Friday 27 September 2019

Compass Points 321

First up this week is Twenty Years of talkSPORT (£12.99, pb, 978 0956328410). Celebrating the 20th anniversary UK's favourite sports radio station, this is a laugh-out-loud, behind-the-scenes, warts-and-all look at the station and its presenters. It brilliantly captures the funniest stories right from the early days and is a highly entertaining read, with contributions from all the top presenters and tales from trips to World Cups and European Championships where the talkSPORT team got into all sorts of scrapes and situations, And of course there are classic clips from callers, presenters, and newsreaders with many hilarious slips and gaffes. There have been ads for this title in the Sun and the Times and this book is an absolute no-brainer gift for sports fans over Christmas. There will definitely be more publicity to come. There were just too many classic stories to fit them all into the 279 pages of “solid gold’ as talkSPORT describe it. So if you’d like to hear one that didn’t quite make the book, here is Ray Parlour talking about Kolo Toure taking out Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, and Arsene Wenger.

A torrent of “threats” and “abuse”, allegedly levied against Waterstones in Brighton, allegedly resulted in the cancellation of the launch of Pluto’s title Bad News for Labour: Antisemitism, the Party and Public Belief (£14.99, pb, 978-0745340661) on 23 September. Pluto expressed its “disappointment” that “external pressure” had resulted in the cancellation of the event but James Daunt said “we had an event which was being chaotically done, causing quite a lot of emotion and that needed to be handled professionally on our part.” There’s quite a lot to take in about this story, and you can read more about it in The Canary here. The book’s launch was held at the Rialto Theatre instead. Bad News for Labour is described by Pluto as “a ground-breaking study on the reality behind the headlines.” It examines the impact of the media coverage on public beliefs about Labour, replacing media hype with the rigorous analysis of evidence. Raoul Martinez, called it “a necessary corrective to widespread media distortions. Scholarly and persuasive, it rescues the facts from a storm of misinformation.”

A three-part Mail on Sunday serialisation for And What Do You Do? What the Royal Family Don’t Want You to Know by Normal Baker (£20, hb, 978 1785904912) is starting this weekend (29th September) and will run through to the 6th and 13th October. This is a hard-hitting analysis of the royal family, exposing its extravagant use of public money and the highly dubious behaviour of some among its ranks, whilst being critical of the knee-jerk sycophancy shown by the press and politicians. What makes this book so unusual is that Baker is himself a member of the Privy Council, the body that officially advises the monarch. He also considers the wider role the royals play in society, and the constitutional position of the monarch, which is important given Prince Charles's present and intended approach.

PopMatters have just reviewed Helen McClory's new edition of The Goldblum Variations: Adventures of Jeff Goldblum Across the Known (and Unknown) Universe (978 1912489244, £7.50, pb) saying "McClory has crafted a very fine, lushly sensitive, gently moving series of portraits of a cultural icon." You can read the whole piece here. They call it “the best book I have read this year. And it's September, so that's really saying something. The book is marketed as pop culture/humour, and more loosely as absurdist fiction. It's also very fine hybrid poetry, or flash essays, or any other number of mixed genre labels.” It’s published by 404ink on 24 Oct and you can see the mighty Goldblum himself reading from the book here.  Helen McClory was listed as one of Ali Smith’s favourite underrated authors in the Guardian recently, and you can expect lots more publicity for this title when Penguin publishes it in the US in October; there is big interest in Jeff Goldblum at the moment, he’s become a bit of an icon! This title is a perfect Christmas gift book and talking of gifts, the first five booksellers to email with their name and bookshop address and Goldblum in the subject line will get a free reading copy!

There’s quite a buzz building for Anseo: A Memoir (pb, 12.95, 978184840749) by Úna-Minh Kavanagh which is published by New Island on 24 October. This is a contemporary and unconventional memoir of adoption from Vietnam to Kerry, the love of a small family and the power of the Irish language to overcome loss, racism and online trolls. You can find her on Twitter at Úna-Minh (is my first name) Caomhánach@unakavanagh.

A great review for The Dressing-Up Box (£14.99, hb, 978 1912697212), David Constantine’s latest short story collection in last Friday's Daily Mail calling it “inventive … incredibly moving … and darkly funny.” You can read that here.  It’s published by Comma.

