Thursday, February 28, 2013

Blokes nights and forensic scientists all part of the fun for NZ Book Month 2013

Hunters and fishermen grabbing  a beer at a “Blokes Night” listening to stories in the Mosgeil library and a kiwi forensic scientist telling the truth behind crime and pathology thrillers are among the contrasting events being organised throughout the country in March for Bookmonth 2013.
And upwards of $20 million of $5 vouchers will again be distributed through schools, letterboxes and retail outlets to be used to buy any book over the value of $10 from participating bookshops.

In Mosgeil the local library has organised an event for 6 March especially focussed on the books and stories of fishing and hunting in the region. The event in the Massey Library Waitakere on 14 March will feature Dr Anna Sandiford, author of Expert Witness a non-fiction look at the work of forensic scientists and pathologists on some of the most celebrated New Zealand crime scenes.

New Zealand Book Month is expected to be better than ever when it returns in March 2013, with a host of events organised to celebrate books, authors and reading around the country.

“Book month is focussed on extending the joy of reading throughout the country. Our community campaign this year consists of more than 170 events involving more than 140 New Zealand authors and scores of volunteers,” said NZ Book Month project manager, Megan Dunn.

“Books Change Lives” remains the theme for NZ Book Month with new ambassadors Ben and Libby Crawford, Oscar Kightley, and Dominic Harvey, joining Anna Langbein and Sir Peter Jackson in the line-up of celebrities promoting the event.

“Our ambassadors each year share their stories about the books that have influenced and shaped their lives. Oscar Kightley reminds us of the power of fairy tales to connect different cultures, while Libby Crawford talks about one of the most rewarding aspects of reading: enjoyment. We hope that readers new and old will get enjoyment from this instalment of NZ Book Month! There’s never been a better time to pick up a book.

A list of regional activities can be found on the New Zealand Book Month website

the story of a conversation between an author and a photographer

Think it through front cover

Tony Watkins
Haruhiko Sameshima

Thinking it through was originally published in Home and Building from 1988 to 1996 when Kirsty Robertson, then editor for “Home and Building” invited Tony Watkins, who had for many years been a contributor to the magazine, to begin a new column called simply, “Thinking it through”. She also invited Haruhiko Sameshima to contribute a photograph for each column. Haru had never met Tony. 

For each issue Tony sent an article to Haru and Haru replied with a photograph. Tony in turn responded to each photograph with another article in the next issue. This book is the story of that conversation between an author and a photographer.

Tony Watkins’ multifaceted career includes architect, author, educator, activist among others.  In his role as educator and through various organisations Tony has helped form local and global policy on sustainable development and architecture. He is one of the founders of International Architects Designers and Planners for Social Responsibility, initiator of Agenda 21, and the Peaceful Cities concept at the UN Habitat II Conference in Istanbul in 1996. As co-director of the International Union of Architects Sustainability Work Programme, representing more than 27 million architects globally, he advocated vernacular architecture which sustains the life of the planet and does no harm to stories, traditions, culture and place.  Tony has also authored numerous books and articles including: “The Human House,” “Piglet the Great of Karaka Bay,” and “Vernacular – An architecture for the RMA and Agenda 21.

This is a unique book featuring 46 essays that richly profile Tony’s accumulated philosophies on sustainability, architecture and environment, each illustrated by Haru’s photographs.

Published jointly by Karaka Bay Press and Rim Books.   ISBN 978-0-473-22308-3 $30.00
See the content and few teaser pages HERE

112 pages 300mmx245mm soft cover with flaps. Full colour illustrations.

Rim Books 
PO Box 68896   Newton   Auckland   1145   New Zealand
+64 (0)21 1705171

One Step Beyond

‘Malcolm Law has dealt with loss and adversity, and has overcome it in an extraordinary way. One Step Beyond proves that while the human body may have its limitations, the human spirit is truly boundless.’
Dean Karnazes, author of Ultramarathon Man

Malcolm Law is an ordinary man who took on an extraordinary goal. Many said it was impossible – even Mal himself doubted whether he would succeed. But he had a secret weapon: he carried a photo of his late brother, Alan.

In November 2009, Mal set out to run New Zealand’s seven mainland ‘Great Walks’ in seven days (the equivalent of nine mountain marathons), to ease an ancient pain, to honour Alan’s memory and to raise funds for others battling leukaemia, the cruel illness that robbed him of his only brother.

What followed is an uplifting story of determination, courage, out-and-out hard yakka and, ultimately, triumph. We share the endorphin-fuelled ecstasy and the agony of doubts, fears, blood, sweat and tears that became Mal’s life for nine months.

Vividly written and disarmingly candid, One Step Beyond is a story that will astound, enthral and inspire.

Here as a taster is his Introduction

 I REMEMBER IT like it happened just yesterday, Dad coming into my bedroom and gently nudging me awake. It was still dark outside and way too early to be getting up. So, what, I wondered, was he doing here at this unearthly hour? He was no more than a hazy silhouette against the light that he’d just turned on, but what he was about to say – using words that would rock my world and stay etched into my memory for evermore – was clear and unambiguous. ‘I’m sorry Malcolm, but Alan isn’t coming home this time, he died last night.’
It wasn’t yesterday; it was over 40 years ago – 24 March 1969, to be precise. But to this day, I can’t think of that moment or those words without dissolving into tears. It’s taken me an age to find the courage just to type them on this page. As I finally do so, I cry again.
Alan was my big brother, my only brother. At the time of his death he was 13 and I was not quite nine. He had been battling leukaemia, going in and out of hospital for seven months, but now his fight was over. And the course of my life was probably changed forever.

Penguin Books - $30.00 Publication 1 March

A few reasons to visit Auckland's Time Out Bookstore

• Free gift-wrapping • An eclectic selection of books on a huge variety of topics (including poetry, graphic novels, crafts and science!) • Friendly, knowledgeable staff • Lucinda the cat • Special ordering service • Free event/book club space upstairs • Regular philosophy club (see website for details) • Audio books • Quality blank journals • Unique gift cards • Regular customer competitions • E-newsletter • Eye-catching window displays • Len Vlahos (American Booksellers Association exCEO) said: ‘The selection, staff, and ambience are lovely’ • UK author Simon Winchester said: ‘I just adored Time Out: one of the nicest bookstores ever’.

Metro Best Bookshop 2009
Penguin NZ Best Bookshop 2008 & 2009
Thorpe-Bowker NZ Independent Bookshop 2004 & 2010 (runner up)

Open 7 days, 24hrs online
9AM to 9PM, retail shop

Time Out Bookstore Ltd
432 Mt Eden Road
Mt Eden
Auckland,  1024
New Zealand

P: 09 630 3331

Auckland Writers (& Readers) Festival Window 2012

Pig Tits & Parsley Sauce

“What’s for dinner? Pig tits and parsley sauce.” 
You wouldn’t hear that in too many New Zealand households, but for budgeting guru Lyn Webster the ‘waste not, want not’ sentiment holds true.

City girl turned sharemilker and solo mother of two teenage girls, Lyn Webster hit the wall financially in 2009, almost losing her hard-won business. To turn things around, Lyn knew that she’d have to make some significant lifestyle changes and, in a radical move, slashed her weekly grocery bill by half to $100. As a result, Lyn saved thousands of dollars, repaid a $16,000 loan and reinvigorated her business, increasing her operation by 25 percent. She also created a successful new business with the launch of website www., which received over a quarter of a million hits in just two years.

Many New Zealanders are feeling the pinch and looking for ways to save money and live more sustainably. Pig Tits & Parsley Sauce offers sage advice on how to live more economically, budget, reduce your household’s carbon footprint and be more self-sufficient. Budgeting guru Lyn Webster demonstrates how easily this can be done and shares a wealth of information about how to shop smarter, make and grow your own food, reduce household waste, recycle, set goals and successfully budget.
Lyn Webster also shows you how to make your own cleaning and laundry products using low-cost ingredients like baking soda, white vinegar and yellow soap. Who’d have thought that you could wash your hair with baking soda?! With more than 30 recipes included in the book, Lyn even demonstrates how to create your own cosmetics and shares delicious and simple recipes that will transform the family meal table and lunch boxes.

