Sandi Toksvig narrates Pippi Longstocking audiobooks for 75th Anniversary year

The Astrid Lindgren Company is delighted to announce that award-winning presenter, comedian and writer Sandi Toksvig (Great British Bake Off, QI, The News Quiz) will narrate new audiobook editions of Astrid Lindgren’s classic tales Pippi Longstocking, Pippi Longstocking Goes Aboard and Pippi Longstocking in the South Seas to mark 75 years since Pippi’s creation.

Toksvig, a self-confessed Pippi Longstocking fan, will bring Lindgren’s most famous character to life in the first-ever English language audiobooks. Listeners will be thrilled with the narrations, based on new translations by Susan Beard, with the first – Pippi Longstocking – launched this month. It will be followed by Pippi Longstocking Goes Aboard and Pippi Longstocking in the South Seas later in the year. Previously, Sandi Toksvig had voiced the character of Pippi Longstocking for BBC Radio.

Sandi Toksvig OBE said: “As a longtime fan of Pippi Longstocking and her iconic creator Astrid Lindgren, it was a delight to reacquaint myself with the world’s strongest girl during her 75th birthday year. I’ve known her all my life and am still trying to mimic her by lifting any available horses above my head. In these uncertain times, it is wonderful to share these remarkable stories – and their brave, mischievous, but always kind, heroine – with you.”

Johan Palmberg, Rights Manager at The Astrid Lindgren Company and great-grandson of Astrid Lindgren, comments: “We were absolutely thrilled when Sandi Toksvig agreed to narrate the Pippi Longstocking books as part of our 75th anniversary celebrations. Sandi’s love of Pippi is evident as she guides listeners into her wonderfully playful world and brings her adventures with friends to life. We hope fans around the world will enjoy this experience as much as we did!”

Pippi Longstocking will be published by The Astrid Lindgren Company on Pippi’s 75th birthday, 21st May 2020 and made available to UK audiences on Spotify and iTunes. The instrumental of the theme tune, Here Comes Pippi Longstocking, will feature in all three audiobooks and the full song will also be released internationally by Universal Music, in both English and localised versions by the end of May. The song will be accompanied by an animated music video by acclaimed Norwegian studio, Qvisten Animation. This collaboration marks the start of a larger project between Universal Music and Astrid Lindgren Company, building on music written by Astrid Lindgren for previous films and television productions.

These audiobooks join a raft of other publishing from Lindgren’s long-term UK publisher, Oxford University Press, during the anniversary year, including: two chapter books Meet Pippi Longstocking and Pippi Longstocking and the Snirkle Hunt (March 2020), featuring artwork from the original illustrator, Ingrid Vang Nyman; Pippi Longstocking, Pippi Longstocking Goes Aboard and Pippi Longstocking in the South Seas (May 2020), with black and white illustrations by Mini Grey, and a hardback gift edition of Pippi Longstocking Goes Aboard (October 2020), illustrated in full colour by former Waterstones Children’s Laureate, Lauren Child.

In addition to the audiobook release, acclaimed storyteller Danyah Miller will be celebrating Pippi Longstocking’s 75th birthday with a special online performance of her show ‘Meet Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking’. Fans around the world can watch the performance on the Oxford Owl Facebook page at 11.00am on Thursday 21st May.

Riot Associate Director Katy MacMillan-Scott on crisis comms: gaining perspective from writers past

.
This article was originally published in The Bookseller 

It’s just over a month since lockdown began. I don’t need to tell you about the uncertainties or worries, but at Riot the crisis has strengthened our raison d’etre: we exist to promote culture, because we know how culture can offer perspective during turbulent times. 

One of the positive takeaways from this pandemic has been the blossoming of culture in our day-to-day lives. Arts stories – so often relegated to their own broadcast slots or throwaway sections – are now front and centre. Celebrities and artists are coming out in droves to entertain us with storytelling (looking at you, Tom Hardy), art (David Hockney’s cheery missives from springtime in Normandy or Quentin Blake and Damien Hirst’s rainbows), poetry recitations (cue the daily verse on the Today programme) and – a  personal favourite – readings of Girls Aloud lyrics on The Coronavirus Newscast (Hugh Bonneville’s Love Machine was particularly good). BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine season is well underway, and Curtis Brown Creative is running a free six-week writing course for those of us who have flirted with, but never committed to, our own scribblings. At Riot, we’ve launched a fortnightly Culture Drop signposting inspiring and motivating content for clients, colleagues and culture fans alike.  

Entertainment aside, we look to creatives to chronicle crises. In a letter published in The New Yorker last month, Booker Prize winner George Saunders wrote to his students at Syracuse University: 

Fifty years from now, people the age you are now won’t believe this ever happened (or will do the sort of eye roll we all do when someone tells us something about some crazy thing that happened in 1970). What will convince that future kid is what you are able to write about this, and what you’re able to write about it will depend on how much sharp attention you are paying now, and what records you keep. 

Closer to home, Penguin has released its brilliant Perspectives series, where authors – including Riot favourites Philip Pullman and Malorie Blackman – give their responses to the Covid-19 outbreak and outline positive change they hope will come out of this experience. These essays go some way towards articulating the hopes and fears we all share. 

And yet… how can any of us really respond objectively when we are in the throes of a crisis? An emerging sage for our time – grief expert, psychotherapist and author Julia Samuel MBE (This Too Shall Pass, Penguin Life) – uses experience of bereavement and trauma to counsel us on how to cope with the social impact of Coronavirus. In one Instagram post, she writes: ‘We are all in limbo, so very many unanswered questions racing around our minds. It is helpful to think of the serenity prayer: accept the things you cannot change, change the things you can and have the wisdom to know the difference. Eventually, this too shall pass and we will all be able to come together again.’ 

This too shall pass. For me – and for many who’ve experienced grief – there is great value in reading others’ experiences, to provide the distance and learnings that can help us navigate an altered reality. And where better to look than the literary world? So here are four writers to read on crises past: all in very different situations, each recognisable now in their own way. They provide comfort to the reader by virtue of the fact that – in each case – out of crises came understanding and a knowledge of a better way of living. 

