Once in a while, a book comes along that totally blows your mind. The Hate U Give is one of those books and everyone should read it right now. Even better, the author Angie Thomas, is a total sweetheart, absolutely bursting with passion. Here’s our chat – and you should totally check out the full article on BookBrunch – but you should also buy the book.
Angie Thomas has shot to literary stardom in recent months, as her debut novel The Hate U Give, skyrockets to the top of the NYT bestseller charts. Set to be published in 18 territories and counting – and already out here through Walker Books – the YA novel follows 16-year-old Starr, who lives between the poor Mississippi neighbourhood where she was born and a posh high school in the suburbs. When she becomes the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, she comes face to face with police brutality and systemic racism
After the intensity of the book, Thomas herself is a slight surprise: a generous smile, regular laughter, and a soft Mississippi accent. Her passion and conviction shine through, however, and she has much to say on publishing, on the importance of books, and on America itself.
The struggle to write
Though Thomas has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, it took her a long time to believe that being an author was something she could do. “For one, I never saw or met any authors who looked like me. Mississippi has a rich literary history, but most of them are either white or dead and I was neither! So it felt like it was something that I, as a black girl in a poor neighbourhood in Mississippi, just couldn’t do.”
Continue reading BookBrunch | Hot new American novelist Angie Thomas, author of bestseller The Hate U Give, on race, writing and resistance
Another trio of interviews for you from BookBrunch, and each one is a real treat for publishing enthusiasts.
First, I caught up with Henry Rosenbloom from Scribe, who was so frustrated with the state of rights sales, he decided to expand his publishing house from down under to the UK. This is one publisher that’s serious about seriously good books!
“Later on in life, I’ve realised that what drives me as a publisher, in a strange kind of way, is the Holocaust. That’s what imprinted on me the seriousness of the world we live in, and how important it was to try to understand history, politics, people, and how to tell the truth. How to ‘comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable’. Books have the power to change people’s lives, and we want to put out books that demand to be published because of their intrinsic significance.” Continue reading Publishing internationally, digitally and collaboratively with the BookBrunch interviews
It’s the time of the month where I round up all the internet’s top publishing stories and stick them in one place on the BookMachine blog for your perusal! Here’s a sneak peek – don’t forget to visit the BookMachine blog for more…
The big news from March in UK publishing is obviously the London Book Fair (LBF). Poland shone at this year’s Market Focus, and the Fair was busier than usual, with six-figure deals struck ahead of time and publishers cheerfully splashing cash as sales rose. This was seen as further evidence of the rise of print, with The Guardian stating that by the end of the month stats showing that print outperformed digital. Yet, despite the recent whopping $65m forward paid for the Obamas’ new book (which hasn’t pleased all and prompted a list of the biggest deals of all time) no single title emerged as this year’s big hitter. Continue reading BookMachine | The March Wrap
In the midst of writing a dystopia of my own, it strikes me on an almost daily basis the degree to which society has come under the thumb of a very fickle dictator: money. Further, money within the context of an inherently unstable and unjust neoliberal capitalist system. For a searing criticism of the failures of this system, flawlessly melded with a scintillating story, I point you in the direction of Lionel Shriver’s The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047.
The Mandible family has a sizeable fortune, but when a bloodless world war wipes out their millions they, like the rest of America, find themselves out of their homes and on the brink of starvation. Crammed into their poorest relatives’ house, the financial crisis brings out the best in some, and the worst in others. But, as society continues to devolve and culture breaks down, the choices ahead only get tougher. Continue reading Book Review | ‘The Mandibles’ by Lionel Shriver
Spoiler alert: This review contains massive plot spoilers about Fahrenheit 451.
In a year when readers seem to be turning to dystopias for sanity, there seemed to be no better time to return to Bradbury’s sometimes overlooked book, Fahrenheit 451.
Named after the alleged temperature at which books burn, the story follows Guy Montag, who lives in a world where books are banned, as they are thought to be the source of discord and unhappiness. As a fireman, it is Montag’s job to burn any books that are found. Yet, unhappy in his marriage and unsatisfied with life, Montag finds the lure of books too much to resist – and once there are books in his house, there is nothing to stop the feared Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department from tracking him down.
