If there were any doubt that J.K. Rowling has put away childish things since concluding her beloved Harry Potter series seven years ago, consider the grisly description of the crime scene in her new mystery, The Silkworm: “a carcass: trussed, stinking and rotting, empty and gutted…like a slaughtered pig.” Even Voldemort might show more restraint. The victim is a pompous, third-rate novelist named Owen Quine whose final, typewritten manuscript describes just such a death—and also includes libelous fictional versions of all the potential suspects: his more successful literary rival, his chain-smoking agent, his boozy editor, his closeted publisher, his mousy wife, and his shrill mistress. READ FULL STORY
Tag: J.K. Rowling (11-20 of 76)
If you know anything about Game of Thrones, you know that author George R.R. Martin kills off a lot of characters. If you’d like to join that esteemed company, here’s your chance. Martin is offering the opportunity to “meet a grisly death” in the next Song of Ice and Fire novel if you donate $20,000 to a fundraiser for the Wild Wolf Spirit sanctuary in New Mexico and The Food Depot of Santa Fe. You’ll be able to choose your position in the world (knight, peasant, whore, lady, etc) as well. But hurry! Offer only good while supplies last. Only one male and one female character are available. Other awards including sharing a breakfast with Martin, tickets to the show’s season 5 premiere, and even Martin’s hat. [Prizeo]
Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins will soon be joining the fray in the Amazon-Hachette war. According to Bloomberg News, their contracts are up for renewal next. This means that Amazon will be up against bigger arms — the publishers’ respective owners are News Corp. and CBS Corp. It also means that Veronica Roth and Stephen King will join J.K. Rowling and James Patterson in the controversy. Independent bookstore owners have also started yelling battle cries — the American Booksellers Association made digital banners reading, “Thanks, Amazon, the indies will take it from here,” “Independent bookstores sell books from all publishers. Always,” and “Pre-order and buy Hachette titles today.” Among all this, Hachette is laying off 3 percent of its staff. [Bloomberg]
Debut novelist Eimar McBride won the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction, one of the most highly regarded prizes in English-language literature. You might have heard of it when it was called the Orange Prize, sponsored by the British telecom company Orange, but it switched names and sponsorship this year. The book, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, beat out Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah for the award, as well as four other novels on the shortlist. “I hope it will serve as an incentive to publishers everywhere to take a look at difficult books and think again,” McBride said at the ceremony. “We are all writers but we are all readers first. There is a contract between publishers and readers which must be honoured, readers can not be underestimated.” [The Guardian]
In honor of the upcoming World Cup, the curator of Brazilian literature festival FlipSide, Ángel Gurría-Quintana, gives a rundown of the country’s literature — and there’s plenty of it. “Despite the common complaint that not enough Brazilian literature is published in English,” Gurría-Quintana writes. “This is an auspicious moment for new Brazilian writing in translation.” [The Guardian]
Amazon may be making it impossible to pre-order The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (a.k.a. J.K. Rowling), but Rowling is drumming up anticipation for the book on her own by releasing two chapters on robert-galbraith.com. In the excerpt, Cormoran Strike reckons with the disappearance of novelist Owen Quine, who has made enemies of many people he knows by characterizing them in unflattering ways in his books. The chapters also include references to phone hacking, an issue Rowling has addressed in real life.
The feud between Hachette Book Group and Amazon has intensified. The Los Angeles Times reports that Amazon has taken the pre-order buttons off of big Hachette titles, like The Burning Room by Michael Connelly and The Silkworm by Richard Galbraith, the pen name for J.K. Rowling. This is in addition to allegedly extending back order times for popular books, like Tina Fey’s Bossypants and Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point. Hachette has issued a statement saying they are “sparing no effort and exploring all options” to resolve this conflict, but Amazon has declined to comment. Hachette author James Patterson has been very outspoken about this battle. “What I don’t understand about this particular battle tactic is how it is in the best interest of Amazon customers,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “It certainly doesn’t appear to be in the best interest of authors.” READ FULL STORY
The Quidditch World Cup continued on Pottermore today, and game two pitted Nigeria against Fiji. As predicted, tournament-favorite Nigeria steamrolled the island nation of Fiji in a 400-160 win. Read the full article from The Daily Prophet‘s Quidditch correspondent Ginny Weasley to figure out why Fijian coach Hector Bolobolo’s only comment after the game was, “I’m going to kill him.”