  1. On action: Ahdaf Souief, writing during the Arab Spring  

In 2012, the Egyptian author, activist and political commentator wrote in the Guardian on the impossibility of escaping into fiction writing during a time of crisis. 

The question is: do you want to engage with this? Or do you want to escape it? Do you want to live your life in a bubble? Or do you want to be part of the great narrative of the world… 

Attempts at fiction right now would be too simple. The immediate truth is too glaring to allow a more subtle truth to take form. For reality has to take time to be processed, to transform into fiction. So it’s no use a story presenting itself, tempting, asking to be written, because another story will – in the next minute – come roaring over it, making the same demand. And you, the novelist, can’t grab one of them and run away and lock yourself up with it and surrender to it and wait and work for the transformation to happen – because you, the citizen, need to be present, there, on the ground, marching, supporting, talking, instigating, articulating. Your talent – at the time of crisis – is to tell the stories as they are, to help them to achieve power as reality not as fiction. 

Based in Cairo, Souief was a go-to commentator on the revolution in the media, and went on to write Cairo: My City, Our Revolution (Bloomsbury). She continues to challenge the Egyptian government and, in March 2020, she was arrested by security forces after staging a protest demanding the release of prisoners over fears of a coronavirus outbreak in the country’s overcrowded jails. 

  1. On observation: Astrid Lindgren, writing during World War Two 

From 1939-1945, the Swedish author and activist wrote diaries from neutral Stockholm. Observing the horror unfolding across Europe from the relative calm and safety of her own home, Lindgren was in an unusual position as a powerless spectator. This extract from her collected diaries (A World Gone Mad, Pushkin Press) – feels apposite: 

2 SEPTEMBER 1939 

We’re in a state of ‘intensified war readiness’. The amount of stockpiling is unbelievable, according to the papers. People are mainly buying coffee, toilet soap, household cleaning soap and spices. There’s apparently enough sugar in the country to last us 15 months, but if nobody can resist stocking up, we’ll have a shortage anyway. At the grocer’s there wasn’t a single kilo of sugar to be had (but they’re expecting more in, of course).  

When I went to my coffee merchant to buy a fully legitimate quarter kilo of coffee, I found a notice on the door: ‘Closed. Sold out for today.’  

Lindgren’s wartime experience led her to invent one of literature’s punchiest characters, Pippi Longstocking – an orphaned girl who rose up from the ashes of war-torn Europe as a triumphant, anti-authoritarian hero. Pippi turns 75 this May, and is central to Save the Children’s Pippi of Today campaign, which supports displaced girls worldwide.  

  1. On reflection: Virginia Woolf, writing on influenza and prolonged illness 

In her essay On Being Ill, first published in 1926, Woolf reflected on time spent bed-bound with fever and fatigue. In her inimitable style, she asks why illness – that most common human experience – is so rarely the subject of literature. The blurb for Paris Press’s 2008 edition reads: ‘We cannot quote Shakespeare to describe a headache. We must, Woolf says, invent language to describe pain. And though illness enhances our perceptions, she observes that it reduces self-consciousness; it is “the great confessional.’ 

Considering how common illness is, how tremendous the spiritual change that it brings, how astonishing, when the lights of health go down, the undiscovered countries that are then disclosed… it becomes strange indeed that illness has not taken its place with love and battle and jealousy among the prime themes of literature. Novels, one would have thought, would have been devoted to influenza; epic poems to typhoid; odes to pneumonia; lyrics to toothache. But no… 

She goes on:  

But this Heaven making needs no motor cars; it needs time and concentration… there is no harm in choosing, to live over and over, now as  man, now as woman, as sea-captain, court lady, Emperor, farmer’s wife, in splendid cities and on remote moors, in Teheran and Tunbridge Wells… to live and live till we have lived out those embryo lives which attend about us in early youth and been consumed by that tyrannical ‘I’, who has conquered so far as this world is concerned but shall not, if wishing can alter it, usurp Heaven too, and condemn us, who have played our parts here as William or Amelia, to remain William or Amelia  for ever.  

And this was before she wrote Orlando.  

  1. On literature: F. Scott Fitzgerald, writing on belonging 

Last month, a fake letter from F. Scott Fitzgerald went viral on social media. Allegedly written in 1920, peak-Spanish Flu pandemic, it offers echoes of our own crisis. There is a familiarity there, even with the 100-year interval: the stockpiling, the need to drink, the dread for the future. But there is also a reassurance afforded to us by hindsight. Owning up to the parody its author, Nick Farriella, commented: ‘I’d like to think that people have responded to the optimistic sentiment of the message. That in these seemingly dark times, the line of true and untrue was blurred by the need for hope. I think that was something that was at the core of Fitzgerald’s life and work, an unwavering faith in better things to come.’ 

I’ll round off with this perfect, genuine quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald: 

That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong. 

Katy MacMillan-Scott is Associate Director at Riot Communications 

“These debut writers are as passionate and political as our times demand”

£10,000 Desmond Elliott Prize longlist signals extraordinary strength and breadth of UK and Irish debut fiction

The National Centre for Writing (NCW) has today (Tuesday 7th April) announced the 10-strong longlist for the £10,000 Desmond Elliott Prize, for the most outstanding first novels of the past 12 months.

For the first time this year, the Prize is being run by NCW as the flagship in its Early Career Awards portfolio, a new year-round platform of support and mentorship, alongside financial assistance for exceptional early career writers.

The 2020 Desmond Elliott Prize longlist in full (alphabetically by author surname):

  • The Art of the Bodyby Alex Allison – Little Brown
  • The Girl with the Louding Voiceby Abi Daré – Sceptre
  • Nobberby Oisín Fagan – John Murray
  • The Parisianby Isabella Hammad – Cape
  • The Keeperby Jessica Moor – Penguin
  • The Private Joys of NnennaMaloney by Okechukwu Nzelu – Dialogue Books
  • That Reminds Meby Derek Owusu – #Merky Books (curated by Stormzy)
  • Ashgar and Zahraby Sameer Rahim – John Murray
  • Kozlowski by Jane Rogoyska – Holland House Books
  • Love and other Thought Experimentsby Sophie Ward – Corsair

Peggy Hughes, Programme Director at the National Centre for Writing, said:

“We’re delighted to present such a compelling longlist of debut novels for our inaugural year at the helm of the Desmond Elliott. Here are ten of the most outstanding first novels of 2020 – bold, brave, taking risks and asking questions of us and our times: these are books that demand to be read and new voices that need to be heard and shared. We don’t envy the judges their task but have no doubt that in Preti, Sonia and Sinéad we have three exceptional readers for the job ahead.”

The 2020 longlist demonstrates the breadth and strength of UK and Irish writing, with bold new voices tackling an extraordinary array of subjects. Revealing hidden stories emerges as a theme across the longlist; in The Art of the Body, Alex Allison tells the story of a relationship between a talented fine art student, living and working with cerebral palsy, and his carer. Journalist Sameer Rahim gives a tragicomic account of a doomed marriage in Ashgar and Zahara, as the eponymous newlyweds navigate life and relationships within a traditional Muslim family. Meanwhile Jessica Moore, named as one of the 10 best debut novelists of 2020 by the Observer New Review, examines issues of power and control encompassed in domestic violence in her crime thriller Keeper.

This year’s chair of judges, and winner of the 2018 Desmond Elliot Prize, Preti Taneja said: “Each book on the Desmond Elliot Prize 2020 longlist has earned its place for its love of language, its crafting of a sentence: for its approach to its subject matter and its creation of complex characters and an immersive world. That world might be full of terrors, the potential of love or exist in the past, recognisable present or longed-for future: the list has all of these. It is excellent to see that it reflects the range and depth of current concerns – that this group of debut writers are as clear-eyed, and as passionate and political as our times demand. There are ten names here that many readers will not have encountered yet, and that is what makes the Desmond Elliot Prize 2020 unique. As a judging panel we now have an exciting challenge to choose a shortlist of three and a winner, and we are very proud to begin with this longlist.”

Taneja will be joined by Chief Lead Writer at The Observer Sonia Sodha and writer Sinéad Gleeson, who are together tasked with finding the novel they believe is most worthy of being designated the most exceptional debut novel of the last 12 months. A shortlist will be announced on 6th May and the winner will be announced on 2nd July.

Authors longlisted for the 2020 Prize include a filmmaker, teacher, podcaster, recruiter and actor, and many are already enjoying commercial and critical success. Isabella Hammad’s The Parisian has received endorsements from names including Zadie Smith and Jonathan Safran Foer, while Nobber by Oisín Fagan was named as one of the Daily Mail’s ‘Books of the Year’. The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré became a New York Times bestseller and was recently picked as Stylist Magazine’s book of the week, while Sophie Ward’s Love and Other Thought Experiments has earned her comparisons to F Scott Fitzgerald and Doris Lessing.

Several of the publishers on the list are specifically seeking to discover exciting new voices including new imprints #Merky Books (That Reminds Me by Derek Owusu) and Dialogue Books (The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney by Okechukwu Nzelu). Independent publisher Holland House Books makes the Desmond Elliott Prize longlist for the first time with Kozlowski, by acclaimed biographer and filmmaker Jane Rogoyska.

The Early Career Award portfolio also includes the UEA New Form Writing Award, worth £4,000, for an innovative and daring new voice in fiction and The Laura Kinsella Fellowship, also worth £4,000, to recognise an exceptional writer who has experienced limiting circumstances. The winners of all three awards will be announced on 2nd July, and all will benefit from a tailored programme of support from the National Centre for Writing, supported by Arts Council England.

@WritersCentre #DEP2020 #EarlyCareerAwards

The Riot Culture Drop: staying sane while staying in (issue #1)

 

Since our last newsletter at the end of February, the world has changed beyond recognition. In just a matter of weeks, the way we live, work, our daily freedoms and our social interactions are in unchartered territory. As we adjust to a life inside, the culture and entertainment industry – who we exist to shout about – are finding new ways to create and share their output. We believe that now, more than ever, people need access to culture to keep us inspired, entertained and motivated.

So for the foreseeable future, our newsletters will be a place to share our favourite recommendations to bring culture to you. We are also sharing daily content and ideas on our twitter feed @RiotComms. We hope you find this useful at this difficult time.

Stay safe everyone.

Preena Gadher, Co-founder and MD, Riot Communications


As schools close, we know parents are looking for ideas and resources to pass the time. Each year we promote the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals – the most prestigious prize for new children’s books as chosen by librarians. Check out the recently announced shortlisted titles – all of which are excellent – and purchase from your local bookshop online!

Children’s Laureate, Cressida Cowell, is working with reading charity BookTrust and a host of other authors and illustrators to bring daily activities in “Home Time”. From storytelling, to drawing classes, puzzles and games, there are plenty of free resources available.

Finally, Audible recently announced that hundreds of their children’s audio books are now available for free. There are some gems to discover in multiple languages.


With music tours cancelled, numerous artists have been streaming gigs from their homes using the hashtag #TogetherAtHome. Here’s a round up of some of the best including Neil Young’s Fireside Sessions , Christine and the Queens and a taster of Sufjan Stevens’ new album.

The stripped back format of the Colors studio is currently live streaming gigs every night and they have a treasure trove of archived gigs too so you can see some of your favourite artists up close and personal!

This is an excuse to dig out an old Rolling Stone article about the late Jonathan Demme, one of the best concert movie makers ever. He worked with Talking Heads and Justin Timberlake to name but two. Genius!

And speaking of music documentariesTime Out (rebranded Time In) has curated a list of the best ones to stream.


For movie buffs in need of a fix, check out My Darling Quarantine, an online platform of short films curated by a number of programmers from some of the major international film festivals including Cannes, Torino and Venice in response to film festivals being cancelled.