Fifty years on from its initial publication, growing post-truth, anti-intellectual sentiments in Western society have given Fahrenheit 451 new relevance, indeed in parts with almost uncanny precognition on Bradbury’s part. Many elements come into play during this book: the frustrating loss that comes with conformism; the borderline madness that comes with rebellion; the senselessness that must, after a certain point of tyranny, accompany political hope. Yet, to me, it is the end which is most pertinent in the current climate. Continue reading Book review | ‘Fahrenheit 451’ by Ray Bradbury
I took my annual pilgrimage to the Summersdale Publishers stand at The London Book Fair – and guess what I found hidden away in the Spring/Summer catalogue:
How to calm your anxiety and stay chilled when life gets stressful
Yep, that’s right I’ve got a fourth book coming out with the lovely folk at Summersdale and it’ll be landing on shelves in August! I’ve been busying away on it for the last few weeks and I can’t wait to see it in print.
While I was there, I also spotted copies of Boost, Stress Less and Believe in Yourself – the cherry on top of the awesome publishing cake that is LBF!
Big, huge, GIANT news today: I am now officially signed with a literary agent, the lovely Sandra Sawicka from Marjacq! I’ve got an author page on the agency website and everything.
I cannot express how excited I am to be working with Sandra and I’m really looking forward to seeing what the future holds – let’s go make some stories…
Happy Valentine’s day and huge love to you all!
It’s been a wildly busy fortnight my end, but in amongst it all I’ve managed to get out the BookBrunch weekly interview as normal, so here’s a pair of publishing chats for you perusal…
On boosting adult literacy with Jo Dawson from Quickreads
“As heavy readers, publishers have trouble imagining what it’s like not to be able to read well. It’s something we all forget about in the industry because we’re in this bubble of people who do read and believe that books are important.”
After the bestseller: an interview with author Kate Hamer
“I just try to focus on what’s going down on the page every day. What will happen will happen, but the page is the one thing I can control.”
I am hugely excited to be able to tell you all that my latest short story, BORN – BREATHING – BOUND, has been accepted for publication in The Cadaverine!
I’m so grateful to the fabulous editor Lenni Sanders for finding my little tale in the slushpile and can’t wait to see it on Cadaverine’s pages. Cadaverine is a wonderful, free online magazine of poetry and prose from writers under 30 and I’m really honoured to be featured in its pages.
More details as and when…
Season’s greetings, friends! And boy, what a ride 2016 has been! Here’s hoping that 2017 brings more peace and sanity into the world – and for all of you much prosperity and some grand adventures.
Just because the season of of gifts and feasts is upon us, doesn’t mean I’ve been slowing down on the old journalism front though. Very excitingly, I can now reveal my first ever podcast: The BookBrunch Yearly Wrap 2016 Podcast, brought to you for FREE! That’s right, you can listen in for absolutely no money as some of the publishing industry’s top voices talk about their feelings on 2016 and their predictions for the year to come. The only reasonable excuse for not listening is if you have eaten so much you’re plastered to the couch. Continue reading BookBrunch | Last interviews of 2016 & my very first PODCAST!
For this week’s BookBrunch interview, I spoke with Ed Marino, Executive Chairman and codeMantra about publishing’s very technological future and the benefits of real collaboration. For the full article, visit the BookBrunch website, or get started with the excerpt below…
There have been a lot of claims over the past year that digital sales are down and print is on the rise, but according to Ed Marino, Chief Executive and part-owner of service provider codeMantra, publishing’s phase of uncertainty is far from over. In our trans-Atlantic chat, we discuss the definition of true collaboration, the role of service providers in the industry, and our very technological future.
Marino came on board with codeMantra in February 2014, after he and a group of colleagues acquired the business. In his classic US accent, Marino describes it as “a technology-enabled services company” that offers content production and software platform services to major publishers, primarily in the STM and Academic space.
Continue reading BookBrunch | The weekly interview with Ed Marino, Executive Chairman, codeMantra
This week for the BookBrunch interviews, I talk to comedian and author Sara Pascoe about feminism, comedy and her brand new book, Animal. You can find the full article, right here.
