Friday 4 October 2013

Compass Points 57

Your weekly round up of publishing news, publicity information and trivia!

Loads and loads of publicity coming up for Weirwolf: My Story, which is of course the autobiography of David Weir. The Daily Mail have done a big serial on it with an entirely typical Mail headline How the record-breaking Paralympian nearly gave up on his sporting dreams because he wanted to join his friends at drug – fuelled raves. You can  read the whole piece here This autobiography of one of the greatest paralympians of all time has a foreword by Sebastian Coe, and there will be a massive press campaign with author appearances to support publication - it is published next week. David Weir was born without the use of his legs, and not only learned from an early age to cope with his disability, but defied his limitations to become a great wheelchair racer and national hero. Here he sheds light on his journey from frustrated schoolboy to Paralympic athlete and champion, and reveals how instrumental the 2012 Paralympics were in transforming attitudes towards disability – not only in Britain but around the world. Weirwolf is the extraordinary inside story of the man who won a total of six gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Games, and who is six-time winner of the London Marathon. It is an inspirational tale of the fight against discrimination and the desire to change the face of sport. It’s published by Robson Press.

And why not, to celebrate its publication, let’s have a little watch of the late great Warren Zevon singing the original Werewolves of London back in 1978.

Hell yes – I’m in a bit of a mood for werewolves now (well it’s not long until Halloween after all) – so let’s watch the transformation scene from American Werewolf in London – pretty impressive stuff for 1981  – way before the wizardry of  CGI!

After a year scanning the globe for the finest international talent, the BBC National Short Story Award returns for 2013 to celebrate the best in home grown short fiction. This award is one of the most prestigious for a single short story and the winning author will be announced at a ceremony next week on Tuesday 8 October. The winner receives £15,000, the runner-up £3,000 and three further shortlisted authors £500 each. The shortlist was announced on BBC Radio 4's Front Row on 20 September and for the second time in the eight-year history of the award, the five stories on the shortlist are all written by women, a great example of how female writers are leading the field with innovative and compelling work. From 9/11 New York and meteorites falling from Mars to family holidays in Barmouth, a haunted Cornish house and the eerie quiet of an English wood, this year's list spans a breadth of contemporary landscapes, styles and themes. The shortlist features well-established writers including: Lionel Shriver, Orange Prize-winning author of We Need to Talk About KevinSarah Hall, one of Granta's Best Young British Novelists 2013 and an acclaimed short story writer; and Lavina Greenlaw, poet, novelist and Professor of Poetry at the University of East Anglia. There are also two newer names on the list: Lucy Wood, debut author of short story collection Diving Belles and Lisa Blower, winner of The Guardian's National Short Story Competition in 2009. The stories are currently receiving extensive coverage on BBC Radio Four everyday with readings in the afternoon and interviews with the authors.  You can find out more about the award on the Book Trust website here. The BBC National Short Story Award 2013 introduced by Mariella Frostrup is a £7.99 paperback from Comma Press which contains all the short-listed stories. Each story sparks into life instantly and, like a struck match, leaves a vivid impression of its characters burning on the retina, long after the story has concluded. This year’s shortlist was drawn up by a panel of judges that included novelists Deborah Moggach, Mohsin Hamid and Peter Hobbs, as well as BBC Editor of Readings, Di Speirs, and the broadcaster Mariella Frostrup, who chaired the panel and who also introduces the collection. There will be lots and lots of people who will want to read all of the stories (I’ve read some of them and they are amazing!) – so make sure you have this title on display – just to remind you the winner is announced on Tuesday, and you can order the BBC Short Story Award here

What is your favourite animal noise? Your own cat purring perhaps? A blackbird trilling on a spring morning? And what are your least favourite animal noises? Have a listen to the top most terrifying animal noises below on YouTube! Sounds of the Wild by Jan Pedersen is a unique book which will give your customers the opportunity to sample all of these – and many more! Following his success with his previous hardback Birdsong Jan Pedersen this time turns his attention to the sounds of wild animals. Because animals do make a lot of sounds! Mammals, birds, frogs, and insects they all sing or make sounds to entice, warn or find a mate. Some sound beautiful, others are noisy and a few have completely extraordinary calls but they all want to make themselves heard. In this unique book a high quality sound module gives you the varying sounds and calls of a hundred fantastic animals; from bears, wolves, and deer to tigers, chimpanzees, elephants, whales and birds of paradise. The book is unusually rich in photographs with over 250. The author and explorer Jan Pedersen has recorded many of the sounds himself, while the remainder come from scientists from around the world. The combination of images, text, and sounds makes this a very unique animal book that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Jan Pedersen is a photographer, author, writer, and adventurer. A naturalist since his teenage years, he has led tours all over the world for more than 27 years. He has written several books including the bestselling Birdsong as well as writing articles for numerous newspapers and magazines. Sounds of the Wild is a £30 hardback, 264 pages with over 250 colour photos published by Max Ström in October.

