Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Longlist, judges and dates announced for International Prize for Arabic Fiction 2017 | #ArabicFiction2017

The International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) has today, Monday 16 January 2017, revealed the longlist of 16 novels in contention for the 2017 prize. The novels selected were chosen from 186 entries from 19 countries, all published within the last 12 months. The longlist was chosen by a panel of five judges chaired by Palestinian novelist Sahar Khalifa.

Of the 16 authors chosen, many are recognisable names with three having been shortlisted for the Prize previously – Mohammed  Hasan Alwan, Sinan Antoon and Amir Tag Elsir­ – and a further five previously longlisted – Renée Hayek, Ismail Fahd Ismail, Abdul-Kareem Jouaity, Elias Khoury and Mohammed Abdel Nabi. Their repeated recognition by the Prize demonstrates the enduring quality of their writing.

Yassin Adnan, although a well-known poet, makes his first appearance on the list with his debut novel, Hot Maroc. Meanwhile, Sultan Al Ameemi began writing his longlisted book, One Room Is Not Enough, at the 2014 Nadwa – an annual writing workshop for talented, emerging writers that is supported by the Prize. Other Nadwa attendees on the list include Ali Ghadeer and Mohammed Hasan Alwan, who is the youngest writer to be selected. This year’s successful authors represent 10 countries across the Arab world and range in age from 37 to 76.
The full 2017 longlist, with author names in alphabetical order, is as follows:

Country of origin
Yassin Adnan
Hot Maroc
Dar al-Ain
Sultan Al Ameemi
One Room Is Not Enough
Difaf Publishing
Mohammed Hasan Alwan
A Small Death
Saudi Arabia
Dar Al Saqi
Sinan Antoon
Najwa Binshatwan
The Slaves' Pens
Dar Al Saqi
Amir Tag Elsir
The Resort of the Enchantress
Dar Al Saqi
Ali Ghadeer
Dar wa Maktabat Sutur

Renée Hayek
The Year of the Radio
Dar Tanweer, Lebanon
Zuheir al-Hiti
Days of Dust
Dar Tanweer, Tunis
Ismail Fahd Ismail
Abdul-Kareem Jouaity
The North Africans
Al-Markez al-Thaqafi al-Arabi
Tayseer Khalf
The Slaughter of the Philosophers
Arabic Scientific Institute for Research and Publishing
Elias Khoury
Children of the Ghetto – My Name is Adam
Dar al-Adab
Mohammed Abdel Nabi
In the Spider's Chamber
Dar al-Ain
Saad Mohammed Rahim
The Bookseller's Murder
Dar wa Maktabat Sutur

Youssef Rakha
Dar Tanweer, Egypt

The 2017 judges are: Sahar Khalifa (Chair), a Palestinian novelist; Saleh Almani, a Palestinian translator; Fatima al-Haji, a Libyan academic, novelist and broadcaster; Sahar ElMougy, an Egyptian novelist and academic; and Sophia Vasalou, a Greek academic and translator.
The 2017 Chair of Judges Sahar Khalifa comments on the longlist:

‘We chose the longlist of 16 from 186 novels submitted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction. The longlist novels are hugely varied in their subject matter and imagined worlds, embracing history, political and social themes and fantasy. As a whole they express the interactions, struggles and defeats, as well as the hopes and dreams, of the Arab world today.’

This is the tenth year of the Prize, which is recognised as the leading prize for literary fiction in the Arab world. 


Irma Boom has been undertaking “a quixotic, endless undertaking of creating a library of what she called ‘only the books that are experimental.’ Above her studio here, the recently opened library is made up almost entirely of books from the 1600s and 1700s, and the 1960s and ’70s.

Jacob Polley wins £20k T S Eliot Prize

Jacob Polley wins £20k T S Eliot Prize

Jacob Polley has won the £20,000 T S Eliot Prize for poetry for his “firework of a book” Jackself (Picador).
Polley was announced as the winner at a ceremony in the Wallace Collection in London yesterday evening (16th January).
Ruth Padel chaired the judges on a panel with Julia Copus and Alan Gillis. She said: “All three judges were agonised by choosing between such brilliant books. But the winning collection, Jacob Polley’s Jackself, is a firework of a book; inventive, exciting and outstanding in its imaginative range and depth of feeling.”

The NZ Book Council is launching a new website in Feb!