Pig Tits & Parsley Sauce is packed full of information about how to involve the whole family in new savings habits, significantly reducing weekly grocery bills and freeing up those hard-earned dollars to be utilised elsewhere – channelling them into savings or to spend on life’s other luxuries. Think of it as a viable alternative to optimising households’ limited resources, empowering consumer s to make better decisions around how they shop, eat and live. Lyn Webster is on a mission to save money and resist marketing pressures to consume expensive, highly refined packaged products. She knows that the ‘Pig Tits & Parsley Sauce’ way of life has not only saved her thousands of dollars, but enhanced her family’s health and wellbeing, enabling them to live more sustainable, eco-friendly lives.

Lyn Webster has worked in the dairy industry all over New Zealand and now lives in Northland. Her newspaper columns have led to TV appearances on Country Calendar, Campbell Live and Good Morning. Lyn is New Zealand’s ‘go to’ person for budgeting advice via her website and social media channels and, when time permits, she makes herself available for speaking engagements and classes, where she demonstrates how she makes her homemade products.

Pig Tits & Parsley Sauce |  RRP $25.00 | Penguin 

2013 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature

2013 Finalists for Prestigious Sami Rohr Literary Prize Announced

The People of Forever Are Not Afraid                           
Leaving the Atocha Station

The Book of Life                                                                                                  

New York, February 27th, 2013 — The Jewish Book Council today announced the finalists for the 2013 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. The prize distinguishes the important role of emerging writers in examining the Jewish experience. The award of $100,000—one of the largest literary prizes in the world—honors a specific work as well as the author’s potential to make significant contributions to Jewish literature. A runner-up is awarded $25,000. This year’s contenders are being recognized for their achievements in fiction. They are Shani Boianjiu, author of The People Of Forever Are Not Afraid (Hogarth/Crown Publishing Group), Ben Lerner, author of Leaving Atocha Station (Coffee House Press), Stuart Nadler, author of The Book of Life (Reagan Arthur/Back Bay Books), Asaf Schurr, author of Motti, translated by Todd Hasak Lowy (Dalkey Archive Press), and Francesca Segal, author of The Innocents (Voice/Hyperion). The authors hail from three countries, representing a global voice in Jewish literature. All finalists become a part of the Sami Rohr Jewish Literary Institute.

Sami Rohr, a noted philanthropist and businessman, who died in July of 2012 at age 86, viewed his philanthropy as an investment in the Jewish people and was as involved with charitable efforts as he was with his business.

The Rohr Prize has been given annually since 2007 and considers works of fiction and nonfiction in alternating years. “With this award, we are carrying forward Sami Rohr’s legacy and his vision of supporting emerging authors so that Jewish literature will thrive for generations,” says Carolyn Starman Hessel, director of the Jewish Book Council.

The winner will be announced in April 2013. The winner and finalists will be celebrated at a gala in New York City on May 29, 2013.

Biographical Information about the 2013 Rohr Prize Finalists

Shani Boianjiu is the author of The People Of Forever Are Not Afraid (Hogarth/Crown Publishing Group). Born in 1982 in Israel, Boianjiu grew up in Kfar Vradim, a village in the Western Galilee. After her military service, which she spent training combat soldiers in the use of weapons, she attended Harvard. Her novel is based on her experiences as a soldier in the IDF. She has been recognized by the National Book Foundation as one of their "5 Under 35" authors, based on a recommendation from the writer Nicole Krauss.

Ben Lerner, author of Leaving The Atocha Station (Coffeehouse Press), is an American poet, novelist, essayist, and critic. He was awarded the Hayden Carruth prize for his cycle of fifty-two sonnets, The Lichtenberg Figures. In 2004, Library Journal named it one of the year's twelve best books of poetry. The Lichtenberg Figures appeared in a German translation in 2010, for which it received the "Preis der Stadt Münster für internationale Poesie" in 2011, making Lerner the first American to receive this honor.

Stuart Nadler is the author of The Book Of Life (Reagan Arthur/Back Bay Books). He is the recipient of the “5 Under 35” award from the National Book Foundation. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where he was awarded a Truman Capote Fellowship and a Teaching-Writing Fellowship, he was also the Carol Houck Smith Fiction Fellow at the University of Wisconsin. He is the author of Wise Men, and the story collection The Book of Life.

