The longlist for the “World’s Oldest Sports Book Prize” has just been revealed and well done to Biteback, who have a title on it! The sixteen-title longlist for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award was announced yesterday, and what some term the ‘Bookie Prize’ (now in its 29th year) is sports-writing’s most valuable and prestigious award. As well as £29,000 in cash, this year’s winning author will receive a free £2,500 William Hill bet, and a day at the races. The Greatest Comeback: From Genocide to Football Glory by David Bolchover (£20, hb, 978 1785901393) is the remarkable story of Béla Guttmann: the first superstar football coach who in 1961, as coach of Benfica, lifted one of football's greatest prizes: the European Cup – a feat he repeated the following year paving the way for the celebrated coaches of the modern age. More extraordinarily still, Guttmann was a Holocaust survivor. Having narrowly dodged death by hiding for months in an attic near Budapest as thousands of fellow Jews in the neighbourhood were dragged off to be murdered, Guttmann later escaped from a slave labour camp. He was one of the lucky ones. His father, sister and wider family perished at the hands of the Nazis. As the Times wrote: "Moving, original, full of insight, this is a gripping tale told by a skilled storyteller. You don't need to be interested in the Holocaust to find this fascinating account of some great footballing moments absorbing. And you don't need to be interested in football to want to learn about this tale of survival. But if you are by chance interested in both, you will find this book extraordinary." The shortlist for the Sports Book of the Year will be announced on 24th October 2017 and the winner will be announced on Tuesday 28th November. You can find out about all of the titles on the longlist here.
Biggest book-to-movie hit in the cinemas at present must surely be Stephen King’s It which seems to be scaring the bejesus out of just about everyone. Luckily, there is a way to turn your shrieks of horror at the creepy AF clown Pennywise into shrieks of laughter via the entertaining Twitter account @Pennywise_Dance. Have a watch on BuzzFeed here. Even Stephen King himself has got involved, suggesting Lou Bega’s Mambo #5 as a possible option – yep, that works for me!
Lots and lots of enthusiasm on social media for the announcement that Polygon are reissuing all twenty-two Muriel Spark books with beautiful new jackets – as revealed in last week’s Compass Points. Golden Hare Books tweeted “YYYYYAAAAAAAASSSSSSSS wonderful @PolygonBooks have done good” and Sophie Hannah said “Look at these beautiful Muriel Spark new editions! Hmm ... going to have to buy these on covers alone.” You can see lots more info about the new editions and other plans for the Muriel Spark centenary celebrations on Twitter by following @murielspark100 and also by using #MurielSpark100. Here's the Bookseller article.
Book dedications. Usually pretty generic and boring, right? But not always… How about Joan Rivers’ “This book be dedicated to Kanye West because he’ll never fuckin’ read it” or “For Mom. (Just skip over the sex scenes please)”. Have a look on the Bored Panda website for some of the most creative – you can even vote for your faves!
Macmillan Cancer Support’s drive to encourage people to Go Sober for October sounds like a very good thing (you can find out more at www.gosober.org.uk) and if you are mounting a Books Go Sober for October display, then don’t forget to order the Arcturus Easyway titles which are bestsellers in this field. They are: The Easy Way to Control Alcohol (978 1848374652, £7.99), Stop Drinking Now (978 1848379824, £9.99), Your Personal Stop Drinking Plan (978 1784283636, £8.99) The Easy Way for Women to Stop Drinking (978 1785991936, £8.99), The Illustrated Easyway to Stop Drinking (978 1784045043, £4.99) and No More Hangovers (978 1848375550, £4.99). All are paperback, and all are in stock. For those not familiar with Allen Carr’s Easyway method, this highly effective plan which was originally designed to help smokers, has now been successfully applied to a wide range of other issues. Alcohol abuse is one of the fastest-growing problems of modern times and many believe that to stop drinking is an impossible task. Luckily, Easyway is a tried-and-tested cessation method that really works. With startling insight into why we drink and simple, step-by-step instructions, Easyway shows you the way to escape from the alcohol trap, painlessly and permanently. The book removes the psychological need to drink and helps drinkers regain control of their lives. You can see all six jackets for above for this series which the Sun hailed as "a different approach ... a stunning success" and the Standard called "an intelligent and original method."
A strong shortlist of six writers celebrating the bold and transformative power of the short story for the 2017 BBC National Short Story Award has now been revealed. Celebrating its twelfth year, the Award is one of the most prestigious for a single short story, with the winning author receiving £15,000 and four further shortlisted authors £600 each. Selected from over 600 entries, this year’s shortlist is: Murmur by Will Eaves, The Waken by Jenni Fagan, The Edge of the Shoal by Cynan Jones, The Collector by Benjamin Markovits and If a Book is Locked There’s Probably a Good Reason for That, Don’t You Think? by Helen Oyeyemi. Humanity and its enduring spirit, the mystical and mysterious, the known and unknown are all explored in a shortlist that shows just how unique the short story form is in allowing the writer true freedom to experiment. The anthology containing all five stories, The BBC National Short Story Award 2017 (978 1910974353, pb, £7.99) with an intro by the Chair of Judges, Joanna Trollope, was published this week by Comma Press and is available now. Plenty of publicity coming up for this one on the BBC: the shortlisted stories have been broadcast all this week at 7.15pm on Radio 4 accompanied by interviews with the authors; and the winner will be announced live on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row from 7.15pm on Tuesday 3 October. On Saturday 2 October two of the shortlisted writers, Jenni Fagan and Benjamin Markovits join the judges in conversation at the Small Wonder Charleston Festival. I love the cover for this year’s anthology! Last year’s anthology BBC Short Story Award 2016 (978 1910974278, pb, £7.99) which includes stories by K. J. Orr, Hilary Mantel, Tahmima Anam, Claire-Louise Bennett, Lavinia Greenlaw and edited by Jenni Murray; is also available.
