Friday 27 April 2018

Compass Points 258

“I remember thinking that all of life was there … the chaotic, beautiful, hair-raising mess of life. And it was being enacted by people who lived in dying pit villages, who grafted in a factory making military shells. I wanted to do something like that with this book.” So writes Glen James Brown about his novel which revolves around the changes that come to a lost industrial North East England. Stranded on the outskirts of the council estate nicknamed Ironopolis, three generations know many stories and keep many secrets. Ironopolis (£8.99, pb, 978 1912109142) which is published by Parthian on 1 June is a stunning debut with the potential to win prizes and get broadsheet reviews. "Bold, polyphonic, daringly structured yet beautifully paced, Ironopolis is an ambitious and exciting achievement. Few British writers attempt, as Glen James Brown does here, to reckon with the national tragedy that is Britain’s abandonment of social housing; even fewer do so with such confidence. Brown moves with ease not only between voices, but between emotional registers. In doing so, he constructs a novel of both intimacy and reach; one that, even as it risks asking the big questions, never loses touch with the individual voices and lives. This is an abundant, striking novel, marking the arrival of an equally abundant, equally striking talent." wrote author Sam Byers. This outstanding novel should have a strong resonance with lovers of regional, working class, literary fiction and if any bookseller would like a proof copy to read, then please email Eddie Matthews

The Saturday section of last weekend’s Telegraph had a MASSIVE piece (front cover and two more pages) by Jack Thurston featuring his new title Lost Lanes West 36 Glorious Bike Rides in Devon, Cornwall, Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire (978 1910636138, pb, £16.99). Its predecessor Lost Lanes (978 0957157316, pb, £14.99) featuring bike rides in London and the South East has been a massive bestseller, and this new title with the same enticing mix of stunning photography, downloadable GPX, and handmade maps should do just as well. It’s just been published by Wild Things. In it, Jack takes you on a freewheeling tour of the lost lanes and forgotten byways of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire and shows readers how to enjoy the best traffic free rural rides from the seashore into the heart of the west country. Escape to ancient trackways, chalk downs, prehistoric remains, river swims and picnics in sun-dappled woodlands. Climb to the windswept heights of Dartmoor and Exmoor and descend beneath the towering crags of Cheddar Gorge – you can read the Telegraph piece which is entitled 15 cycling adventures with a great pub included here.

Pretty sensational news yesterday that WhatsApp plans to ban the under-16s. As Charles Arthur explores in the Guardian here; the real talking point is how on earth they think they are going to enforce this policy. Charles is an expert on all things techy, and the author of the forthcoming Cyber Wars – which is fully credited in the Guardian article. Cyber Wars: Hacks that Shocked the Business World (£14.99, pb, 978 0749482008) explores the dramatic inside stories of some of the world's biggest cyber-attacks; the real game changers that make organizations around the world tremble and leaders stop and consider just how safe they really are. This book provides a gripping account of why each hack happened, what techniques were used, what the consequences were and how they could have been prevented. This book has loads of great disaster computer stories in – from TK Maxx to Sony, to political campaigns to Talk Talk and is timely, well-written, informed, and entertaining. Reading it will place you amongst those who really know where we are heading with cyber security and is essential for everyone who uses technology: which these days is basically everyone! It’s published on 3 May by Kogan Page

It's now officially St George's mushroom season! People tend to think of mushrooms as being an autumn thing, but now is the time to make the most of these beautiful short-seasoned mushroom nuggets of spring! I love the looks of this fantastic spring risotto recipe using St George’s mushrooms together with morels; from Mushroom Man Michael Hyams and food writer Liz O’Keefe’s fabulous Mushroom Cookbook (978 0754832867, hb, £15) which was recently featured in Delicious Magazine as you can see here. It won Best Mushroom Cookbook in the World Gourmand Cookbook Awards and it’s published by Lorenz.

World Book Day (snowy or otherwise) was a while ago now – but how fab are these  pictures of some of the best costumes – such as these Atwood inspired teachers!

People are going properly bonkers for Tubing (£8.99, pb, 978 1910453568) – a highly original thriller with a fantastic hook which is out from Red Door on 10 May. Fay Weldon called it “a modern-day Looking for Mr Goodbar” and Matt Thorne said it was “sharp, smart and deeply erotic, this intelligent thriller offers surprises all the way to the end of the line. Essential, compulsive reading” Others have praised the “plenty of shocks to be had along the journey. I tore through the final pages with my breath held. I will never be able to travel the tube again without thinking about this novel.” Tubing is a cracking read with an intriguing premise: “as the twists racked up I found it impossible to put down” said Elizabeth Hayne. Red Door are doing a LOT of publicity for this one – including some online advertising – and it looks very good! You can find out more about its breathtaking premise and plot on their website here.  

