Weekly book agenda: Scott Pilgrim defeats the final evil ex

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The Independent Culture

With the release of Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour on July 20, an indie comic may find itself nestled among the typical beach fare on summer bestseller charts. The comic book is the last in a six-book series and is the inspiration for a major film due out in August.

'Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour'
July 20/22

The independent comic book publisher Oni Press began printing Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim series in 2004. Five of six volumes of the series have so far been released, and the series has grown to become one of the most influential indie comics of the past decade. The series is about a 23-year-old slacker who lives in Toronto and plays bass guitar in the band Sex Bob-Omb. When he falls in love with American delivery girl Ramona V. Flowers, he discovers he must defeat her seven "evil exes" in order to date her. Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour is currently topping US and UK pre-order charts, thanks in part to the August release of a Scott Pilgrim movie adaptation starring Michael Cera.

Hong Kong Book Fair
July 21-27
Hong Kong, China

The Hong Kong Book Fair has in 20 years grown from a small, industry-only event into somewhat of a cultural phenomenon. The 2009 edition saw nearly 500 exhibitors from 20 countries and regions as well as 900,000 visitors, many of whom lined up overnight to get author autographs and book bargains and to attend the hundreds of cultural events held a part of the fair. The 2010 fair will feature seminars, new book releases, storytelling sessions, and talks by well-known authors from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, and elsewhere.

July 22-25
San Diego, California, USA

The sold-out 41st annual San Diego Comic-Con International will host guests including American science fiction writer Ray Bradbury, True Blood author Charlaine Harris, comic book writer and editor Stan Lee, and dozens of other writers, artists, and editors from the wide world of comics. Originally a showcase for classic comic books, science fiction/fantasy writing, and related film/television, Comic-Con has expanded over the years to comprise horror, anime, manga, animation, and webcomics. The convention is the largest in the Western hemisphere and the second largest in the world after the Angoulême International Comics Festival in France, attracting more than 125,000 visitors a year.

The "Booker Dozen" announced
July 27
London, UK

Judges of the Man Booker Prize are scheduled to announce a 2010 longlist, commonly referred to as the "Booker Dozen." Selection for this high-profile UK prize can become a hot topic for debate in the literary world, and speculations for the 2010 edition are running high. Among frequently speculated contenders are Ian McEwan's Solar, Martin Amis's The Pregnant Widow, David Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, and Andrea Levy's The Long Song. To get in the conversation, visit the "Debate" section of the Man Booker Prize website.

Cape Town Book Fair
July 30-August 2
Cape Town, South Africa

Now in its fifth year, the Cape Town Book Fair is the largest book event in sub-Saharan Africa, notable especially for its strong public attendance - more than 43,000 visitors were reported in 2009, and the 2010 is expected to draw 45,000. While its industry component is smaller than leading international fairs, the fair earns clout as one of only two joint ventures (with the Abu Dhabi Book Fair) managed by the organizers of the Frankfurt Book Fair, the largest book fair worldwide. More than 200 exhibitors from 31 countries are expected at the 2010 fair, which begins with a dedicated trade day to be opened by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Edinburgh Book Festival tickets on sale
August 14-30
Edinburgh, Scotland

The 2010 Edinburgh International Book Festival is set to run from August 14 through 30 at the historic Charlotte Square Gardens in Scotland's capital city. Nearly 250,000 people attended the annual event, which together with six concurrent events in Edinburgh is said to make up the world's biggest arts festival. More than 700 events for all ages are scheduled for the festival's 2010 edition, which opens with a debate featuring Philip Pullman. Among the other 750 writers from 50 countries set to participate include author Joyce Carol Oates and UK Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. Event prices range from free to around €15, and many events sell out well in advance.