London, the city that has fired the imagination for writers across the centuries, is now inspiring the literary world in a different way. Benches across the capital are now fashioned with scenes from classic stories, from Paddington Bear to Ian Fleming’s super spy James Bond. Fifty benches have been designed to look like open books, with the open page spread depicting colourful passages from the chosen books. This artwork was commissioned by the National Literacy Trust Books About Town scheme.
J. K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be filming in the UK at the Leavesden Warner Bros. studios, the same as the Harry Potter series did over the years. The new film, based on a spin-off book by the author, is due in cinemas November 2016.
The gods have spoken! The TV gods that is, as the long-awaited television adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods is finally making progress on the small screen. The American channel Starz is taking the reins of the production now that HBO has abandoned it. Although this may be a bit worrisome in some ways (allowing a company best-known for Spartacus rather than Game of Thrones to take charge), there is some very promising news attached – Bryan Fuller, of Hannibal, Pushing Daisies (and my personal too-short-lived fave, Wonderfalls) fame is on board as showrunner alongside the comic-book and TV writer Michael Green. Gaiman’s novel follows Shadow, an ex-con, as he is pulled into the shadowy (yes.) world of the warring old gods and the new: norse mythology versus modern technology. This fantastic read is bound to be epic viewing.
Scarlett Johansson has won her defamation suit against the French novelist who used the Hollywood actress as a character in a recent novel. Although the author simply used a fictional Johansson lookalike in a small part of the novel, the actress saw fit to take legal action against the use of her likeness in the story by Grégoire Delacourt.
Terry Pratchett, author of the Discworld series, has had to cancel an appearance at an upcoming convention dedicated to his famous book series, following problems stemming from his Alzheimers, which the author was diagnosed with in 2007. The convention is taking place in Manchester in August, and in a statement made to his fans he said: ‘I am very sorry about this . . . The Embuggerance is finally catching up with me.’