Asaf Schurr is the author of Motti, translated by Todd Hasak Lowy (Dalkey Archive Press). Schurr was born in Jerusalem in 1976 and has a BA in philosophy and theater from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. At present he is a translator and writes literary reviews for the Hebrew press. Schurr has received the Bernstein Prize (2007), the Minister of Culture Prize (2007), and the Prime Minister's Prize (2008).

Francesca Segal is the author of The Innocents (Voice/Hyperion). She was born in London in 1980. Brought up between the UK and America, she studied at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, before becoming a journalist and writer. Her work has appeared in Granta, Newsweek, The Guardian, The Financial Times, and Vogue, amongst many others. She has been a features writer at Tatler, and for three years wrote the Debut Fiction column in The Observer.

About the Sami Rohr Award: In celebration of Sami Rohr's 80th birthday, his children and grandchildren inaugurated the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature to honor his lifelong love of Jewish writing. The annual award recognizes the unique role of contemporary writers in the transmission and examination of the Jewish experience. It is intended to encourage and promote outstanding writing of Jewish interest. Each year, the prize of $100,000 aims to reward an emerging writer whose work has demonstrated a fresh vision and evidence of further growth.

Recipients must have written a book of literary merit that stimulates an interest in themes of Jewish concern. Fiction and nonfiction books are considered in alternate years.

In conjunction with this award, the Rohr family has established the Sami Rohr Jewish Literary Institute, a forum devoted to the continuity of Jewish literature. The Prize and Institute are coordinated and administered under the exclusive auspices of the Jewish Book Council. Winners are selected by an independent panel of judges.

Two picture books featuring NZ heroes

Dreydon Sobanja
Illustrated by Jennifer Smith

Published by Inspired Kids Limited, 04 March 2013; RRP: $19.99


Inspirational Kiwi Sir Edmund Hillary was once just an ordinary boy, albeit with an extraordinary dream; to one day climb the biggest hill of them all, Mount Everest.

Ed Climbs a Big Hill is the charming, inspiring and educational story about Ed’s boyhood dream and how he turned his audacious dream into a reality; one step at a time, one foot after another, until he got all the way to the top!

Talented new writer Dreydon Sobanja has created publishing company Inspired Kids Limited ( and is the author behind a new series of children’s picture books about inspirational Kiwis, which he is writing to encourage young readers to dream big. Aimed at children aged between 4 and 7 years of age, his stories will also appeal to older children and adults.

Dreaming big is something Dreydon knows a lot about. Two years ago he hit rock bottom – he was 20kgs overweight, unfit and depressed – and knew that things had to change. He decided to compete in triathlons and to rekindle his creative side by writing and publishing children’s books. He has since competed in 15 triathlons, ten ocean swims (New Zealand’s fastest growing sport), was named as a ‘Contact Inspirational Kiwi’ at the Whangamata triathlon in 2011 and set up publishing company Inspired Kids Limited. Dreydon’s next lofty goal is to become a Triathlon age-group World Champion.
Ed Climbs a Big Hill is the first of two books Dreydon is publishing in March; the second is Jean Dreams of Flying, an inspiring story about another extraordinary Kiwi, Jean Batten. Dreydon will be writing and publishing more stories about Inspiring Kiwis in 2014 and beyond.

Beautifully illustrated by Auckland-based artist, illustrator and graphic designer Jennifer Smith, Ed Climbs a Big Hill draws young Kiwi readers in to the story and educates them about Ed’s life and extraordinary achievement. Dreydon also encourages kid’s to focus on THEIR dreams and, at the back of the book, gives them some key tools and resources to get them started on their journey all the way to the top.

Dreydon Sobanja was born in Auckland in 1972 and grew up on Waiheke Island. He graduated from the University of Auckland in 2004 with a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting, Management and Employment Relations, earning senior prizes in both his major subjects. He has lived and travelled extensively overseas, and worked in the field of accountancy for most of his life. He is passionate about health and fitness; and reaching out to Kiwi kid’s, inspiring them to make their dreams come true.

For more information about Sir Edmund Hillary, educational resources and teachers’ resources, and how to make your dreams come true, please visit

Dreydon Sobanja
Illustrated by Terry Fitzgibbon

Published by Inspired Kids Limited, 04 March 2013; RRP: $19.99

Inspirational Kiwi Jean Batten was once just a normal girl, albeit with an extraordinary dream; one in which she was a bird who could fly high, high up in the sky and far, far away.

