George R.R. Martin Fails to Finish Book
Just when we thought that winter might actually be here, George RR Martin has announced that he has been unable to complete the sixth book in the Game of Thrones series, A Song of Ice and Fire, in time for it to be released prior to the beginning of the new season of the TV show in April.
Writing in his online journal last weekend, he devastated nerds around the world by writing: ‘THE WINDS OF WINTER is not finished. Believe me, it gave me no pleasure to type those words. You’re disappointed, and you’re not alone. My editors and publishers are disappointed, HBO is disappointed, my agents and foreign publishers and translators are disappointed… but no one could possibly be more disappointed than me… But the book’s not done’.
Most have given the writer some slack, this article provides examples of other great writers who were unable to finish their chef d’oeuvre The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer and The Faerie Queen by Spenser are both in technical terms, unfinished.
Martin may have added a touch of pressure when he signed his stories (soul) over to HBO for trillions of dollars, no doubt. But look, he’s old and he has trillions of dollars now, so isn’t that nice for him?
Fifth Bookshop Employee Missing in Hong Kong
Lee Bo, an employee of Causeway Bay books in Hong Kong, has been reported missing. Lee is the fifth employee associated with the bookstore to have gone missing since November. There is some speculation that Lee and his fellow employees have been detained due to the politically charged content of the bookstore, which specialises in material critical of the Communist Party. Co-owner of the bookshop, Gui Minhai, one of the four other missing employees, has contacted his wife on a few occasions, but his location remains unknown. The others have not been heard from since November.
According to this article, police have asked China whether Lee was detained in the mainland and are awaiting a reply.
Ambassador for Children’s Literature Gene Luen Yang
Gene Luen Yang has become the first graphic novelist to be named the Ambassador for Children’s Literature. The Library of Congress in the U.S has Yang for graphic novels such as American Born Chinese, which tells the story of Jin Wang, a young boy who is struggling to find his place at his new school and Boxers and Saints, two companion graphic novels. The first of the set is about Little Bao, a young boy who becomes a leader of the Boxer Rebellion. The second is about Four-Girl, a young girl from the same village who shares the same defiant ambition.
Yang, who has recently joined a team working on Superman for DC Comics, will serve a two year term as ambassador and will promote initiatives such as ‘Reading without Walls’, whose mission is to encourage children to explore books outside of their comfort zones. ‘A huge part of being a kid is exploring the world,” Yang said. ‘Books are a bridge between them and what might be unfamiliar.’
Costa Novel Prize
Kate Atkinson has won the Costa Novel Prize for the third time for her novel A God in Ruins, just two years after her book, Life After Life was selected for the award. ‘A God in Ruins is possibly the best novel I’ve written so it is absolutely wonderful to have it validated in this way,’ said Atkinson.
Four authors in other categories were selected for prizes this year: Andrew Michael Hurley’s The Loney was selected for the First Novel Prize; The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf took the Biography Award for a story about Alexander Humboldt, the forgotten scientist who inspired Charles Darwin. Frances Hardinge was selected for her children’s book, The Lie Tree, and poet Don Patterson was given the Poetry Prize for his collection, 40 Sonnets.
The decision must now be made on who will win the overall Costa Book of the Year Prize, which Atkinson took home in 1995 for Behind the Scenes at the Museum.
The winner will be revealed on January 26th.
Orphans in Fiction
We all love a good orphan in a novel, David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, James and his giant peach, to name just a few. Pair an orphan with a despicable adult who is out to ruin their quest to find love and you have a decent story to tell. With that in mind, the exhibition “Drawing on Childhood”, will appear at the Foundling Museum in London, from the 22nd January. It features illustrations of orphaned, adopted or found children that have featured in stories since the 18th century, ‘Oh, how grim’ I hear you gasp. Well, no, that’s not quite the point.
The show is inspired by poet and playwright Lemn Sissay’s commission, Superman was a Foundling. Sissay, who himself spent time in care, wanted to focus on the importance of looked-after children in popular culture.
Featuring illustrations of lonely tykes by artists such as Quentin Blake – reknowned for this Roald Dahl characters – and Arthur Rackham’s original 1919 drawing of Cinderella, the show sparks a sense of nostalgia and sends us a reminder of the tenacity and bravery of children in care today.
To accompany the works on loan, the contemporary artists Pablo Bronstein, Chris Haughton and Posy Simmonds have been invited to produce a new illustration for Henry Fielding’s novel The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling, first published in 1749.
Orphans in Fiction: blogspot.com
George RR Martin Fails: awoiaf.westeros.org
Ambassador for Children’s Literature Gene Luen Yung: herocomplex.latimes.com