Wallander's last stand: Katy Guest's essential literary look-ahead

Henning Mankell wraps up the detective's final case, plus new work from Ali Smith, Graham Swift, Joyce Carol Oates and a host of others looks set to make this a thrilling year for readers

Could 2011 be the year in which digital books finally take off? Waterstone's MD Dominic Myers thinks it might be: in December, after blaming the weather for a worrying drop in pre-Christmas sales of what we must now call "paper books", he unveiled, apparently without irony, the retailer's new "cloud-based" solution, which will enable e-books to be accessed across different devices. He expected a spike in digital-book sales from Christmas morning, when eager young futurists opened the e-readers in their stockings. Rumours that Father Christmas is backing digital-book technology (thousands of pages in a device the weight of a reindeer sneeze) are unconfirmed.

At the time of writing, Jamie Oliver's Jamie's 30-Minute Meals (Michael Joseph, £26) was only the third-bestselling hardback non-fiction book since records began, needing to shift 141,000 further copies to beat Delia Smith's How to Cook: Book One and Lynne Truss's 2003 classic Eats, Shoots and Leaves (Fourth Estate, £8.99).

All of these authors succeeded because they are true originals, but publishing loves a bandwagon, and the holy grail for 2011 will be a book that combines pukka recipes with the authorial talents of Stephen Fry and the loveable eccentricity of a member of the genus Suricata suricatta. Expect a bidding war for the memoirs of a descendant of Mongis Khan, as told to Mrs Fry or some such other fictional extension of the Fry ego, and taking issue with the slurs on mongoose history detailed in the meerkat Aleksandr Orlov's current bestseller, A Simples Life. In the meantime, Arrow is republishing four Fry books (The Hippopotamus, Making History, The Liar and Paperweight) in June.

Also in June, Virago will reissue some of the backlist of the 2010 Booker-shortlisted author Emma Donoghue, who did not in fact live silently in a tiny room until the day she published Room, but in fact wrote the marvellous Slammerkin (2000) and Touchy Subjects (2006). They should now get the attention that they always deserved.

Some bigger-name authors have new fiction published in 2011. Look out for Wish You Were Here (Picador, June) by the Waterland author Graham Swift – "a resonant novel about a changing England", says Picador, in which a Devon farmer must collect the remains of his brother, a soldier who died in Iraq. Also from Picador comes The Stranger's Child (July), Alan Hollinghurst's follow-up to the 2004 Booker-winning The Line of Beauty, which follows the lives of two families from the eve of the First World War to the close of the 20th century, and Edward St Aubyn's At Last (May), a darkly comic story of dysfunctional families and the culmination of his Patrick Melrose series.

Readers will be sorry to see the end of two very different series in March. Kurt Wallander solves his final case in Henning Mankell's The Troubled Man (Harvill), the first Wallander novel for a decade, and in the same week, Hodder publishes the sixth and final instalment of Jean M Auel's Earth's Children series, The Land of Painted Caves, in which Ayla struggles to find a balance between her duties as a new mother and her training to become a Zelandoni – one of the Ninth Cave community's spiritual leaders and healers.

No concrete news yet on what's next from these authors, but Eoin Colfer is due to follow up his 20-million-selling Artemis Fowl series for children with his first adult novel, Plugged, in May (Headline). It's described as a "quirky crime noir", involves a psychotic Irish bouncer, and is aimed at teenagers (and their dads) who have grown up with and perhaps outgrown the Artemis Fowl books.

One of the smash hits of 2010 was David Nicholls' One Day, which followed his novels Starter for Ten (2003) and The Understudy (2005), and won a Galaxy National Book Award. Nicholls tells me that he is working on another novel, but he's also closely involved with the film of One Day, which is due out in autumn. He has already adapted Starter for Ten (2006), plus Blake Morrison's And When Did You Last See Your Father? and Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles; any Nicholls production is worth waiting for. The film of Lionel Shriver's brilliant (and divisive) novel, We Need to Talk About Kevin, meanwhile, previews at Cannes in May. It stars Tilda Swinton as Kevin's mother, which bodes well.

