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

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