Friday 3 May 2019

Compass Points 303

Congratulations this morning to Kogan Page who won TWO awards at the 2019 IPG Independent Publishing Awards last night. They were named Academic and Professional Publisher of the Year and also took home The Bookseller International Achievement Award. The judges said “Kogan Page is doing so well in some difficult markets, and the confident move into the US shows their ambition.” Well done KP – that is brilliant news! You can see all thirteen winners here.

Chris McQueer's hilariously surreal snapshots of working-class Scotland have been described as “Limmy meets Irvine Welsh” and “Like Charlie Brooker on Buckfast.”  We are very excited to tell you that his bestselling short story collection Hings (pb, £8.99, 978 0995623866) has now been adapted for the BBC and is coming to the iPlayer on 9 May! You can see that page here, and watch a couple of trailers – it looks brilliant! The BBC say Hings is guaranteed to evoke a reaction in anyone who watches it, whether it’s laughter, tears, tears of laughter or mouth-wide-open shock.” McQueer’s second collection, HWFG (Here We Fucking Go, 978 1912489107, £9.99, pb) has also had a lot of praise; please do get these titles on display if you haven’t already, with all the BBC exposure, I have a feeling this author could be about to go MEGA! You can read all about him in a Guardian feature here who said “his affectionately, sometimes surgically, observed characters have an effervescence that the likes of Welsh or Brooker don’t always allow. His stories, which start off disarmingly ordinary then twist towards something altogether more surreal or horrifying, are as likely to end with a slap of humour than teeth-grinding nihilism.” There’s also a great piece here on Glasgow Live where Chris talks about how he took his offbeat yarns from page to screen. The books are published by 404Ink.

The GCSEs are just about to begin – so lots of desperate parents out there will be only too keen to buy a copy of Crown’s bestselling The GCSE Mindset (pb, £18.99, 978 1785831843), to help their 16-year-olds get into the right frame of mind! These 40 activities for transforming student commitment, motivation and productivity', written by Steve Oakes and Martin Griffin, offers a wealth of concrete, practical and applicable tools designed to supercharge students’ resilience, positivity, organisation and determination.

We were thrilled to see Lloyd Markham's Bad Ideas/Chemicals (£8.99, pb, 978 1912109685) published by Parthian grab first place in the New Welsh review reader's poll for favourite EVER dystopian novella beating Animal Farm, Clockwork Orange, The Time Machine and Slaughterhouse 5!! Wow! That’s quite an accolade! You can see all the shortlisted titles here – they would make a great reading table or window display!

A well organised bookshelf is a thing of great beauty no? Here are eighteen beautiful bookshelves, submitted by the Buzzfeed community. Lots of inspiration for your bookshops and homes!

Sad news that Les Murray, celebrated Australian writer and Carcanet poet, has passed away at the age of 80. Carcanet have published Les Murray for well over 30 years – you can find out more on their website here and here's  a piece in the Guardian.

Sean O'Brien's Comma short story collection Quartier Perdu (£9.99, pb, 9781905583706) has been nominated in the Best Single Author Collection category in the Shirley Jackson Awards, the full nominee list was revealed yesterday and the winners will be revealed in July. The prize celebrates literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic, you can find out more here.  For the full list of nominees see @shirleyjacksonawards Facebook page. The Financial Times called the collection: “strange, creepy, often brilliant” so we’ll keep our fingers crossed for some good news on 14 July!

Talking of suspense – has watching TV and film ever been more of a knife edge experience as it is at present? Wondering who’s going to be killed off in Westeros, who H is and how to reverse Thanos’s click has got many of us biting our nails big time! If you are one of the hundred million who have seen it, then you will enjoy this reveal of the Top 10 Avengers: Endgame fan theories that were completely and utterly WRONG!!!

Loving this great display of The Polyglot Lovers (£10, pb, 978 1911508441) by Lina Wolff, translated by Saskia Vogel at City Books in Hove who called it “a very funny & whip smart literary mystery from a fantastic writer – highly recommended” Thanks guys! It’s just been published by And Other Stories.

Did you know that according to figures from UK book sales monitor Nielsen (based on a survey of 3,000 book buyers); 10.5 million works of children’s fiction were bought for readers aged 17 or over in 2018, a 42% increase on 2015, when only 7.4 million were purchased for these readers. Here's a very interesting piece in the Observer, talking about why millennials are the biggest adult consumers of children’s fiction.

A rare chance this Bank Holiday Monday to hear two of Carcanet’s pre-eminent international poets at the Poetry Society Café in London; find out more here.   Chris Wallace-Crabbe, visiting from Australia, and Sheri Benning, visiting from Canada will read from their work, followed by a discussion on place in poetry. Chris Wallace-Crabbe has published more than twenty collections of poetry, including Rondo which harvests a decade’s worth of new writing and is currently shortlisted for the 2019 Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry in the NSW Premier's Literature Awards. Sheri Benning’s collection of poems The Season’s Vagrant Light: New and Selected Poems (£9.99, pb, 978 1784101060) marks her UK début and draws on her strongly felt connection to her native landscape, rural Saskatchewan.

It’s the start of the new financial year, so a very good time to promote The Savvy Investor's Guide to Pooled Investments: Mutual Funds, ETFs, and More (pb, 978 1789732160, £19.99) which has just been published by Emerald. This has a really zappy cover, is an excellent price and clearly explain the options for creating an investment portfolio for those who may not have huge amounts of money to invest, but want their options clearly and sensibly explained by three experts.

Are you a rising star, one of the industry’s up-and-comers? If so, or you know someone who is, then why not nominate them for the annual Bookseller award which salutes around forty such individuals a year from across the book industry. To nominate a colleague, or yourself, send a testimonial outlining their/your accomplishments to by 24th May. You can find out more about Rising Stars in The Bookseller.

With the announcement yesterday that we all need to eat less meat to help beat climate change, there is likely to be a rise in demand for vegan and veggie cookbooks. Four recipes from Lorenz’s comprehensive, fully illustrated and very practical Vegan Cookbook (£15, hb, 978 0754834441) are currently featuring on the BBC Countryfile website and getting lots of clicks! If you fancy making delicious rasberry almond tart, mushroom and pine nut muffins, country lentil soup or green tea and marmalade fruitcake this weekend, then you might want to give it a look!

The Bookseller is looking for the 2019 Library of the Year; the best library in Britain. School, prison, academic or specialist libraries are all eligible and they want to celebrate places that support and foster reading with energy and dedication and which are a vital presence in their local communities. You can find out more in The Bookseller here  and applications should be sent via email to no later than 12pm on Friday 24th May.

We like to end with music, and there’s been tons of publicity for the forthcoming Elton John biopic Rocketman, you can see the trailer here and the Sunday Times also had a huge feature last weekend. So, this is a good time to promote Captain Fantastic (978 1846974922, £9.99, pb); we all know how well Queen books have done on the back of Bohemian Rhapsody whose success the new film is clearly hoping to emulate! Captain Fantastic is available in a new paperback edition, with a terrific cover. Mojo magazine called it “a warm, insightful study, with Elton emerging as flawed but loveable, brilliant but infuriating; a suburban pop music fan who couldn't quite believe he became a bigger star than many of his heroes”. It’s published next week by Polygon.

That’s all 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

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