Another old favourite in a new genre will be Joyce Carol Oates, author of more than 50 novels, as well as poetry, essays and short stories. In March, she will publish her memoir, A Widow's Story (Fourth Estate), about the sudden death of her husband of half a century. An early, pre-publication review calls it "a deeply intimate look at the eminent author's 'derangement of Widowhood'... Oates writes with gut-wrenching honesty and spares no one in ripping the illusions off the face of death."

Also worth looking out for is Camilla Gibb's The Beauty of Humanity Movement (Atlantic, March), set in Hanoi. Her earlier novels, Mouthing the Words (1999) and The Petty Details of So-and-So's Life (2003) were torturous portraits of family misery. And Jason Webster's Or the Bull Kills You (Chatto, February), a debut novel about a pot-smoking Spanish detective, is already causing a stir.

Other titles not to miss include Ali Smith's There But For The (Hamish Hamilton, June); Paul Theroux's The Tao of Travel (Hamish Hamilton, May); Philip Hensher's King of the Badgers (Fourth Estate, March); the Booker winner Aravind Adiga's second novel, Last Man in Tower (Atlantic, June); and Alan Bennett's Smut (Profile, May), intriguingly subtitled "two unseemly short stories".

But before those, why not start 2011 with another Profile title: Susan Maushart's The Winter of Our Disconnect? This cold-turkey memoir of "how one family pulled the plug on their technology and lived to tell/text/tweet the tale" is apparently "a meditation on new media, the life of a family and the meaning of home". I'd just like to know how the three children felt about having to read paper books.

Lastly, Jackie Kay's pithy and beautiful collection of poetry, Fiere, will be published by Picador on Friday. And here, exclusively for readers of The New Review, is a sneak preview, below. n

Poem by Jackie Kay

FIERE GOOD NICHT (after Gussie Lord Davis)

When you've had your last one for the road,
a Linkwood, a Talisker, a Macallan,
and you've finished your short story
and played one more time Nacht und Traume
with Roland Hayes singing sweetly;
and pictured yourself on the road,
the one that stretches to infinity,
and said good night to your dead,
and fathomed the links in the long day –

then it's time to say Goodnight fiere,
and lay your highland head on your feather pillow,
far away – in England, Canada, New Zealand –
and coorie in, coorie in, coorie in.
The good dreams are drifting quietly doon,
like a figmaleerie, my fiere, my dearie,
and you'll sleep as soond as a peerie,
and you, are turning slowly towards the licht:
Goodnight fiere, fiere, Good Nicht.

The new collection 'Fiere', by Jackie Kay, is published by Picador on 7 January, priced £8.99

Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat

Arts and Entertainment
A sketch of Van Gogh has been discovered in the archives of Kunsthalle Bremen in Germany
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
Arts and Entertainment
Fake Banksy stencil given to artist Alex Jakob-Whitworth

art

Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is heading to Norwich for Radio 1's Big Weekend

music
Arts and Entertainment
Beer as folk: Vincent Franklin and Cyril Nri (centre) in ‘Cucumber’
tvReview: This slice of gay life in Manchester has universal appeal
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
‘A Day at the Races’ still stands up well today
film
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tvAnd its producers have already announced a second season...
Arts and Entertainment
Kraftwerk performing at the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) museum in Berlin earlier this month
musicWhy a bunch of academics consider German electropoppers Kraftwerk worthy of their own symposium
Arts and Entertainment
Icelandic singer Bjork has been forced to release her album early after an online leak

music
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth as Harry Hart in Kingsman: The Secret Service

film
Arts and Entertainment
Brian Blessed as King Lear in the Guildford Shakespeare Company's performance of the play

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
In the picture: Anthony LaPaglia and Martin Freeman in 'The Eichmann Show'

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Kirkbride and Bill Roache as Deirdre and Ken Barlow in Coronation Street

tvThe actress has died aged 60
Arts and Entertainment
Marianne Jean-Baptiste defends Joe Miller in Broadchurch series two

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The frill of it all: Hattie Morahan in 'The Changeling'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny may reunite for The X Files

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
TV
News
A young woman punched a police officer after attending a gig by US rapper Snoop Dogg
people
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee