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.
Carl Llewellyn Weschcke, chairman of Minnesota publisher Llewellyn Worldwide—the largest and oldest New Age publisher in the world—passed away November 7, 2015, at the age of 85. Weschcke was the owner of the publishing company since 1961, a prominent figure in the New Age community, and a former president of the Minnesota branches of the ACLU and the NAACP.
Bruce Dayton, father of Minnesota governor Mark Dayton and one of the five brothers who helped build the Dayton’s/Target empire, died November 13, 2015, at the age of 97. In addition to his family business success and large donations to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Dayton founded the B. Dalton chain of bookstores, which was later bought out by Barnes & Noble.
The cover was released this past week for prequel novel Shadows of the Dark Crystal by Minneapolis author J. M. Lee, due for publication in June 2016. Publisher Grosset & Dunlap also announced that artist Cory Godbey will do the interior illustrations. Brian Froud, the iconic fantasy artist and costume designer for the Dark Crystal film, created the cover art.
German filmmaker Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire) is developing a film based on the book Submergence by J. M. Ledgard, published in the United States by Coffee House Press, with James McAvoy (X-Men, Atonement) to star.
Several more Neil Gaiman updates to report: Sandman: Overture was published November 10; the film adaptation of How to Talk to Girls at Parties—based on the short story from Gaiman’s collection Fragile Things and starring Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning—has started filming; the Sydney Morning Herald published an article with further details on the recently-announced adaptation of Fortunately, the Milk; and show-runner Bryan Fuller discussed the American Gods Starz series in an interview with Crave.
An Illinois woman attracted the Internet’s attention for reading a book while on camera at a Donald Trump rally—specifically Citizen, the award-winning book of poetry by Claudia Rankine published by Graywolf Press.
Shelf Awareness profiled travel publisher and online bookstore Longitude Books, which opened its first physical store at its office in Plymouth, Minnesota in October.
On November 18, 2015, the Red Balloon Bookshop will host author Marissa Meyer at the University Club of St. Paul to celebrate the launch of Winter, the final installment in her Lunar Chronicles fantasy series. The $26 ticket price includes a copy of the book.
On November 24, 2015, author Ian Doescher will appear at at Magers & Quinn Booksellers in Minneapolis to read from William Shakespeare’s Tragedy of the Sith’s Revenge, the third installment in his series of Shakespearean re-imaginings of the original Star Wars trilogy. Dress up as a character from Star Wars or as a Shakespearen character for a chance to win the costume contest. Details are on the bookstore events page.
Irish author Eoin Colfer will write a YA novel for Marvel featuring Iron Man, set for publication in 2016. (The film adaptation of Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series, for which he’s best known, is currently in development with Kenneth Branagh as director.)
Farrar, Straus & Giroux has acquired North American rights to the first novel by film icon and writer John Waters, Liarmouth, as well as a new collection of essays. The novel is apparently described as a “feel-bad romance.”
Following weeks and months of speculation, Amazon opened its first brick-and-mortar store in the company’s home city of Seattle on November 3, 2015. In separate news, Amazon Publishing announced the Little A Poetry Contest in which poets can win a $5,000 prize and an advance and contract with its Little A imprint. The deadline for submissions is December 20, 2015. The winner will be announced in April 2016.
On November 6, 2015—in response to the vote earlier in the week to repeal the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance—the Association of Writers and Writing Programs wrote on its Facebook page that it would no longer consider the Texas city as a host site for its massive annual conference. Minneapolis hosted AWP 2015.
The winners of the 2015 World Fantasy Awards were announced November 8 at the World Fantasy Convention with David Mitchell taking home the best-novel prize for The Bone Clocks. It was also announced that going forward, the award statues will no longer be modeled on author H. P. Lovecraft.
Four Hong Kong employees of publisher and bookstore Sage Communications have been reported as missing, with speculation that their disappearance is related to the company’s publication of books critical of the leadership in mainland China.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is launching a new sci-fi and fantasy imprint to be edited by John Joseph Adams, editor of a number of SFF anthologies, publisher of Nightmare and Lightspeed magazines, and producer for the Wired podcast Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy. John Joseph Adams Books will publish its first titles in February 2016.