Comedian Sara Pascoe sits in a room at the Faber offices surrounded by piles of her new book, Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body. She speaks quickly, as if each of her thoughts are eager to be expressed first, and uses her hands expressively to illustrate her points.
We’re here to talk about Animal, but in our half-hour chat the conversation zips from feminism and publishing to empathy and burning orangutans, all set against the backdrop of her career as a comedian. Continue reading BookBrunch | “How can we be good?” An interview with Sara Pascoe
Bookmachine time again! This week, I’m discussing the possibility that robots might soon be writing our books and the effects that could have on the Publishing industry. As ever, if you want to continue reading, head over to the Bookmachine blog.
We need to talk about AIs, algorithms and Rights. Over the next decade or two these issues are only going to become more prominent and will likely become major concerns for the Publishing industry.
AI authors – fact, not fiction!
On Thursday, Publishing Perspectives posted an article on possibility that AIs will soon writing our books for us.
This is not as far out as it first sounds. Major and minor news outlets across the web are already using AI-authored stories on their websites. These AIs are capable of compiling articles from raw data and, for the most part, they are indistinguishable from those written by humans. While these stories are still cleared by human editors and have certain flaws, such as not being able to include quotes, they can produce stories almost instantaneously, and in multiple languages. What’s more, they can create thousands of news stories in the time it takes a human journalist to produce only one.
Needless to say our friends in Silicon Valley are already working on the next generation of these AIs: ones which can write fiction novels. I scoffed a few years ago when I heard they were going to write news stories, I’m not fool enough to scoff again… [READ MORE]
I will warn you before we begin, this is not a book for the faint hearted. It is, however, a brilliant, painfully emotive evocation of the powerlessness of women in patriarchal societies, and also in a more subtle way the miseries we inflict on those suffering mental illness by not approaching them with due humanity. As such, I strongly recommend it.
As it typical of Sam Youd (writing here as Hilary Ford), the plot is character-driven, fast-paced and gripping from the outset. Our protagonist is a young lady, apparently orphaned, working for a forward-thinking banker in the 1800s. Without great wealth, but with the love-interest of a solid young man named Michael and a steady income, Sarnia is pragmatic and positive. However, when her unknown relatives, the Jelains, turn up on her doorstep determined on reuniting her with her estranged father, she undertakes a trip to Guernsey which will change her life. Youd paints the darkness into this novel slowly, building an increasing sense of doom and captivity until you can hardly breathe. Continue reading ‘Sarnia’ by Hilary Ford (AKA Sam Youd)
There is always a danger, when you have enjoyed the first book an a series so much, that the sequel is going to be a disappointment. This was not the case with Catching Fire. In fact, I would go so far as to say I enjoyed it even more than The Hunger Games.
Having beat the system in the 74th annual Hunger Games of Panem, Katniss Everdeen has returned to District 12 with her fellow victor, Peeta Mellark. Living in the Victor’s Village, they barely talk to each other, and Katniss has returned to hunting daily with her best friend Gale Hawthorne, outside the boundaries of District 12. However, as Katniss and Peeta’s Victory Tour commences, President Snow, leader of the overruling Capitol, pays Katniss a threatening visit. With the lives of her family and friends in danger, Katniss becomes the centre of a political storm brewing across Panem. Seen as a symbol of rebellion, she is thrown back into The Hunger Games for their 75th year, along with her fellow competitors, all previous victors themselves. Continue reading ‘Catching Fire’ – Suzanne Collins
I fell in love with the most beautiful book in the world the other day.
It was not an extraordinary day – certainly not a day made for falling in love. It was grey and dusty and obnoxiously loud, like every London day, but so cold that even the blasting underfloor heating which normally turns the British Museum into a furnace couldn’t make us shed our coats. Killing time before our lecture, my friend Alex and I prowled around the bookshop, she in search of information on Turkic fabrics, I in search of whatever took my fancy. Continue reading ‘The Travels of Marco Polo’ eds. Morris Roassabi & trans. Henry Yule