Between The Covers: 27/11/2011
Your weekly guide to what's really going on inside the world of books
Sunday 27 November 2011
Congratulations to the literary agents at AP Watt, who, as the quiz team The Agile Agents, won the PEN literary quiz at Riba on Monday evening.
AP Watt represent a roster of glittering talent, including Sebastian Barry, Helen Dunmore, Patrick Gale, Linda Grant, Nadine Gordimer, Michael Holroyd, Susie Orbach, Philip Pullman and WB Yeats. Several of their authors, including Daisy Goodwin, Derek Johns, Giles Foden and Louisa Young, along with the marvellous Martin Rowson, whose "Abuses of Literacy" you see on these pages, were on their winning team. While The Agile Agents answered the most questions on the day (including "Who was the last monarch who succeeded a monarch younger than himself?" and "Who was the last prime minister never to travel in an aeroplane?"), particular praise must go to Amanda Craig's team, The IndePENdent Authors, who managed to answer some of the toughest questions in the quiz. The only animal apart from humans that can catch leprosy in the wild, anyone? The element between uranium (92 on the periodic table) and plutonium (94)? Armadillo and neptunium, of course. It's easy when you know the answers. (The Independent and Independent on Sunday team came joint third, and more than £18,000 was raised on the night to support PEN's work.)
News just in from Germany, where the Catholic church has just decided to sell its profitable bookselling arm Weltbild, after everybody involved realised that the books it publishes are not necessarily Good ones. On its website, Weltbild boasts that every fifth book in Germany is sold through it. Those books include Boarding School For Sluts and Lawyer's Whore. The decision to shed the enterprise, which has annual sales of €1.6bn (£1.4bn), was made last week at a meeting of 27 bishops, but many thought that the writing was on the wall in September when Pope Benedict XVI urged the German Church to sacrifice worldly wealth and called upon Catholics to "energetically oppose the distribution of erotic and pornographic material".
We couldn't wait until December to tell you about theliterarygiftcompany.com, whose ranges of "banned books" jewellery, "upcycled" pages and "books turned into things" are the perfect gift for anyone who loves books but doesn't have any more room for even the tiniest, slimmest paperback in their house any more. All right, maybe the Penguin paperbacks tie (top, left) is taking a book obsession a little bit far, but "poetry instead of a card" is a lovely idea. Also look out for Penguin's latest postcard collection: One Hundred Writers in One Box: Postcards from Penguin Modern Classics (£14.99). If you buy someone this, at least you are pretty much guaranteed a thank you postcard.
Likewise, publishers at HarperCollins could not wait until 2012 to publish two rather gorgeous collections to mark the 75th anniversary of JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit, which was first published in September 1937. The Art of the Hobbit (£25) collects together 110 pictures by the author, and The History of the Hobbit, by Tolkien and John Rateliff (£35) is published in a single volume for the first time. You can also buy an anniversary boxed set of the four novels, or one small Pocket Hobbit (£9.99). "It looks really cute, and hobbits are little, so it's the sort of mad idea you have as a publisher," HarperCollins' estates publisher told The Bookseller. "I think it's going to run away."
Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
‘Remember the attackers are a cold-blooded, crazy minority’, says Blek le Rat
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 5 Men behaving badly: Urinating while standing, 'manspreading' and the gendering of selfishness
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors: 'I think as far as coloured actors go it gets really difficult in the UK'
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Photographer Matt Lankes' portraits of the cast of Boyhood influenced the film's storyline
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners