There’s been some great news for our poetry publishers during this last fortnight! Firstly, let’s talk about The Forward Prizes for Poetry which are in their 25th year and are the most coveted poetry awards in the UK and Ireland. They have played a key role in bringing contemporary poetry to the attention of the wider public for quarter of a century and past Forward Prizes winners include Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes and Carol Ann Duffy. The three prizes – £15,000 for Best Collection, £5,000 for Best First Collection and £1,000 for Best Single Poem – are unique in honouring both the work of established poets and the debuts of brilliant unknowns. The 2016 prizes will be awarded at a ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall on 20 September. Measures of Expatriation by Vahni Capildeo (978 1784101688, £9.99, pb) published by Carcanet is on the Best Collection Shortlist and Disko Bay by Nancy Campbell (978 1910392188, pb, £9.99) from Enitharmon Press and Tonguit by Harry Giles (978 1910449363, £8.99, pb) published by Freight are both on The Best First Collection shortlist. Fantastic news, well done!
Here’s a great video of Carcanet author Vahni Capildeo talking about his writing on Cambridge TV (episode 37 at 4 mins 32 secs).
And Carcanet and Freight also both have titles on the Seamus Heaney Prize for Poetry for First Full Collection. Yaay! The full shortlist is Jim Carruth, Killochries, (978 1908754912, pb, 8.99) from Freight Books); John Dennison, Otherwise, (978 1847774996, pb, £9.99) and Kate Miller, The Observances, (978 1906188153, pb, £9.99) both from Carcanet; Rebecca Perry, Beauty/Beauty from Bloodaxe and Sarah Howe, Loop of Jade from Chatto & Windus. The winner will be announced during the Seamus Heaney Centre Poetry Summer School, 27 June – 1 July and will receive £5,000. In addition, they will be invited to read at Glucksman Ireland House at New York University for the annual Tom Quinlan Lecture in Poetry and is provided with travel, accommodation, and an honorarium.
Ahead of Thursday’s referendum, From Brussels With Love by Dr Radomir Tylecote and Sir William Cash, (£20, hb, 978 0956434661) which is published by Duckworth is getting lots of column inches in the national press – it’s all over the Daily Mail this week and Simon Heffer also champions it in the Sunday Telegraph. Reviewers are going bonkers for it calling it “facts sorted from the fiction”, “scholarly yet very accessible for the intelligent reader”, “essential reading for Europhiles and sceptics alike” and “offers the essential information to voters that politicians on all sides of the debate have deprived them of for far too long.” From Brussels With Love is a devastating and detailed account of how the US has coerced and pushed the UK into the EU, to suit its own interests. Radomir Tylecote, (who is a Special Advisor to No. 10) and Bill Cash MP have unerringly directed this work into the Brexit Referendum space and with its brilliantly argued case based on previously unknown facts of the matter, there’s bound to be more media coverage to come. You can read one of the pieces about it in the Daily Mail here.
There have been some great event and books display pictures this week!
Here's Urbane author Simon Wan at the launch of his novel Love and a Dozen Roast Potatoes. (978 1910692905, £8.99, pb) This book has just had a great blog review which begins “A warm, funny autobiographical novel. Hugely romantic. Larger than life and twice as naughty. Simon Wan, half Chinese, half white British is a kind of male Bridget Jones, if Bridget Jones was a skateboarding, wannabee pop star, dressed in outrageous clothes, swearing and taking drugs and drinking at raves.” You can read the whole thing here
And Dame Fiona Kidman read from her enthralling novel The Infinite Air (978 1910709085, pb, £9.99) which delves into the life of Jean Batten – the “Garbo of the Skies”. It is a fascinating exploration of early aviation, of fame, and of secrecy which has just been published by Aardvark.
Here's the marvellous Janice Galloway reading from Jellyfish (hb, £12.99, 978 1908754950) published by Freight at Scottish LitFest.
Waterstone’s Edinburgh has chosen How to Teach (978 1845903930, £16.99, hb) which has just been published by Crown as one of its staff picks, describing it as an “essential manual” – thanks for that shout-out for this controversial, readable, and thoroughly irreverent paperback. This book gets unanimous 5 star reviews on Amazon – so do make sure you are stocking it – it’s by charismatic and, so some would say, inimitable ex-teacher Phil Beadle who has spent half a lifetime working with inner city kids.