London’s BFI Flare festival usually takes place in March, a cornerstone of the LGBTIQ+ calendar. Instead, they are showcasing new and classic films on the BFIplayer.On BBC iplayer try a Life Cinematic – think of it as Desert Island Discs but for films. Esteemed directors reflect on the films that have influenced their own work. We especially liked watching Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead), and Sam Taylor-Johnson (Fifty Shades of Grey).


Sign up to Diverted Traffic, the self-isolation newsletter from our client at the London Review of Books. Featuring a different piece from behind the paywall every day, they guarantee a complete absence of references to plague, pandemics or quarantine. It’s free to read and share.

Given that exercise is currently much harder than ever before, we loved this article from The Conversation about the similar benefits of a hot bath. And relax…

Don’t forget to check us out on twitter for daily inspiration: @RiotComms

Shortlists for 2020 CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals announced

 

  • Characters address the importance of friendships and family bonds in books across the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway 16-strong list
  • Continued popularity of verse is reflected across both Medals
  • Three debut offerings feature on the shortlist alongside previous winner Levi Pinfold

www.ckg.org.uk / #CKG20 / #bestchildrensbooks

Today (Thursday 19th March 2020), the eight-strong shortlists for the prestigious CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals, the UK’s oldest book awards for children and young people, are revealed. Selected by volunteer Youth Librarians from longlists of 20 books per Medal, these titles reflect the very best in children’s writing and illustration published in the UK.

With books promoting environmentalism, acceptance, kindness and bravery, the Awards’ mission ‘to inspire and empower the next generation to shape a better world through books and reading’ is mirrored across this year’s list.

Three debut offerings feature on the 2020 list: Dean Atta is shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal with The Black Flamingo while author and illustrator Beth Waters (Child of St Kilda) is in the running for the Kate Greenaway Medal alongside 2013 winner Levi Pinfold (The Dam). A translated book has been shortlisted for the first time in Carnegie Medal history with the inclusion of Lampie, a debut novel written originally in Dutch by Annet Schaap and translated by Laura Watkinson.

The 2020 shortlists are as follows:

2020 CILIP Carnegie Medal shortlist (alphabetical by author surname):

  1. The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta, illustrated by Anshika Khullar (Hachette Children’s Group)
  2. Nowhere on Earth by Nick Lake (Hachette Children’s Group)
  3. Lark by Anthony McGowan (Barrington Stoke)
  4. Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay (Little Tiger)
  5. Lampie written and illustrated by Annet Schaap and translated by Laura Watkinson (Pushkin Children’s Books)
  6. Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black by Marcus Sedgwick and Julian Sedgwick, illustrated by Alexis Deacon (Walker Books)
  7. On the Come Up by Angie Thomas (Walker Books)
  8. Girl. Boy. Sea. by Chris Vick (Head of Zeus)

2020 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal shortlist (alphabetical by illustrator surname):

  1. You’re Snug with Me illustrated by Poonam Mistry and written by Chitra Soundar (Lantana Publishing)
  2. The Iron Man illustrated by Chris Mould and written by Ted Hughes (Faber & Faber)
  3. The Suitcase written and illustrated by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros (Nosy Crow)
  4. The Undefeated illustrated by Kadir Nelson and written by Kwame Alexander (Andersen Press)
  5. The Dam illustrated by Levi Pinfold and written by David Almond (Walker Books)
  6. Mary and Frankenstein illustrated by Júlia Sardà and written by Linda Bailey (Andersen Press)
  7. Tales from the Inner City written and illustrated by Shaun Tan (Walker Books)
  8. Child of St Kilda written and illustrated by Beth Waters (Child’s Play)

Several books on the shortlist tell stories that champion the importance of community, friendships and family bonds in overcoming challenging moments. Shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal, The Suitcase – written and illustrated by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros – is a story about friendship and the importance of showing kindness to those in need, while You’re Snug with Me – illustrated by Poonam Mistry and written by Chitra Soundar – is a story about a mother’s love, as a bear teaches her two cubs the secrets of the Earth and their place in it. On the Carnegie shortlist, Lark – written by Anthony McGowan – explores the special bond between brothers, as they try to make their way back home after getting lost, while Nowhere on Earth, written by Nick Lake, sees two siblings survive a plane crash and protect each other from the men hunting them. Also shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal are Randy Ribay’s Patron Saints of Nothing, a story about a Filipino-American teenager’s quest to uncover the truth about his cousin’s murder and help his family grieve together and Girl. Boy. Sea. by Chris Vick, a novel about an unlikely friendship between a British boy and a Berber girl, both stranded at sea, and their will to survive against all the odds.

Books exploring themes of identity and survival appear widely on the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway shortlists: two books highlight the African-American experience and the struggle to overcome historical social stereotypes: The Undefeated, a picture book illustrated by Kadir Nelson and written by Kwame Alexander, is a graphic portrayal of the realities of slavery and celebrates the achievements of the activists, artists and sportspeople who succeeded against the odds; On the Come Up, by previously shortlisted Angie Thomas and winner of the 2018 Amnesty CILIP Honour, tells the story of an aspiring rapper finding her voice while resisting the stereotypes placed on her by teachers and strangers alike.

The continued popularity of verse as a storytelling medium is reflected in this year’s Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals. Dean Atta’s The Black Flamingo, illustrated by Anshika Khullar, uses verse to tell the story of a mixed-race gay teen on a journey of self-acceptance as he spreads his wings as a drag performer, whilst The Undefeated references lyrics and lines originally shared by the featured icons, blending them into a powerful poem that explores the not-so-distant past of slavery to underline the endurance and spirit of those who survived and thrived. Three further titles – Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black, written by Marcus Sedgwick with his brother Julian Sedgwick and illustrated by Alexis Deacon; The Dam illustrated by Levi Pinfold and written by David Almond, and Tales from the Inner City written and illustrated by Shaun Tan – have verse woven into their stories.

The tradition of Kate Greenaway shortlisted books reimagining classic stories continues this year with Mary and Frankenstein, illustrated by Júlia Sardà and written by Linda Bailey, a fresh look at the author behind the famous Frankenstein story, while illustrations by previously shortlisted Chris Mould brings an environmental angle to Ted Hughes’ The Iron Man, a tale of harmony between mankind and machines.

