started or how to reach your goals? In Cut the Crap and Feel Amazing (£10.99, pb, 978 1781809228) experienced hypnotherapist Ailsa Frank provides you with the knowledge and tools you need to take control of your life and ensure that it follows a more positive direction - the direction in which you want it to go. It’s published on 4th July by Hay House and was recently featured in Woman’s Way magazine, which has a circulation of 50,000.

“She weaves a deliciously dark, completely riveting story around Jane, a young woman accused of witchcraft who escapes execution in the first book. The book is a simmering cauldron of ancient lore superstitions and forbidden love.” So writes blogger @Beadyjan about Sunwise (pb, £8.99, 978 1911293255) the second novel from Helen Stedman which has just been published by Impress. There are nothing but five-star reviews for this title from readers (and the first book Widdershins (£8.99, pb, 978 1911293040) was the same) with bloggers saying that even those who didn’t usually like historical fiction were “immersed in the world of rural 17th Century northeast England. I can only put this down the beauty of Steadman’s writing and the precision of her plotting. Sunwise is by turns heartbreaking, hilarious, thrilling, spilling, and endearing. Whatever you do, dear reader, don’t miss this one. Five stars.”

“In an abandoned place, anyone with any imagination lets their mind roam over what it was like in its heyday," says author Lawrence Joffe, whose new book Abandoned Sacred Places (£19.99, hb, 978 1782747697) examines tombs, cathedrals, churches, mosques, synagogues and burial places across the world, which time has marauded and nature reclaimed. There’s a great article about it on CNN Travel here which shows that the appeal is not just that the images in his book are not just aesthetically striking; they also give an extraordinary insight into the history of the world.It's published by Amber.

And finally, as we say farewell to Theresa, here's her political legacy summed up in funny tweets on Buzzfeed; and let’s just enjoy a final watch of the hilarious Cassetteboy!

That’s all folks, more next week!

This weekly blog is written for the UK book trade. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the Compass office on 020 8326 5696. Every Friday an e-newsletter containing highlights from the blog is sent out to over 700 booksellers and if you’d like to receive this then please contact

Friday, 31 May 2019

Compass Points 307

So, so much buzz from Cannes about the new Tarantino film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood; you can see a trailer here. OMG it looks extraordinary, and stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Kurt Russell and Al Pacino! Set in the film industry during the final years of Hollywood's Golden Age in 1969 Los Angeles, it is the usual Tarantino mix of provocative, dazzling, bloody and shocking; unsurprising when you realise that much of the plot involves Sharon Tate, Roman Polanski and Charles Manson. It’s out in the UK on 14 August and there is going to be an absolute avalanche of publicity (the Guardian has already given it five stars). So this is a good opportunity for some 1969 Hollywood themed windows/tables/displays in your bookshops, and Charles Manson: The Man Who Murdered the Sixties (pb, £9.99, 978 1789501834) by Professor, David J Krajicek which is published on 15 August is absolutely perfect! Posing as a musician-come-guru-come-Christ-figure, Manson built a commune cult of hippies, consisting mainly of troubled young women. But what made this group set out on the four-week killing spree that claimed seven lives? Set against events of the time, this book includes breakdowns of each murder, including diary accounts, interviews and legal testimonies from the killers themselves, an account of the events in Manson's own words, an insight into Manson's psychology and in-depth profiles of his followers. The Tarantino film’s ending is a closely guarded secret, but it’s bizarre, brutal and bloody and the Manson story is likely to be endlessly debated over the coming months. It’s published by Arcturus.

Talking of shocking stories; here's a very interesting piece in the Guardian on shocking books. Would American Psycho be published today? Do disturbing novels reflect an extreme reality or are they just titillation? Plenty to ponder!