Most of us think of daring commando raids as being a staple of World War 2, but the First World War also had a notable forerunner to these, the centenary of which was last week. The Zeebrugge Raid was part of a two-pronged attack on German U-boat access to the sea via Belgium – an operation involving the Royal Navy and Royal Marines. Author Christopher Sandford tells the incredible and gripping story in his new book Zeebrugge: The Greatest Raid of All (hb, £19.99, 978 1612005041) which has just been published by Casemate. The dramatic story of the 1918 Zeebrugge raid and the men who volunteered in their hundreds for this suicidally dangerous mission, is based on first-hand accounts, and you can read a fascinating article about it on the Forces Network website here. The editor said it was one of their most read articles, and there was also a super piece on War History Online here. Both pieces went up on Facebook where they got a lot of likes – there is a lot of interest in this cracking story, which Churchill called the “most intrepid and heroic single armed adventure of the Great War.”

Waterstone’s boss James Daunt has shared his hopes that the chain will continue to open fresh stores under its new ownership, following the chain's sale to Elliott Advisors yesterday He told the BBC the retailer’s new parent should mean the 283-store chain will grow a lot faster. Despite Elliott’s reputation as an aggressive investor, it has not acquired Waterstone’s to force through change, Daunt said. He expected instead Elliott will “see us grow and ultimately sell us for a nice profit - that's what private equity people do". You can read about this in the Telegraph the Guardian and the BBC.

Readers are really enjoying She’s Fallen by Alex Clare (£8.99, pb, 978 1911293125) which has just been published by Impress Books. This is the second book to feature gender transitioning DI Robyn Bailley and as much as readers have loved the unfolding of the crimes and subsequent investigations what they’ve found equally compelling is “the way in which Alex has taken such a big issue and rendered it meaningfully visible by exploring its smallest and otherwise generally invisible (to outsiders) implications. Given the shocking and totally unexpected ending, I’ve no idea what will come next for DI Bailley, but I can’t wait to find out.” “Robyn is a beautifully developed character, realistic and representative of the experiences many trans women go through yet with plenty of individuality.”

Some of the world’s most iconic bookshops have become tourist destinations – I enjoyed this piece in the Metro entitled Confessions of A Book Tourist with a nice shout-out for the fabulous Bookworms of Cromer!

Bone Deep (pb, £8.99, 978 1846974182) was a Bookseller highlight last week for July – this title is perfect for summer reading promotions. Sandra Ireland was shortlisted for the Saltire First Book of the Year for her debut Beneath the Skin last year of which the Daily Mail said “Ireland writes about powerful and troubling subjects and shows how the past can have devastating consequences”. The rights for Bone Deep (which is published in July by Polygon) have been bought in hotly contested auctions in the USA (Simon & Schuster) Germany (Penguin) and India so there’s no doubt that this writer is one to watch out for! Bone Deep is a contemporary novel of sibling rivalry, love, betrayal and murder which will appeal to fans of Louise Welsh, Helen Fitzgerald, and Evie Wyld. The cover got loads of positive comments at the London Book Fair – so I hope all you booksellers who didn’t see it like it too! If anyone would like a proof to read of this spellbinding psychological thriller then please email

Another great plug in last week’s Guardian for London's Street Trees: A Field Guide to the Urban Forest (pb, £12.99, 978-0993291135 ) by Paul Wood which you can read here. This caused a real surge in its Amazon ratings and the Safe Haven website also had lots of extra hits. Publicity like this really does make people want to buy the book – and this isn’t just a London thing – there is a lot of love for urban trees all over the UK! I absolutely LOVE Paul’s blog there are some gorgeous pictures of trees on it as well as interesting articles like Engaging people with trees through technology.  Paul did a guided street tree walk from Daunts at Hampstead Heath yesterday, and then in early May there’s another one coming up starting at the Broadway Bookshop in Hackney.