Julia Hale, Chair, CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals judging panel, comments:

“It’s a pleasure to present this dynamic and thought-provoking shortlist, which seems prescient of children and young people’s concerns today. Although each book is uniquely original, there are some commonalities that have emerged. Survival, the environment and the persisting inequalities and prejudices in our world today were themes that came through strongly. As a positive response to these challenges, the shortlists offer solace by displaying the awesome beauty of the natural world, human determination and courage, kindness and support which were frequent touchstones throughout these remarkable books.

We are so looking forward to sharing them with the shadowing groups across the UK and internationally as there is something here for every reader, to provoke much discussion and sheer reading enjoyment.”

The winners for both the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals 2020 will be announced on Wednesday 17th June 2020 at a special daytime event at The British Library, hosted by University Challenge star and CILIP Library Champion, Bobby Seagull. The winners will each receive £500 worth of books to donate to their local library, a specially commissioned golden medal and a £5,000 Colin Mears Award cash prize.

Now in its second year, the Shadowers’ Choice Award – voted for and awarded by the children and young people who shadow the Medals – will be announced alongside the two Medal winners in June 2020. This award has evolved out of CILIP’s Diversity Review which identified opportunities to empower and celebrate the young people involved in the Medals through the shadowing scheme.

Now that the shortlists are announced, children and young people across the UK and internationally will take part in the Awards Shadowing Scheme, reading and reviewing the books and sharing their creative responses on the Awards website. CILIP partners with Amnesty International to provide human rights focused resources, activities and discussion points alongside questions on representation and inclusion from new partners, Inclusive Minds. A dedicated Shadowing Group of Inclusive Minds Ambassadors will also begin reading and sharing their views on the books with the Awards judges. The Shadowing Scheme is supported by reading resources from CLPE and the English and Media Centre and CILIP continues to work in partnership with RNIB and new partners Calibre Audio Library to produce the books in accessible formats.

The 2020 CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals are sponsored by Peters and ALCS, and funded by Carnegie UK Trust.

For further information about the history of the Medals visit https://carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/

 

Global Optimism takes on Riot Communications for social media brief

Having worked with Bonnier Books’ Manilla Press to promote The Future We Choose, a vitally optimistic new book on the climate crisis from two of the architects of the Paris Agreement, Riot has been appointed to handle social media for the authors’ campaigning organisation.

Global Optimism was founded by Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and her political strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac following their instrumental work brokering the Paris Agreement. Its mission is to transform pessimism into optimism, helping people to bring about the social and environmental changes we need in the next decade to survive the climate crisis. Each week Tom and Christiana speak to key figures in the climate sector, as well as business people, activists and celebrities for their podcast, Outrage and Optimism. Sir David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg, John Kerry and Richard Branson have all appeared in the series, among others.

The Future We Choose has already gained rave reviews from the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Gore, Jane Goodall and Naomi Klein. Historian Yuval Noah Harari described it as ‘one of the most inspiring books I have ever read.’

The Riot Act – Our Monthly Newsletter

A new month, a new Culture Secretary. Oliver Dowden becomes the ninth MP to occupy the post since 2010, replacing Nicky Morgan. He tweeted about the “huge opportunities” in the technology, media and creative industries, though shaping the nation’s viewing habits will no doubt be high up on his list as the results of the public consultation on the BBC license fee come in April….

In a month of award ceremonies, most notably the Oscars, the Baftas and the Brits, we tip our hats to Parasite – go see it if you haven’t already – and have been blasting out Celeste (Rising Star Award) and Dave’s Psychodrama (Best Album) on the Riot stereo. Read on for more cultural inspiration, not only from our awesome clients, but in our Riot Recommends at the end…

Here’s what else has been keeping us inspired (and busy!) this month….

Love is never black + white

The wait is almost over – the adaptation of Malorie Blackman’s novel Noughts and Crosses will air on BBC One on 5th March. We’ve been working with leading production company Mammoth Screen to help promote the show, including the first screening for influencers with members of the cast and crew and a public event at Waterstones next month with the Black Girls Book Club. With an epic soundtrack to boot, this is seminal TV.

Our final hour or our finest?

If you’re like us, you will have been feeling very conscious of our climate crisis, but lost as to what to do about it. This is why we are promoting The Future We Choose, a new book by Paris Agreement architects Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac. Unlike others, this was the first we’d read that actually gave us hope. Read more in this exclusive extract we placed with the ObserverWith endorsements from Leonardo DiCaprio, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jane Goodall, Yuval Noah Harari and Ellie Goulding to name a few, this is an urgent, compelling and uplifting read. Or follow the authors’ campaigning organisation @GlobalOptimism (where we’ve been hired to run the socials).

Baaa-rilliant news for Aardman

We helped Aardman announce not one but two exciting pieces of news for fans of Shaun the Sheep: the launch of series six on Netflix and a new half hour festive special coming to the BBC for Christmas 2021. The new series, arriving on March 17th, promises more mayhem on Mossy Bottom Farm, with the Flock undertaking a teddy bear heist and trying their hooves at a pizza delivery service, while the Farmer unknowingly becomes an internet sensation.  

News in Brief

Our campaign for Philip Pullman’s The Secret Commonwealth with Penguin Random House Children’s is a finalist in the annual Publishers’ Publicity Circle awards. We announced a 20th consecutive year of growth for the London Review of Books (who says print is dead?) and The Desmond Elliott Prize – now part of the National Centre for Writing’s Early Career Awards has announced its judging panel, with former winner Preti Taneja as Chair. And finally, we helped CILIP announce their longlists for the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals celebrating the best in children’s books.

Riot Recommends

History buffs rejoice as outstanding Outlander returns for season 5, while series 2 of The Split, penned by the brilliant Abi Morgan, has us gripped (not to mention the wardrobe tips!). The Yellow Wallpaper exhibition at the William Morris Gallery – a photographic response to the original gas-lighting novella of the same name – is also brilliant, using portraits of women from Dalston. And finally, Ian Wright’s Desert Island Discs is a moving reminder of the transformative influence one teacher can have on someone’s life.

