Book Geek Bulletin is a 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.
On September 28, 2015, St. Paul author Julie Schumacher became the first woman to win the Thurber Prize for American Humor since the award was established in 1996. The U of M professor, nominated for her novel Dear Committee Members, is in good company—past winners include David Sedaris and Jon Stewart.
In a similar vein, Gaia Vince has won the Royal Society Winton Prize for Adventures in the Anthropocene, published in the US by Milkweed Editions. She is the first solo female author to win the prize in its 27-year history.
And Claudia Rankine won the prestigious Forward Prize for Best Collection for Citizen, published by Graywolf Press. As mentioned last time, Rankine just recently won the PEN Literary Award for poetry.
I reported in August that author Kate DiCamillo (Because of Winn-Dixie, The Tale of Desperaux), who grew up in Florida but has lived in Minnesota for 20 years, had signed a new book with Candlewick Press. The publisher has now released the title and cover art for the book, which is called Raymie Nightingale and comes out in April 2016. Entertainment Weekly also has an exclusive excerpt here.
Former Minnesotan Cheryl Strayed—best known for her best-selling memoir Wild, which was adapted into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon—has been named the 2015 official spokesperson for Indies First, the “national campaign of activities and events in support of independent bookstores, first envisioned by author Sherman Alexie in 2013.”
Twin Cities print and digital literary magazine Paper Darts has launched a redesigned website and reopened for submissions—but they will no longer be accepting poetry. Read the full announcement here.
The 2016 longlists for the Carnegie Medals include two authors who will be guests at the Twin Cities Book Festival later this month: Joe Meno (Marvel and a Wonder) and Joy Williams (The Visiting Privilege).
On September 19, we profiled Twin Cities Geek contributor and local fiction author T. A. Wardrope here on the site.
St. Paul Public Library director Kit Hadley (who also previously served as the director of the Minneapolis Public Library) is retiring.
Bookish events happening in Minnesota in the first half of October 2015:
- Books & Bars is discussing The Secret History by Donna Tartt on October 6 at the Happy Gnome in St. Paul (6:15 p.m.) and October 13 at Republic Calhoun Square in Minneapolis (7:00).
- As mentioned last time, NerdCon: Stories comes to the Minneapolis Convention Center October 9 and 10. At least two of the authors appearing at the convention are doing other appearances while they’re here: Patrick Rothfuss in Roseville on October 8 and Rainbow Rowell at St. Paul Central High School on October 9.
- October 10 is the fourth annual Star Wars Reads Day. A number of special events will be going on—stay tuned for separate coverage. (Update: Click here for our events roundup!)
- October 10 is also the date of the Sinclair Lewis Writers Conference in Sauk Centre.
- Opus & Olives, the annual fundraising gala for the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, is October 11. This year’s author guests are Emily St. John Mandel (Station Eleven), Homer Hickam (Rocket Boys), Paula McLain (The Paris Wife), and NBC weatherman Al Roker (The Storm of the Century).
- Sherlock Holmes and the Clocktower Mystery, an interactive murder-mystery exhibit, opens October 14 at the Science Museum of Minnesota.
Speaking of events, Paula Hawkins, UK author of the best-selling novel The Girl on the Train, announced a five-stop US book tour taking place later this month, and Edina, Minnesota, is one of the lucky cities.
Aamong the three books selected for this month’s Midwest Connections Picks, a promotional program of the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association, is the illustrated book North Woods Girl, written by Twin Cities author Aimée Bissonette and published by Minnesota Historical Society Press.
And The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli, translated by Christina MacSweeney and published by Coffee House Press, made the shortlist for the Kirkus Prize in fiction.
Victoria Aveyard has signed with HarperCollins to extend her Red Queen series to a fourth book (the second and third are scheduled for 2016 and 2017). The deal also includes a second novel, with details still forthcoming.
Best-selling author Alice Hoffman will publish a prequel to Practical Magic, titled The Rules of Magic and set in New York City in the 1960s. The first book was published 20 years ago and was adapted into a 1998 film starring Sandra Bullock and Nichole Kidman.
Blizzard Entertainment has made a deal with sci-fi imprint Del Rey, part of the Penguin Random House umbrella, for a series of books set in the worlds of World of Warcraft and StarCraft. The program launches in March 2016 with World of Warcraft: Illidan by Bill King (Games Workshop’s Warhammer series), followed by a StarCraft novel by Timothy Zahn (Star Wars expanded universe).