The serialisation of The Hockneys (£25, hb, 978 1789550733) begins this weekend in the Daily Mail. There will also be a BBC local radio interview press day Monday 7th October which includes interviews with BBC Leeds, BBC Northampton, BBC York, BBC Lancashire, BBC Humberside, and articles in the Yorkshire Post and Christies Magazine and events at Salt Mills and the Royal Academy. This unique insight into the lives of the family by youngest brother John, poignantly illustrated by both famous and private pictures and paintings from David Hockney is published by Legend on Tuesday.

Many congratulations to Heather McDaid and Laura Jones from 404Ink who were named by Margaret Atwood in the Sunday Times recently as two of her “Women Who Are Shaping Our Future”.

Palestine +100 was reviewed very well by PopMatters, that’s here, who said the collection was "richly imaginative" and "a deeply rewarding addition to the sci-fi canon."

Kei Miller’s In Nearby Bushes (£9.99, pb, 9781784108458) published by Carcanet is the Telegraph Poetry Book of the Month, you can see that  here.  This highly anticipated new collection from a Forward Prize-winner was published by Carcanet at the end of August and contains sequences and single lyrics exploring landscape, legends and histories.

We were very excited to see Signs Preceding the End of the World (pb, 978-1908276421, £8.99) by Yuri Herrera included in the recent Guardian feature The 100 Best Books of the 21st Century, you can see that here.  They wrote “Makina sets off from her village in Mexico with a package from a local gangster and a message for her brother, who has been gone for three years. The story of her crossing to the US examines the blurring of boundaries, the commingling of languages and the blending of identities that complicate the idea of an eventual return."

This week sees the publication of True Profit Business by Karen Skidmore (£14.99, pb, 978 1788600842) and The Resilience Dynamic® (£15.99, pb, 978-1788601085) by Jenny Campbell from Practical Inspiration, with guest posts and reviews lined up for both. Skidmore’s mission is to give every small business owner a plan and a process to grow their business, without burning out along the way. The Resilience Dynamic® illustrates, with practical tools, how to develop resilience as a buffer to stress and how it can transform how you lead change and increase performance in a complex and uncertain world.

Who loves Taskmaster? Me, me, me and here are the top ten funniest moments. One of the current series contestants is Katy Wix who is doing pretty well!  But did you know that she has two books published by Oberon? No, I thought not. The Oberon Book of Comic Monologues (£9.99, pb, 978 1849434287) and The Oberon Book of Comic Monologues for Women Volume 2 (£9.99, pb, 978 1783199235) are collections of hilarious and original audition speeches which fill a significant gap in the market, as although are many monologue collections out there, very few provide good material for comedy. The brevity in length (each is two or three minutes) makes these ideal for auditions or showcases and the variety in age and style encompasses different comedic approaches; from the very quirky to the more traditional. Katy Wix’s profile is definitely on the rise, and I think these would sell well if displayed.

And fifty years after the release of Abbey Road, here's  a brand-new remix of Here Comes the Sun, which has notched up more than a million views in less than 24 hours. I think this is just what we all need to see in these contentious times!
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

Friday 20 September 2019

Compass Points 320

There is a big resurgence of interest in fabric pattern and design, and there are few patterns more evocative and intricate than the seats of a tube train! A charming new book from Safe Haven celebrates all the London Transport patterns and I think this delightful hardback could do extremely well. In the Thirties top artists like Paul Nash and Enid Marx were commissioned to design patterns; nowadays every underground and overground line like gets its own unique, colour-co-ordinated moquette pattern. Seats of London, A Field Guide to London Transport Moquette Patterns (£12.99, pb, 978 1916045316) by Andrew Martin is published in conjunction with the London Transport Museum, which has the definitive archive. There’s just been a great feature on the Londonist website on the book where you can browse through the patterns – that’s here – and I urge you to order this fascinating guide which I think will be an ideal gift book for either nerdy transport fans, or Insta-conscious design-obsessed millennials! 