 

Longlists for 2020 CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals announced

 

  • Empathy reflected in the longlist, with books aiming to help children navigate important topics including homelessness, sadness and the refugee crisis
  • Several reimaginings of classic books appear on the longlist, including Kit de Waal’s first YA novel, a feminist retelling of Moby Dick
  • A translated book makes the Carnegie longlist for the first time in the Medals history
  • Walker Books receives 10 entries on the longlist while independent publisher, Book Island, secures its first listing

www.ckg.org.uk / #CKG20 / #bestchildrensbooks

Today (Thursday 20th February 2020), the longlists for the prestigious CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals, the UK’s oldest book awards for children and young people, are revealed.

Celebrating the best in children’s writing and illustration respectively, the Medals are unique in being judged by children’s librarians, while the Shadowers’ Choice Award, recently added to the Awards ceremony celebrations, is voted for by children and young people who shadow the Medals. The 40-strong list of titles for the 2020 Medals (20 on each longlist) were selected from a total of 162 nominations, read by an expert volunteer team of 14 children’s and youth librarians from across the UK.

The 2020 longlist features strong debut offerings from authors including Dean Atta (The Black Flamingo) and Aisha Bushby (A Pocketful of Stars) and illustrators Beth Waters (Child of St Kilda) and Eva Eland (When Sadness Comes to Call) alongside several former winners – including illustrator Grahame Baker Smith (Wisp: A Story of Hope written by Zana Fraillon) and Levi Pinfold ( The Dam written by David Almond) and writers Sarah Crossan (Toffee) and Jennifer Donnelly (Stepsister).

One book is in the running for both Medals: Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black, written by previously shortlisted Marcus Sedgwick with his brother Julian Sedgwick and illustrated by twice-shortlisted Alexis Deacon, a story about two brothers in conflict amidst the devastation of WWII London.

Three translated books make the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway longlists with Lampie, written by Annet Schaap and translated by Laura Watkinson, becoming the first book in translation to be longlisted for the Carnegie Medal. The two translated books that make the Kate Greenaway longlist are Captain Rosalie, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault, written by Timothée de Fombelle and translated by Sam Gordon, and Little Wise Wolf, illustrated by Hanneke Siemensma, written by Gijs Van der Hammen and translated by Laura Watkinson.

The Awards’ mission ‘to inspire and empower the next generation to shape a better world through books and reading’ is reflected in the longlist, with stories that help children develop empathy by understanding their own and other people’s feelings and reality. Longlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal, author and illustrator Eva Eland’s debut picture book, When Sadness Comes to Call, takes a poignant but uplifting look at dealing with uncomfortable emotions. On the Carnegie longlist Paper Avalanche, written by Lisa Williamson, focuses on the wellbeing of children in the care of parents with mental illnesses, while Randy Ribay’s Patron Saints of Nothing and Captain Rosalie illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault both address grief, set against the backdrops of President Duterte’s Philippines and World War One respectively. Kenneth Oppel’s Inkling, also longlisted for the Carnegie Medal, sees a magical ink blot come to life at exactly the right time for the Rylance family, helping them deal with a tragic loss while sparking their creativity.

The theme of homelessness also features in several longlisted books, including No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen, a story about a 12-year-old growing up one step away from homelessness and Toffee by Sarah Crossan, a novel about a teenager who runs away from home and gets taken in by an elderly woman with dementia. The topics of displacement and the refugee crisis are also explored in a picture book about the arrival of a refugee carrying a suitcase containing his treasured possessions (The Suitcase, written and illustrated by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros), a story of an unlikely friendship between a British boy and a Berber girl both stranded at sea (Girl. Boy. Sea. by Chris Vick), a picture book about a child refugee whose imagination is reawakened amidst a world of tents and fences (Wisp: A Story of Hope, illustrated by Grahame Baker Smith, written by Zana Fraillon) and a story displaying the strength of friendship between two refugee children escaping a war (Lubna and Pebble, illustrated by Daniel Egnéus, written by Wendy Meddour).

Identity and understanding are also a common thread in a number of books on the longlist: from a mixed-race gay teen finding his wings as a drag artist (The Black Flamingo written by Dean Atta and illustrated by Anshika Khullar); to an ode to black history, highlighting the trauma of slavery and the brave artists, athletes and activists who overcame limitations (The Undefeated illustrated by Kadir Nelson and written by Kwame Alexander); a novel about racism and how it affects a young boy and his family (The Boxer by Nikesh Shukla) and a story about hip hop, freedom of speech and fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you (On the Come Up by previously shortlisted Angie Thomas and winner of the 2018 Amnesty CILIP Honour).

Another strand emerging from this list is the re-imagination of classic books, with feminist retellings featuring strongly. Reimaginings of Moby Dick and Frankenstein appear across both Medals. Both Sharon Dogar’s Monsters and Mary and Frankenstein, illustrated by Júlia Sardà and written by Linda Bailey, look at the author behind the famous story, both published in the centenary year of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Kit de Waal’s debut YA novel, Becoming Dinah, re-tells the story of Moby Dick from the view of a teenage girl on a quest to discover her true identity, whilst And The Ocean Was Our Sky, illustrated by Rovina Cai and written by Patrick Ness, tells this well-known story from the perspective of the whale. Carnegie-longlisted Jennifer Donnelly’s Stepsister is a fresh look at the Cinderella story from the perspective of the stepsister who cut off her toes to fit into the glass slipper. Quill Soup, illustrated by Dale Blankenaar, is an African retelling of the European folktale Stone Soup, while new illustrations by previously shortlisted Chris Mould breathe new life into Ted Hughes’ The Iron Man, a tale of conflict between the environment and the age of machines.