Thatcher: A Very British Revolution is a five-part BBC Two documentary now screening on Monday evenings. You can see the episodes so far here. Two Biteback authors have been interviewed for it; Caroline Slocock author of People Like Us: Margaret Thatcher and Me (pb, £9.99, 978 1785904608) and Bernard Ingham whose diaries The Slow Downfall of Margaret Thatcher (hb, £20, 978 1785904783) are published on 11 June. Caroline has been much in demand by the media including Women’s Hour, Channel 4 and Sky News and Newsnight since Theresa May’s resignation last week. Her contributions have been knowledgeable, insightful and refreshing from someone now outside the Westminster bubble. Bernard will be interviewed on BBC R4’s Today programme on 10 June and will feature on the BBC R4 Today podcast. He will also be interviewed in the Fame & Fortune feature in the Sunday Times, for the Sunday Telegraph and on BBC Radio 5 Live for the Emma Barnett show.

I think Dominic Raab urgently needs to get himself a copy of Bell HooksFeminism is for Everybody (£18.99, pb, 978-0745317335 ) after this dismal performance! Published by Pluto in their Passionate Politics series, this is a short, accessible introduction to feminist theory by one of its liveliest and most influential practitioners which provides both a primer to the question “what is feminism?” and an argument for the enduring importance of the movement today. The books was included in Grazia recently on their essential feminist reading list which you can see here.  

Some exciting news announced this week by Comma in collaboration with Hay Festival. A selection of women writers, artists and scientists are taking part in a new global project reimagining the future of Europe. Their short stories and essays will be shared through an anthology, Europa28: Visions for the Future which will be published in March 2020. These twenty-eight women, one from each European country, represent a multi-disciplinary snapshot of the best minds of our time, including novelist Leïla Slimani, entrepreneur Hilary Cottam, activist Janne Teller, anthropologist Gloria Wekker and actress Lisa Dwan. You can find out more here.

The twelve strong longlist for the Edge Hill University Short Story Prize, (the only UK based award to recognise excellence in a single authored short story collection) was announced this week and hurrah, two Compass titles are on it! You see the full longlist, and find out more about the prize here. The magnificent Mia Gallagher is back with Shift (£9.99, pb, 978 1848406698) a captivating new short story collection published by New Island that explores the dark side of the feminine psyche. Told in diverse voices and from multiple points of view, each story packs an emotional punch. Mia Gallagher lives in Dublin and her debut novel, HellFire, received the Irish Tatler Women of the Year Literature Award while her second novel, Beautiful Pictures of the Lost Homeland (£9.99, pb, 978 184805066) has been acclaimed as one of the most important Irish novels published in the last decade. Elsewhere, Home by Leila Aboulela (£8.99, pb, 978 1846592119) won the 2018 Saltire Fiction Society Book of the Year and was acclaimed by the Observer as “a beautiful and desolate collection ... quiet brilliance”. Its published by Telegram. The prize is awarded in October – good luck to Mia and Leila!

IVF is now mainstream medicine – an established procedure that has provided the means of realising the dream of parenthood for millions worldwide. But 40 years ago, plenty viewed the method of fertilising an egg with sperm in a laboratory with the deepest suspicion. There’s a great interview with Professor Simon Fishel in the Star here talking about his brilliant new book, Breakthrough Babies (pb, £14.99, 978-1788600736) which has just been published by Practical Inspiration. The Yorkshire Post also ran a feature on it in Monday’s issue, you can see that here.

Here's a great blog post on the fabulous Tentacle (£8.99, pb, 978 1911508342) by Rita Indiana; and you see it pictured here looking very swanky in the newly opened Margate Bookshop! It begins “Now translated into English by Achy Obejas and published by the wonderful And Other Stories, both the cover and the blurb were enticing enough to catch my eye. Well then, what about the content within the pages? It was excellent. Here’s why…”

A really interesting article here in the Scotsman entitled “Against all odds: The rebirth of Scottish publishing.” Of course, there is plenty of mention of the great publishing done by our pals at Birlinn and 404Ink and it concludes that “there seems to be a renewed buzz around books” which is a message we can all heartily agree with!

And talking of 404Ink, there will be a new edition of the flash fiction favourite The Goldblum Variations coming in October from them to coincide with the indie publisher's first international rights deal which sees Penguin publishing it in the US this autumn. The collection follows the adventures of Jeff Goldblum and alternate versions of himself as he travels the universe, in a mighty celebration of weird and wonderful Goldbluminess and it will be released with brand new content. Heather McDaid from 404 Ink said “It’s a bitesize but incredibly fun book, and we’re thrilled that Penguin will be helping bring the gift of Goldblum to many more people.” You can read more about it in the Bookseller here.