Beaches, marshes, mangroves, cliffs, deserts, forests, bays, deltas and estuaries; coastlines take many different forms. Now a handsome new book from Amber celebrates the world's most stunning shores, with a series of gorgeous photographs capturing the beauty of remote tropical islands, volcanic peninsulas and windswept beaches with captions explaining the story behind each entry. You can see the photographs here in this terrific article which is just up on the Mail Online. Coast (hb, £19.99, 978 1782748984) by David Ross was published this week by Amber.

And while we’re on the subject of our beautiful world, lots of booksellers and publishers are out protesting for climate action today – have a look for some extraordinary photos of climate strikes around the world.

Rather than being seen as a data-driven machine, a school should be viewed as a place that enables children to develop thoughtful perspectives on the world, through which they can pursue wisdom and be free to join in with the ancient and continuing conversation about what is it to be human. A brilliant new title Athena Versus the Machine by Martin Robinson (978 1785833021, £14.99, pb) examines how we can construct a curriculum that will allow liberal education to flourish. Anti-gimmick and pro-wisdom, the principles that he advocates will make a big difference to teachers and pupils’ lives, and will help to ensure that our young adults are better educated. It’s out on 4 October from Crown.

And talking of ensuring that our young adults are better  educated, here is Kevin the teenager undergoing the school parents evening!

“On an overstretched earth, sustainability is sacred and the elderly are made to feel as if they have overstayed their welcome. Gripping, fast-moving and tightly plotted, Overdrawn imagines a future in which we can no longer afford the luxury of old age.” So said one reviewer of Overdrawn (£8.99, pb, 978 1789550221) by N.J. Crosskey and it had a brilliant review here today in the Daily Mail who said “Crosskey paints a terrifying and profoundly upsetting portrait of a future in which the ‘snowflake’ generation is being culled by euthanasia. This compelling page-turner is so disturbingly real, I can’t stop thinking about it.” There’s a month-long Insta tour – all the details of which you can see below. It’s just out from Legend.

This week sees the publication of Alice JenningsSORTED! Essential Systems for Successful Small Businesses (£14.99, pb, 978 1788600996) and there has been coverage in Female First magazine: Top tips to get your tech working for you, that’s here  and it also featured in the Extraordinary Business Book Club newsletter, in Home Business Magazine, and will be featured on the Home Business podcast. Alice’s mission is to help business owners make informed choices in the systems and tools they use by giving them the information they need to confidently take their business to the next level. Since starting her own small business, she has worked with over 200 business owners sharing simple tips that enable better working as well as helping implement more complex systems to support growth and reduce stress. It’s published by Practical Inspiration.

There was quite a bit of publicity for Lynda Clark, the ex-Waterstone’s bookseller shortlisted for the 2019 BBC National Short Story Award, you can read the piece in the Bookseller here. and she was interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row programme. As well as having her short story published in the anthology, Lynda’s debut novel Beyond Kidding (pb, £8.99, 978 1912054848) will be published on 31 October by Fairlight.  When Robert decides to impress at a job interview by making up a son, he discovers that maintaining the lie is far harder than he thought, so he invents a story that `Brodie' has been kidnapped. After all, it's not like they're going to find the fake boy. But a few weeks later, he receives a call to collect his non-existent son from the police station, a boy who looks exactly like the picture he photoshopped... “This is a remarkable debut, written with great warmth and wit. By turns devastating and hilarious, it had me from the very start, and it didn't let me go” wrote Sarah Jackson and I’m sure there will be more praise to come for this dark and quirky debut.

Hannah Pearl won Simon and Schuster’s Books and the City #heatseeker short story competition in 2017 and is now about to have her first novel a warm, light-hearted romance entitled Evie’s Little Black Book, published by Choc Lit. This is a major achievement for anyone, but especially so for Hannah, who suffers from ME, and whose writing has allowed her to escape from the reality of feeling ill all the time. There’s been quite a bit of publicity for this one, with a good article on Female First, some local press coverage with an interview on BBC Cambridge, an article coming in and a review in Heat magazine in October. If any bookseller would like a reading copy, then please email  with Evie in the subject line and your bookshop name and address. 

There are now some more photos of the customers, clients and colleagues at our fabulous party a couple of weeks ago to celebrate Compass’s 21st birthday. Have a look here to see them!

