Saturday Round Up 22nd Jan 2022

In this post check out the latest t news in the book and publishing industry that I have heard about this week up to the 22nd January.

In a big money-saving offer for readers, The Daily Mirror is partnering with WHSSmith to offer books for half price each week for six weeks, beginning with the Sunday Times Number One Bestseller Rabbit Hole by Mark Billingham. Described as audacious and original, Billingham’s propulsive thriller sees the murder of a man on a psychiatric ward investigated by a detective who is a patient herself.

The first voucher was in yesterday’s newspaper so the subsequent ones should hopefully be in each Thursday edition of the paper.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Janet Ellis on panel for Oscar's Book Prize

At the beginning of the week, it was announced that UK pop singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor and her mother, former Blue Peter presenter and author Janet Ellis, will be on the judging panel for Oscar’s Book Prize, to find the best illustrated children’s books for under 5’s in The Bookseller

Completing the line-up is Children’s Laureate and award-winning illustrator Chris Riddell and rapper, actor, comedian and children’s author, Ben Bailey Smith. Completing the panel is Viveka Alvestrand, who founded the literary award in memory of her son, Oscar, who died aged three and a half from a heart condition, and Lisa de Meyer, the UK books country manager at Amazon.co.uk. 

The prize is currently open for entrants with a £10,000 prize to the winner and has been running since 2012.

Ellis-Bextor said: “With five children in our home, we’ve been lucky to have experienced plenty of the magic and well-being that sharing a great story can bring.  It’s an honour to be helping to choose the next breakout picture book – I can’t wait to see what we’ll discover. It is made even more special doing this alongside my mother, who was always so fantastic at reading my own bedtime stories!”

By Ibsan73 - Sophie Ellis-Bextor at the Tv Baftas 2015, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40278972
By Plad2 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9495795

Reader pays for Waterstones Books, 50 years late!

Meanwhile, Waterstones at Gower Street London received an anonymous letter from a mystery person who claimed they forgot to pay for two books in 1974 and sent them £120 to cover for inflation since the books were purchased, as reported in The Bookseller.

In response, the store donated the money to BookTrust which aim to encourage children to read books. They said: “Bookshops are amazing places with fantastic customers both past and present”, adding: “we hope that our anonymous customer of yesteryear approves and might even pop in again!”

Britney Spears issues Cease And Desist Letter To Her Sister

Meanwhile over in the USA, Britney Spears is threatening her sister Jamie Lynn with cease and desist letters over comments Jamie has made about Britney whilst promoting her new book, Things I Should Have Said.

As reported by The BBC, Britney’s lawyer Matthew Rosengart says the “ill-timed” memoir contains “misleading and derogatory claims”.

In a letter, Rosengart wrote: “Publicly airing false or fantastical grievances is wrong, especially when designed to sell books. It is also potentially unlawful and defamatory”.

“You recently reportedly stated that the book was ‘not about her.’ She takes you at your word and we, therefore, demand that you cease and desist from referencing Britney derogatorily during your promotional campaign.

“If you fail to do so or defame her, Britney will be forced to consider and take all appropriate legal action.”

I was a big fan of Britney growing up and was really happy when she was freed from her conservatorship at the end of last year so it is quite sad and frustrating for her really that she is still having to continually put up with issues from her father and her sister trying to exploit her wealth. I do hope that she finds happiness since being freed and can move on from that experience.

Ali Mitgutsch dies aged 86

Inventive German children’s illustrator, Ali Mitgutsch has passed away at the age of 86 as reported in The Telegraph.

The illustrator drew over 70 books during his lifetime, selling millions of copies and translated into 15 languages, since his debut book  “Rundherum in Meiner Stadt” which was published in 1968 (and still in print).

He was famous for his Wimmelbuch style of illustration – illustrations with crowds of people with lots of visual jokes and anecdotes and anticipated similar publishing phenomena, most notably the British illustrator Martin Hanford’s “Where’s Wally?” series. 

He is survived by his second wife, Heidi, whom he married after the death of his first wife, Karin; three children, Oliver, Florian and Katrin; and four grandchildren. His son Florian is also a children’s book illustrator.

Jersey Residents Urged To Donate Books To Mental Health Charity

Finally this week ,a charity in Jersey is working with a mental health facility to provide books to help patients with their recovery, as reported by ITV News.

Focus UP is working with Orchard House, which provides treatment for adults with acute mental health conditions, to provide more reading materials.

Focus UP volunteer, Luke Canavan, says reading about his mental health condition helped with his recovery.

He said: “I was given the Oxford Press booklet on schizophrenia, and along with medication, it was a key turning point in my recovery.

“It allowed me to identify with the fact I was not well and turn around my psychological deterioration.”

Donations can be dropped off until Friday 11 February at: Salvation Army, Minden Place, St Clement’s Parish Hall and St Saviour’s Parish Hall.

It is a great cause and highlights how beneficial reading books can be for people’s mental health.

Let me know what your favourite story has been from this week in the comments below.

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