Monday 6 February 2017

Compass Points 200

What better way to celebrate our 200th issue than being shortlisted for an award! We’re very excited to tell you that that Compass are one of three to be shortlisted for Services to Independent Publishers in the 2017 IPG’s Independent Publishing Awards; along with Bibliocloud and Martin Palmer. Warmest congratulations as well to Carcanet who are shortlisted in the Alison Morrison Diversity Award category and Jessica Kingsley who are up that award too and also for Academic & Professional Publisher of the Year and the Digital Marketing Award. The IPG received a record number of entries for the 2017 Awards, and have commented that the scope and quality of the shortlists reflects the vibrancy, diversity and ambition of the independent publishing sector at the moment – yaay! The winners of the Awards will be revealed at a Gala Dinner this Thursday 9 February. IPG chief executive Bridget Shine says: “Competition for this year’s IPG Independent Publishing Awards was extraordinary - our judges had an exceptionally tough job to do. These shortlists provide the best possible evidence of the richness of UK independent publishing, and every company and individual on them should feel very proud of their achievements.” You can see all the shortlists here  – fingers crossed for Thursday!
It is said that home is where the heart is, but when war rips a young man from everything he knows and loves, will he be able to find his way back to what truly matters? The Single Soldier (pb, £8.99, 978 1911331209) is a warm and emotive debut from actor George Costigan – best known for his work in Rita, Sue and Bob Too and Happy Valley. Set in rural France, following the devastation, physical and emotional, of WW II; history, secrets and painful truths collide in what renowned playwright Willy Russell has called “a magnificent, big beast of a book.” There is extensive regional and national coverage planned for this title which is published on in March by Urbane; with interviews with George already booked for Radio 5 Live and BBC Breakfast.

The BAFTA- winning C4 series, Chewing Gum has just started its second series – which you can find out about and watch here.  Even if you are already a fan, you may not have known that it started life as a play at the National Theatre. Like the TV show, it was written by and starred the amazingly talented Michaela Coel. Friendship, sex, UK garage, school, music, teachers, the 67 bus, periods, emergency contraceptives, raves, tampons, white boys, God, money: it’s all here. Chewing Gum Dreams (pb, £9.99, 978 1783190140) is a one-woman monologue that recalls those last days of innocence before adulthood and is published by Oberon.  This is well worth stocking; the TV series has a big fan base; and all those readers who love confessional memoirs by the likes of Caitlin Moran and Bryony Gordon will thoroughly enjoy this. “Loved it. This was the original inspiration behind the E4 series Chewing Gum, and the monologue here is in turns funny, moving and thought provoking. The characters really come to life and are vivid, and the whole piece is written in a unique voice. Wonderful!”

To give you a taster of the Chewing Gum style – here’s a five minute clip of the funniest moments from series one.

Quite a bit of publicity around for The Good Skin Solution: Natural Healing for Eczema, Psoriasis, Rosacea and Acne by Shann Nix Jones which has just been published by Hay House. (pb, £10.99, 978 1781808203) It’s been serialised in the Daily Mail and will be featured in February’s Om Yoga magazine, Kindred Spirit, What Doctors Don’t Tell You Magazine, Woman’s Way and Healthy magazine. Eczema is the most common skin disorder in the industrialized world, followed closely by psoriasis, rosacea and acne. However, conventional medicine still offers no permanent solution to these conditions. In this book, natural health author Shann Nix Jones tells the incredible story of how she discovered a chemical-free method to help, via her staggering discovery that eczema is not actually a skin condition; it's an autoimmune disorder. Your skin is simply a map of your gut; in order to heal the skin, you must first heal the gut. This book could be the lifeline that that all of those suffering from an on-going skin condition have been waiting for.
JK Rowling continues to be the author who is the queen of some serious Twitter sass – have a look here to see here latest words of wisdom! Go Jo!

An excellent review in the Observer last weekend for Dirt: the hotly anticipated new collection by an energetic young Scottish poet Billy Letford. “Letford belongs in the grand – and humble – tradition of Robert Burns. He has heart, a feeling for ordinary working people and enough Scottish spark to start a fire.” You can read the whole piece here.   William Letford, a roofer from Stirling, enjoyed a sensational debut with Bevel in 2012 and has been dubbed “the future of Scottish poetry”. Dirt was composed during six months’ travel in India and links Scottish and Indian themes It is published by Carcanet. As the Observer said, “Dirt will please even non-poetry readers. It is accessible and made me smile, laugh and cry – Letford wears his heart on his ragged sleeve.”

Have a look here to see a short 90 second clip of Billy reading his poem The Bevvy in Waterstone’s Deansgate.