Jean Dreams of Flying is the delightful, inspiring and educational story about Jean’s girlhood dream about wanting to fly high in the sky and far away. She may have been mocked by her annoying brother and friends, but Jean held fast to her dream and became the first woman in the world to fly all the way from England to Australia and back again.

Talented new writer Dreydon Sobanja has created his publishing company Inspired Kids Limited ( and is the author behind a new series of children’s picture books about inspirational Kiwis, which he is writing to encourage young readers to dream big. Aimed at children aged between 4 and 7 years of age, his stories will also appeal to older children and adults.

Dreaming big is something Dreydon knows a lot about. Two years ago he hit rock bottom – he was 20kgs overweight, unfit and depressed – and knew that things had to change. He decided to compete in triathlons and to rekindle his creative side by writing and publishing children’s books. He has since competed in 15 triathlons, ten ocean swims (New Zealand’s fastest growing sport), was named as a ‘Contact Inspirational Kiwi’ at the Whangamata triathlon in 2011 and set up publishing company Inspired Kids Limited. Dreydon’s next lofty goal is to become a Triathlon age-group World Champion.
Jean Dreams of Flying is the first of two books Dreydon is publishing in March; the second is Ed Climbs a Big Hill, an inspiring story about another extraordinary Kiwi, Sir Edmund Hillary. Dreydon will be writing and publishing more stories about Inspiring Kiwis in 2014 and beyond.

Handsomely illustrated by award-winning artist and designer Terry Fitzgibbon, Jean Dreams of Flying draws young Kiwi readers in to the story and educates them about Jean’s life and awe-inspiring achievement. Through his story-telling, Dreydon encourages kids to focus on THEIR dreams and, at the back of the book, gives them some key tools and resources to get them started on their journey.

Dreydon Sobanja was born in Auckland in 1972 and grew up on Waiheke Island. He graduated from the University of Auckland in 2004 with a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting, Management and Employment Relations, earning senior prizes in both his major subjects. He has lived and travelled extensively overseas, and worked in the field of accountancy for most of his life. He is passionate about health and fitness, and reaching out to Kiwi kid’s, inspiring them to make their dreams come true.

Terry Fitzgibbon has illustrated 15 books and creates artwork in a variety of traditional and digital mediums. His paintings and photographs have been successfully exhibited in galleries in New Plymouth, Auckland and Whangarei. Terry is Creative Director at Making Waves Design Company, based in Northland. 

An invitation to the launch
Both of these books are beinmg launched at the St Heliers Library this coming Saturday (2) at 1pm. 

EL James Reveals Details Of New Book

El James New Book

 02/27/2013 - HuffPost Books
EL James, author of the bestselling, world-famous Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, talked about her next book, as well as the Fifty Shades of Grey film adaptation, at the Vanity Fair Oscars party on Sunday night. Her revelations will prove rather disappointing for fans of the graphic sex scenes in the Fifty Shades trilogy.
James told the New York Post that her next book "won't be nearly so raunchy – and I will probably write it under another name."

According to The Guardian, James earlier told readers, " I'm looking forward to bringing you some new love stories I've got planned," but that she will probably not continue the Fifty Shades' characters' story any time soon: "Never say never – but they're on the back burner at the moment, as I have a few other stories to tell first."
James also told the Post that she has yet to cast the film version of Fifty Shades: “We don’t even have a we are still a long way away from casting. I have some ideas..but it may not be who people expect.”

The Fifty Shades series began as fan fiction of the popular YA series Twilight. It was originally self-published, but was then acquired by Random House in the U.S. The series sold so ridiculously well that Random House gave 5000 dollar bonuses to every employee last year.
Since James is certainly not known for her great prose, we wonder if people will still read her next book without promises of lots of sex scenes. 

Poet/publisher Roger Hickin on the road

Roger in Granada

Roger Hickin, poet and publisher at Cold Hub Press, has been promoting his wares at the IX Festival Internacional de Poesiade Granada, Nicaragua, He hung out with the co-founder of Carcanet, Grevel Lindop. Grevel reports on his blog:

Thanks to Otago-based poet David Howard for reporting.