Lots of press coverage for Life and Soul: How to Live a Long and Healthy Life (hb, £18.99, 978 781809778) by William Roache which is published on 19 June by Hay House. William Roache is well-known worldwide of course for his portrayal of Ken Barlow in Coronation Street and now aged 86, he still appears regularly in the show. In Life and Soul, William shares his strategy for keeping fit and healthy, for maintaining his youthful looks and for coping with life's most challenging times. He speaks openly and honestly about how his lifestyle gave him the strength to live through recent events, including the deaths of his wife Sara, and close friend Anne Kirkbride, as well as a harrowing court case. William will be on Loose Women on Friday 15th June, BBC Breakfast and then Granada TV News on 20th June and RTE TV on 22nd June. He’ll also be on the Steve Wright show on BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 5, BBC Radio Manchester (20th June) and Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show (22nd June) – so basically all over the airwaves – you won’t be able to miss him! There’s an extract and interview in the Daily Mirror (10th/11th June), the Daily Mail (12 June), the Sunday Express, the Sunday Mirror and the Daily Mail as well as interviews in OK!, the Radio Times and others. He will be doing events at the Waterstones Arndale Centre on 20th June, Waterstones Trafford Centre on 21st June, and a book signing in Dublin on either Fri 22nd June or Sat 23rd June. William Roache MBE is one of Britain's most beloved actors and this personal philosophy for living a rich and rewarding life should have a big market.

He's the longest running member of the show so let’s have a look at William Roache’s very first appearance on Corrie back in 1960 here!

The question of who exactly is entitled to live where in the world is back in the news big time this week, and there was a great piece on Refugee Tales on the Public Books website which you can read here. It says: “Through its engagement with Chaucer’s 14th-century Middle English frame narrative, Refugee Tales takes us back to a crucible of English culture in order to construct a new one in which the recognition of humanity across borders is paramount: where the social and political response to immigration involves believing in, respecting, and upholding the dignity of people whose life experiences lead them to faraway new places.” Refugee Tales (978 1910974230) and Refugee Tales Two (978 1910974308) are both £9.99 paperbacks and published by Comma.

This is great – a hundred book memes – that promise to “keep you laughing for days!”

Congratulations to Yuri Herrera who has been shortlisted for the Dublin Literary Award for his magnificent noirish tragedy The Transmigration of Bodies (978 1908276728, pb, £8.99) which is published by And Other Stories. The winner will be announced on 13 June, and you can find out more and see the full shortlist on their website here.

Biteback’s The New Serfdom by Angela Eagle MP and Imran Ahmed, was published this week and asks if the UK is one of the wealthiest, most successful nations in the world then why do so many people feel short-changed? This became the focus of a much commented on piece in The Spectator and the authors have also written about their book in the Huffington Post and Labour List. It has been featured in Politico, City AM and Guido Fawkes, with further pieces expected in Progress magazine, the Independent, Fabian Review, Order Order, The House, PoliticsHome and others. At a time of huge political upheaval and ever-increasing inequality, The New Serfdom (pb, £12.99, 978 1785903137) asks how can we build a successful economy, powered by a happy and productive workforce that benefits everyone? And if Angela and Imran can really answer that question, then I think Putin, Trump and May had better hand them the reins pronto!

That’s all for now folks! More next week!

This weekly blog is written for the UK book trade. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the Compass office on 020 8326 5696. Every Friday an e-newsletter containing highlights from the blog is sent out to over 700 booksellers – and if you’d like to receive this then please contact

Friday 20 April 2018

Compass Points 257

How fab to hear Crown House authors, Bradley Busch and Edward Watson discussing revision strategies and tips from their book Release Your Inner Drive: Everything You Need to Know About How to Get Good at Stuff (978 1785831997, £9.99, pb) on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show this week on BBC Radio 2 – this is AMAZING publicity for this book – and you can listen to it again here. This no-nonsense, visual guide condenses wisdom from the fields of psychology and neuroscience into infographics and clear explanations of everything you need to know to give you or your child the best possible chance of success. It shows you how to take control, concentrate better, find your motivation, fail better, make revision stick, perform under pressure, ace those exams, put down that phone when you re meant to be revising, get over FOMO, stop procrastinating, get a good night’s sleep, take care of yourself and your mental health, learn from sporting champions and grow your mindset to get ahead. Phew, is that all?! Chris Evans really gave these authors a huge big up on his show, and Paralympic medallist Jordanne Whiley, MBE said “I worked with Bradley during the most stressful time of my life, competing in a Paralympic Games. By using a lot of the techniques in this book I have become a more successful person, not only in my career but also outside of it. I have changed the way I view failure and this is what has helped me the most. The techniques are simple but they have had a massive impact, it’s almost hard to believe. This book teaches us how to get big rewards from simply changing the way we view and handle what life throws at us. For anyone looking to better themselves in some way, no matter how big or small, this is the book for you.”