- The Peacock Palace, a new novel by Anthony Marra, the New York Times best-selling author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena and The Tsar of Love and Techno
- Not a Cautious Man, a memoir by actor James Caan (The Godfather, Thief)
- A book by Asi Burak, president of nonprofit Games For Change, “on how ‘impact games’ are bettering our society and how we can support them in the future”
- Troublemaker, a memoir by actress Leah Remini (King of Queens) about her life with the Church of Scientology—which she left in 2013—to be published on November 3, 2015
The Art of Language Invention by David J. Peterson, who created both Dothraki and Valyrian for the Game of Thrones TV series, was published September 29, 2015. Wired has an article about it here, and Peterson will be doing an AMA (“Ask Me Anything” session) on Reddit, specifically /r/books, on October 13, 2015.
After a dispute with US publisher Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, German children’s fantasy author and illustrator Cornelia Funke (Inkheart) has announced that she’s opening her own press, Breathing Books. Publishers Weekly reports that the “creative differences” involved some requested changes to her novel The Golden Yarn, the latest book in her MirrorWorld series, which was to be re-titled Heartless for US publication. Funke will be republishing all three installments in the series under their original European titles through the new company.
Ebook subscription service Oyster is closing shop, with most of its staff moving to Google.
Author Kameron Hurley posted a nice blog entry on the numbers of publishing—a useful read if you’re an author trying to set your expectations for success. (Credit to MN Publishing Tweet-Up for the share!)
Buzzfeed matched up looks from New York Fashion Week to covers of famous books, and it’s actually pretty great. The post’s creator commented on Facebook, “I looked at over 40,000 Fashion Week photos to make this post SO APPRECIATE IT.”
In response to the story about author Michael Derrick Hudson’s use of a Chinese pseudonym for his entry in The Best American Poetry, mentioned last time, the Asian American Writers’ Workshop released reactions to the situation from 19 of its writers.
The revamped Pottermore website launched on September 22 with new writing from J. K. Rowling. (In other Potter news, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child—the West End play that’s been in development since 2013—will be split into two parts. Because of course it will.)
Speaking of plays, Nick Offerman (better known as Ron Swanson) gave an interview about his role as Ignatius Reilly in the upcoming stage play based on A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.
And a number of literary figures passed away in the second half of September, including:
- Best-selling novelist Jackie Collins
- Publisher Jeremy Tarcher
- Literary agent Carmen Balcells
- Spirituality author Phyllis Tickle
Page to Screen
A trailer was released September 15, 2015, for The Jungle Book, the live-action adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s work. It features a star-studded supporting cast and, as you might expect from director Jon Favreau (Iron Man), it looks significantly darker and more action-y than its 1967 animated predecessor. The film is currently slated to open in April 2016.
Dimension Television is developing a series based on Stephen King’s The Mist.
The National Geographic Channel and Scott Free Productions (Ridley Scott’s production company) will develop an adaptation of Fox political commentator Bill O’Reilly’s latest book (with Martin Dugard), Killing Reagan, to air in 2016. The team has already collaborated on three previous O’Reilly adaptations: Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy, and Killing Jesus.
Best-selling historical novel Circling the Sun, the latest book by Paula McClain (best known for The Paris Wife), is being adapted into a film by Imperative Entertainment.
In an interview with Collider, showrunner Steven Moffat indicated that series (season) 4 of the BBC’s Sherlock will begin filming in “April-ish” 2016. Meanwhile, the show’s Christmas special will air “soon-ish.”
Maisie Williams, best known as Arya Stark in Game of Thrones, will play the lead in the film based on Carrie Ryan’s best-selling postapocalyptic zombie novel The Forest of Hands and Teeth.
In what Deadline describes as a “competitive situation,” Amazon Studios has acquired the rights to Paramount’s series Jack Ryan, based on the character by Tom Clancy.
The first trailer for The Big Short, based on the best-selling nonfiction book The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis, was released September 22. The film’s long list of notable cast members includes Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Karen Gillan, and more.
The Martian, based on the novel by Andy Weir, also opens October 2.
And Pan opens in theaters October 9. Plenty of people are excited about Hugh Jackman as a pirate, but the production has also taken heat for casting white actress Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily. (On a separate note, this is actually one of two adaptions of J. M. Barrie’s works coming out in short order. The other is ITV’s drama Peter and Wendy, starring Stanley Tucci and Paloma Faith—not in the title roles—announced earlier this year.)