Scholastic NZ Publishing

Many years ago, 1988 in fact, I joined Scholastic NZ, (it was called Ashton Scholastic in those days), and was charged with starting their NZ trade publishing programme. Up until then they had published only educational titles which were sold directly to primary schools. These were mainly small books known as readers and were used by the schools to supplement titles published by the Department of Education.

Today Scholastic is far and away the largest trade publisher of children's titles in New Zealand and I must say it gives me enormous pride to know that I was there at the beginning. In the mail today I have received a bundle of books from Scholastic, their March titles, and I am mightily impressed.

Below for your interest are the covers of these March titles which range from picture books through to novels for older children:

The Childhood of Jesus by JM Coetzee – review

Coetzee explores visions of a Buddhist utopia and a Kafkaesque retelling of the nativity story with compelling and puzzling results

Mystical path … Everybody has made the same journey in The Childhood of Jesus. Photograph: Reuters

So here it is: the gospel according to JM Coetzee. A man and a boy arrive at a resettlement centre, in an unnamed country where they know no one, looking for employment and a place to live. The man is old and people assume, wrongly, that the boy is his grandson. "Not my grandson, not my son," he explains to those who ask. "But I am responsible for him." They have come from "the camp" in the desert, where they learnt Spanish, the language of the country, and were assigned new names. The boy has apparently become separated from his mother on the boat over; they are "searching for family members". The officials are not helpful. A room has been assigned to them in the centre, but the key for it cannot be found. They are sent away for the night, and forced to sleep under an iron sheet in a courtyard. Cold and tired, they return to the resettlement centre in the morning, only to be told: "There are no rooms free.

Since Coetzee won the Nobel prize in 2003, his books have mostly taken the form of sly semi-autobiographical fragments. His last novel, Summertime (2009), was a series of self-lacerating biographical sketches concerning the South African novelist John Coetzee, "a little man, an unimportant little man", who closely resembles the author in some respects but not others (being dead, for example, unlike his real-life namesake). By contrast, The Childhood of Jesus represents a return to the allegorical mode that made him famous. The opening chapters bring to mind the internment camps and sinister bureaucracies of his first Booker winner, Life & Times of Michael K (1983), the story of a gardener in a counterfactual, civil war‑torn South Africa. The invented, indeterminate location of the new novel also recalls Coetzee's first international success, Waiting for the Barbarians (1980), which was set on the edge of an imaginary empire, part British-controlled Africa and part ancient Rome. But whereas both of those novels clearly – if not straightforwardly – allegorised apartheid South Africa, The Childhood of Jesus is much harder to decode.

Initially, we seem to be reading a Kafkaesque version of the nativity story, with refugees playing the holy family in an uncaring host country. But it soon becomes clear that the city they have arrived in, Novilla, is far from uncaring. It is, in fact, a kind of utopia – a specifically Coetzeean version of utopia. (Asked about John Coetzee's political ideals, a character in Summertime suggests, only half-jokingly: "The closing down of the mines. The ploughing under of the vineyards. The disbanding of the armed forces. The abolition of the automobile. Universal vegetarianism. Poetry in the streets. That sort of thing.") The old man, now known as Simón, is quickly given a job at the docks, where "all his fellow stevedores strike him as good men: hard-working, friendly, helpful". They are kind to the boy, now named David. The city's workers attend philosophy classes every night; vegetarianism is mandatory (the alternative is eating rats); the horse and cart is still in action; and football matches, like music lessons, are free ("It's football," says a colleague when Simón tries to pay. "It's a game. You don't need to pay to watch a game.") When Simón points out that the sacks of grain they carry off the ships by hand could be unloaded by a crane in a tenth of the time, the foreman agrees. "But what would be the point?" he asks. "It is not as if there is an emergency, a food shortage for example."

Full review

Published by Text Publishing in ANZ - Hardback - 7 March - NZ$45 A$35.00

Sophie Kinsella lauded at RNA awards

27.02.13 | Katie Allen - The Bookseller

Sophie Kinsella has been awarded the outstanding achievement award at this year’s Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA)’s Romantic Novel of the Year category awards, which also saw Katie Fforde win the contemporary category for a second year in a row.