A really wonderful piece in the New Statesman on Enitharmon which you can read here entitled: The poets’ home: how one small, heroic publisher shaped modern poetry. It celebrates the publication of The Heart's Granary: Poetry and Prose from 50 Years of Enitharmon Press (£30, hb, 978 1911253280) “Beautifully produced, with poetry and prose bursting the seams of its 380-odd pages, it’s an anthology designed not to prove a theory or establish a canon, but to celebrate the work of one of our most remarkable small publishers. Enitharmon is well-known for its wide-ranging poetry list, but there’s plenty of prose here too. I particularly enjoyed this section of The Heart’s Granary, a tight-focused, characterful set of extracts from, among others, Sebastian Barry, Edward Thomas and Edmund White. There’s also extraordinary artwork. Peter Blake, Gilbert & George, David Hockney, RB Kitaj and Paula Rego have all worked with Enitharmon’s editor Stephen Stuart-Smith and are represented in here alongside recouped treasures from David Jones and Gwen Raverat. Also among the colour plates are stunning cover designs from the press’s half century. This book is an unusually beautiful object.” Edited by Lawrence Sail, this really is a gorgeous book which would appeal to very many readers; as the New Stateman article says: “The work collected richly here adds up to a joyous read that should be on everyone’s bedside table.”

The Authors’ Club announced the shortlist for its 2018 Best First Novel Award and hurrah, Dark Chapter by Winnie M. Li (978 1785079061, £8.99, pb) published by Legend Press is on it. You can see all six shortlisted titles on their website here. There’s a Shortlisted Authors event at Waterstones Gower Street on Thursday 7 June and then the winner will be announced by AL Kennedy, this year’s guest adjudicator, at a dinner at the National Liberal Club on Friday 22 June. Dark Chapter was the winner of The Guardian Not The Booker Prize 2017 and had great coverage in YOU Magazine, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, The Times, Metro, The Weekender, the Irish Sun, the Scotsman, and The Stylist, who called it “complex and rewarding… an important book”. Highly Commended for the CWA Debut Dagger, it is an astonishing and unique novel inspired by the author’s own story.

A super review this week for The History of England’s Cathedrals by Nicholas Orme (pb, £20, 978 1907605925) calling it a “beautifully written account that marshals an overwhelmingly vast, fragmentary, and tangled corpus of material with skill. Despite its sweeping scale there is real substance to the text, which will both engage and please a range of readers. My final word of praise is that this book is eminently suited to its primary purpose: indeed, I have already used it in my own teaching where it has been favourably received. I heartily recommend others follow suit.” Nicholas is a noted religious historian, and this is his pioneer history of the subject. Although much has been written about the architecture of cathedrals, no one has ever told the whole of their story from Roman times to the present day, and this 200-page engaging and informative book is clear, accessible, and superbly illustrated. It’s published by Impress.

We’re always very pleased to welcome new publishers into the Compass family – so I’m looking forward in the coming months to telling you more about De Coubertin who are a sports publisher based in Liverpool. You can find out more about them on their website here. They currently have two titles on the longlisted for the Cross Sports Book Awards in the Best Football Book category: Faith of our Families: Everton An Oral History 1878-2018 (hb, £25, 978 1909245648) and From Delhi to the Den: the Story of Football’s Most Travelled Coach (£12.99, pb, 978 1909245471).

Who feels they spend way too much time dodging those pesky energy vampires? In her new book which has just been published by Hay House, Christiane Northrup draws on the latest research in this exciting new field, along with stories from her global community and her own life, to explore the phenomenon of energy vampires and show us how we can spot them, repel their tactics and take back our own energy. An extract from Dodging Energy Vampires (9781401954772, £20, hb) will be in Kindred Spirit (Circ. 100,000) and Christiane will also be writing articles for Natural Health and Yoga magazines.