Nigeria will go on to face the winner of the Poland v. Japan match — and meanwhile, Pottermore tells us that it will be updating The Daily Prophet every day this week with new coverage from Ginny (a.k.a. J.K. Rowling).We’re Quaffling with excitement.
Harry Potter’s official fan site, Pottermore, posted two new pieces from J.K. Rowling as part of the “History of the Quidditch World Cup.” And now we know why! Because Ginny Potter (née Weasley) is going to be “reporting live” from the 2014 Quidditch World Cup, which is happening in the Patagonian desert this year, folks. (So I guess South America is hosting all the World Cups. Lucky dogs.)
These days, Ginny is married to Harry and enjoying a post-player career as a sports journalist. Her byline says, “from the Daily Prophet’s Quidditch Correspondent in the Patagonian desert, Ginny Potter.” J.K. Rowling also quotes the magical creatures expert Rolf Scamander in the piece — which a press release noted that “knowledgeable Harry Potter fans” should be able to “spot the link to the screenplay for Fantastic Beasts that J.K. Rowling is currently writing, the protagonist of which is Newt Scamander, Rolf’s grandfather.” So are you a true fan? Did you catch that?? (I didn’t.)
This first article from Ginny describes how the international teams’ mascots, magical creatures from the world of Harry Potter, took part in the ceremony and caused havoc for their handlers. We find out why more than 300 crowd members are suffering from shock, broken bones and bites following the ceremony, and why failure to bring their usual mascots — a troupe of performing trolls — caused a great deal of trouble for the Norwegian delegation. A match report details the thrilling action between Norway and Ivory Coast in the first match of the tournament.
To check out the articles, sign in to Pottermore and go to the Office of The Daily Prophet section.
More Potter! More Potter! Fridays are so much better with Harry Potter stories. The second installment of The History of the Quidditch World Cup, the follow up to last week’s story on Pottermore, has gone up online today. This section covers “amusing recaps of some notable recent matches that have been held every four years since 1990.” Let’s get a Kickstarter campaign together to beg J.K. Rowling to release chapters from the wizard-verse every week. I know that she already has all the money she could want, but there must be something we could offer her as encouragement…any ideas?
In other book news, the author and journalist Khushwant Singh passed away at age 99. The Guardian says that “he held a particular place in Indian life as a critic of the establishment and a challenger of hypocrisy.” His mosaic ethnic background helped make him a keen observer of India’s modern history, especially its violent division into Muslim and Hindu countries: “Though his mother tongue was Punjabi and his cultural language was Urdu – he loved the Urdu poets and knew the Persian script – he chose to write in English, and soaked himself in Punjabi, Urdu and English and other European literature. Intellectually independent, he never took himself too seriously, and despite his Sikh background was an unrepentant agnostic. He made quite a success out of poking fun at pomposity, self‑righteousness, religiosity and his country’s myriad gods.”
Sounds like we could all take a page from his book. Speaking of ripping out pages, a publisher of Immanuel Kant’s essays on reason and judgement placed a “political correction” notice on its version of Kant’s Critiques. It reads: “This book is a product of its time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written today. Parents might wish to discuss with their children how views on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and interpersonal relations have changed since this book was written before allowing them to read this classic work.” Since when do we need to add a caveat to one of the western world’s greatest philosophers? [Open Culture]
Attention Potter Fans! (That’s the same as saying “attention everyone.”) J.K. Rowling has written a 2,400 word story on the “History of the Quidditch World Cup” and she’s given it exclusively to Pottermore to post in two parts, half today and half next Friday, March 21st.
Part one, which is going up today, provides historical background about the tournament, information about how the tournament works, and examples of controversial tournaments, including the infamous 1877 match played in Kazakhstan’s Ryn Desert now known as the Tournament that Nobody Remembers. READ FULL STORY
Using a similar approach as she took with Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling has plans to write up to seven novels in her Cormoran Strike series, according to The Sunday Times. Rowling, writing under the name Robert Galbraith, has already had solid success with the detective genre. Her first book, The Cuckoo’s Calling, was published last April and has sold 600,000 hardback copies and 1 million ebooks. As we announced last week, the sequel The Silkworm is coming out in June 2014.
Now that we all know that Robert Galbraith is J.K. Rowling’s pseudonym, there’s no way the sequel to last year’s surprise best-seller The Cuckoo’s Calling will spend any time in obscurity. The Silkworm will debut in the U.K. on June 19 and in the U.S. on June 24. Here’s the official plot description from Mulholland Books: READ FULL STORY
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