Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Lincoln in the Bardo wins 2017 Man Booker Prize

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders is tonight, Tuesday 17 October, named winner of the 2017 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. Lincoln in the Bardo is the first full-length novel from George Saunders, internationally renowned short story writer.

The 58-year-old New York resident, born in Texas, is the second American author to win the prize in its 49-year history. He was in contention for the prize with two British, one British-Pakistani and two American writers.

Lola, Baroness Young, 2017 Chair of judges, comments:

 ‘The form and style of this utterly original novel, reveals a witty, intelligent, and deeply moving narrative. This tale of the haunting and haunted souls in the afterlife of Abraham Lincoln’s young son paradoxically creates a vivid and lively evocation of the characters that populate this other world. Lincoln in the Bardo is both rooted in, and plays with history, and explores the meaning and experience of empathy.’

Lincoln in the Bardo focuses on a single night in the life of Abraham Lincoln: an actual moment in 1862 when the body of his 11-year-old son was laid to rest in a Washington cemetery. Strangely and brilliantly, Saunders activates this graveyard with the spirits of its dead. The Independent described the novel as ‘completely beguiling’, praising Saunders for concocting a ‘narrative like no other: a magical, mystery tour of the bardo – the “intermediate” or transitional state between one’s death and one’s next birth, according to Tibetan Buddhism.’ Meanwhile, the Guardian wrote that, ‘the short story master’s first novel is a tale of great formal daring . . . . [it] stands head and shoulders above most contemporary fiction, showing a writer who is expanding his universe outwards, and who clearly has many more pleasures to offer his readers.’

Saunders told TIME magazine that he didn’t really want to write about Lincoln, ‘but was so captivated by this story I'd heard years ago about him entering his son's crypt. I thought of the book as a way of trying to instil the same reaction I'd had all those years ago.’ 

Lincoln in the Bardo is published by Bloomsbury, making it the third consecutive year the prize has been won by an independent publisher, following Oneworld Publications’ success in 2015 with Marlon James and 2016 with Paul Beatty. Bloomsbury has won the prize three times before, with Howard Jacobson (2010), Margaret Atwood (2000) and Michael Ondaatje (1992).

Saunders’ win comes in the month that 1989 Booker Prize-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro was named as this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature recipient. Ishiguro follows in the footsteps of other Booker Prize-recognised authors who have gone on to win the award including: V. S. Naipaul, Nadine Gordimer, William Golding, J. M. Coetzee and Doris Lessing.

Luke Ellis, CEO of Man Group, comments:

‘We are pleased to congratulate George Saunders, along with each of the shortlisted authors, for his fantastic achievement this year. At Man Group, we are extremely proud to be sponsoring the world’s foremost literary prize and celebrating exceptional literary talent for a fifteenth year. We understand the importance of intellectual capital and creative thought – and indeed, the ability to view the world from different lenses matters more than ever today, in this age of rapid and inexorable change. We also believe that businesses like ours have an important duty to advance progress in education at every level: from prizes like this, which recognise global talent, to the local grassroots initiatives championed by the Booker Prize Foundation and the Man Charitable Trust, which we are honoured to support.’
Lola, Baroness Young was joined on the 2017 judging panel by the literary critic, Lila Azam Zanganeh; the Man Booker Prize shortlisted novelist, Sarah Hall; the artist, Tom Phillips CBE RA; and the travel writer and novelist, Colin Thubron CBE. The judges considered 144 submissions for this year’s prize.

George Saunders’ win was announced by Lola Young at a dinner at London’s Guildhall. He was presented with a trophy from HRH The Duchess of Cornwall and a £50,000 cheque by Luke Ellis, Chief Executive of Man Group. Saunders also receives a designer bound edition of his book and a further £2,500 for being shortlisted.

At the event, which was broadcast live on the BBC News Channel, actors Maxine Peake, Rhashan Stone and Olivia Williams, read extracts from the shortlisted books. All the shortlisted authors attended alongside a number of former winners.

George Saunders will take part in his first official public event as winner at a New Statesman-partnered event at Foyles Charing Cross Road on Thursday 19 October 2017. Tickets can be bought here.

Royal Mail is again issuing a congratulatory postmark featuring the winner’s name, which will be applied to millions of items of stamped mail nationwide on Wednesday 18 October and Friday 20 October 2017. It will say ‘Congratulations to George Saunders, winner of the 2017 Man Booker Prize’.

On winning the Man Booker Prize, an author can expect international recognition, plus a dramatic increase in book sales. In the week following the 2016 winner announcement, sales of The Sellout by Paul Beatty increased by 658%. To date over 360,000 print copies of the Oneworld edition have been sold, and 26 foreign language rights deals have been secured – 19 since his win.