Very sadly, ever since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, there have been many more mass shootings at schools in the US. One of the most well known is probably the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, in Newtown, last December 2012. Scarlett Lewis's son Jesse is one of the 26 people who were killed that day, and Nurturing, Healing Love: A Mother’s Journey of Hope and Forgiveness by Scarlett Lewis is an incredible true story of hope, born from that brutal massacre. Scarlett writes: "Several weeks after Jesse's physical body died, I found his handwriting on our chalkboard in the kitchen. It is clearly his six-year-old printing, at just the height he could reach on the board. In carefully formed letters, and phonetically spelled, it reads, 'Norurting helin love' (Nurturing, healing love). Jesse's babysitter, who was staying with us at the time, had been with him every afternoon and evening. Neither of us, including his brother, had seen him write this prophetic statement. When you read this, you know it was written by the spirit within Jesse, one that was determined to leave a message for his mom, his brother, his extended family, and the world that would comfort and inspire us. I made a conscious decision to face this personal tragedy with love and forgiveness. The outpouring of love and support of our town, the nation and the world has shown that we can unite as one in love, and have victory in the face of evil.” This is an extremely moving story and the author Scarlett Lewis is being interviewed for You Magazine in the Mail On Sunday where the book will be serialised (circulation 4 million). There will also be a feature interview in Woman magazine (circ. 255,865) Royalties on this book go to 'Choose Love Foundation', a non-profit organisation. It is published in October by Hay House.

Compass Points like it a lot when authors or their publishers make little videos to promote their books – and here’s a very cute little film on YouTube below to promote The Allotment Diaries: A Year of Potting, Plotting and Feasting by Kay Sexton Anyone who’s ever spent their weekends, evenings and even lunchtimes at the allotment will delight in these stories of life at the Voodoo Plot and the entertaining characters that keep Kay Sexton amused throughout the year. As the plot thickens and the growers thrive or struggle to flourish, there’s an abundance of year-round horticultural advice for any kitchen gardener, with monthly- month sections on sowing and growing, crop care and allotment tasks, what to harvest and tried and tested seasonal recipes. Along with numerous helpful tip boxes, Kay’s diary takes you through a year in the life of an allotment site, from mulching to munching and everything in between. This book has a really lovely autumnal cover – so now would be a very good time to get it on display. It is published by Summersdale (9781849533553, paperback £8.99) and you can find out a bit more on their website here.

The Merman is the latest work by award-winning Swedish author Carl-Johan Vallgren; it’s published this month and already a buzz is building about this intense little tale of sibling love, betrayal and torment. Nella and her brother Robert live a difficult life with their mother and father in a small town on the west coast of Sweden. Robert is bullied at school, and Nella has to resort to debt and petty crime to pay off his tormentors. When she turns to her friend Tommy for help, her suspicions are aroused by the mysterious comings and goings of his brothers at their dilapidated boat house. But when she uncovers the reason behind their enigmatic behaviour, her life is opened to the realities of a mindboggling secret. The Merman is an exhilarating and beautiful book about what happens when the mundane collides with the strange and wonderful, but it’s no fairytale – set in an impoverished neighbourhood with gritty characters, it reads like an urban legend, and is a curious and unique piece of fiction. One reviewer has said “Vallgren’s characters are so complete, so carefully revealed, so beautifully flawed that your heart is constantly beating out of your chest and onto the page.” It is featured in The Stylist (a free magazine distributed to commuters in London, Brighton, Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham) as one of their essential reads for October, you can see the piece here and is also proving highly popular with the bloggers – here’s an especially enthusiastic rave headed “Merman – effing good” which gives you the general idea! Read it to give you an excellent flavour of the book here. It’s out this month, hardback £13.99 from Hesperus and you can order it here

Publicity is building for Twelve Years A Slave. The european premier will be at the London Film Festival on 18th October. The book is already reprinting, and the new stock will be delivered into the warehouse next week. The Daily Mail featured it this week as one of their “Must Read” titles saying “glowing reviews of the forthcoming film of this book have reawakened interest in the original source material, and justifiably so…What makes his story so gripping is its articulate evocation not just of the horrific violence and cruelty, but of the contradictions and hypocrisy of humans.” You can read the entire piece here and order more copies here.

Lots and lots of media coverage for the new James Bond book Solo from William Boyd so this is a good time to remind you abut our own Bluffer’s Guide to Bond (1909365041 paperback £6.99) which had great reviews: “Everything you wanted to know about Bond but were afraid to ask… I thought I knew quite a lot about Bond, but this little book really does approach the subject from all directions and gives the sort of briefing that will make any bluffer seem knowledgeable…a compendium of all the known facts about Bond… a lot on the background to the films, which book or short story they came from, as well as the post Fleming authors and the subsequent films…plus, of course, an enormous amount of Bond trivia… this is a fun read.” You can find out more on the Bluffer's Guide website. I love a James Bond book or film, and some of the best things about them are the baddies! Which booksellers out there can remember who said “No Mr Bond, I expect you to die” or “This time Mr Bond the pleasure is all mine”? You’ll find quite a few of them in this great Friday afternoon time-waster; The Fifty Greatest Movie Villians of all time. Enjoy!

That’s all for now folks, more next week!

This blog is read weekly by over 600 booksellers, 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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