I’m really pleased to share the news that Carcanet’s In Her Feminine Sign (£12.99, pb 978 1784108533) by Dunya Mikhail has been chosen by the Poetry Book Society as their Wild Card in the Autumn 2019 Selections! This brilliant poetic exploration of language and gender, place and time, through the mirror of exile is Dunya’s fourth collection to be published in English and is out in August. Congratulations, Dunya! And well done to all the poets and publishers who made the list; you can see the full list of selections at the Poetry Book Society's website here.

Here's a very sad story from the Guardian entitled “Amazon blamed as iconic bookshops announce closure” with the news that award-winning indie Wenlock Books in Shropshire and Camden Lock Books in London are set to shut forever. I so applaud The Wigtown Bookshop’s tweet in response to this news; who said: “One day, hopefully the headline will read Iconic bookshops blamed as Amazon announces closure”.

Now We Can Talk Openly About Men by Martina Evans (pb, £9.99, 978 1784105785) has been shortlisted for yet another poetry prize – it was selected as a 2018 TLS and Irish Times Book of the Year, shortlisted for the Poetry Now Award and the Piggot Poetry Prize, and has now been shortlisted for the Roehampton Poetry Prize 2019! The prize is given for the best poetry collection of the year written by a poet of any nationality who is currently living in the UK. Now We Can Talk Openly About Men is a book of vivid contrasts: age and youth, women and men, the Irish and the English.

Congrats to Celestial Bodies, written by Jokha Alharthi, translated by Marilyn Booth from Arabic and published by Sandstone Press, which won the Man Booker International Prize. You may not be aware that three other titles from Marilyn Booth are published by Edinburgh University Press, and you can find them on their website here.

Why is it getting harder to secure a job that matches our qualifications, buy a home of our own and achieve financial stability? Underprivileged people have always faced barriers, but people from middle-income families are increasingly more likely to slide down the social scale than climb up. There’s just been a terrific review for the new Policy Press title, The End of Aspiration? Social Mobility and Our Children’s Fading Prospects (£12.99, 978 14473483200, pb) by Duncan Exley saying “exhaustive research and empathetic human narrative creates a devastating picture of how wealth and privilege all too often shape experience and opportunity. A book that should not only be read, but urgently acted upon."

Great to see an excerpt from the forthcoming Resist anthology from Comma featured in the Times Literary Supplement, Eley William's reimagining of the Rebecca Riots (1839-44) is here. Resist: Stories of Uprising (£14.99, pb, 978 1912697076) is out in July, and builds on the success of their previous anthology, Protest. From the anti-gun rallies in the US, to the demos in Palestine, people are taking to the streets around the globe and standing up to governments that have fallen out of step with the popular mood. As Britain teeters over the brink of Brexit, it has never been more important to re-engage with its own long history of popular resistance and this anthology challenges 20 acclaimed authors to get under the skin of key moments of British protest, working closely with historians, crowd scientists, and activists.

This evening sees the launch at the Writers Centre in Norwich of Vahni Capildeo's third Carcanet collection, Skin Can Hold (pb, £9.99, 978 1784107314). The collection marks an adventurous departure for a pen-and-paper poet and these texts are the fruit of collaborative experiments in theatre, dance and other performance, drawing on burlesque and mime as well as Capildeo’s fascination with Caribbean masquerade. The evening also includes the UEA MA Poetry Showcase, with readings and performances, discussion and drinks. Sounds terrific!

And finally, for some Friday fun, I found this very funny – some of the most uncomfortably suggestive moments and characters in favourite childhood films. From the Little Mermaid, to Princesses Leia and Jasmine – these are moments in U rated films that are maybe just a little too tantalizing!

That’s all folks, more next week!

