Book Beat: Genius Grants and the Accidental Belle Sauvage

Welcome, fellow readers! This is Paige, one of the junior book section editors here at WWAC. I’ll be filling in on Book Beat this week, so forgive me in advance for any shortcomings in my reporting. The book world moves a mile a minute, yet our Book Beat writers always capture the most exciting industry news. So kudos to Ashley and Stephanie for all their great work! I’ll try to make y’all proud.

Festivals and Awards

New York Comic Con came and went this past weekend, but book lovers still have some major events to look forward to this year. The annual Frankfurt Book Festival began yesterday, so thousands of famous authors, publishers, and even the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel will descend upon the Frankfurt Trade Fair grounds this week. Considered the most important book fair in the world, we’re hearing that several multi-million dollar book deals have already taken place in the festival’s first day. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for my new favorite author once the festival is over.

Speaking of my favorite authors, Viet Thanh Nguyen and Jesmyn Ward have just been awarded MacArthur “genius grant” fellowships. They are being honored for their explorations of family, power, history, and legacy in postwar Vietnamese and southern African-American communities. Previous winners of the genius grant include authors Claudia Rankine and Ta-Nehisi Coates, which goes to show the caliber of Nguyen and Ward’s writing and the importance of their work.  

Angie Thomas, another favorite author of mine, was also honored for her stellar writing late last week. Her debut novel The Hate U Give won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award in Fiction. She announced her win on social media, where fans and fellow authors congratulated her on the newest in a long list of well-deserved accolades:

New Book Releases

Because I love filling my iPad with books that I will never have time to read, I’m always looking for new releases to add to my collection. So first, a (slightly belated) happy book birthday to Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao. Her East Asian reimagining of the Evil Queen fairy tale was one of our highly anticipated fantasy novels for Fall 2017, so I encourage you to pick this one up as soon as you can!

John Green also celebrated another book birthday this week with the publication of Turtles All the Way Down. Green uses this latest novel to explore the anxiety and obsessive-compulsive tendencies he has struggled with throughout his life. You can read more about this new book over at The New York Times.

And it looks Philip Pullman’s sequel to His Dark Materials has finally hit bookshelves… about a week earlier than intended. Bookstore patrons in Denmark found that La Belle Sauvage, the highly-anticipated first novel in the Book of Dust trilogy, had been accidentally released on October 4th. This premature release was over two weeks ahead of its actual international distribution date of October 19th. The books were quickly hidden away, but not before some keen-eyed customers took to Twitter to share their surprise:

Industry Errata…

… Or, in other words, our humble little callout corner for the book world. The effects of Harvey Weinstein’s gross, decades-long sexual misconduct have surprisingly spread to the publishing industry. With the Weinstein Company undergoing major operational shifts, it seems that the future of the film studio’s publishing imprint, Weinstein Books, is up in the air. Parent company Hachette Book Group recently stated that it would continue to honor the author contracts it has acquired through Weinstein Books, though the publisher “will consider all its options going forward.”

(Editor’s Note: Speak of the devil and it shall appear. It looks like the Hatchette Book Group officially terminated the Weinstein Books imprint this morning. Check out the publisher’s statement for more information.)

Finally, Book Beat has given some periodic updates on Rose Christo, the author of infamous Harry Potter fanfic My Immortal. At first, it looked like Christo would be publishing an interesting autobiography shedding light on the challenges Native American children face in the foster care system. Just last week, we then reported that the book had been canceled by Macmillan Publishing. At the time, Christo explained that this cancellation was due to her forging identification documents to protect her family.

However, it now seems that Christo’s explanation was a lie. An in-depth investigation into her claims by controversial site Kiwifarms has only complicated the situation. A user who has been “verified” as Christo’s younger brother is now asserting that he was never in foster care. He also states that their family is not of indigenous Cree descent as claimed in the autobiography. It certainly doesn’t help that Christo has completely deleted her social media since the demise of her book deal.

All that’s left is a confusing trail of screencaps and speculative threads in this strange literary saga. After the fast-paced fun that was the Handbook for Mortals scandal, it almost makes me wish this was a mystery forever left unsolved. At least the purposely fictitious mystery genre will never let me down.

Happy Thursday!

Paige Allen

Paige Allen

Adult-in-training by day, queer geek of color by night.