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A rare copy of J. K. Rowling’s Beedle the Bard has sold for close to £370,000. The edition was a thank you gift from Rowling to her publisher – this edition along with six other copies are unique for being handwritten, and bedecked with jewelled embellishments on the cover.

In other book news:

Promotional stills have been released for the upcoming ten-episode television miniseries of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, starring Elisabeth Moss as Offred, Samira Wiley as Moira and Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy.

Spill Simmer Falter Wither won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize for fiction last week. The Irish author Sara Baume received £1,500 in prize money for her book about a man in his mid-fifties, Ray, who adopts a one-eyed dog.

Kate McKinnon (of SNL and Ghostbusters fame) is due to star in an adaptation of the graphic novel The Lunch Witch by Deb Lucke. This follows a witch named Grunhilda who inherits an old family cauldron and book of magic recipes, and decides to work as a lunch lady at a school.

And the end of year lists keep on coming. The Guardian has now produced a brief selection of 2016’s hidden gems, the best books readers may have missed. Flavorwire has listed the year’s top non-fiction titles to help counter the madness of 2016, and also the year’s fifteen best books, from novels to essay collections. Elsewhere, pop culture site Vulture has chosen its best comic book covers of the year.

Shirley Hazzard, the Australian author of The Transit of Venus, and winner of the National Book Award (among others), died at the age of 85 at her home in New York last week. And in other sad news of an author’s passing, To Sir, With Love’s E. R. Braithwaite died at the age of 104 last week, too. His most famous novel was an autobiographical depiction of his time working as a teacher in east London in the 1950s, and became a critically acclaimed film starring Sidney Poitier.

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