Book Geek Bulletin: Fitzgerald, Fantasy, and Films

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Welcome to a new regular feature where we round up what’s going on in the world of literary culture and books—both here in Minnesota and around the world.

Local Lit

The Strand literary magazine has published “Temperature,” a never-before-seen short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald that was discovered in his papers at Princeton University. You can buy the issue here. Fitzgerald’s former brownstone on St. Paul’s Summit Avenue has been for sale since June, if you have $650,000 lying around.

Florida-to-Minnesota transplant and Newbery Award–winning children’s author Kate DiCamillo (Because of Winn-Dixie, The Tale of Desperaux) has signed a new book with her longtime publisher, Candlewick Press, along with New Yorker cartoonist Harry Bliss.

The Report book cover Adventures in the Anthropocene book cover Cat Is Art Spelled Wrong book cover

A stage adaptation of Jessica Francis Kane’s historical mystery novel The Report, published by Graywolf Press in 2010, debuted at the 2015 New York Fringe Festival.

Adventures in the Anthropocene by Gaia Vince, published in the US by Milkweed Editions, made the shortlist for the 2015 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books, “the only major international prize that celebrates science writing for a non-specialist audience.” It was originally published by Random House imprint Chatto & Windus.

Will Braden, creator of Henri, le Chat Noir, who was here for the fourth annual Internet Cat Video Festival on August 13, stopped by Coffee House Press to sign copies of Cat Is Art Spelled Wrong, CHP’s book of essays about cat videos and our obsession with them. The book is due out in September. Earlier in the month, the small indie press announced that it would start paying its publishing interns.

No buyers have surfaced yet for mystery bookstore Once Upon A Crime, which went up for sale earlier this summer.

Rain Taxi has announced guests for this year’s Twin Cities Literary Festival, which takes place October 17 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Click here for the list.

Minnesota Book Award winner Shawn Lawrence Otto reads at the Loft in 2012.

Minnesota Book Award winner Shawn Lawrence Otto reads at the Loft in 2012.

The Loft Literary Center announced the winners of its 2015–2016 Mentor Series, which “offers twelve emerging Minnesota writers the opportunity to work intensively with six nationally acclaimed writers of prose and poetry.” The center will celebrate its 40th anniversary on August 22.

Nominations opened August 1 for the 28th annual Minnesota Book Awards. A few nominees have already been listed (see here), and plenty more will continue to roll in until the December 5 deadline. Applications for preliminary and final-round judges for the awards also opened August 1 and will be open until September 14.

Winners have been chosen for the 2015 Great Lakes Great Reads Awards:
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (Knopf), Adult Fiction
The Arsenal of Democracy by A. J. Baime (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Adult Nonfiction
Otis and the Scarecrow by Loren Long (Philomel), Children’s Picture Book
Mosquitoland by David Arnold (Viking Books for Young Readers), Children’s/YA Fiction

Global News

Fans celebrated Harry Potter’s 35th birthday—and J. K. Rowling’s 50th—on July 31. (In other Potterverse news, Colin Farrell is joining Eddie Redmayne in the film version of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Warner Bros. may be taking action against the Denver-based Hogshead Brewery for possible trademark violation.)

Ed Greenwood  at Gen Con Indy in 2012. Photo by John LaSala

Ed Greenwood at Gen Con Indy in 2012. Photo by John LaSala

Ed Greenwood, creator of the Forgotten Realms campaign setting for Dungeons and Dragons and the prolific author of more than 200 fantasy novels, is launching his own publishing group. The Ed Greenwood Group will publish its first novel this Halloween and plans to release 50 books every year. Read more at Publishers Weekly.

Two bits of news for Ernest Cline: Stephen Spielberg’s film version of his novel Ready Player One has been given a December 2017 release date, and the author has signed a massive deal for his currently untitled third book with Crown Publishing. Cline visited the Twin Cities last month for a reading of his recently released book Armada.