Some brilliant local publicity for the paperback publication of The Girl on the Beach by Morton S. Gray (978 1781894194, pb, £7.99) who won a Choc Lit competition to ‘Search for a Star’. The book, which follows a woman with a troubled past as she tries to unravel the mystery surrounding her son’s headteacher, saw off entries from across the UK to win a publishing contract in 2016. Lyn Vernham, Choc Lit's MD said: “Morton's success is down to the simple fact that she is an excellent writer and can create great suspense stories with strong compelling characters. We could see her potential when she entered the competition. We are delighted but not at all surprised by the success of The Girl on the Beach.” There’s a lovely piece here in the Worcester News about the many coffee shops she has frequented in order to write her novels!

The Northern Fiction Alliance have written an open letter “to the London-centric publishing industry” which begins “The book world is changing. And despite being notoriously slow-moving, the last few years have seen the industry take a long, hard look at itself, and question how it can better reflect its readers and society.” You can read the whole thing in full in the Bookseller here.

Congratulations to Charlie Craggs and Elly Barnes, two Jessica Kingsley authors who have been nominated for the 2018 DIVA Awards. Voted for by the public, the DIVAs are split into eighteen categories, paying tribute to the lesbian, bisexual, trans and queer people making a difference in all walks of life. Winners will be named at the awards ceremony on Friday 8th June with plenty of glitz, glamour and celebrity guests! You can find out more and to cast your own votes here. How to Transform Your School into an LGBT+ Friendly Place by Elly Barnes (pb, 978 1785923494, £14.99) and To My Trans Sisters by Charlie Craggs (£12.99, pb, 978 1785923432) are two very different titles – but equally essential for any bookshop!

Apparently, kindness is replacing mindfulness as the buzzword for how we should live. Have a look at this recent article in the Guardian which wonders if that means we are all becoming more compassionate? Or is it just a marketing gimmick? Either way, it’s a very good opportunity to remind you about Raje Airey’s insightful book Practical Kindness: Discover the Power of Compassion for Health and Happiness (£8.99, pb, 978 0754833130) which distils centuries of wisdom into a handy guide to experiencing more kindness every day. It’s divided into three sections, each forming part of a 'tree of kindness' that can grow from small beginnings and shelter us from the storms of life. Throughout the book there are plenty of practical ideas and compassion-based exercises, for bringing more compassion and gentleness into your everyday life. Give it a try people, it’s a thing. It’s published by Lorenz.

It’s exciting to hear that Comma are partnering with the Bristol Festival of Ideas to bring two of the wonderful writers –  Zviad Kvaratskhelia and Bacho Kvirtia – from their short-story collection The Book of Tbilisi over to the UK next month for an event. Who knew that Bristol and Tbilisi have been twinned cities for thirty years? Certainly not me! In the 26 years since Georgia declared independence from the Soviet Union, the country and its capital have endured unimaginable hardships: one coup d’état, two wars with Russia, the curse of organised crime, and prolonged periods of economic depression. Now, as Tbilisi has begun to flourish again drawing hordes of tourists with its eclectic architecture and famous, welcoming spirit it can seem difficult to reconcile the recent past with this glamorous and exotic present. But with wit, warmth, heartbreaking realism, and a distinctly Georgian sense of neighbourliness, these ten stories in this book do just that. You can find out more about that event at Waterstone’s on 22 May here.

The London Socialist Historians Group have strongly defended radical historian David Rosenberg after the Daily Mail ran a smear story about him on 5th April, which in typical Mail style did not include any evidence that Mr Rosenberg was associated with anti-Semitic views but made much of the fact that he sat next to Jeremy Corbyn at a recent event and was not an enthusiast for the current Israeli government. The historians point out that Mr Rosenberg is a well-known Jewish socialist historian with an impressive record of recovering the working-class history of the radical East End of London, much of which is detailed in his excellent Pluto book Rebel Footprints: A Guide to Uncovering London’s Radical History (£9.99, pb, 978 0745334097). You can read the Guardian review of this excellent and informative walking guide here.

Good are happening with the newly formed Independent Bookshop Alliance, and the latest exciting idea is that you indies out there can choose which books you’d like to have as exclusive editions. Sounds good doesn’t it! The BA have come up with a list of the potential titles on SurveyMonkey and independent bookshops can now (anonymously) highlight the titles on the list that they think would make a great Indie Exclusive Edition. Then the Alliance can see if there are any particular titles that are favoured by a lot of shops, which in their own words will then “give us the opportunity to go to the publishers and say Hello publishers, there are 90 bookshops who have expressed an interest in have book x as an Indie Exclusive Edition. Sort it please. The publishers really want to make this happen, but obviously, they need some kind of assurance that the indies want to get behind the books that they'll be doing for us. SOMETHING IS HAPPENING PEOPLE. Please read/share and shout loud." If you are not yet signed up to the Alliance, but would like to get involved with this survey, then please email, and they will send it to you.

