December 7 2023

Benjamin Zephaniah: Writer, poet and Peaky Blinders actor dies aged 65

Writer and poet Benjamin Zephaniah has been remembered as a “titan of British literature” after his death aged 65.

He died early on Thursday with his wife by his side after being diagnosed with a brain tumour eight weeks ago, a statement on his Instagram said.

Benjamin Zephaniah: Writer, poet and Peaky Blinders actor dies aged 65, Steven McIntosh, BBC News

One of Britain’s most prolific literary voices, Zephaniah was credited with creating “dub poetry”, with the words recited over the beats of reggae music. An outspoken political activist, his work dealt with themes of racism, poverty, and social injustice.

Born in Birmingham on 15 April 1958, Zephaniah was the son of a postman from Barbados and his mother was a nurse from Jamaica. Diagnosed with dyslexia at an early age, he left an approved school unable to read or write at the age of 13.

Benjamin Zephaniah death: British writer and poet known for his work on race and racism dies, aged 65, Maanya Sachdeva, Independent

Benjamin was a hero to millions of people all over the world. His mix of poetry, novels, wisdom, humour and sheer presence grabbed us and delighted us. I first saw him when he was starting out in the poetry clubs, dancing a poem about his mother, voicing his poetry in a voice I hadn’t heard before: Brummie-Caribbean. It was an honour and treat to work with him many times over the years, on videos, radio programmes, and when he MC’d an award ceremony run by the British Council for the best examples of English teaching. Then and often elsewhere, he loved reflecting on his journey from being a semi-literate teenager, getting into trouble, to someone feted at the highest levels for his literary achievements and force of personality.

‘A hero to millions’: Benjamin Zephaniah remembered by Michael Rosen, Kae Tempest and more, Michael Rosen, The Guardian
November 17 2023

AS Byatt: Author, critic and poet dies aged 87

Novelist, critic and poet Dame AS Byatt has died at the age of 87, her publisher has announced.

The renowned writer, whose full name was Antonia Susan Byatt, won the Booker Prize for her 1990 novel Possession.

In a statement, Penguin Random House said they were “deeply saddened” to announce her death.

They described her as “one of the most significant writers and critics of our time”.

AS Byatt: Author, critic and poet dies aged 87, Steven McIntosh, BBC News
October 17 2023

Reading Agency launches fundraising campaign to help address the adult literacy crisis

The Reading Agency has today launched a new fundraising campaign, Reading Power, focused on improving adult reading confidence across the UK.

It aims to raise funds to deliver vital reading programmes and resources to the 8.5 million adults in the UK with low literacy skills. Funds raised will support The Reading Agency’s schemes such as Quick Reads and Reading Ahead which provide accessible reads, tools and encouragement to help adults improve their reading confidence and ability.

Reading Agency launches fundraising campaign to help address the adult literacy crisis, HELOISE WOOD,

See Also: The Reading Agency announcement post

October 15 2023

Defunded theatre has lost its way, says writer Roger Williams

Wales’ national theatre has not produced enough engaging work and lost a meaningful connection with artists, a writer has said.

National Theatre Wales was told in September its annual £1.6m funding was being cut to nothing by Arts Council of Wales (ACW).

Roger Williams, among other members of the artistic community, said the theatre had “lost its way”.

Defunded theatre has lost its way, says writer, Stephen Fairclough, BBC News
October 11 2023

The Society of Authors demands transparency on publishers’ streaming deals with Spotify

The Society of Authors was deeply concerned last week to learn from press reports that ‘all major book publishers’ have agreed new limited streaming deals with Spotify. Under these agreements, subscribers to the Spotify Premium service in the UK and Australia will gain access to up to 15 hours of audiobook content per month through the Spotify app, from a catalogue of more than 150,000 audiobooks.

As far as we are aware, no authors or agents have been approached for permission for such licences, and authors have not been consulted on licence or payment terms. Publishing contracts differ but in our view most licences given to publishers for licensing of audio do not include streaming. In fact, it is likely that streaming was not a use that had been invented when many such contracts were entered into.

SoA demands transparency and action on publishers’ streaming deals with Spotify, The Society of Authors
October 11 2023

Author and playwright David Benedictus dies aged 85

Author and playwright David Benedictus has died suddenly at the age of 85, his family has said.

The writer was best known for novels including the Eton-set The Fourth Of June, which he adapted into a West End play, and You’re A Big Boy Now, which was turned into a 1966 film directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

He also wrote the 2009 Winnie The Pooh book Return To The Hundred Acre Wood, a sequel to The House at Pooh Corner and the first Pooh book since 1928.

Author and playwright David Benedictus dies aged 85, Laura Harding, Independent
September 16 2023

Hatch Press takes flight with Bonnier Books UK

Bonnier Books UK today announces the launch of Hatch Press, the home of creativity, inspiration and amazing adventures through history.

The newest imprint within the company’s thriving children’s division, Hatch Press will publish non-fiction, hands-on learning, and art and activity titles for fledgling readers between 3-12 years old – laying the foundations for a lifetime love of books.

Bonnier Books UK
September 11 2023

Hello world!

Hello and welcome to a new blog – outside news.

I started this blog because I wanted to share news about books that I see. I know Matt has helped other people set up feed groups to put headlines on the front page. That’s cool and I support it. This is for those cases where the news matters but there’s no feed to get the important headlines.

Posts here should be of the form “headline, outlet, and introductory quote with prominent links” to the full story. Images are good but not mandatory.

Anyone can share news here by joining the group but only mods and admins can publish them. That is just to protect against spam. Once we get to know you, we will make you a group mod so you can post freely.