And in this week’s Hot Topics, here's  an interesting report on how although there’s been a welcome increase in BAME characters in children’s books; there has also been an increase in sweeping generalisations, a disproportionately high number of female characters named Jasmine for example. Here's how much Daniel Craig’s teeny tiny James Bond swimming trunks sold for, and here's  an update on what Theresa May is doing these days…
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

Friday 13 September 2019

Compass Points 319

The publicity has really gone crazy for Per Mertesacker ‘s autobiography, Big Friendly German (hb, £20, 978 1909245938) just out from out from De Coubertin. The Telegraph commented “Per Mertesacker’s book is predictably fascinating” while the Mirror said it was “recommended reading. The best BFG story since Roald Dahl” and the Times wrote that “the book is particularly good.” Talk Sport and TalkSport 2 both had an interview with Mertesacker on their breakfast shows, there were also great interviews in the Guardian, Daily Star,  Daily Mail, and the Independent and the Evening Standard ran an extract. There has also been loads of stuff on the footie blogs and syndicated local press – all of which means the books is flying out of the shops; if you haven’t ordered it yet, what are you waiting for!

The publication date for the exciting new Outspoken series from Pluto is coming up! These books are the first of their kind; written by young people for young people and tackling important issues that matter. The first two titles are Behind Closed Doors: Sex Education Transformed (£9.99, pb, 978 0745338736) by Natalie Fiennes and Mask Off: Masculinity Redefined (978 0745338743) by JJ Bola. You can find out lots more by watching the series trailer. And alongside all the social media takeovers, giveaways and exciting blogs, there’s also: Areview of Mask Off in the Guardian This primer for young people is an antidote to Jordan Peterson; a piece by Natalie Fiennes in Indy Voices A new sex ed curriculum means nothing if the ignogrance outside the school gates isn't confronted first.; an extract from Mask Off in Dazed and Confused’s masculinity special Men Don't Cry and Other MythsJJ Bola talking on Dane Baptiste's Question Everything podcast What Is Masculinity? We're also expecting features in gal-dem, Teen Vogue, Dazed and Confused, Vice and TIME magazine.

Registration is now open for the big weekend of events in Manchester from 21- 24 November to celebrate Carcanet’s 50th Birthday. There’s loads of exciting things to look forward to, including readings from Kei Miller, Sinéad Morrissey and Matthew Welton, a chance to look at selected items from Carcanet’s archive, creative writing workshops, a special edition of Poets & Players (Manchester’s long-running poetry & music performance series),  Poem of the Week with Carol Rumens and also lots of local writers and literary figures including Simon Armitage, Helen Mort, SuAndi, Afshan D’souza Lodhi, Stephen Raw, Matthew Frost and Zaffar Kunial, who will all read their favourite Carcanet poems It sounds amazing and all the information on how to books tickets is on the Carcanet website.

The viral sensation of the last ten days has to be the Jacob Rees-Mogg slouching meme, you can see the best on the BBC here.  And the new Biteback unauthorised biog, Jacob’s Ladder (978 1785904875, £20, hb) reveals him apparently to be the world's most unlikely sex symbol. You can read the serialisation here in the Mail on Sunday and find out how the posh one asked a chick lit author to marry him, ditched a girlfriend because she was a divorcee then married an heiress with a silver tongue stud.

This week saw the broadcasting of the BBC National Short Story Award 2019 shortlist on BBC Radio 4's Front Row, which has seen each story read by an actor, followed by an interview with one of the shortlisted authors (Lucy Caldwell, Jo Lloyd, Lynda Clark, Jacqueline Crooks and Tamsin Grey), every day this week. You listen again to those broadcasts here. All the shortlisted stories the 2019 BBC National Short Story Award (pb, £7.99, 978 19126972290) anthology explore the sanctity of the home and family, and the instinct to defend what's closest to us. In each case, these stories demonstrate what editor Nikki Bedi argues in her introduction: short stories are not a warm-up act, they're the main event.

Jane Hardy’s story Pink Slippers (£9.99, pb, 978 1788600880) appears in a double page spread in September’s Simply You, which is a new magazine for the over 40’s. For those dealing with a loved one with dementia, Jane writes frankly about the experiences she and her Mum have shared over the past four years, the lessons and strategies she's learned and the things she wished she’d known before they started this journey together. It’s published by Practical Inspiration.