This weekly blog is written for the UK book trade. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the Compass office on 020 8326 5696. Every Friday an e-newsletter containing highlights from the blog is sent out to over 700 booksellers and if you’d like to receive this then please contact

Friday, 24 May 2019

Compass Points 306

Brilliant, independent publisher of radical, left‐wing non­‐fiction Pluto are fifty! Established in 1969, they may be one of the oldest radical publishing houses in the UK, but their focus remains firmly on making timely interventions in contemporary struggles. Foyles in Charing Cross are running a superb promotion for Pluto’s 50th birthday throughout June where customers can get 50% on 50 books. What a good idea! If any other bookshop would like to do something similar, then please talk to your Compass Regional Manager or email! I’m pleased to say that they are Bertram’s publisher of the month in June too, which means extra terms for all you indies for the whole of June, another very very good reason to do a 50th anniversary window or table! You can see some of the titles in the Foyles promotion pictured here, other suggestions would be:

978 0745339580             After Grenfell
978 0745339474              To Exist is to Resist
978 0745338620             Monitored: Business and Surveillance in a Time of Big Data
978 0745338552             Rebel Footprints: A Guide to Uncovering London's Radical History
978 0745338156              The New Authoritarians: Convergence on the Right
978 0745338118              Propaganda Blitz: How the Corporate Media Distort Reality
978 0745338040             Radical History of the World
978 0745338309              Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain
978 0861043798             Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism
978 0745337470              A Party with Socialists in It: A History of the Labour Left
978 0745399034             Peoples History of the Russian Revolution
978 0745399300             Sound System: The Political Power of Music
978 0745337456              Alt-Right: From 4chan to the White House
978 0745399485             Violence of Austerity
978 0745335421              Rethinking Camelot: JFK, the Vietnam War, and U.S. Political Culture
9780745399317               On Western Terrorism: From Hiroshima to Drone Warfare
978 0745335650             Propaganda and the Public Mind: Interviews by David Barsamian
978 0745399515             Towards a Gay Communism: Elements of a Homosexual Critique

Big up to Carcanet who have a title shortlisted in each of the three categories of this year's Forward Prizes for Poetry. Helen Tookey’s second Carcanet collection City of Departures (£9.99, pb, 978 1784107598) has been shortlisted for Best Collection; Isabel Galleymore’s first collection Significant Other (£9.99, pb, 978 1784107116) for Best First Collection and Parwana Fayyaz’s poem Forty Names published in PN Review is shortlisted for Best Single Poem! You can find out all the details of these three titles on the Carcanet website here and see the full shortlist on the Forward Prize website here.  The Forward Prizes for Poetry are among the UK’s most coveted literary awards: the annual ceremony in October features readings by exceptional poets from around the world, and attracts a young, lively and diverse audience and significant media coverage. The prizes have been awarded since 1992 to more than 70 poets.

Some good publicity for Paul WoodsLondon’s Street Trees (£12.99, pb, 978 0993291135); Sky News did an interview with him yesterday on the back of a new £10m initiative from Michael Gove's to plant 130,000 urban trees. Paul now has a very useful page on his website listing all the events he’s doing – there’s lots coming up! It’s published by Safe Haven.

Coming on 16 June from Oberon, is Riot Act (978 1786826015, pb, £9.99); a powerful piece of theatre, chronicling 60 years of queer history. Attitude magazine said “this stand-out piece will become part of LGBT cultural heritage.” Playwright Alexis Gregory interviewed three men at the heart of LGBT history: Michael-Anthony Nozzi, one of the only remaining Stonewall survivors; radical 1970’s drag icon Lavinia Co-Op; and Paul Burston, a 1990s London Aids activist. Hard-hitting, provocative, tender, truthful, funny, political and personal, these are stories of queerness, activism, addiction, sex, drag, community, conflict, youth, ageing, fierce queens and a Hollywood diva. This special commemorative Stonewall 50th anniversary edition includes exclusive photographs from the original production, and there will be a nationwide tour of the piece, during June, July and August 2019. The tour includes:
June 6 – 8 Old Joint Stock Theatre. Birmingham.
June 16 Arcola Theatre.
June 23 Arcola Theatre.
June 27 Crewe Lyceum.
June 30 Arcola Theatre.
July 3 Norwich Theatre Royal.
July 10 Wardrobe Theatre. Presented by Bristol Pride.
July 25 Oldham Coliseum
July 30 Marlborough. Brighton.
August 1 Marlborough. Brighton.
August 2 Manchester tbc, 70 Oxford Street (pop up venue) for Manchester Pride and Superb Festival.
In February 2020 the LGBT History Month Tour dates will includeCurve Theatre, York Theatre Royal, Theatre By The Lake and the Bradford Playhouse

