Book Beat: The Sue Grafton Memorial Award, Too Much Jane Austen, GalleyMatch, and The Marrow Thieves

Hello all, and welcome back to Book Beat! I know everyone’s a bit preoccupied with movies lately, what with the Oscars having been held this past Sunday. But that doesn’t mean the book world has gone completely quiet (although, I’ll admit it’s hard to match the ups and downs of last week). So read on for the latest book news.

The Inaugural Sue Grafton Memorial Award

A new award has been announced that seeks to honour female protagonists in a book series. The Sue Grafton Memorial Award is the result of a partnership between G.P. Putnam’s Sons and the Mystery Writers of America. At the 73rd Annual Edgar Awards in New York on April 25th, the award will be presented for the first time to the best novel in a series that features a female protagonist. The winner’s work will ideally have the “hallmarks of Sue’s writing,” as well as the characteristics of her famous character, Detective Kinsey Millhone.

The nominees for the inaugural award are:

  • Lisa Black’s Perish
  • Sara Paretsky’s Shell Game
  • Victoria Thompson’s City of Secrets
  • Charles Todd’s A Forgotten Place
  • Jacqueline Winspear’s To Die But Once

I for one am digging the idea of an award that acknowledges female protagonists, especially in a genre that often celebrates male characters.

Too Much Jane Austen?

Picture of Jane Austen

It’s not often we hear stories of a female author getting too much attention, but that seems to be the case with Winchester Cathedral’s plans for a Jane Austen statue. The cathedral had previously commissioned a sculptor and received support for the statue from the Hampshire and Winchester city councils. It was setting out to raise £250,000 to cover the costs until locals began to submit “a barrage of criticism.”

For example, one resident said that many reject “the idea of another Jane Austen statue anywhere, or any statue at all in the cathedral close.” Another opined that the cathedral already has a gravestone and Winchester already has the house Austen died in, which are “adequate” representations of the famous author.

Ultimately, the cathedral has scrapped the project. So apparently you can have too much Austen.


We live in an era where publishers, publicists, and other businesses are finding new ways to get books into the hands of readers, which is great for us readers!

One new service is called GalleyMatch, which Publishers Weekly describes as a “dating service” for publishers and book clubs. Authors Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp are the minds behind the matchmaking program. GalleyMatch only launched last fall, but it now has forty participating publishers.

Book clubs can register by answering some basic questions about their group, and publishers and authors submit information about upcoming titles to the site. Gelman then matches titles to groups and gives a book club 24 hours to respond to a book offer so the publisher can send galleys. In return for the galleys, book clubs agree to post on social media and provide feedback to the publisher. This gets the word-of-mouth buzz going and allows publishers to refine supplementary elements like reader guides.

Gelman and Krupp aren’t finished yet, though. They’re planning on expanding digital galleys access within the program over the summer. Unfortunately, the program is only available in the US for now.

The Marrow Thieves To Be Developed for TV

Lastly, I wanted to share some exciting television news. Thunderbird Entertainment has announced a collaboration between Cherie Dimaline and Jennica Harper to develop The Marrow Thieves as a television series.

Cover of the Marrow Thieves

The Marrow Thieves is Dimaline’s award-winning novel set in an apocalyptic world where indigenous people are the only ones who’ve retained the ability to dream. With memorable characters and important social commentary, The Marrow Thieves has the potential to make an incredible television series. I can’t wait to see what comes of this collaboration!

Out This Week:

The Last of Her Name by Jessica Khoury

The Buried Girl by Richard Montanari

The Homecoming by Andrew Pyper

Cover of the Homecoming by Andrew Pyper

Happy Thursday!