Sneak peek of the new site:

  • Say hello to our new literary hub The Reading Room, your A-Z of lively written, audio and video content on New Zealand books and writers. Alongside original NZBC content, enjoy the latest reviews, commentary, interviews and book recommendations on the web, handpicked by the Book Council team.
  • Our NZ Book Scene hub is a guide to the NZ literary sector. Browse our directories of national organisations, awards, festivals, residencies, grants, magazines, journals and writing courses, and stay up-to-date with the latest industry news with our NZ Book Scene news blog.
  • Our NZ Literary Events calendar - whether it’s a festival, book launch, poetry reading or live storytelling event, never miss a book event in your community again. The brilliant part about this calendar is that any person or organisation can add an event!
  • Our unique online biographies of more than 600 New Zealand writers - revamped and rewritten - is the most comprehensive collection of information about Kiwi writers and illustrators on the web.
  • Our School Library blog features reviews by our member school librarians of the latest New Zealand books for children and young adults.
  • Our NZBC Stories section keeps you in-the-know with latest NZBC news. Read about all the cool things we get up to every month - including our Ōtāhuhu schools community project, latest reading campaigns, and new book partnerships and initiatives.


There will also be full information about our programmes and advocacy work:
  • Our highly regarded Writers in Schools programme involves more than 40,000 children each year. We connect writers with young readers from the inner city to remote rural classrooms.
  • Our research provides new strategies for increasing the number of lifelong readers for pleasure, and for encouraging greater consumption of New Zealand books.
  • Our annual NZBC Lecture provides an opportunity for one of our country’s leading writers to discuss an aspect of literature close to their heart.
  • Our travelling author programme Words on Wheels enables readers in all corners of the country to meet New Zealand writers.
  • Our True Stories Told Live storytelling events bring writers, artists, musicians and other creatives to Kiwi audiences around the country.

Also be sure to check out our 2016/2017 Aotearoa Summer Reads campaign.

Our new website will help us champion literary endeavours around the country, and we can’t wait for you to see it!

Publishers Lunch

Catherine Onder will join Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's as svp and publisher on February 6, based in New York. Onder fills the position vacated when Betsy Groban left HMH last summer. Most recently she was editorial director at Bloomsbury Children's. HMH trade president Ellen Archer says in the announcement, "She has a wealth of experience and a tremendous track record in middle reader and young adult publishing. Working with our gifted editors, she will direct and grow both our front and backlist business to new levels of excellence." Onder comments, "I'm proud to join HMH with its rich tradition of children’s publishing of the highest caliber," adding, "I look forward to building on the house's achievements, and I'm excited for new opportunities to drive further success."

HarperCollins' conservative imprint Broadside Books, which has been without a leader since founder Adam Bellow moved to St. Martin's last fall, has hired Eric Nelson as vp, editorial director, starting January 25. Currently executive editor at Portfolio, Nelson will report to Jonathan Burnham. He comments in the announcement, "This is an important moment in conservative intellectual life and I'm honored to take a part in helping the brightest voices shine through." Nelson will acquire for Harper and Harper Business as well.

At Lee & Low Books, longtime editorial director Louise May will step back from her administrative responsibilities on March 1 to become editor-at-large. Executive editor at Arthur A. Levine Books Cheryl Klein will take over as editorial director.

Randall Klein recently left his position as an editor at Diversion Books to start Randall Klein Books, offering editorial services.

Former Bloomsbury UK senior commissioning editor Bill Swainson is joining Oneworld as editor at large for nonfiction.

Ivanka Trump's book Women Who Work, originally scheduled for publication March 7, has been pushed back to an early May release. Publisher Portfolio said the shift is to "accommodate these momentous changes in Ivanka's life and give her time to settle her children into their new home, schools and city."

Digital Announcements
The latest local ebook play to exit the business is South African bookseller Exclusive Books' ebookstore, and once again Rakuten Kobo will take over the servicing of those ebook customers. Going forward, Exclusive Books will direct their online customers to Kobo's site.

In announcements, Pronoun -- the self-publishing platform formerly known as Vook+Booklr+Byliner and now owned by Macmillan -- will boost earnings for distributed authors to 70 percent on ebooks priced at $2.99 or less in the US and Canada. (They pay through 65 percent of proceeds on ebooks priced above $9.99.) 

