I have a clear memory of the day that Covid-19 became a reality to me. My daughter, Matilda, was five months old, and Katie Espiner, MD of Orion, had just told me two things: that Hachette were planning to trial a full company work from home day, and that Italian book sales had dropped dramatically during their lockdown. The reality hit suddenly home. Bookshops would have to close; people were panic buying pasta, not paperbacks.
How good it was to be forced to read some funny novels in the early days of the virus crisis. A judge’s lot in the Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction - for which the shortlist was announced last week - is usually a happy one. True, it is also a reminder that humour on the page needs delicate handling, or it turns to dust, but after 20 years the prize has shown that there’s still a rich seam of comic writing in which any reader will be able to find something, somewhere that’s funny.
Dr Ranj Singh, of ITV’s "Dr Ranj: On Call" and CBeebies' "Get Well Soon" series, has signed a three-book deal with Hachette Children's Group—including a picture book celebrating key workers in the coronavirus crisis.
Costa Coffee has appointed Amanda Johnson as the new director of the Costa Book Awards, succeeding Bud McLintock, who stepped down from the role after 25 years in February.
Former BBC Radio 4 Controller Mark Damazer has been announced as the new chair of the Booker Prize Foundation.
Walker Books is releasing picture book Rain Before Rainbows by Smriti Halls and David Litchfield early and for free digitally in partnership with Save the Children’s #SaveWithStories campaign.