Compass Points 13
Your weekly round up of publishing news, publicity information and trivia!
Love her or hate her, Edwina Currie falls comfortably into that category of celebrity you simply cannot ignore. The first volume of her diaries explosively revealed her affair with former Prime Minister John Major. This second volume, Edwina Currie Diaries: Volume II 1992–1997 which begins in 1992 with her refusal to serve in Major’s Cabinet, is no less revelatory about her colleagues, encounters with others in the public eye, and, of, course, her extraordinary career. It covers her life in Parliament up to the election of Blair’s Labour government, but more importantly sees its subject’s emergence as a mainstay in the public imagination, first as a bestselling author, then as a commentator, broadcaster, presenter and performer – most recently on the BBC’s flagship entertainment show Strictly Come Dancing perhaps you'd like to remind yourself of exactly how she looked dancing the cha cha. Ahem, not her finest hour perhaps. Anyway, this book as you would expect is getting an enormous amount of publicity. The Daily Mail will shortly be serialising it and there were interviews with her in many of this weekend’s weekend press. She has been all over the BBC national and regional radio stations , including BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 2 Jeremy Vine Show ; there’s a piece in the Guardian at the end of the month – the list goes on and on. No one but no one is a keener self publicist than Edwina Currie, (oh alright then, maybe Boris Johnson is) and as she never tires of reminding us, all of her previous books have been big bestsellers – so it’s highly likely this one will be too. As the Daily Telegraph (unsurprisingly) said “Few women can lay claim to the word “magnificent”, but Currie is now surely one of them.“
Another book getting a colossal amount of media coverage is Education, Education, Education: Reforming England’s Schools by Andrew Adonis What children should or shouldn’t be learning in schools – and how to asses them has never been a hotter topic, and the press are queuing up to talk to Andrew about his quest to transform standards and opportunities in England’s schools, and his ambition to make English education truly world class. The Daily Mail serialisation has just run and The Sunday Times will be running a major interview with Andrew Adonis this Sunday. Then there is plenty of publicity all over the BBC including the Today Programme on Radio 4. Make sure you have plenty of copies on display – it is fast becoming one of this autumn’s most talked about titles!
Last week’s question – what’s the best loved film of all time; this week’s question – who’s the best loved comedian of all time? Well a strong contender must be “the one with the glasses.” Eric Morecambe: Lost and Found is a collection of not just the very best of this British comedy great, but also a plethora of never-before-seen material. Pulled together from a variety of dusty archives and private homes across the UK, this material includes notebooks, sketches, skits, musings, interviews and rare photographs of the comic genius. Written by Eric’s son, Gary Morecambe, and film & TV historian, Paul Burton; this book gives the British public the opportunity to view a host of these hidden interview transcriptions and photos firsthand, and is a rare insight into the man behind the legend. From the many hilarious moments that Morecambe and Wise have given us, my own favourite must surely be the classic stripper/breakfast sketch. Books of reminiscences on comic heroes tend to sell very well – The Unpublished Spike Milligan sold over 26,000 copies – so this is definitely one to display all the way up to Christmas.
The Good Food Guide 2013 has just been published – a review of all the best restaurants, pubs and cafés throughout the UK. This title is consistently the nation’s bestselling restaurant guide, containing over 1,300 authoritative reviews and recommendations, foodie features and interviews with top chefs and lots of brand new eateries alongside newly reviewed perennial favourites. It’s a great price point - £17.99 – and don’t forget to remind your customers that it contains £50 worth of money-off vouchers – which makes it a real bargain!
Now – is the extraordinary UK success of Fifty Shades of Grey due to a) the rise of the Kindle and eBooks in general; b) the fact that British women are all secretly spicy saucepots; or c) the power of word of mouth – no one wants to miss out on a trend? Well according to the author EL James – it’s none of the above – it’s because we girls just can’t resist a good old fashioned love story. James gave a rare interview this week, which you can read here.
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That’s all for now folks, more next week!