At the event, hosted by Judy Finnigan and Richard Madeley yesterday evening (26th February), the author of the Shopaholic series was presented the award for “her continued contribution to the world of romantic fiction”.
The Contemporary Romantic Novel award went to Katie Fforde for a second year, this time for her novel Recipe for Love (Arrow) after Summer of Love scooped the prize last year.
Rowan Coleman won in the Epic category for Dearest Rose, also published by Arrow, while the Historical category prize went to Charlotte Betts’ The Apothecary’s Daughter (Piatkus).
The Romantic Comedy prize-winner was Jenny Colgan’s Welcome to Rosie Hopkin’s Sweetshop of Dreams (Sphere) while the Young Adult winner was Victoria Lamb’s Witchstruck (RHCP).

All five category-winners will go forward for the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year, to be revealed at the RNA summer party on 16th May.
RNA chair Annie Ashurt said to the gathered audience: “Tonight we are here to celebrate the success of our brightest stars. We are proud of their talent, tenacity and dedication to their craft.
"It is a lonely thing to write a novel, and to keep on going even as doubts set in—as they do with us all. Our Awards give us an opportunity to publicly recognise the enjoyment you bring to your readers."
Meanwhile the RoNa Rose Award, which recognises the best in category/series and shorter romance, went to Sarah Mallory for a second year, for her Beneath the Major’s Scars (Harlequin Mills & Boon). The prize does not continue to the next round.
The RNA was formed in 1960 to promote romantic fiction and encourage good writing and now represents more than 700 writers, agents, editors and other publishing professionals.

Penguin dominates PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize shortlist

27.02.13 | Joshua Farrington - The Bookseller

Four Penguin titles feature on the six-strong shortlist for the £3,000 PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History.
In the running order are three books from Penguin imprint Allen Lane—Jerry Brotton’s A History of the World in Twelve Maps; Christopher Clark’s The Sleepwalkers; and Mark Mazower’s Governing the World. Savage Continent by Keith Lowe (Penguin Viking) is also on the shortlist.
Two titles from independent publishers have also made the list, with Nigel Cliff’s The Last Crusade (Atlantic Books) and Jonathan Dimbleby’s Destiny in the Desert (Profile Books) completing the line-up.
The prize is awarded annually to a non-fiction book of historical content, with the winner announced at the end of March and awarded on 16th April as part of the English PEN Literary Café programme at the London Book Fair.
This year’s prize will be judged by Philip Ziegler, Jane Ridley and Stella Tillyard. It was first set up in 2002 following the death of PEN member Marjorie Hessell-Tiltman, who left £100,000 for a prize rewarding a history book of high literary merit covering a period up to and including the Second World War.
Last year’s winner was James Glieck’s The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood (Fourth Estate).

Debunking the Bestseller

This post was written in response to the February 21st Wall Street Journal article, The Mystery of the Book Sales Spike.

A Lesson in the Status Quo, Risk-Taking, and the Gray Areas of Life and Business
The other day, I received an unexpected phone call from Jeff Trachtenberg, a reporter at The Wall Street Journal. He said he wanted to talk about my bestselling book, Leapfrogging
At first, I was thrilled. Any first-time author would jump at the chance to speak with such a high-profile publication. But it turned out Trachtenberg didn’t want to discuss what was in my book.

He was interested in how it had made it onto his paper’s bestseller list. As he accurately noted, Leapfrogging had, well, leapt onto the Journal’s list at #3 the first week it debuted, and then promptly disappeared the following Friday.
Bestseller Campaign
Suddenly, I wasn’t so thrilled anymore. I was just about to sit down to dinner with my family and now I was being put on the spot to discuss my role in perhaps one of the most controversial practices in the book publishing industry. I was tempted to make an excuse and plead the 5th. But I wound up talking to Trachtenberg several times over the next few days.
And I’m glad I did.

Full story

Nudging UK Book Discovery Toward the Mainstream

By focusing on movie tie-ins and visual curation, UK app developers of The Nudge List hope to attract book buyers not accustomed to using traditional book sites.
Millions of dollars are spent on apps and websites touting superior book discoverability, but there's yet to be a category killer and skepticism is mounting.
More News from PP:
Lewis Lapham, editor of Lapham's Quarterly, believes we are still in the experimental phase of digital media, waiting for the next online Shakespeare to emerge.
This Friday, booksellers Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, as well as Bertelsmann and Deutsche Telekom, will announce a new project. Speculators say it may be an ebook platform.
From the Archives:
Book discovery about connecting with people, not technology, noted several speakers Digital Book World Discoverability & Marketing Conference last summer.