Independent publishers are strongly represented across the longlist, with Walker Books securing 10 entries, making them the publisher with the highest number of longlisted books. The inclusion of Little Wise Wolf, illustrated by Hanneke Siemensma, marks the first longlisting for Book Island. Small independents Tiny Owl, Lantana Publishing and Barrington Stoke also feature on the list with one book each, while Pushkin Children’s Books makes the list with two books.

In addition, first-time longlistees for the Carnegie Medal, Kate DiCamillo (Louisiana’s Way Home), and Karen Foxlee (Lenny’s Book of Everything) are in competition with previously longlisted and shortlisted alumni Nick Lake (Nowhere on Earth), Anthony McGowan (Lark) and Hilary McKay (The Skylarks’ War). Previously shortlisted illustrators for the Kate Greenaway Medal, Poonam Mistry (You’re Snug With Me), Shaun Tan (Tales from the Inner City) and Chris Wormell (Planetarium) are joined by Angela Brooksbank (B is for Baby), Owen Davey (Fanatical About Frogs) and Emily Haworth-Booth (The King Who Banned the Dark).

Julia Hale, Chair, CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals judging panel, comments:

“This year’s longlists shine a light on the breadth and quality of children’s publishing not just of the UK but from around the world. Through writing and illustration, the authors and artists offer children and young people stories of hope, discovery and understanding about themselves and the world they live in. There is a strong emphasis in the longlists on how young readers can navigate that journey, through relationships with families and friends and from learning more about themselves. We hope you will be as inspired to explore them as we were by reading them.”

An in-depth blog by Julia Hale exploring the longlisted titles can be found here.

The shortlists for both the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals 2020 will be announced on Thursday 19th March 2020, with the winners being announced on Wednesday 17th June 2020 at a special daytime event at The British Library, hosted by University Challenge star and CILIP Library Champion, Bobby Seagull. The winners will each receive £500 worth of books to donate to their local library, a specially commissioned golden medal and a £5,000 Colin Mears Award cash prize.

Now in its second year, the Shadowers’ Choice Award – voted for and awarded by the children and young people who shadow the Medals – will be announced alongside the two Medal winners in June 2020. This award has evolved out of CILIP’s Diversity Review, which identified opportunities to empower and celebrate the young people involved in the Medals through the shadowing scheme.

The 2020 CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals are sponsored by Peters and ALCS, and funded by Carnegie UK Trust.

2020 CILIP Carnegie Medal longlist (alphabetical by author surname):

  1. The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta, illustrated by Anshika Khullar (Hachette Children’s Group)
  2. A Pocketful of Stars by Aisha Bushby (Egmont)
  3. Toffee by Sarah Crossan (Bloomsbury)
  4. Becoming Dinah by Kit de Waal (Hachette Children’s Group)
  5. Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo (Walker Books)
  6. Monsters by Sharon Dogar (Andersen Press)
  7. Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly (Hot Key Books)
  8. Lenny’s Book of Everything by Karen Foxlee (Pushkin Children’s Books)
  9. Nowhere on Earth by Nick Lake (Hachette Children’s Group)
  10. Lark by Anthony McGowan (Barrington Stoke)
  11. The Skylarks’ War by Hilary McKay (Macmillan Children’s Books)
  12. No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen (Andersen Press)
  13. Inkling by Kenneth Oppel (Walker Books)
  14. Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay (Little Tiger)
  15. Lampie written and illustrated by Annet Schaap and translated by Laura Watkinson (Pushkin Children’s Books)
  16. Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black by Marcus Sedgwick and Julian Sedgwick, illustrated by Alexis Deacon (Walker Books)
  17. The Boxer by Nikesh Shukla (Hachette Children’s Group)
  18. On the Come Up by Angie Thomas (Walker Books)
  19. Girl. Boy. Sea. by Chris Vick (Head of Zeus)
  20. Paper Avalanche by Lisa Williamson (David Fickling Books)

 

2020 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal longlist (alphabetical by illustrator surname):

  1. Captain Rosalie illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault, written by Timothée de Fombelle and translated by Sam Gordon (Walker Books)
  2. Wisp: A Story of Hope illustrated by Grahame Baker Smith and written by Zana Fraillon, (Hachette Children’s Group)
  3. Quill Soup illustrated by Dale Blankenaar and written by Alan Durant (Tiny Owl)
  4. B is for Baby illustrated by Angela Brooksbank and written by Atinuke, (Walker Books)
  5. And the Ocean Was Our Sky illustrated by Rovina Cai and written by Patrick Ness (Walker Books)
  6. Fanatical About Frogs written and illustrated by Owen Davey (Flying Eye)
  7. Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black illustrated by Alexis Deacon and written by Marcus Sedgwick and Julian Sedgwick (Walker Books)
  8. Lubna and Pebble illustrated by Daniel Egneus and written by Wendy Meddour (Oxford University Press)
  9. When Sadness Comes to Call written and illustrated by Eva Eland (Andersen Press)
  10. The King Who Banned the Dark written and illustrated by Emily Haworth-Booth (Pavilion Children’s Books)
  11. You’re Snug with Me illustrated by Poonam Mistry and written by Chitra Soundar (Lantana Publishing)
  12. The Iron Man illustrated by Chris Mould and written by Ted Hughes, (Faber & Faber)
  13. The Suitcase written and illustrated by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros (Nosy Crow)
  14. The Undefeated illustrated by Kadir Nelson and written by Kwame Alexander (Andersen Press)
  15. The Dam illustrated by Levi Pinfold and written by David Almond (Walker Books)
  16. Mary and Frankenstein illustrated by Júlia Sardà and written by Linda Bailey (Andersen Press)
  17. Little Wise Wolf illustrated by Hanneke Siemensma, written by Gijs Van der Hammen and translated by Laura Watkinson, (Book Island)
  18. Tales from the Inner City written and illustrated by Shaun Tan (Walker Books)
  19. Child of St Kilda written and illustrated by Beth Waters (Child’s Play)
  20. Planetarium illustrated by Chris Wormell and written by Raman Prinja (Big Picture Press)

 

For further information about the history of the Medals visit www.cilip.org.uk/carnegiegreenaway

LRB increases circulation by 3.6%ni 2019 for twentieth consecutive year of growth

 

  • Print circulation of ‘high-brow niche’ category leader rises to 78,478 in the period January-December 2019
  • 94% are paid subscriptions
  • Full rate subscriptions up more than 10% on 2018

New data released today (13th February) by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) has revealed that the London Review of Books continues to achieve sustained growth, with its total circulation rising to 78,478 in 2019, up from 75,725 in 2018.

