almost-english-charlotte-mendelsonJohn Banville, best-known for the award-winning 2005 novel The Sea, has penned a brand new Philip Marlowe novel, titled The Black-Eyed Blonde. This book, featuring the famous private detective, has been written under the pen name Benjamin Black. Fitting the noir vibe of the iconic character, Blonde is set in 1950s California, with Marlowe being approached to solve a case by a classic femme fatale.

The Bailey’s Women’s Prize 2014 now has a list of contenders. The international selection of authors for this fiction prize includes, among the twenty novels chosen for the longlist, Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries, Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland, Rachel Kushner’s The Flamethrowers, Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah and Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam. The last five annual prizes were won by U.S. writers, so it will be interesting to see if the ultimate votes sway the same way for a sixth consecutive year. Only four of the potential winners here are British: Charlotte Mendelson’s Almost English, Evie Wyld’s All the Birds, Singing, MJ Carter’s The Strangler Vine and Deborah Kay Davies’s Reasons She Goes to the Woods.

Patrick Ness’s A Monster Calls is being made into a film. The movie version of the Carnegie and Greenaway Medal winning novel will be directed by Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage, The Impossible). The story follows a young boy bullied at school attempting to deal with his mother’s illness by escaping into a fantasy world.

World Book Day 2014 took place in the UK and Ireland on 6 March – did you join in on any events or celebrations?