Barnes & Noble chairman offers to buy struggling bookseller – can it be saved?

Company's weakening financial situation has made it vulnerable to takeovers as bookseller reckons with faltering ebook venture

Barnes & Noble
CEO Leonard Riggio intends to make an offer for Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and other retail assets. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Barnes & Noble was once the Goliath of the book-selling business. Now, next to Apple and Amazon, its falling sales and plan to close 20 stores a year makes it look more like a struggling David armed only with a slingshot.
Barnes & Noble's weakening financial position makes the company vulnerable to takeover offers, and it received one on Monday. Barnes & Noble said in a regulatory filing that its founder and chairman, Leonard Riggio, proposed buying the company's bookstore business and its domain. Riggio will not make an offer for the Nook e-reader business, according to the company. He already owns 29.8% of the company.

It is not yet known how much Riggio plans to offer, or whether he has arranged the cash and bonds to pay for it. The company indicated in a filing that the deal is subject to negotiation of Riggio's specific financial terms, including terms of whatever financing he can gather.
Riggio could well end up with a bargain. The bookstore business of Barnes & Noble could be worth only about $484.5m, according to estimates by Stifel Nicolaus analyst David Schick based on the company's sales over the past 12 months.
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European Decision on Penguin Random House Merger Due In April


The European Commission updated its very brief public case notes on the pending antitrust review of the proposed merger of Penguin and Random House. The EC website now indicates a "provisional deadline" for their review of April 5.

Aussie Indie Bookseller: 'Books keep me sane(ish)'

Shelf Awareness

"Books keep me sane (ish), but I have to remind myself that I fell into children's books by chance. My first job as an editorial assistant was just one of many I applied for after uni, and 15 years down the line, it seems outlandish that I could have ended up doing something different. I've worked as an editor, a writer, a reader for a literary agent, and 2012 was my first year as a bookseller. It feels like the missing piece, and Readings has been a place of worship since I left my hometown (London) five years ago."

--Emily Gale in a "Meet the Bookseller" interview on Australia's Readings bookstore blog. The question: "Why do you work in books?"

Robin to be killed in next Batman comic, writer confirms

BBC Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Chris O'Donnell and George Clooney as Batman and Robin 
Chris O'Donnell and George Clooney as Batman and Robin in 1997 film

Batman's sidekick Robin is to be killed off in the next issue of the comic, say publishers DC.
In an interview with the New York Post, writer Grant Morrison confirmed that the latest Boy Wonder would die in tomorrow's edition.

"He saves the world. He does his job as Robin. He dies an absolute hero."
This is not the first time that Robin has died. Jason Todd was killed by the Joker in 1988 while serving as Batman's aide.
Damian Wayne, the 10-year-old son of billionaire Bruce Wayne, is now playing the role of Robin in the Batman Incorporated series.
His mother is Talia, the beautiful daughter of one of Batman's deadliest enemies, Ra's al Ghul - played by Liam Neeson in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy.
DC Comics say that he will be killed by a genetic clone of himself

The 10 Greatest Dystopian Love Stories in Literature

By Emily Temple on

The 10 Greatest Dystopian Love Stories in Literature
This week saw the release of the brilliant Ariel Djanikian‘s debut novel, The Office of Mercy. Djanikian’s book drops you into a deliciously paranoid world that we’re confident will go down in history with the best of them, so we asked her to put together a list of her favorite dystopian love stories (just be sure to mentally add The Office of Mercy to her list). Here’s what she told us: “Dystopian tales seem to go hand-in-hand with scintillating, high-octane love stories: perhaps because dire circumstances have a knack of drawing people together, perhaps because claustrophobic repression makes the highs and lows of love affairs that much more potent. 

These ten books boast plenty of heart-stopping love triangles, as well as romantic pairings with some changes: robots, clones, and cyborgs get in on the action. They are love affairs that question how much feeling we have to offer, and how much trust we can risk in the face of political pressures. Love is never the cure-all for these characters, but it can be an intervention, as Jeanette Winterson says, against powers of destruction.” … Read More