And there’s a terrific promo of for 30 Day MBA: Your Fast Track Guide to Business Success by Colin Barrow (£14.99, pb, 978-0749475000) from Kogan Page in the WH Smith airport shops at the moment.
60 Degrees North by Malachy Tallack (978 1846973420) is Book of the Month in Stamford’s Convent Garden, and Hunger Pains: Life Inside Food Bank Britain by Kayleigh Garthwaite (£14.99, pb 978 1447329114) published by Policy Press is looking good in Waterstone’s Glasgow.
Cheers also to Blackwell’s Edinburgh for some cracking displays of the bestselling Provocations series from Biteback and there are also some super Provocations displays in Blackwell’s Oxford!
And talking of tremendous bookshops, as Independent Bookshop Week kicks off in the UK (good luck with that everyone) there’s a great celebration of many remarkable indie bookshops all around the world in the Guardian – with bookshops nominated and photographed by their readers. Have a look here at some of those wonderful and weird global booksellers – and you can add your own fabulous bookshop to the list too!
Take this quiz here on Buzz Feed to find out if you prefer e-books or REAL books – as if you didn’t already know!
We had a bit of a footie book round up last week – but we didn’t include The Great Crowd Roars: A Selection of the Best Welsh Football Writing edited by Gareth Williams (978 1908069658, £7.99, pb) and I think Wales will now really need all the support they can get, so please do order it! Whether you're a lifelong 'Jack' or a recent convert to the game, this collection of essays is an introduction to the fascinating history of Welsh football. It remains to be seen if the Welsh team are up to standard on the field, but on the page they are pure class. This anthology brings together heroes, favourite grounds and historic moments from Welsh soccer as Cardiff's Dannie Abse lines up alongside the Rhondda's Ron Berry, John Toshack pens a poem on the immortal John Charles, and the great Trevor Ford writes about himself. The Great Crowd Roars is published by Parthian and is available now.
I LOVE this - 33 Ways to Have a More Bookish Summer; read how here!
The Sunday Times Style magazine are running a national exclusive on Love Your Lady Landscape: Trust Your Gut, Care for 'Down There' and Reclaim Your Fierce and Feminine SHE Power by Lisa Lister (pb, £10.99 978 1781807361) on 10th July. They are doing a trends piece on the womb and Lisa will be the main interviewee and focus of the piece. Style have a print circulation of 800,000 and this absolutely the target audience for the book so this is great news. The book will also feature in Soul & Spirit, the Metro, the Sun, the June issue of The Best You, Woman’s Way in July and in the 28th June issue of Woman’s Own. In Love Your Lady Landscape, Lisa Lister takes us on a revelatory journey through the terrain of what it is to be a woman. She believes there was a time, roughly 5000 years ago, when SHE Power reigned and lady landscapes were revered. A time when the space between a woman's thighs was considered a power portal. But for the last 2000 years, the potent powers of our wombs have been disregarded and in modern times, this disconnect is causing an epidemic of stress, infertility and 'down there' pain and disease. Packed with tools and practices to reconnect women to their feminine wisdom, this book shows women how to move towards a fiercely loving and healing relationship with their bodies, and teach them how to use its cycles and signs to create a life of vitality and fulfilment. Love Your Lady Landscape by Lisa Lister is published by Hay House and is published on 5 July.
If you’d like to see a bit more of this author, who has been described as “the defender of female awesomeness” and a “menstrual maven” then you can watch an interview with Lisa Lister on YouTube here.
