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News Bites

By Morgan Amer

Paul Laudiero’s Sh*t Rough Drafts, based on the Tumblr of the same name which imagines first drafts of famous works of literature, will be published by Chronicle Books. Chronicle has a history of publishing books that originated as Tumblrs: Dads Are the Original Hipsters and F*ck! I’m in My Twenties, and according to Rachel Fershleiser, director of literary outreach at Tumblr, over 60 blogs have become books and they, at Tumblr are “so proud of the brilliant creators on Tumblr and value this opportunity to celebrate them.”

The Australian New South Wales Government has recently initiated a statewide program, run by the State Education Department’s School Library and Information Literacy Team, to introduce eBooks into schools and libraries this year. Overdrive, in partnership with Softlink, will provide eBooks and audiobooks to the schools while Softlink will oversee IT and customer service enterprises. By early June, 5,000 titles and State-issued devices will be available to the first several schools in the program.

Hundreds of exhibitors from over 50 countries will be attending the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair from 24th – 29th April. The book fair’s programme will focus on digital technology and its role in developing countries with seminars featuring companies from the US, Germany, Spain, Greece the UAE, Jordan, and India. Another popular venue is the “Illustrators’ Corner” with guests from Spain, Switzerland, Syria and Malaysia that showcases companies’ visual content.

Kate Swann, WH Smith chief executive for the past decade, will be stepping down on the back of record profit results announcement. In the nearly ten years with WH Smith, Swann has made many changes to effectively save the chain; she cut back on CDs in favour of higher-selling cards and stationary, opened more shops in train stations and airports and stopped focusing solely on Christmas to make up sales. There has been speculation that Swann will be snagging the chief executive position at Marks & Spencer if current chief, Marc Bolland, may not be up to scratch.

Scottish artist and author, Alasdair Gray has recently signed a deal with Canongate to publish his next book: a nonfiction work titled Independence. It sets out Gray’s ideas as to how Scottish Independence would and should work. It will be published next summer in plenty of time for the major vote on the Referendum.

O’Dornan, at Diglot has recently tangled with Amazon regarding the availability of their newest children’s story Matthew and the Wellington Boots (Matthew ha’n Eskisyow Glaw in Cornish, or Kernewek) through Kindle Direct Publishing. When Amazon refused to make the title available because Cornish is not a language that is “currently supported” by the KDP platform, O’Dornan first went to the internet retailer with no success and then turned to social media. Amazon finally conceded and agreed to publish the title because of the enormous support the publisher received. This has also been an important step to preserve endangered languages, according to UNESCO.

Awards Announcements

Winners for the British Science Fiction Association awards were announced: Adam Roberts won the best novel prize for his outer space detective story, Jack Glass. The best short story award went to Ian Sales for “Adrift on the Sea of Rains,” and Blacksheep took the best artwork award for the cover of Jack Glass. Brian Francis Slattery won the Philip K Dick award for distinguished science fiction for his novel, Lost Everything.

The 2013 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award longlist of seventy-five books was announced and features previous nominees Ron Rash and Peter Stamm as well as actress Molly Ringwald. The shortlist will be announced in late May and the winner chosen in July.

The 10 book shortlist for the 2013 International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award has been announced. Among the list is debut Irish author, Kevin Barry, two previous winners, Andrew Miller and Michael Houellebecq, as well as select authors from Japan, Iceland, as France, The Netherlands, Norway and the US. The winner will be announced 6th June.

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