I told you last week A Matter of Interpretation (978 1912054701, hb, £12.99, the thrilling historical fiction debut from about Elizabeth Mac Donald which is just out from Fairlight and here you can see the interesting Ten Things I’d Like My Readers to Know About Me piece she’s written for the Female First website. 

Raising the Velvet Curtain is a series of events presenting a vibrant new generation of Slovak writers and artists to mark 30 years since the Velvet Revolution of 1989. Three authors are touring from 22- 25 October to Blackwell’s in Manchester, St Anthony’s in Oxford, Heffers in Cambridge and the British Library in London. One of the three is Uršuľa Kovalyk, a feminist writer, social worker and theatre maker and a leading representative of contemporary feminist literary discourse in Slovakia. Her book, The Night Circus and Other Stories (pb, £8.99, 978 1912681044) was published by Parthian in April, and blends the naturalistic and the fabulistic in elusive, delicate stories that fold fable and fairy tale into everyday settings and reveal the magic lurking just beneath the surface of the daily skin of existence.

Fermentation: How to Make Your Own Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Brine Pickles, Kefir, Kombucha, Vegan Dairy, and More (£15, hb, 978 0754834649) by Åsa Simonsson which has just been published by Lorenz is featured in Vegan Living this month. Asa also appeared at the recent Foodies Festival in Chiswick, and has a feature in the Twickenham Tribune and in Alison Jee's Women Talking blog. There will be more publicity to come; fermenting is both a time-honoured technique and a super-fashionable topic right now! This inspiring and beautifully photographed guide also shows how to make all kinds of delicious brine pickles, nut cheeses, and sourdough and is packed with easy and expert advice.

Lucy Werner author of the forthcoming Hype Yourself is already doing a terrific job of hyping herself and has had some great publicity, such as a series of nine guest articles for Mailchimp (a million hits a day), podcast slots, and Meet the PR Expert events for Found Flourish, Courier etc, with lots more guest posts and activity to come. Hype Yourself: A No Nonsense DIY PR Toolkit for Small Businesses (£14.99, pb, 978 1788601238) is out from Practical Inspiration in January.

And finally, Comma’s Becca Parkinson and her colleague Zoe Turner have been interviewed for a series set to be published on the Translating Women blog. There’s more about that and a preview here.

And in this week’s Hot Topics, here are the six times John Bercow was funny, here are Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Rey performing Don’t Call Me Angel from the new Charlie’s Angels reboot, and as a remastered and expanded version of his classic album 1999 is announced, here's  the Guardian’s rating of the Purple One’s fifty finest funk hits. 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

Friday 6 September 2019

Compass Points 318

There’s been lots of superb publicity for Matt Jensen’s stirring autobiography What Was, What Is and What Might Have Been (£18.99, hb, 978 1909715851) You can read the piece in the Sun here and the Mail here. There’s plenty more to come, the Guardian are running extracts, there will be pieces in FourFourTwo and the Times and plenty of digital media and radio interviews with Matt too. He will be making an appearance at Selhurst Park with a book signing in the fans’ zone around Man City game on Sunday 20th Oct at 4.30pm and there’s a Q&A evening at the Ewood Park stadium on Friday September. This is the story of a career destined for the stratosphere, cruelly snatched away by the vagaries of fate. Brilliant, bold, and at times brutal in its honesty, this powerful tale of shattered dreams and a life rebuilt is a testament to an inspiring, unconquered soul. It’s just been published by Polaris and if any bookseller hasn’t ordered it yet and would like a reading copy, the first to email  with What Was in the subject line and their bookshop name and address will win one!

The Hockneys: Never Worry What the Neighbours Think (£25, hb, 978 1789550733) will be serialised in the Mail on 27-29th September which will no doubt kick off plenty more media interest.  This is a never before seen insight into the lives of the family by youngest brother John Hockney, where hardship, successes as well as close and complex relationships are poignantly illustrated by both famous and private pictures and paintings from David Hockney. There will be interviews with John on BBC local radio on Monday 7th October which so far includes BBC Leeds, BBC Northampton, BBC York, BBC Lancashire and BBC Humberside with more to come. There will be features in the Yorkshire Post and events at Salt Mills and the Royal Academy. It is published by Legend on 3 October.