The newspaper achieved the increase of 3.6% in its 40th anniversary year, outstripping the gains delivered in 2018 when it attracted 2.5% more subscribers than in the previous year. The LRB has achieved year-on-year growth for twenty years (and has added 30,000 new subscribers in the last ten), bucking the trend of declining print sales in recent years. 

In 2019 the LRB delivered agenda-setting opinion and insight on Brexit and the General Election, from contributors including David Runciman (on the podcast Talking Politics, presented in partnership with the LRB, and in the paper), James Meek and William Davies. It broke news when, for example, Chris Mullin named two of the IRA’s Birmingham pub bombers, and provoked cultural conversation on many occasions, with pieces such as Tiananmen student organiser Chaohua Wang’s reflections on Hong Kong and Colm Tóibín’s account of his cancer treatment, Patricia Lockwood’s survey of John Updike’s oeuvre and Katherine Rundell’s considerations of creatures ranging from the narwhal to the golden mole. 

94% (71,207) of the LRB’s sales were through paid subscriptions in 2019, while 2,524 single copies were sold in the year. Full rate subscriptions rose by 10.37%.

Reneé Doegar Commercial Director for the London Review of Books, commented: 

“The London Review of Books keeps going from strength to strength. We are pleased that 94% of our file still consists of people who actively purchase the LRB, and our subscriber base continues to grow: not only an increase in circulation, but an increase in quality circulation of new and long-standing readers who genuinely value our incredible product. The LRB just celebrated its 40th birthday, and our strategy of consistent, quality growth is still the core of our business.”

The LRB marked the anniversary with a month of celebrations that included events at the London Review Bookshop and beyond; the first ever history of the LRB, a coffee table book published by Faber and Faber (London Review of Books: An Incomplete History); two special issues of the magazine; and the relaunch of the LRB website.

 

 

Preti Taneja to chair Desmond Elliott Prize, joined by Sonia Sodha and Sinéad Gleeson

 

  • University of East Anglia (UEA) New Forms Prize to be judged by Inua Ellams, with Professor Henry Sutton and Dr. Claire Hynes of UEA and National Centre for Writing (NCW) Programme Director Peggy Hughes
  • Laura Kinsella Fellowship to be judged by Roopa Farooki, with Alice Jolly and NCW Chief Executive Chris Gribble

The National Centre for Writing (NCW) has today (Friday 14th February) announced the judges for its 2020 Early Career Awards.

The £10,000 Desmond Elliott Prize, the country’s largest prize for first novels, which as of this year, is the flagship in the Early Career Awards portfolio will be chaired by the 2018 winner, Preti Taneja. Taneja will be joined by journalist Sonia Sodha and writer Sinéad Gleeson, who are together tasked with finding the novel they believe is most worthy of being crowned the best debut novel of the last 12 months.

Taneja said: “I am delighted to be chairing the Desmond Elliott Prize. The National Centre for Writing has expanded this respected prize to offer a year-round platform of support and mentorship, alongside generous financial assistance to a writer whose work speaks to our times. This award says: your time to write and to develop your craft and career is vital and worth nurturing. My fellow judges and I can’t wait to immerse ourselves in the best debut fiction of 2019 from across the UK and Ireland. We will be looking to shortlist three exceptional first novels; our chosen winner will be an outstanding talent who will truly benefit from the endorsement of this prestigious Prize.

Preti Taneja was awarded the 2018 Desmond Elliott Prize for her debut We That Are Young (Galley Beggar Press), which was also listed for awards including the Folio Prize and the Prix Jan Michalski. It has since been published in the USA and Canada by AA Knopf, in India by Penguin Random House, and translated into several languages. It is in development for television with Gaumont US (Narcos).

The Desmond Elliott Prize will be run by the National Centre for Writing for the first time this year, as the flagship in its Early Career Awards portfolio which also includes the newly created UEA New Forms Award and the Laura Kinsella Fellowship.”

NCW Chief Executive Chris Gribble said:

“Our vision for the Early Career Awards is to increase the impact of prize culture and to provide a platform for writers at the critical early stages of their career.  With the enthusiasm of this outstanding group of judges, we are confident we will be celebrating three exceptional writers – who we will support as they develop a sustainable career in literature. We thank the Desmond Elliott Charitable Trust, the University of East Anglia and the Laura Kinsella Foundation for their confidence and investment in us. Huge thanks also to Arts Council England for recognising the opportunity to increase the impact of prize culture.”

The UEA New Forms Award, worth £4,000 to the winner, will champion an innovative and daring new voice in fiction. It will be awarded to a writer at the beginning of their career whose work might collaborate with other art-forms or in site-specific/site-responsive ways, experiment with forms of performance or print, challenge traditional form or inhabit a digital space.

The Laura Kinsella Fellowship, also worth £4,000, has been set up to support writers experiencing limiting circumstances or whose voices are underrepresented in mainstream literary fiction. It will be awarded to one exceptionally talented early career writer of literary fiction.

Sarah Crown, Director of Literature, Arts Council England said:

“We are delighted that Arts Council England is able to support the National Centre for Writing to test this innovative approach, in which awards are complemented by professional development, mentoring opportunities, resources and advice, helping new writers to build sustainable careers in an increasingly challenging landscape.”

The winners of all three prizes will benefit from the resources of the National Centre for Writing’s Early Career Awards programme, co-funded by Arts Council England. Each writer will receive a tailored package of further support including residency opportunities, mentoring and industry insight.

The Desmond Elliott Prize longlist will be announced in April and a shortlist in May. The winners of all three prizes will be revealed at an awards ceremony on Thursday 2nd July.