The Roundup with PW

Writers Resist Brings Thousands to NYPL, Trump Tower
More than 2,000 artists, writers, and readers gathered at the steps of the New York Public Library on January 15 in the name of defending free expression and the free press. more »

Obama's Books Kept Him Sane: Not since Lincoln has there been a president as fundamentally shaped by reading and writing as Barack Obama.

John Lewis's Books Sell Out: Rep. John Lewis's heated public spat with President-elect Donald Trump has caused ballooning interest in books written by the civil rights icon.

Zhou Youguang Dies at 111: The inventor of a system to convert Chinese characters into words with the Roman alphabet died on Saturday.

B&N Suspends Nook Sales: Sales of Barnes and Noble’s Nook tablet have been suspended from physical and online storefronts due to a faulty charger.

Writers Quit Russian PEN: Nobel prize winner Svetlana Alexievich and 30 other writers will leave the organization after the expulsion of jailed journalist Sergey Parkhomenko.

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Obituary Notes: Dave Dutton; William Peter Blatty

Shelf Awareness

photo: Gloria Hillard/NPR
Bookseller Dave Dutton, who ran the landmark Dutton's Books from 1961--when he agreed to put aside his travels in Europe to help manage a bookstore his parents were launching in Los Angeles--until he and his wife, Judy, closed their North Hollywood store 10 years ago, died January 13. He was 79. The Los Angeles Times reported that "over the years, he opened shops in other locations but it was the Laurel Canyon store that lasted.... In the mid 1970s, his parents retired and he and Judy took over ownership of Dutton's. They expanded its footprint and its offerings, and eventually filled the space with 350,000 new and used titles. The store was known for its labyrinthine layout and towering stacks of books."
"My dad loved not only literature, but he loved people, and our bookstore was a place for everybody in Los Angeles to gather, and to browse, or just to hang out," said his son, Dirk. "My dad was never in it for the money. He just loved talking books and having fun at the store." His younger brother, Doug, assumed ownership of Dutton's Brentwood in the 1980s, running it until it closed in 2008.
When Dave Dutton was in the process of shuttering his bookstore in 2006, he reflected on the virtues of being an old-school bookseller: "The book business used to be a place where idealists and dreamers of a better world who perhaps didn't like business, didn't admire the business tactics generally necessary to survive, could find a happy compromise."
Author William Peter Blatty, "whose bestselling book The Exorcist was both a milestone in horror fiction and a turning point in his own career," died January 12, the New York Times reported. He was 89. The Exorcist (1971) sold more than 13 million copies, and a 1973 movie adaptation directed by William Friedkin was also a big hit, earning Blatty an Oscar for his screenplay.
The horror novel also "marked a radical shift" for his career, which he'd already established as one of Hollywood's leading comedy writers. Blatty had collaborated with the director Blake Edwards on the screenplays for four films, and wrote scripts for comedies starring Danny Kaye, Warren Beatty and Zero Mostel.
Blatty's first book, a memoir titled Which Way to Mecca, Jack?, had already been published when, in 1961, "he appeared as a contestant on You Bet Your Life, the television quiz show hosted by Groucho Marx. He and a fellow contestant won $10,000," the Times noted. The winnings freed him to quit his public relations job and become a full-time writer, which led to the publication of comic novels I, Billy Shakespeare (1965) and Twinkle, Twinkle, 'Killer' Kane (1966). In the Times, Marvin Levin had compared him favorably with S.J. Perelman.
After turning down an Exorcist sequel offer, Blatty submitted instead a memoir about his mother titled I'll Tell Them I Remember You. It was published in 1973, but Blatty soon "felt the first cinch of the horror-writing straitjacket," the Times noted. His later books include Legion, The Ninth Configuration and Dimiter. After the death of his son in 2006, he wrote Finding Peter: A True Story of the Hand of Providence and Evidence of Life After Death

12 Fiction Picks from President Obama

By Julianna Haubner    |   Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - Off the Shelf
President Obama has made it clear over the past 8 years that books are a big part of his life—whether he’s shopping on Small Business Saturday or releasing his vacation reading list. (Plus, he did an impressive interview with author Marilynne Robinson, which you can listen to here. Cross your fingers for a post–White House podcast!) A bestselling author himself, our reader-in-chief has followed his predecessors in recommending some great nonfiction titles, but has surprised us all by being a particularly prolific fiction reader as well. Here are some of the books he’s picked up during his time in office. READ MORE