The squabbling and strife those who are supposed to be governing us doesn’t look as if it will be abating any time soon, and anyone fascinated by the opportunism and cut-throat side of those in charge will enjoy Protest Vote: How Mainstream Parties Lost the Plot (£8.99, pb, 978 1783340729) by Tim Newark which is published by Gibson Square. This is the first history of the politics of discontent currently sweeping Britain; as the Spectator said, it is an “excellent and timely history of the decline of the old party system.” Through riveting inside accounts of Britain’s maverick politicians, historian Tim Newark takes us from the ascent of protest voting to the present-day electoral revolt against the two-party system to expose the feuds and raging rows that are tearing the system apart.
I have previously mentioned the moving and powerful Jessica Kingsley title Justice for Laughing Boy: Connor Sparrowhawk: A Death by Indifference by Sara Ryan (£12.99, pb, 978 1785923487); and there’s lots more coverage for it coming up. This mother's memoir which tells the story of her son's premature death while in NHS care, and her subsequent campaign for justice carries a strong message of how people with learning disabilities are fully human and deserve to be treated as such. #JusticeforLB is a high profile and ongoing campaign, already covered nationally by the Guardian and Sara Ryan was on Radio 4 today, giving her first national radio interview about the book; there is more about it on the BBC website here. Connor's story is already used to teach health and social care students and train staff and this book serves as a wake-up call to all of us asking whether we can really claim that we respect the life and dignity of learning disabled people. Justice for Laughing Boy is published on 19 October.
Congratulations to Carcanet who had two wins at last night’s Forward Prizes. Sinead Morrissey won the £10,000 award for Best Collection of Poetry and was awarded the prize at a ceremony in London's Royal Festival Hall for her sixth collection, On Balance. The Forward Prize is one of the most prestigious prizes in poetry, and previous winners include Ted Hughes, Carol Ann Duffy and Seamus Heaney. The journalist and broadcaster Andrew Marr chaired the 2017 judging panel and said the poems in On Balance were “full of energy. This is writing that successfully comes right up to the edge, again and again. We were taken by the openness, the capacity and the exuberance of this work. On Balance is a collection that readers will keep, and go back to for a long time to come." Ian Patterson’s The Plenty of Nothing won the £1,000 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem, which was featured in PN Review 230. This poem "speaks to the reader with great force and skill. Both complex and bold, this is the kind of poetry that will inspire other poets to take greater risks", said Marr. You can read more about the winners on the BBC here.
Teresa May has laid out her own ideas today about the sort of Brexit we should have – but do they chime with yours? Clean Brexit: Why Leaving the EU Still Makes Sense; Building a Post-Brexit Economy for All by Liam Halligan and Gerard Lyons was out this week from Biteback (978 1785902581, hb, £20.00) and as you’d expect has had plenty of publicity – you can read articles here in the Express, the Sunday Telegraph and The Spectator. Authors and economists Halligan and Lyons believe great days lie ahead and that freed from the EU’s regulatory stranglehold, the UK can thrive, spreading wealth throughout the whole of the country. Balanced and accessible, Clean Brexit claims to be the ultimate guide to making a success of Britain’s divorce from the EU; ooh, I do so hope our glorious leader has read it. Lord Lawson former Chancellor of the Exchequer called it “excellent. Thorough and lucid, the conclusion compelling.”
Ron Hutchinson is an Emmy-Award winning screenwriter who has worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Marlon Brando, Samuel L Jackson, Robin Williams, Steven Spielberg and Elizabeth Taylor. He has written for HBO, Universal Studios, Showtime, and the BBC, amongst others and has got the scars to prove it! Now he’s written a wickedly funny memoir, Clinging to the Iceberg (£14.99, pb, 978 1786822208) which explores the inner workings of the business of writing for hire. Genuinely laugh-out-loud, insightful, absurd but always true, it’s written by someone whose career has spanned over forty years on stage and on screen, including thirty lucrative and sometimes uproarious ones in Hollywood. It will astound and maybe even inspire you, while along the way revealing the REAL tricks of the dialogue writer’s trade. This smart, strong, unflinching analysis of the movie and television industries has the potential to be a real bestseller I think – it has loads of hilarious anecdotes including a near death experience on Venice Beach, being paid by DreamWorks to not actually work for them, and struggling to stay sane on location on one of the great movie flops of all time, The Island of Doctor Moreau. It’s out from Oberon at the end of September – there’s already a real buzz about it – Ron was on the Radio 2 Jonathan Ross Show last week which you can listen to here and there was a piece in the Observer last weekend which you can read here. There’s also an extract coming up in the Telegraph and an interview in the Guardian.
Ron Hutchinson is extremely entertaining about working on the film of The Island of Doctor Moreau (which is of course based on an 1896 HG Wells novel) in his book – and if you want to get a pretty good indication of exactly WHY it was such a flop (and give yourself a jolly good laugh in the process) then I strongly suggest you watch the trailer for it here!
And I don’t know if Ron came up with any of these gems, but here are Watch Mojo’s ten best opening lines in movies – and to finish, here are the top ten most affecting and iconic words spoken by the big screen heroes before they die!
That’s all for now folks! More next week!
This blog is taken form an e-newsletter which goes out weekly to over 700 booksellers as well as publishers and publicists. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the office on 020 8326 5696.