The Kingdom of Sicily, early thirteenth century. The Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II has, through invasion and marriage, expanded his empire, but always subject to the will of the pope and the rulings of the Church. Into this world of political and military intrigue steps Michael Scot, headstrong and determined, a young monk and barbarian from Scotland who tutored Frederick as a boy. A Matter of Interpretation (978 1912054701, hb, £12.99) by Elisabeth MacDonald is a thrilling, witty, violent and mysterious debut. Elisabeth has been on the Radio Ulster Arts Show, and the books is also about to be reviewed in the Irish Times, with an article written by Elisabeth. There will also be reviews in the Sunday Independent, and the Irish Independent and it will be included in the Sunday Times September historical fiction round up. It’s published by Fairlight.

Hands up all of those who read Circe on their summer holiday and then felt the stirrings of their own inner powers? Witch by Lisa Lister (pb, £10.99, 978 1781807545) is currently a top ten bestseller for Hay House at Waterstones, so I think there’s plenty of us would-be wise women out there. Rebecca Campbell wrote “Lisa Lister is a badass leader of all things feminine. She is here to shine a light on all the shadows of patriarchy that we have all inherited. Witch is a book whose time has come and a response to the feminine that is rising within us all. Rise sister rise.”

How exciting to hear that Comma’s The Sea Cloak (£9.99, pb, 978 1905583782) was the best-selling book at the Edinburgh International Book Festival! You can read more about that here. And it was endorsed by Ali Smith who said “All the arts are close to us because they allow us to recontextualise, to understand where we are, what we are, who we are. The Sea Cloak by Nayrouz Qarmout re-contextualises things so we really understand the world from the point of view we always knew was there.”

Back to school for many this week of course, and in amongst the gazillions of Facebook posts of smiling moppets in their shiny shoes, spare a thought for all of those parents and teachers who aren’t finding it quite so easy. Troubled Hearts Troubled Minds (978 1785834103) is for anyone who has struggled to connect with a troubled child. Drawing on over 25 years of experience working with children with challenging behaviour, Peter Nelmes argues that disruptive of destructive children are possibly the least understood and accepted in society and their problems are often met with condemnation rather than understanding and support. Through his insightful explanation of this phenomenon, he delivers key lessons on how we can better connect with both the head and the heart during the teaching and learning process. We have three reading copies available of this excellent title, booksellers should email with their name and bookshop address, and Troubled Hearts in the subject line.

How voters vote, what they think and what leads them to vote one way or another is likely to come under media scrutiny like never before in the coming weeks. Sex, Lies and Politics: The Secret Influences that Drive Our Political Choices (978 1785905063, pb, £9.99) is the only title on the market addressing those very questions and it also happens to be very readable, revealing and funny. Gary Gibbon, political editor of Channel 4 News said “This is the perfect navigation kit for the inevitable general election coming towards us. Buy it, read it and assume the brace position.” It’s just been published by Biteback.

And if you feel you need some light relief from all the Brexit babble then I suggest you watch this  hilarious Commons spoof of the Python What Have the Romans Ever Done For Us sketch!

The newest instalment in Comma’s Reading the City anthology series will be published on 24 October and it’s The Book of Sheffield (£9.99, pb, 9781912697137). The collection of ten stories is edited by Catherine Taylor, who wrote this piece for the Guardian about it last week. Known for both its industrial roots and arboreal abundance, Sheffield has always been a city of two halves. Bringing together fiction from some of the city's most celebrated writers, The Book of Sheffield traces the unique contours that decades of social and economic change can impress on a city.