This weather certainly inspires an urge to get up and go off for an adventure, and for all of those about to set off on one, the perfect read to take with you is A Van of One's Own (£8.99, pb, 978 1910901991) by Biddy Wells. Propelled by a thirst for peace and quiet, and, perhaps, for freedom, Biddy left for Portugal on her own, with only her old campervan, Myfanwy, and her GPS, Tanya, for company. As she meets wise and not-so-wise people, members of the campervan community and friendly locals, her outlook on life begins to shift, and a chance meeting in a bar leads to the person who will put her on the right track. But will she go back home, to Wales? And what is the meaning of ‘home?’ You can read more about this delightful road-trip memoir on the Parthian website here.  

The book bloggers are really loving The Man on the Middle Floor (£8.99, pb, 978 1910453544) by Elizabeth S. Moore; as is ES Magazine who called it “visceral and tender”. “Lionel Shriver meets Mark Haddon in this break-out debut… Thought-provoking and thrilling, The Man on the Middle Floor will leave readers talking” says one fan. Despite living in the same three-flat house in the suburbs of London, the residents are strangers to one another. The bottom floor is home to Tam, a recent ex-cop who spends his days drowning his sorrows in whisky. On the middle floor is Nick, a young man with Asperger’s who likes to stick to his schedules and routines. The top floor belongs to Karen, a doctor and researcher who has spent her life trying to understand the rising rates of autism. They have lived their lives separately, until now, when an unsolved murder and the man on the middle floor connect them all together. Told from three points of view, The Man on the Middle Floor is about disconnection in all its forms; sexual, physical, parental and emotional. It questions whether society is meeting the needs of the fast-growing autistic section of society, or maybe exacerbating it. Go to the Red Door Twitter Feed to read all the other ace reviews on the blog tour!

We love this piece in the Guardian praising the wonderful Five Leaves Books in Nottingham in with a terrific recommendation – “intelligent, engrossing” – for Alicia Kopf's Brother in Ice, published by And Other Stories. Kopf will be at Five Leaves for an event in June too!

I told you last week that there may well be a piece about Alt-Right: From 4chan to the White House (pb, £12.99, 978 0745337456) by Mike Wendling  coming up shortly in your super soaraway Sun – and sure enough here it is! Absolutely ace publicity for the book, which is published by Pluto this week.

And if you need a bit of light relief from the antics of Alt Right – and all the other grim political news in the world today- then how about the trailer here for the new Incredibles film which is out in June – yippee!

This weekly blog is written for the UK book trade. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the Compass office on 020 8326 5696. Every Friday an e-newsletter containing highlights from the blog is sent out to over 700 booksellers – and if you’d like to receive this then please contact

Friday 13 April 2018

Compass Points 256

Alt-Right – the white nationalist, anti-feminist, far-right movement that rose to prominence during Donald Trump's successful election campaign appears to have burst out of nowhere, but Mike Wendling has been tracking it for years. In Alt-Right: From 4chan to the White House (pb, £12.99, 978 0745337456) which has just been published by Pluto, he reveals the role of technology, reactionaries, bulletin boards, bloggers, vloggers and tweeters, along with the extreme ideas which underpin the movement's thought. This title has just been reviewed very positively in the New York Times and will shortly be featured in the Observer. Excitingly, The Sun has also been in touch, to see if Mike can write a piece about it for them – watch this space! Including exclusive interviews with members of the movement and evidence linking extremists with terror attacks and hate crimes; this book is, as one reviewer said: “an urgently needed dose of clarity for anyone hoping to understand the twists and turns of far-right politics”.

