Wednesday 16 September 2015

Compass Points 140

There has been a LOT of feature coverage over the summer for a new film Suffragette which will have its world premiere in London on 7 October, at the beginning of the London film festival, before opening nationwide in the UK on 30 October. You can watch a trailer for it here and it looks terrific! The cast stars Carey Mulligan and Meryl Streep and the film tells the story of the working-class British women who, inspired by the suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst, took their fight for enfranchisement to the male establishment in Westminster. Director Sarah Gavron was the first ever film-maker working on a commercial project to receive permission to film inside the Houses of Parliament, and the film also stars Helena Bonham Carter, Anne-Marie Duff, Ben Wishaw and Brendan Gleeson so there will be loads more publicity on it to come, I’m sure. Hesperus Nova are publishing Suffragette: My Own Story by Emmeline Pankhurst (978 1843915591, £7.99, pb) which is the original autobiography the most famous and controversial suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst: played in the film by Meryl Streep. With insight and great wit, Emmeline’s autobiography chronicles the beginnings of her interest in feminism through to her militant and controversial fight for women’s right to vote. While she received a good education, she rebelled against conventional women’s roles. At the age of fourteen a meeting of women’s rights activists sparked a lifelong passion in her to fight for women’s freedom and she would later claim that it was on that day she became a suffragist. As one after another of the proposed feminist bills were defeated in parliament, Pankhurst was inspired to turn to extreme actions. While she was the figurehead of the suffragette movement, it advocated some controversial tactics such as arson, violent protest and hunger strikes. Even today there is still debate about the effectiveness of her extreme strategies, but her work is recognised as a crucial element in achieving women's suffrage in Britain. The film is absolutely certain to stir new interest in her legacy – so make sure you have Suffragette: My Own Story on the shelves: you can order it here.

Ahh, who doesn’t love a bit of Meryl Streep! Watch here for an entertaining trawl through of her top ten film performances – maybe her interpretation of Emmeline Pankhurst is set to become another classic!

Another book that there has been a great deal of publicity for is the new James Bond title Trigger Mortis, written by Antony Horowitz. If you are a fan of James Bond (and frankly, who isn’t) , then you’ll probably enjoy this quiz in the Guardian – where you can see if you can identify original  James Bond quotes written by Ian Fleming, versus those from the newbie Horowitz!

This brings me neatly onto the next title we have for you; which is coming from Robson Press in October.  Ian Fleming: A Personal Memoir by Robert Harling (hb, £20.00 978 1849549356) is a fascinating and unprecedented insight into the mind and life of the creator of James Bond, from one of those who knew him best, which is a timely bit of publishing with the new James Bond movie, Spectre opening across the UK on 26 October – here's a trailer for it – looks pretty cracking to me!  Ian Fleming: A Personal Memoir is Robert Harling’s account of his enduring friendship with one of the twentieth century’s most iconic writers, a relationship forged in the Second World War that helped define the lives of both men. The war made the men fast friends, and Fleming would later write Harling into his Bond novels Thunderball and The Spy Who Loved Me. Despite the author’s close relationship with his subject, this book is a searching psychological investigation, and frequently critical of its protagonist. Indeed, as the narrative develops, Fleming becomes a tragic figure; his magnetism and charm often tempered by bouts of depression and failing health, and a deep-rooted misogyny, which meant that his relationships with women were destined to end in failure and recrimination. In this extraordinary memoir, which the author stipulated should not be published before his death and which features a cast of characters from General Patton to Noel Coward, Evelyn Waugh and John Betjeman, Harling brings a unique and authoritative perspective to a compelling subject. This sounds very interesting to me, and I am sure it will be very widely reviewed. An excellent present for those hard to buy for uncles and fathers I think!

There is a fascinating 1963 interview with Ian Fleming on Desert Island Discs – it’s just 10 mins, and well worth a listen, which you can do here.

U.A. Fanthorpe, who would go on to become one of England’s most popular contemporary poets, (she was awarded the CBE in 2001 and the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2003) started out in 1974 as a clerk-receptionist in a neuro-psychiatric hospital. It was a job that would define her early years, not least as “poetry struck during my first month behind the desk.” Berowne’s Book is a witty commentary on what she saw around her, and includes some of her very earliest poems. Hilarious, tender, profound and deeply humane, this series of snapshots of hospital life in the 1970s shocks partly because so much is immediately familiar today. On Saturday, the Guardian will feature one of the poems as their weekly poem. Berowne's Book (pb, 978 1910392133, £9.99) by U A Fanthorpe is published by Enitharmon Press and you can you can find out more and order it here

Biteback are clearly in a mood to spend a bit of money at the moment! Firstly they recently acquired Berlusconi: the Epic Story of the Billionaire Who Took Over Italy by Alan Friedman .The Italian media tycoon and billionaire turned Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi has co-operated with the bestselling author and award-winning journalist Alan Friedman in the telling of his life story “warts and all” ; and in a series of “candid and revealing” interviews, Berlusconi discusses “everything from the infamous bunga-bunga parties” to his “most secret moments” with world leaders including Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin. Starting from the bottom in his incredible rise to power, Berlusconi was a cruise-ship crooner as a young man, became a real estate tycoon in the '70s, started the first commercial television network in history, and turned AC Milan into a world-class soccer club. And that was all before he entered and survived the squalid swampland of Italian politics, becoming the longest-serving Italian Prime Minister in history, and generating, arguably, the most controversy of any world leader today. Biteback MD Iain Dale said: “Silvio Berlusconi is undoubtedly the most colourful character to have graced the world’s political stage in recent years. Alan Friedman has done a remarkable job at really getting Berlusconi to open up about his astonishing life. The result is a book full of candid insights and fresh revelations, and I am delighted that Biteback will be publishing it.” Berlusconi by Alan Friedman (hb, 978 1849549868 £18.99) will be published in October and you can find out more abut it here.