Peter Kennard: Visual Dissent (pb, £19.99, 978 0745339870) is a fully illustrated anthology showcasing key images from Britain's foremost political artist over the last fifty years. The book centres around Kennard's images, photomontages and illustrations from protests, year by year, which provoked public outrage; including Israel/Palestine protests, anti-nuclear protests, responses to austerity, climate destruction, and more. Jarvis Cocker said “This art is a jolt of electricity. A shot in the arm. A kick up the backside. You know what? It’s a wake-up call.” You can see here a brilliant window for it at Foyles in London. It’s just been published by Pluto and there is an interview in The National here. You can have a look at some of the astonishing art from the book at 

Clive James needs no introduction. He is universally known as a legendary critic, TV presenter, broadcaster, author and, and in the last decade, his reputation as a poet and an intellectual has grown immeasurably. So Brightly at the Last: Clive James and the Passion for Poetry (hb, 978 1913062071, £18.99) by Ian Shircore is published by Red Door on 3 October to coincide with Clive James’ 80th birthday and simultaneously with Clive’s new book on Philip Larkin, Somewhere Becoming Rain (Picador). The major publicity campaign will include both titles. In this offbeat and affectionate poetic biography, Jimi Hendrix, Princess Diana and Syria's Asma Al-Assad rub shoulders with Auden, Eliot and Shelley, and with the Trouser Thief Clive met during ten long weeks locked up in a closed psychiatric ward. Clive James has written more than 40 books and his sales are in the millions. Stuart Maconie said of the book that it was “long overdue. A readable, insightful celebration of Clive James wonderful and humanely rich verse” and Stephen Edgar called it “a compelling portrait of the man through the work. Not to be missed.”

First published in 1989, No Laughing Matter: The Life and Times of Flann O’Brien (pb, £14.99, 978 1848407145) by Anthony Cronin was the first full-length biography of O’Brien and is an undisputed classic of Irish literary biography. Rich in background, anecdote and social history, it is an extraordinary portrait of a writer and his times, perceptive, sympathetic and authoritative. This striking new redesigned edition from New Island, with its foreword by acclaimed author Kevin Barry has just had a big two page spread in the Irish Post.

A Nazi scheme to capture the Pope, an IRA plan to invade Northern Ireland, a British plan to attack the Soviet Union after the defeat of Hitler or a Japanese seizure of the Panama Canal - during World War II these operations and others as seemingly far-fetched were seriously considered by both the Allies and the Axis. World War II Plans That Never Happened (978 1782748809, £14.99, pb) tells the stories of some of the most secret and outrageous operations that were planned during the war, many of which could have taken place and might well have changed the course of history. Arranged chronologically, the book includes copies and transcripts of previously secret documents, rare colour and black-and-white photographs, illustrations and maps. World War II Plans That Never Happened has just been published by Amber and a two-page extract was published in the Express.

At Arsenal, the club where he won the FA Cup three times, Per Mertesacker was affectionately called the Big Friendly German. Standing at 6ft 6in, he was the defender who took fitness so seriously that he invested ten per-cent of his annual salary on personal therapists. His endurance would help him in a decade-long career with the German national team which culminated in him lifting the World Cup in 2014. In his intelligent and thoughtful autobiography, Big Friendly German (hb, £20, 978 1909245938) out from De Coubertin today, Mertesacker details what it really takes to become a success in the game he started playing when he was just four years old. There will be plenty of publicity, Mertesacker is being interviewed by Sky, Radio London, Talksport, the Telegraph, the Express and the World Service as well as all the main footie blogs.

Palestine +100 was reviewed in the Morning Star this week "This rich and varied anthology offers thoughtful insight into the hopes, fears and traumas of people whose suffering has been wilfully ignored by the mainstream media for decades. It's also a timely and entertaining reminder of the potential of SF as a literature that reframes perceptions and challenges assumptions." It was also reviewed by NPR, that’s here and contributor Saleem Haddad was interviewed as part of Open Democracy's review of the Comma collection here. There is major event at the British Library next Friday showcasing the anthology with the editor Basma Ghalayini alongside Selma Dabbagh and Anwar Hamed, two of the contributors.

The BBC National Short Story Award 2019 shortlist is announced tonight from 7:15pm on BBC Radio 4's Front Row, do tune in! The BBC National Short Story Award is one of the most prestigious for a single short story, with the winning author receiving £15,000, and four further shortlisted authors £600 each. The stories are broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and the anthology (£7.99, pb, 978 1912697229) will available shortly from Comma.

And in this week’s Hot Topics, here's  the latest on Brexit, here's Princess Charlotte flipping her hair and here's a reminder of England’s sensational performance in the third test as we currently battle it out in the fourth! That’s all folks, more next week!

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