Emirates Literature Foundation Blog (ELF)

LitNews: Shakespeare's First Folio, School Librarian Of The Year, The Haunting Of Bly Manor & More

Your weekly guide to the weekly happenings in the world of books

It's been a busy week! Between checking in on our mental health at the start, and celebrating everything it is that girls can accomplish, we also found the time to look into self-publishing! Of course we still found the time to round up things that caught our eye, so here's the best of them:

What’s the most you’d pay for a book? Unless it’s over 36 million dirhams you wouldn’t have wanted the First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays from 1623 that sold at auction this week.

We have bestseller lists and articles all over the internet that help us figure out what books to read, but in the immortal words of Neil Gaiman: "Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one." So to celebrate our search for the nation’s best School Librarian through our School Librarian of the Year award we’ve put together a list of of the most popular books in public libraries from the past year. Which you can check out here.

Have you seen The Haunting of Bly Manor on Netflix? After his niece and nephew fall under his care, a gentleman hires a governess to look after them at Bly Manor. But soon after her arrival, she starts to see strange apparitions. Sound familiar? That’s because the supernatural horror series is loosely based on the work of Henry James, in particular his famous 1898 novella, The Turn of the Screw. Watch the trailer for the series below. 

The Frankfurt Book Fair is in full swing and there are lots of free sessions that you can watch via their livestream, from Margaret Atwood to Edward Snowden, and the Emirates Literature Foundation’s very own contribution to the programme: Omar Ghobash in conversation with historian Peter Frankopan on how the pandemic has changed the course of history.

The Sharjah International Book Fair will be running physically from the Sharjah Expo Centre in addition to digital sessions, from 4 to 14 November. Learn more about it here.

So you want to be a novelist? A New York literary agent, editor and au-thor reveal how bestsellers are born in this article in The Independent. (If that inspires you, don't forget to try your hand at the Emirates LitFest Writing Prize, where the winner gets a consultation with an an international agent.)

Can't get enough of Pride and Prejudice? A Netflix adaptation of Ibi Zoboi's Pride, the Haitian-Dominican update to Jane Austen's classic novel that explores teen angst, gentrification and more with some magical realism thrown in is it’s on the way.

If you’re looking for another supernatural tale, 2020 Festival author Stuart Turton, who wrote The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, has another book out, a supernatural thriller set in 1634 called The Devil and the Dark Water. A ‘locked-room’ murder mystery on a ship, with a detective in chains, and strange apparitions are just some of what you can expect from the book. Here’s a great interview in The National with Stuart about the book and his background as travel journalist in Dubai.

Young Adult book cover design is Kelly Jensen’s ‘jam’ and she’s written a fascinating article in Book Riot on why these YA book covers look the way they do, and the trends that came and went throughout the years – from YA’s very own dark emo phase, to girls underwater in billowy white dresses, and beyond.

In terms of the actual content of YA literature, there’s a new Random House Children’s Books imprint scheduled to debut in 2022. Imprint ‘Joy Revolution’ will be led by authors Nicola and David Yoon and will feature teen love stories by and about people of colour. Nicola says in this Publishers Weekly article that: "Our books won’t be issue-oriented or polemical. The Joy Revolution imprint is all about telling stories of big love. The characters in them have big ideas about the world and their place in it. I believe love stories are truly revolutionary. Because love has the power to unmake and remake the world."

The Goldsmith’s Prize which is awarded annually to "fiction that breaks the mould and extends the possibilities of the novel form" has released its shortlist which includes Meanwhile in Dopamine City, a novel told in two columns to ‘mimic our divided attention’, Mr Beethoven which imagines what would have happened if Beethoven had lived another seven years and travelled to the US, and more. The winner will be announced on 11 November. Overview available here from The Guardian.

For more news on what the Emirates Literature Foundation is up to, follow us on Twitter and Instagram. And to keep up with the rest of our book-filled discussion, you can listen to the latest episode of our Boundless Book Club podcast, which features Booker Prize-shortlisted author Avni Doshi, featured down below!