Other recent winners have included Hilary Mantel (2012 and 2009), whose Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies have led to award-winning adaptations on stage and screen, Julian Barnes (2011), whose The Sense of an Ending was released as a film this year, and Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings (2015), which has been optioned for a TV series by HBO. Further winning novels that have gone on to have second or third lives on stage, screen and radio include Midnight’s Children, Schindler’s Ark (directed by Steven Spielberg as Schindler’s List), The Remains of the Day and The English Patient.

The leading prize for quality fiction in English

First awarded in 1969, the Man Booker Prize is recognised as the leading award for high quality literary fiction written in English. Its list of winners includes many of the giants of the last four decades, from Salman Rushdie to Margaret Atwood, Iris Murdoch to JM Coetzee. The prize has also recognised many authors early in their careers, including Eleanor Catton, Aravind Adiga and Ben Okri.

Man Group, an active investment management firm, has sponsored the prize since 2002.

 The rules of the prize were changed at the end of 2013 to embrace the English language ‘in all its vigour, its vitality, its versatility and its glory’, opening it up to writers beyond the UK and Commonwealth when their novels are published in UK.

To hear the most up-to-date news on this year’s prize, listen to the Man Booker Prize Podcast series, or to learn more about the prize’s history and share your thoughts online, please visit:

 @ManBookerPrize | #FinestFiction |#ManBooker2017


See podcast from the Writer's Festival Director Anne O'Brien -


The Bookseller

Fiona Mozley
Indie booksellers are divided on who they think will take home the Man Booker Prize, with a few backing fellow bookseller Fiona Mozley for her debut Elmet (JM Originals), while others have hinted they are expecting Ali Smith or George Saunders to claim the prize.
Pearson is expecting its full-year operating profit to come in at the top half of its forecast range, it revealed while giving its third quarter trading update. 
Ian Chapman and Carolyn Reidy
Simon & Schuster UK celebrated its 30th anniversary at London's National Gallery, with president and c.e.o. Carolyn Reidy praising the press for transforming from a "tiny" distribution arm into a "world-class" publisher in that time.
Templar Publishing
Illustrated children's book press Templar Publishing has unveiled a new brand identity ahead of its 40th anniversary next year.
Fiona Murphy
Fiona Murphy, currently publicity director at Penguin Random House Ireland, is joining Transworld/Doubleday Ireland from 1st January in the role of editorial director.
Kevin Keegan
Pan Macmillan has acquired Kevin Keegan’s autobiography My Life in Football, set to publish in September 2018.

HarperFiction has bought a “brilliant, dark debut novel” which explores the many identities women “juggle” throughout life from former agent Hannah Begbie, inspired by her son’s cystic fibrosis.
Dark Matter
Debut author Winnie M Li has been voted the winner of the Guardian's Not the Booker Prize for her novel Dark Chapter (Legend Press), based on the true story of her sexual assault.
Kathryn Taussig
Bookouture associate publisher Kathryn Taussig has made her first acquisitions for the publisher: two psychological thrillers from Lucy Dawson, a saga series from debut author Lizzie Page, and two romantic comedies from self-published author Debbie Viggiano.
Jake Williams
Jake Williams, winner of the Business Design Centre’s New Designer of the Year 2017, has signed a three book deal with Pavilion Children's Books.
Amazon is to create 1,200 new jobs with the opening of a fulfilment centre in Bolton in 2018.
Joanna Lumley
David Litchfield’s The Bear and the Piano will be narrated by Joanna Lumley in an “entrancing” film.

Publishers Lunch

Former president of Macmillan Brian Napack will join Wiley as president and ceo, starting December 4. He has been senior advisor for private equity firm Providence Equity Partners since 2012, and serves on the boards of companies including Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Ingram, Blackboard, and Recorded Books. He will "will transition off certain of these boards. "

Interim ceo since Mark Allin resigned in May for family reasons Matthew Kissner will remain as chairman of Wiley's board. He says: "After a thorough and thoughtful search, the Board of Directors unanimously agreed on Brian as the type of proven leader that can drive our continuous evolution as the trusted, innovative partner that our customers rely on to deliver the critical content, tools and services that they need to meet their goals. Brian has the deep industry experience, the passion for our business, and the leadership ability to get us there."

Director Jesse Wiley adds, "Brian Napack brings years of proven success navigating digital change and driving innovation in publishing, media, and education. In our 210th year of advancing knowledge and learning, we welcome his energy, direction, and leadership as well as his passion for our mission and the customers we serve."