Biteback also announced this week that they have acquired world rights to a biography on the newly-elected Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn entitled Comrade Jeremy: A Very Unlikely Coup: How Jeremy Corbyn Stormed to the Labour Leadership by journalist Rosa Prince. Comrade Jeremy will tell the story of "the most unexpected leadership contest ever to take place in modern British politics". It will discuss Corbyn’s “cosy rural upbringing” and his “long espousal of contentious causes, including Irish republicanism and free Palestine”. The biography will also attempt to answer questions such as “how did this very British iconoclast manage to snatch the leadership of a party he spent forty years rebelling against?” and "what exactly happened over the space of an extraordinary summer to propel an old lefty called Jeremy to inspire and excite hundreds of thousands of people, and breathe new life into the socialist ideals he has, almost alone, held true to for so many years?" Prince said: “Jeremy Corbyn’s unlikely journey to the leadership of the Labour Party is one of the great adventures of modern British political history. I am so honoured to have been trusted with the task of telling his extraordinary story.” Iain Dale commented: “The 2015 Labour Leadership election has been a riveting episode, and Jeremy Corbyn’s unlikely victory will go down in political history. Love him or hate him, Corbyn is a fascinating character, and I’m delighted that Biteback will be publishing his remarkable story.” Comrade Jeremy will be published in January 2016 and will be supported by a major press campaign. There has already been a plug for it in the Telegraph – its author Rosa Prince is their Political Editor – so there will no doubt be lots more publicity here to come!

Rebecca F. John ‘s short stories Clown’s Shoes was shortlisted for the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, and the PEN International/New Voices Award and although she did not win, the fact that she was a finalist was already something of a win considering the stature of the other shortlisted writers. A series of stories from the collection will be broadcast on Radio 4 Extra for five days between 9-13 November 2015. Clown’s Shoes is a dazzling, ambitious debut collection from a new young talent and these critically acclaimed stories dip into the shadows and spotlights of life. From the pale waking hours to the darkling places, Clown’s Shoes introduces a cast of lost characters trying to find their way, and those who populate the exciting and intriguing world of this alluring paperback, really do have stories that enthrall the imagination. As I’ve said before, short story collections are becoming increasingly popular, and this is as diverse and impressive a collection as you will find. Clown’s Shoes by Rebecca F. John (pb, £8.99) 978 1910409671) is published by Parthian in October and you can find out more and order it here.

You can find out a bit more about Rebecca on her website here.

And to finish, who enjoys a bit of Kurt Cobain? If you are a fan, who will no doubt be excited to hear that the soundtrack (featuring unheard music by Cobain) of  the recent Kurt Cobain film, Montage of Heck, will be released as the same day as the DVD of the film comes out, on 6 November. You can read more about that here. The accompanying book, Kurt Cobain: A Montage of Heck by Brett Morgen and Richard Bienstock (hb, 978 1783059669, £24.95) was published by Omnibus in August. It includes full transcripts of interviews with Cobain’s family members and friends, many of whom have never spoken in public before as well as interviews with Courtney Love and Wendy O’ Connor (Kurt’s mother). The book also includes stunning animation by award-winning animator Hisko Hulsing, and never before seen photographs, journal pages and other artefacts, offering revealing new insights into the life and character of Kurt Cobain. The release of the DVD and soundtrack are sure to provoke new focus on Kurt – more than 20 years have passed since he killed himself and his legacy still continues to fascinate and inspire people. This riveting chronicle paints an illuminating and honest portrait of the complex Nirvana frontman; and you can order A Montage of Heck here.

You can watch a trailer for the Montage of Heck film here.

We are currently very much enjoying #VeryBritishProblems on Twitter and Facebook! Here are some of our favourites!
  • Being 100% certain that you'd mess up the saying your name bit on University Challenge.
  • Saying sorry to someone for no reason and receiving the reply "that's okay" instead of "sorry".
  • "That Friday feeling" - Translation: Watching telly while tired.
  • How to receive directions: 1) Look very serious 2) Repeat last two instructions 3) Say thank you and drive immediately to a dead end
  • Hanging up after three rings in case someone answers the phone.
  • Demonstrating that there's nothing on TV tonight by reading out everything that's on TV tonight.
  • Spotting someone you know in the supermarket and immediately burying yourself in a pile of onions.
  • Being sure you're about to deposit your keys, wallet and phone the moment before dropping a letter into the post box.
  • "What are you having?" - Translation: Please say you're having booze because I want booze
That’s all for now folks! More next week!

This blog is taken from a newsletter sent weekly to over 700 booksellers as well as publishers and publicists. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please click here to go to the Compass New Titles Website or talk to your Compass Sales representative.

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