Little Island Press are very excited to be publishing What Happened To Us, the third novel from by acclaimed Zimbabwean author Ian Holding. Holding’s writing has won much praise: Maggie Gee in the Times wrote that “much modern fiction is glossy but empty, but Ian Holding comes from another world. He has courage and wide sympathies” and Michael Ondaatje described this new book as “stunning and original, almost Blakean in its vision.” What Happened To Us (978 1999854904, hb, £14.99) is a portrait of life under Mugabe, a mesmerising coming-of-age tale of guilt and responsibility set within the fault-lines of modern Africa. His lean, lyrical prose is reminiscent of the work of J.M. Coetzee and Cormac McCarthy and this gripping story set in the fiery environment of an election season, with tensions stoked by an unrelenting heatwave, is a dazzling read. There is a feature including a review and author interview coming on BookBlast today – which I will share with you next week and Ian is recording a Literary Postcard for BBC’s Open Book programme which will be aired around publication date on 17 May. Ian will be in the UK to promote his novel between 1– 10 May and if any bookshops would like to host a reading or other event, please do email Andrew Latimer for more information.

We’re so pleased to announce that Istanbul Istanbul by Burhan Sönmez (978 1846592058, £8.99, pb) translated by Ümit Hussein and published by Telegram Books has won the EBRD Literature Prize 2018. The €20,000 award will be split between the author and the translator. Rosie Goldsmith, chair of the judging panel called it “a life-affirming novel of profound humanity and exquisite writing. Yes, it’s set in a prison cell, yes it’s set in Turkey, but at no point does it condemn or take a position, it’s our story too. The author and translator have created a prize-winning novel of great passion and poetry”. Congratulations Burhan, Ümit and all at Telegram!

An interesting feature in the Guardian here this week, about the mass exodus expected from the teaching profession this year. As the deadline looms for staff to hand in their notice before the next school year; around 80% of classroom teachers are seriously considering leaving the profession because of their workload. If they are wondering what to do next, then the title they must read is What Else Can a Teacher Do? Review Your Career, Reduce Stress and Gain Control of your Life (pb, £12.99, 978 1785830150) by David Hodgson which came out last November from Crown House. This practical handbook surveys and suggests a diverse range of alternative career options suited to teachers’ transferable skill sets. David combines expert guidance with a carefully compiled list of over one hundred job profiles in order to help teachers find clarity on their career path and presents numerous case studies of education professionals who have already successfully done so. This is a highly topical subject – and this book is essential reading for teachers who are stuck in a rut and want to explore other options.

There have been some excellent reviews for Magical Folk: British and Irish Fairies: 500 AD to the Present by Simon Young and Ceri Houlbrook (hb, 978 1783341016, £16.99). The Mail on Sunday called it “enchanting” and the Sunday Telegraph “engaging and authoritative… British fairies, it turns out, are classic eccentrics.” The Literary Review praised its “detail on local mythology… sparkling” and the Glasgow Herald said it gave “a big insight into the lives of little people… provocative.” Fortean Magazine called it “Perfect… vital and exciting.” British and Irish fairies have been around since 500 AD but ever since the Cottingley Fairy Hoax of 1917 they have been in decline. However, thanks in part to our enthusiasm for The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, British fairies are regaining their old lustre. The digitalisation of local parish records has unlocked a hoard of folklore and fairy citings not previously available, and acclaimed historian Simon Young has gathered together all the latest learning on this fascinating topic in this highly informative illustrated hardback – published by Gibson Square.

Good to see South Atlantic Requiem (£14.99, hb, 978 1911350316) by Edward Wilson at number three in London’s Bestsellers list in the Standard this week. This stunning new spy thriller brilliantly evokes the intricate world of high-stakes espionage – the Tribune said the Catesby novels were “on a par with John Le Carre – it’s that good.” In this new title, set in 1982 both the UK Prime Minister and the Argentine President are both clinging to power. From Patagonia to Paris, from Chevening to the White House, Catesby plays a deadly game of diplomatic cat and mouse determined to avert the loss of life. The clock is ticking as diplomats and statesmen race for a last-minute settlement while the weapons of war are primed and aimed. Published by Arcadia.

Fab to see outstanding Carcanet poet Mary O’Malley named as joint winner of the €4,000 Michael Hartnett Poetry Award 2018, (together with Macdara Woods) which is awarded annually in Co Limerick. The judges in their citation described Mary O’Malley’s Playing the Octopus (978 1784102807, £9.99, pb) as “a beautiful collection of rare gems that sparkle and seduce. Through the finely wrought, delicately woven poems, Mary has created a world that sustains us, that we recognise and can inhabit. This is a collection that balances beauty and harmony, the poems are restrained but deeply felt, the voice assured, meaning is revealed slowly like an uncovering of essence, something essential and elemental. There is a playfulness and joy in language that at times produces a magical quality: light bounces and refracts; musical intonations interweave with the lyric voice. What is achieved is a virtuoso performance.”