Separately, McGraw-Hill Education ceo David Levin is leaving the company. Lloyd "Buzz" Waterhouse returns to the company as interim president and chief executive officer. He was president and ceo of MHE from June 2012 to April 2014, overseeing the separate from from McGraw-Hill Financial.

Annie Gardner joins Random House Children's as associate email marketing manager. She previously worked for 24Seven as senior demand generation coordinator.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

New Zealand illustrator Sarah Wilkins on the international stage

Based in Wellington, illustrator Sarah Wilkins has an international career working for some of the world’s leading publications.
Wilkins is the only New Zealand illustrator to contribute to Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls – the phenomenally successful international children’s book that’s been a bestseller worldwide with its profiles and portraits of remarkable women.
Her illustrations appear regularly in media such as the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, The Telegraph and the Washington Post.

Sarah Wilkins has designed a mural in Paris, advertising campaigns that appear on the sides of buses in Helsinki, tote bags sold in New York and T-shirts worn in Japan.

Her illustrations have won awards and been exhibited in the USA, UK, France, Australia, Taiwan and New Zealand. This month Gecko Press releases Sarah Wilkins’ fourth picture book, The Longest Breakfast, written by Jenny Bornholdt.

Jenny Bornholdt is an acclaimed poet. In 2005–06 she was the NZ Poet Laureate and she received the 2003 Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate Award. She lives in Wellington, New Zealand.
The pair collaborated previously on A Book Is a Book (Gecko Press 2013). Tilly Lloyd (Unity Books) said: you couldn’t get a more delightful collaboration.

The Longest Breakfast is a lovely family story with a kindly rumpled dad. The book has a diverse cast, relatable father, sisters, neighbours, friends – it’s a thoroughly contemporary household. It can be seen as a slapstick, with characters making unexpected entrances and with many misunderstandings.

‘Toot and Buzz’ as the book has become known in our house – what does the baby keep asking for? – makes one of the most repetitive and familiar parts of family life fresh and captivating, with delightful characters, bright illustrations and enough to chat about with little ones to last dozens of readings. It’s a winner. Thalia Kehoe Rowden for The Sapling

Sarah Wilkins is available for interviews and you can meet her at the Alliance Francaise Wellington on November 8 at 9am for a talk about her artistic life between France and New Zealand. 

The Longest Breakfast will be launched at The Children’s Bookshop in Wellington on October 29 at 10am. 

The Roundup with PW

Richard Wilbur Dies at 96: The poet, who won two Pulitzer Prizes and served as the national poet laureate, died on Saturday in Belmont, Mass.

Miss. Schools Kill 'Mockingbird': The Biloxi school district in Mississippi has decided to remove the "uncomfortable" book 'To Kill a Mockingbird' from its junior-high reading list.

Guinness vs. Scholastic: Guinness World Records has claimed that the publisher is trying to steal its business with a 'Book of World Records' similar to Guinness’s books.

Potter Exhibit Sells 30K in Advance: The British Library has revealed that its Harry Potter exhibition has sold more than 30,000 tickets, the most ever for an event of its kind.

On Homelessness at Libraries: What's a library to do about homelessness in what is a decidedly public space?

Publishers Lunch

Today's Meal

John Donatich has been named to a fourth term as director Yale University Press, where he has served for 15 years. Julia Reidhead, president of W. W. Norton and chair of the board of governors of Yale University Press, says, "John Donatich's reappointment is welcome news. His deep publishing wisdom, discerning editorial taste, and energetic leadership are at the heart of Yale University Press's reputation as a top-tier university press."

Riddhi Parekh is joining Laura Dail Literary Agency as international rights manager and agent, starting October 16. She was most recently children's scout for Franklin & Siegal Associates.

At Atria, Tasha Hilton has been promoted to senior digital marketing manager and Jackie Jou has been promoted to assistant marketing director.

Poet Laureate Richard Wilbur,96,
died on Saturday. Wilbur received the 1957 Pulitzer as well as the National Book Award for Things of This World, and another Pulitzer in 1988 for New and Collected Poems.


A new bookstore, Fabled Bookstore and Cafe will open next summer in Waco, TX. Owners Alison Frenzel and Kimberly Batson plan to fill the 7,500-square-foot with "20,000 to 30,000 books, along with a coffee bar, a fun children's section and event space that will be open to author's readings and children's birthday parties."

Philip Levy, 72, owner of Bridge Street Books in Georgetown
died on October 12 after a heart attack. He founded the bookstore in 1980.