Between the Covers 19/05/2013

Your weekly guide to what's really going on inside the world of books
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The Independent Culture

Congratulations to The Independent on Sunday's "Invisible Ink" columnist Christopher Fowler, who is shortlisted for three awards at this year's CrimeFest. The HRF Keating Award is for the best biography or critical book related to crime fiction published between 2008 and 2012, and Fowler is nominated for the book of his "Invisible Ink" columns. His novel Bryant & May and the Invisible Code is also nominated for both the Goldboro Last Laugh Award, for humorous crime novels, and the eDunnit award for crime fiction published in both paper and ebook formats. If he were to win in all three, Fowler stands to take home up to £1,000 in prize money and three commemorative Bristol Blue Glass vases, to which Between the Covers promises to add a big bunch of tulips. CrimeFest ( is in Bristol from 30 May to 2 June. Good luck, Chris!


Pay attention, you bright young interns who would like to get on in publishing. In 1992, when Jamie Byng wrote to the then boss of Canongate, Stephanie Wolfe Murray, he got her attention "with chocolate". In an interview with BookBrunch to mark the 40th birthday of the company, Byng explains: "The chocolate in question was a mini-Munchie, repackaged with the bespoke wrappers designed for Chocolate City (the club my girlfriend and I ran in Edinburgh at the time), and was included with the letter I sent Stephanie asking whether she might consider offering me a job as an intern." Twenty years on he is running the company, which has published nearly 1,000 books, including Life of Pi by Yann Martel, Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White and Barack Obama's Dreams From My Father. The company goes from strength to strength, but it is yet to publish the history of the famous Chocolate City nightclub. Perhaps a young aspiring biographer should send the boss some chocolate and ask for the job?


Not everyone has the dosh for Tuesday's Sotheby's sale (to benefit English PEN, which campaigns for writers and readers) of amazing first editions and literary artefacts – a first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone annotated by JK Rowling is expected to sell for £500,000. But you can head to your local bookshop in Independent Bookseller's Week. From 29 June to 6 July, indie bookshops around the country will be selling exclusive illustrations, prints, posters and handwritten sections of books from authors such as Yann Martel, JRR Tolkien, Agatha Christie and Alan Bennett. Prices are around £20. To find your nearest independent bookshop on the internet go to


Congratulations to the eight winners of 2013's Fiction Uncovered: Lucy Caldwell's All the Beggars Riding; Anthony Cartwright's How I Killed Margaret Thatcher; Niven Govinden's Black Bread White Bear; Nikita Lalwani's The Village; Nell Leyshon's The Colour of Milk; James Meek's The Heart Broke In; Amy Sackville's Orkney and Rupert Thomson's Secrecy. The Fiction Uncovered radio station returns this year. Broadcast live from Foyles, it can be heard at or on FM within three miles of Foyles bookshop.