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dorislessingDoris Lessing, the Nobel-Prize winning author, has sadly passed away at the age of 94. The British writer died in her London home on Sunday 17th November. Best known for her radical 1950’s-set masterpiece The Golden Notebook (1962) for which she won the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature, Lessing was considered one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. Her work spans numerous genres, from women’s liberation to science fiction, with a wry focus on the political and social issues in society. Lessing’s oeuvre (novels, short stories, essays, poetry) defined a generation of writers and will continue to inspire readers and authors for a long time to come.

The longlist for the 2014 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award has been revealed: all 152 of them (including 23 Brits, 11 Canadians and 51 Americans, and 47 debut novels – so it is a hefty, varied mix!). Safe to say, this is too many authors to fit into a footnote here, but take a good look at the Award website for further information: IMPAC Dublin. These candidates will be narrowed down to a shortlist on 9th April 2014, and the winner of the €100,000 prize will be announced in June.

Eimear McBride won the £10,000 Goldsmith’s Prize for Literature for A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing. The prize is brand new and was set up to award an author whose work experimentally “breaks the mould” and seeks out new ways to challenge the novel form. McBride triumphed over five other shortlisted candidates, including Jim Crace for the acclaimed Harvest and Ali Smith for Artful.

The five-strong shortlist for the Guardian First Book Award has been announced. Four of the contenders are fiction writers – NoViolet Bulawayo, Donal Ryan, Hannah Kent, Lottie Moggach – and the fifth entrant is El Feki, for non-fiction book Sex and the Citadel. All shall be competing for the £10,000 prize, to be awarded to the lucky recipient on 28th November 2013.

How about a competition that the rest of us can enter? National Book Tokens has launched an advertising campaign for Caboodle to run from now until December, which prompts people to guess book titles from graphic images and submit the answers on the competition’s website. 10 winners will receive a year’s (!) supply of free books, and runners up will get a bunch of treats too: Caboodle

In the mood for some short story recommendations? Irish writer Emma Donoghue, author of Room (2010), has provided her own list of favourite short story collections as part of her US promotion for Astray (released in the UK 2012): Bookish

Now for an insane who-has-this-kind-of-money literary announcement: American author Gareth Risk Hallberg has sold his novel to the Alfred A Knopf publishing house for $2 million. . .Nope, his name’s not ringing a bell here either. That might be because Hallberg’s novel City on Fire is his debut. At 900 pages long, it must have high expectations to become a major hit, with the publishers believing it to be the next modern masterpiece and future bestseller. And of course, film rights have been negotiated already.

You hear of books being adapted for the small and big screen all the time, and musicians working on television and movie soundtracks to earn a bit of extra dosh and publicity, but what about songs being transformed into books? Internet viral hit ‘What does the Fox Say?’ by Norwegian comedy songsters Ylvis will become a children’s book thanks to Simon & Schuster. Hear that? Minds being blown.

Another day, another infographic – this one looking at the most popular books of all time, according to data such as number of editions, translations and copies sold: Most popular books

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