Emirates Literature Foundation Blog (ELF)

LitNews: J.R.R. Tolkien Centre, House Of Wisdom Opening, Roots & Shoots Partnership & More

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

With 2020 slowly coming to a close, we took the chance to look back on some of the biggest and best books of the year — even compiling our own list of the best of the best based on the various other year-end round ups that spring up in December! But while we've been letting our special super-mega-tabulator crunch those numbers, we've also been scouring the web to bring you the latest news. Here's what's caught our eye this week:

Saving the planet got a lot easier — and a lot more fun! The Emirates Literature Foundation has entered into a partnership with Jane Goodall's Institute's Roots & Shoots initiative. The initiative allows friends and families to group together as they take on various projects to benefit the environment and the wider world around them. Learn how you can get involved here.

Don't forget to renew your Foundation Friends membership! (Or perhaps, pick one up for a beloved friend or loved one?) Anyone renewing or purchasing a new membership this year will be getting two years for the price of one. It's perfect considering the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will be taking place across three locations this year, as well as offering limited seating. Learn more about the benefits, and how you can secure access to all the sessions of your choice here

National Day still on your mind? Here's a list of three Emirati authors to check out to keep the celebrations going.

Calling all Sharjah-based bibliophiles! The House of Wisdom has officially opened to the public. Open from 10AM to 8PM it houses more than 300,000 books and consists of arts spaces, a children’s library, The Monumental Library and much more. 

Lord of the Rings and Hobbit author J.R. R. Tolkien's home has re-entered the market, inspiring fans to set out on a crowdfunding quest to not only purchase the house, but to preserve it and turn it into a museum. "There is no center for Tolkien anywhere in the world," Julia Golding, a British novelist spearheading the campaign. You can watch the celeb-packed video announcing the campaign below. 

Former Emirates LitFest author Leila Aboulela swapped statistics for writing after a 5000-mile journey. Read all about her interesting life story in The National here. 

Hervé Le Tellier must be flying high after winning the Prix Goncourt for page-turner L’anomalie which is set on a flight between New York and Paris and narrated from the perspective of 11 passengers including a part-time hit man. 

If you’ve read every best book of the year list or article recommending the Booker longlist over and over again, here’s a an article in Kirkus on the books that deserved more buzz this year. 

Your current writing project not sparking any joy? This LitHub essay ‘How to let go of a book you’ve been writing for 20 years’ might be of interest.

Previous festival author Clare Mackintosh has a piece in Crime Reads this week on the importance of story over genre. "Characters, writing, and tension make or break a book. You can step over the genre fence and still appeal to your reader," says Mackintosh.

Camilla Townsend wins the $75,000 Cundill History Prize with Fifth Sun: A New History of the Aztecs, praised by jury chair Peter Frankopan for the way it "transforms how we look at the past."

Let's get Festival! The Bangalore LitFest, featuring over 80 Indian and International authors, will be livestreamed on 12 and 13 December

For anyone following the emergence of Bookshop.org, New Statesman article ‘Why Bookshop.org is not the saviour the book world needs’ explores the cut that independent bookstores take via the Amazon competitor versus standard in-store cut of book price, and more.

Russian doping tell-all wins William Hill Sportsbook of the Year with whistle-blowing author under witness protection.

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, featured down below!