There could hardly be a better time to be a journalist than now – the news stories are so extraordinary they almost seem to write themselves. However, in the days before mobile phones, the internet and 24-hour news channels, the easiest way for a British foreign correspondent to find out what was going on in the world was to phone the local office of Reuters news agency and ask: “is anything happening?” That's how the award-winning BBC reporter and presenter Robin Lustig started out in journalism, working for Reuters as an agency man. During a distinguished career spanning more than forty years, he watched the world of news change beyond recognition, as he reported on terror attacks, wars and political coups. In his witty and illuminating memoir, Is Anything Happening? My Life as a Newsman (hb, £20.00, 978 1785901034) Lustig looks back on his life, from coming under fire in Pakistan to reporting on the fall of the Berlin Wall; from meeting Nelson Mandela to covering Princess Diana's sudden death. Back in the studio, Lustig lets us in through the BBC's back door for a candid, behind-the-scenes look at some of his triumphs and disasters working for the nation's favourite broadcaster. Astute, incisive and frequently hilarious, Is Anything Happening? is both an irresistible personal memoir and an insightful reflection on world events over the past forty-five years. It’s just been published by Biteback and there have been some excellent reviews, Channel 4 News said “this memoir is an engaging mix of anecdote, reportage, reflection and the odd bit of gossip - as good a late-night companion as his voice on Radio 4's The World Tonight" while Radio 4 said "This is a wonderfully evocative and sympathetic memoir. Robin Lustig tells his stories with a range of brilliant and often witty anecdotes, sharp observation and an unstinting generosity of spirit. He has been everywhere and seen much - but there is no cynicism. The humanity of the man shines through."
We all love Book Clubs right – more people talking about, reading and buying novels can always only be A GOOD THING. But what do you think about the news that Kim Kardashian is starting her own book club?! WTF! Well, it’s on Buzzfeed and Twitter, so it must be true – have a look here for the deets!

The Food and Cooking of Pakistan by Shehzad Husain (hb, £14.00, 978 0754832393) with over 450 colour photographs by Jon Whitaker continues to get some great publicity – there have been big features in The Times Weekend and Waitrose magazine with more to come. This collection of more than 85 recipes is the tenth books by Shehzad who has appeared on many TV cooking shows, advised a leading food retailer on their Indian foods, and has won numerous awards including Asian Woman of Achievement. Beautifully illustrated and evoking both the food and the country; the chapters include snacks and street food, fish, chicken, meat, rice and daals, desserts and drinks. It’s published by Lorenz.

Echoland by Joe Joyce (£10.99, pb, 978 848406124) is a gripping spy thriller set in Dublin during World War II and has been chosen as the UNESCO City Book 2017 for Dublin. It is set in June 1940 when France is teetering on the brink of collapse, British troops are desperately fleeing Dunkirk, Germany appears to be unstoppable and Hitler’s next target is Britain . . . and Ireland. In neutral Ireland (where WW II is referred to as The Emergency) opinions are divided. Some sympathise with Germany, others favour Britain, most want to stay out of the war altogether. Young lieutenant Paul Duggan is drafted into the army’s intelligence division, and gets assigned to the German desk. He’s given a suspected German spy to investigate, one who doesn’t appear to do much, other than write ambiguous letters to a German intelligence post box in Copenhagen. Before Duggan can probe further, however, his politician uncle charges him with finding his daughter, who’s gone missing, possibly kidnapped. These lines of inquiry take Duggan into the double-dealing worlds of spies and politics, and the truth will challenge everything he has grown up believing. This is an addictive thriller that will keep you glued to the page, right through to its heart-pounding finale. It has a great evocative cover and is published next month by New Island. The Irish Independent called Echoland “an entertaining and atmospheric historical thriller … brilliantly portrays the divided atmosphere at the time, full of edgy uncertainty.”
Huge congratulations to Arcadia whose title Interstate: Hitchhiking Through the State of a Nation (pb, £8.99, 978 1910050934) by Julian Sayarer was named the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year this week. Julian donated half of his £5,000 prize money to the ACLU, a non-profit, nonpartisan, legal and advocacy organization devoted to protecting the basic civil liberties of Americans. So far there have been articles in the Telegraph (which you can read here ) and there’s lots more publicity to come including an interview for the  Saturday Times, a possible appearance on the Peston on Sunday show and an appearance on BBC London's Robert Elms show next week. Interstate follows a hitchhiker from New York to San Francisco, while encountering drifters, dropouts and roadside communities revealing a troubled and divided America – it really could not be more pertinent at the moment and I think it will do extremely well, so do make sure you have it on display. This is a great travel book, published at just the right moment!
Sticking with an American theme, this week sees the publication of Black Wave by Michelle Tea (£10.00, pb, 978 1908276902) from And Other Stories. Desperate to quell her addiction to drugs, disastrous romance, and nineties San Francisco, Michelle heads south for LA. But soon it's officially announced that the world will end in one year, and life in the sprawling metropolis becomes increasingly weird. While living in an abandoned bookstore, dating Matt Dillon, and keeping an eye on the encroaching apocalypse, Michelle begins a new novel, a sprawling and meta-textual exploration to complement her promises of maturity and responsibility. But as she struggles to make queer love and art without succumbing to self-destructive vice, the boundaries between storytelling and everyday living begin to blur, and Michelle wonders how much she'll have to compromise her artistic process if she's going to properly ride out doomsday. There are confirmed reviews for Black Wave coming in the Guardian, the Financial Times and the Irish Times as well as features in the Guardian where it will be included in a Top Ten Books About the Apocalypse and a Q&A with Michelle in Big Issue in the North. Michelle Tea will be doing a tour of UK and France in early March to promote Black Wave – including London, Brighton, Norwich and Paris. Reviewers so far have been ecstatic: “I worship at the altar of this book. A keen portrait of a subculture, an instant classic in life-writing, a go-for-broke exemplar of queer feminist imagination, a contribution to crucial, ongoing conversations about whose lives matter, Black Wave is a rollicking triumph.” Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts
Top Ten Books about the Apocalypse is a great idea for a feature – and so here to finish are the Top Ten Movie Apocalypses (is that the right plural – it almost feels as if it should be apocali?) Enjoy!

That’s all for now folks! More next week!
This newsletter 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 please talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the office on 020 8326 5696.

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