The Folio Society has released a gorgeous special edition of Dune in honor of the book’s 50th anniversary this year.

Go Set a Watchman, the highly publicized “sequel” to Harper Lee’s classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, published July 15, has stayed in the news—and at the top of the bestseller lists. It’s gotten a lot of attention not only for revelations about Atticus Finch’s character but for the quality of the book; at least one bookstore owner wrote an open letter saying that he would offer refunds because he felt that HarperCollins had misled the public about the book.

Ann McGovern, author of Stone Soup and over 50 other children’s books, died August 8 at the age of 85.

Fantasy writer P. C. Cast, author (with daughter Kristen) of the New York Times best-selling House of Night series, signed a three-book deal for a new series titled Tales of a New World with publisher St. Martin’s Press. The first installment, Earth Walker, is scheduled for next fall.

A group of architects are running an IndieGogo campaign to raise £1.85 billion to for a life-size recreation of Minas Tirith from The Lord of the Rings in southern England. “Realise Minas Tirith” runs through the end of September and has raised over £80,000 in the 18 days it’s been live. In response, fantasy author Tom Stacey launched a countercampaign, “Destroy Minas Tirith,” to crowdfund a recreation of the orcs’ siege of the city.

And on the corporate side of things, the big news over the weekend was the New York Times’ fairly scathing article about the working conditions at Amazon HQ. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (in a company-wide memo published by GeekWire) and company exec Nick Ciubotariu (in a post on LinkedIn) claimed the article’s descriptions were untrue. It’s not the first time Amazon’s work environment has been in the news; journalist Brad Stone made similar claims last year in his book The Everything Store.

Page to Screen

More new cast members for the next season of Game of Thrones have been announced, including the legendary Max von Sydow (The Seventh Seal, Never Say Never Again, Minority Report, and the list goes on) as the Three-Eyed Raven, who was played by another actor for the one brief scene he had in a previous season; and Ian McShane (Deadwood), whose role hasn’t been revealed. If unbridled speculation and George R. R. Martin’s LiveJournal blog aren’t enough to hold you until the season premiere, maybe the official Game of Thrones adult coloring book due out in October will help.

The first teaser has been released for Westworld, Jonathan Nolan’s HBO series based on the 1973 film of the same name that was written and directed by Michael Crichton.

A trailer has also been released for Trumbo, based on Trumbo: A Biography of the Oscar-Winning Screenwriter Who Broke the Hollywood Blacklist by Bruce Cook. The cast includes Bryan Cranston, Louis CK, John Goodman, Alan Tudyk, and more.

The End of the Tour, the biopic about author David Foster Wallace (Infinite JestBrief Interviews with Hideous Men) starring Jason Segel as the man himself, opened July 31. It currently has a solid score of 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film adaptation of Phoebe Gloeckner’s graphic novel The Diary of a Teenage Girl opened August 7. It, too, is sitting at 93 percent on the Tomatometer so far.

The film adaptation of The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, the best-selling book about serial killer H. H. Holmes and his Chicago “murder castle,” may finally be happening with Martin Scorcese as director. Paramount has owned the film rights for more than 10 years (the book was published in 2003), but it’s been delayed and delayed. Leonardo DiCaprio has been attached since 2010.

Showtime has acquired the rights to punk musician Patti Smith’s memoir, Just Kids, for a “limited series.” It will be co-written and produced by Smith and John Logan (creator of Penny Dreadful), who have apparently been working on the project for a while. Just Kids won the National Book Award when it was published in 2010.

And love it or hate it, the first posters have been released for the sequel to Disney’s live-action Alice in Wonderland. (In related news, a lot of people just learned that there was going to be a sequel to Disney’s live-action Alice in Wonderland.) The film is called Alice through the Looking Glass and opens May 27, 2016.

Alice through the Looking Glass poster featuring Alice Alice through the Looking Glass poster featuring the Mad Hatter

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