Books Weekly News Digest – March 13th 2015

Books Weekly News Digest – March 13th 2015

Sir Terry Pratchett Dies Aged 66

One of Britain’s best-loved fantasy authors, Sir Terry Pratchett, has died at the age of 66 following an eight-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Sir Terry’s death was announced on Thursday afternoon on his official Twitter page, with a set of tweets starring the voice of one the author’s finest character creations, Death. “AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER,” read one of the tweets, followed by, “Terry took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night.” The final tweet simply stated: “The End.”

Larry Finlay, managing director at Sir Terry’s publishers, Transworld, commented that “the world has lost one of its brightest, sharpest minds.” A statement released yesterday said that the author passed away in his home, surrounded by his family and with his cat by his side. The author is best-known for his Discworld series, set in a flat world balanced on the backs of four elephants which, in turn, stand on the back of a giant turtle. The first book of the series, The Colour of Magic, was published back in 1983, and Sir Terry completed the final novel only last summer. Finlay said the series was the author’s “vehicle to satirize this world: he did so brilliantly, with great skill, enormous humour and constant invention.”

In a career that spanned 44 years, Sir Terry wrote over 70 books which were translated into 37 different languages. He is survived by his wife, Lyn, and daughter, Rhianna.

Disney Set To Publish 20 New Star Wars Books

Great news, Star Wars fans! Earlier this week, Disney revealed that it will be releasing at least 20 new books this autumn ahead of the highly-anticipated Star Wars film, The Force Awakens. The series, called Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, will aim to fill the gap between 1983’s Return of the Jedi and the upcoming sequel. Lucasfilm and Disney Publishing Worldwide have confirmed that the book titles will feature many ‘Easter eggs’ – clues about the new film.

Fans can expect new planets, characters, starships and hints as to what happened to Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo shortly after the Return of the Jedi. The books will appeal to both kids and adults, and will be released by multiple publishers.

If you need something to keep you going in-between then check out our range of Star Wars items.

1925: The Best Year For Literature?

The year 1925 has been dubbed the “greatest year for books ever” in an article written on the BBC Culture website. It was the year that saw the release of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway, and Ernest Hemingway’s first literary work, In Our Time, a collection of short stories. Author and journalist, Jane Ciabattari, analysed the impact of a number of landmarks books to help her decide on literature’s finest year. She said that 1925 brought a “vibrant cultural outpouring, multiple landmark books and a paradigm shift in prose style.”

What year would you crown ‘literature’s greatest year?’

Penguin Launches ‘Brightly’ Website

Penguin Random House launched a brand new website earlier this week in a bid to encourage parents to “raise lifelong readers.” Brightly is aimed at kids of all ages and stages, from babies all the way through to teens. It includes everything from reading tips and advice to seasonal activity suggestions, book recommendations and special author content. The new site offers guidance and inspiration for parents, helping them to create a “reading life for their families.”

Check out the new website here.

Oxford Literary Festival: 21st-29th March

This year’s Oxford Literary Festival takes place from the 21st – 29th of March, with a line-up that features numerous award-winning authors. Speakers include authors Philip Pullman, Kazuo Ishiguro, Judith Kerr and Amitav Ghosh. Joining them will be the director of London’s National Theatre, Sir Nicholas Hytner, opera singer Jessye Norman and English tenor, Ian Bostridge, among many others. Events will be taking place in venues across the city, including a number of colleges and the iconic Sheldonian Theatre.

For the full programme, head to the Oxford Literary Festival website.

New Margaret Atwood Novel To Be Published This Autumn

A new novel by Margaret Atwood will be published by Bloomsbury on the 24th of September, it was revealed earlier this week. The Heart Goes Last is set in the near future, where “lawful people are locked up while lawless people roam free.” It will be Atwood’s first standalone novel in 15 years, after releasing the Man Booker Prize-winning The Blind Assassin back in 2000. Atwood will be heading to the UK in September to promote her new book and will be attending a number of events, including a Guardian Live event and the ‘Write on Kew’ literary festival.

Which stories were you most interested in this week?