More prize news – this time it’s the Polari First Book Prize which is for writers whose first book explores the LGBT experience. The longlist of twelve books, the majority published by independent presses, includes Jebel Marra, (pb, £9.99, 978-1905583546) a powerful collection of short stories exploring the ongoing war in Darfur by Michelle Green which is published by Comma Press, so very well done to them. This collection of short stories explores some of the complexities of this awful crisis, and draws upon some of Green's own experiences working for a humanitarian aid agency. Though the stories are fictional, they are all rooted in a particular time and place, and informed by the day-to-day realities of life in a time of chaos and horror. They are stories of local traders, aid workers, soldiers, politicians, parents and children. The other titles on the list are Blood Relatives by Steven Alcock (Fourth Estate) Dead Man’s Hand by Mark Lock (Accent), Slap by Alexis Gregory (Team Angelica), Arc by David Clarke, (Nine Arches Press), Sugar and Snails by Anne Goodwin (Inspired Quill), The Manservant by Michael Harwood (Kensington), Trans by Juliet Jacques (Verso) Different For Girls by Jacquie Lawrence, (Zitebooks), Physical by Andrew McMillan (Cape Poetry), The Good Son by Paul McVeigh (Salt) and Kiss & Make Up by Carl Stanley (Ignite). Paul Burston, the chair of the judges, said: “Overall, the quality of submissions this year was exceptionally high. The judges were impressed by the diversity of voices and the wide range of work submitted. This is probably the strongest long list we’ve ever had. Deciding on the short list will be extremely difficult.” The winner will be revealed at the London Literature Festival on 7th October at the Southbank Centre.
And if you too are trying to write your first book – but just can’t seem to get started – then have a read here of the best fifteen ways to defeat the dreaded writers block.
Shooting parties in great country houses, turbulent scenes in parliament and the luxury life in Budapest provide the backdrop for a gripping, prescient trilogy which is a classic of Hungarian literature. This chilling indictment of upper-class frivolity and political folly in which good manners cloak indifference and brutality, mirrors the decline of the Austro-Hungarian empire itself. The Writing on the Wall trilogy by Miklós Bánffy was praised by the Telegraph: “This epic Hungarian novel, absorbing both for its exploration of human nature and its study of the decline of the Austro-Hungarian Empire … weaves social and political themes into Bánffy’s powerful tale” and these three Hungarian classics (which won the 2002 Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize) are re-issued by Arcadia this autumn – Waterstone’s Head Office have already said how pleased they are to see these novels in paperback at last. Patrick Leigh Fermor called Miklós Bánffy “a born storyteller” and the New Statesman declared this trilogy “a masterpiece”. The TLS said “A genuine case of a rediscovered classic. The force of Bánffy’s enthusiasm produced an effect rather like that of the best Trollope novels ‒ but coming from a past world that now seems excitingly exotic”. They Were Counted (pb, £9.99, 978 1910050903), They Were Divided (pb, £9.99 978 1910050927) and They Were Found Wanting (pb, £9.99, 978 1910050910) are all published on 15 September and you can find out more about them here.
There’s been UK-wide coverage for the fabulous Young Soul Rebels: A Personal History of Northern Soul by Stuart Cosgrove (pb, £14.99, 978 1846973338) with exposure in the Manchester Evening News, the Wigan Evening Times, the Herald, an interview on BBC Radio Leeds, and on BBC Radio 6 (that one’s coming up tomorrow on 18 June), and a terrific interview in the Daily Record which you can read here. There is a London tour for Stuart finalised for last week of June, continued event interest from stores and festivals as well as the Daily Mail and the Jonathan Ross show – we’ll keep you posted! Online, there is a big LoveReading promotion which is running now – it’s their Book of the Month for June. “Every song, person, place and event is richly and significantly described … passionately and emotionally written with a depth of information that is expertly woven into the story, which informs but never gets in the way of the drive of its narrative. You can't but help to want to play Northern Soul music whilst reading Stuart's excellent book… this book really shines a light on a time, people and music that most people know little of.” Find out more about Young Soul Rebels which is published by Birlinn here.
And what could be better than some of that great music to finish with!
Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. And in a week when it’s been all about #BravetheRain we are definitely loving the VeryBritishProblems@SoVeryBritish truths about our lousy summer weather…
· Spending the entire summer saying "it's meant to be nice next week"
· Today's weather: Hot grey
· Burning 50,000 calories in the night transferring legs in and out of the duvet
· Looking forward to being woken at 4am by the sound of a bird screaming at your window
· Having to pretend to like hot weather
· Being unable to help replying to "lovely out there" with "not going to last apparently"
· Helpful conversation: "Hay fever?" "Yeah" "Have you got tablets?" "I've taken two already" "Oh dear"
· 1am: Too hot 2am: Start to drift off 3am: BIRDS!!! 4am: The sun: "me again!" 5am: Pollen attack 6am: Alarm.
That’s all for now folks! More next week!
This blog is taken from a newsletter which is sent weekly to over 700 booksellers as well as publishers and publicists. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then click here or talk to your Compass Sales representative.