A great piece here on the Arts Council North's latest blog on how the North has become a dynamo of independent publishing, with lots to read about the success of our fab friends at Comma, And Other Stories and the Northern Fiction Alliance. It says: “The Arts Council believes that the North should be a place where artists can live and work without feeling that they need to move elsewhere in the country to gain success. The strength and diversity of the work by talented writers published by Northern organisations is testament to this belief.” We couldn’t agree more!

Would the four Yorkshiremen in 1948 here ever have believed the powerhouse that the North has now become? We doubt it!

Hurrah! Stuart Cosgrove has won the Penderyn Music Prize with Memphis 1968: The Tragedy of Southern Soul which is published by Polygon. You can find out all about it here. Lots of great publicity for this one – so do make sure you have plenty of copies on display - all remaining stock will be stickered with the prize – and if you’d like some stickers to use on the stock you already have, then please email! It’s headline news in the Bookseller and there was also coverage in the Guardian and The Times here. As Clash Magazine said; this is “a heartbreaking but essential read – and remarkably timely.”

Here’s a good idea – a Virginia judge handed down an unusual sentence recently after five teenage vandals defaced a historic black schoolhouse with swastikas and the words “white power” and “black power.” Instead of spending time in community service, Judge Avelina Jacob decided that the youths should read a book. But not just any book. They had to choose from a list covering some of history’s most divisive and tragic periods. You can read more about what one of them learned from the experience here in the New York Times.

A very interesting interview in last weekend’s Observer here with Patrick McCabe, author of the newly released Heartland (978 1848406605, pb, £12.99) which is published by New Island. As referendum day on abortion nears (25th May), Patrick says that the Dublin media liberals could pay for snobbery towards rural Ireland. McCabe, twice nominated for the Booker prize, said parts of the Dublin media should never ignore the importance of the mid-west and western parts of Ireland where Heartland –  a dark tale of murder and mayhem largely set in an Irish mid-west bar – is set. Scotland on Sunday said of Patrick “McCabe can make you howl at the darkest antics ... He never sets a foot - or syllable - wrong.”

Biteback author Vladimir Yakunin was part of a heated debate, involving his new book The Treacherous Path: An Insider’s Account of Modern Russia (hb, £20, 978 1785903014) on Newsnight this week. You can see the full interview here. He’s also been on BBC World Service, Newshour. Following a piece in the Sunday Times, further reviews are expected in the Times and Observer. The Treacherous Path is Yakunin's account of his own experiences on the front line of Russia's implosion and eventual resurgence, and of a career – as an intelligence officer, a government minister and for ten years the CEO of Russia's largest company – that has taken him from the furthest corners of this incomprehensibly vast and complex nation to the Kremlin's corridors. Tackling topics as diverse as terrorism, government intrigue and the reality of doing business in Russia, and offering unparalleled insights into the post-Soviet mindset, this is the first time that a figure with Yakunin's background has talked so openly and frankly about his country.

Mental health is such a hot topic at present, and Amy Molloy’s book The World is a Nice Place: How to Overcome Adversity, Joyfully which has just been published by Hay House is getting some terrific publicity. She has written a big piece for the Observer magazine entitled I Never Took My Mental Health for Granted – Now I’m Reaping the Rewards which you can read here and also an article for the Stylist – which has a circulation of 400,000 readers.

Author Claudio Macor is at Waterstone’s Blackheath on 23 April, reading and answering questions about two of his plays – from which there will also be performances of some of the scenes – this sounds like a really terrific event! The Tailor-Made Man (pb, £9.99, 978 1786823120) is the incredible story of the openly gay and hugely popular silent screen movie star William 'Billy' Haines, whose refusal to give up his lifelong partner Jimmie Shields saw MGM studio attempt to remove his work completely from movie history. Savage (£10.99, pb, 978 1783197798) uncovers the powerful true story of Nazi Dr Carl Vaernet's experimental cures for homosexuality in the 1940's. The plays are both published by Oberon.

There is a brilliant 2-minute piece about Billy Haines on the LGBT Snapshots series here and you can see him in action in 1928’s Show People here.  

That’s all for now folks! More next week!

This weekly blog is written for the UK book trade. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the Compass office on 020 8326 5696. Every Friday an e-newsletter containing highlights from the blog is sent out to over 700 booksellers – and if you’d like to receive this then please contact