Author J. K. Rowling confirmed that she is working on a new children’s book under her own name (as opposed to the Robert Galbraith pseudonym used for her recent Cormoran Strike mystery series). For more Rowling news, see below.
Random House will publish three books in its Little Golden Books series featuring Internet star Grumpy Cat.
A collection of essays by the late Henning Mankell, author of the Kurt Wallander detective series who passed away from cancer in October, will be published in February 2016.
Abrams has acquired US publication rights to the “feminist, folkloric” novel Maresi by Finnish author Maria Turtschaninoff, the first in a planned trilogy. The book was originally published by Tammi, part of the Bonnier Group, but London-based Pushkin Press held English-language rights until this sale.
The foundation that owns the publication rights to Anne Frank’s famous diary announced that it intends to extend the copyright that had been set to expire in Europe in January 2016.
Two previously unknown works by female authors have surfaced: a short story by Edith Wharton, which was discovered in Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and a poem by a teenage Charlotte Brontë, which the Brontë Society is acquiring from a family in the United States.
And Lionsgate is developing two theme parks—one in the United States and one in China—that will feature attractions based on The Hunger Games, Divergent, and other series.
Page to Screen
The BBC will adapt Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy into an eight-part TV series. The first novel in the series, Northern Lights, which was published in the US as The Golden Compass and celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2015 was made into a 2007 feature film. But sequels The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass never made it to the screen. (If you need something to tide you over until the adaptation arrives, check out Pullman’s recent interview with Slate.)
A film is in development for 2017 based on Polish fantasy series The Witcher (Wiedźmin) by Andrzej Sapkowski. The novels are probably best known in the US for their video game adaptation by CD Projekt RED, but they were previously made into a Polish TV series and film (which were released internationally but didn’t do well) as well as a board game by Minnesota company Fantasy Flight Games. The new production will be directed by Oscar nominee Tomasz Bagiński (The Cathedral) who was behind the game intro for The Witcher 2.
Following a bidding war, Pascal Pictures has acquired film rights to the forthcoming memoir Crash Override: How to Save the Internet from Itself by video-game developer Zoe Quinn, best known to the general public for being at the center of Gamergate. Scarlett Johansson has reportedly expressed interest in playing Quinn.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the best-selling guide to home and life reorganization, is being made into a half-hour comedy series for NBC. It will follow “a young woman in a moment of crisis who attempts to get her messy life in order.”
Twilight author Stephanie Meyer and Lionsgate are developing a TV series for Hulu based on the novel The Rook by Daniel O’Malley.
Speaking of Lionsgate, screenwriter Allan Loeb (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps) will adapt the novel Q by Evan Mandery for the studio. Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence will executive produce with Matt Tolmach (The Amazing Spider-Man) and Erwin Stoff (13 Hours).
Woody Harrelson is “in talks with Brie Larson” to star in The Glass Castle—based on the memoir by Jeannette Walls—also at Lionsgate. Larson is the star of Room (currently in theaters), based on the novel by Emma Donoghue.
Broad Green Pictures has optioned the memoir I Don’t Care about Your Band by Julie Klausner.
Films opening November 20, 2015 include:
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 2, the last installment in the film series based on Suzanne Collins’s trilogy (and in case you missed it, check out Anissa’s guide to some other YA dystopian books to fill the Hunger Games-shaped hole in your heart!)
- Secret in Their Eyes, the second film—though the first in English—based on the novel La pregunta de sus ojos (The Question in Their Eyes) by Argentinian author Eduardo Sacheri, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, and Julia Roberts
- Carol, based on the The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith (best known for Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley). The film stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara and is directed by patron saint of queer melodrama Todd Haynes (Far from Heaven, I’m Not There)
Victor Frankenstein, a retelling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein from the perspective of the mad scientist’s assistant, Igor, opens November 25, 2015. It stars Daniel Radcliffe as Igor and James McAvoy as the title character.
Disney released a teaser trailer for Alice through the Looking Glass, the sequel to Tim Burton’s 2010 live-action adaptation of Alice in Wonderland starring Mia Wasikowska and Johnny Depp.
The first full trailer is out for Allegiant, the third film in the Divergent series based on the novels by Veronica Roth.
The final trailer is out for In the Heart of the Sea, based on the nonfiction book by Nathaniel Philbrick. The film opens December 11.