The Power of Less is a handbook of simplicity. Leo Babauta shows us how to know what you want, and what you need, how to choose what is essential, and clear out the rest. As Red magazine said, these six productivity principles, are “just the thing when you're feeling overwhelmed, his strategies for organising stuff (email, admin, life generally) are easy to follow”. Leo is writing a piece for Marie Claire which has a circulation of 100,000 for their summer issue, it will also be featured in Woman’s Own in June, Psychologies in July and there will be an extract in August’s Health and Fitness magazine.  It’s published on 6 July by Hay House.

With the Cricket World Cup about to start next week, there’s plenty of publicity for Keeper of Faith (978 1909245860, pb, £8.99). The BBC World Service in an interview with Tatenda Taibu on 17th May called it “A deep story and a significant one” and there are interviews coming with Tatenda in the Liverpool Echo on 24th May, the Guardian on 29th May, BBC Radio Merseyside, Radio City, TalkSPORT,  BBC NW Tonight and ITV Granada, TMS during June, and a piece by Mick Atherton in the Times and on Sky Sports. There will also be reviews in the Telegraph, Daily Mirror, Daily Mail and more! This revealing memoir lifts the lid on the challenges of representing Zimbabwe in the era of Robert Mugabe, and details how constant controversy and conflict ultimately restrict meaningful progress. It’s just been published by DeCoubertin.

The Bobsphere reviewed Comma’s new title, The Book of Cairo (£9.99, pb, 978 1910974254) saying: “The Book of Cairo has something for everyone and is quite a varied collection. It’s rare that you’ll laugh, cry and smile within the space of 100 pages, but this volume manages to do that perfectly.” You can see that here.  STORGY also reviewed it, saying of the collection “Each story provides a fresh and exciting glimpse into the city of Cairo ... the city lives and breathes on the pages of this book.” That’s here.  

Financial magician, flamboyant politician, minister in both world wars, press baron, serial philanderer, Winston Churchill's boon companion, Max Beaverbrook was without a doubt one of the most colourful characters of the first half of the twentieth century. Max Beaverbrook: Not Quite A Gentleman (hb, 978 1849547468, £25) by Charles Williams has just been published by Biteback and has had some terrific reviews in the Oldie, Sunday Telegraph and the Daily Mail. You can read the Telegraph five star review here.  Fascinating stuff, it ends with the memorable sentence “Clement Attlee is reported to have said that Beaverbrook was the only evil man he had met. This thorough biography leaves one in no doubt that he was an ironclad, ocean-going monster.”

There’s been lots of publicity of course for the 75th anniversary of D-Day – and here's some really brilliant coverage for Amber’s D-Day: The First 24 Hours (£19.99, hb, 978 1782747550) by Will Fowler in the Sun. Headlined as “The day that changed the world; D-Day’s first 24 hours captured in haunting new photos released in book marking 75th anniversary” it is well worth a look! This dramatic visual history explores every area of operation with first-hand accounts, timelines, and maps and brings the turning point of World War II to vivid life.

Great promotion for Yorkshire Coast Path (£14.99, pb, 978 0993291180 ) by Welcome to Yorkshire on their website which you can see here  and also on Twitter to their more than a quarter of a million followers. This definitive walking guide maps the whole route on large-scale OS maps and is packed with colour photos. It is an essential purchase for the long-distance walker and afternoon stroller alike. It’s published by Safe Haven

Who’s planning a BBQ this Bank Hols? Well, according to Buzzfeed, there are eight types of people at a BBQ, why not take this quiz  to find out which one you are!

That’s all folks, more next week!

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