Fantasy news round-up: October 3, 2011
Here is a round-up of events in the fantasy-related literary world over the past week or so.
JK Rowling honoured by Edinburgh University
The Harry Potter author received the University Benefactor’s Award for her financial contribution to multiple sclerosis research at the Scottish institution. Rowling donated 10 million pounds ($16 million) to establish the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic, named after her mother, who suffered from MS, The Independent reported.
And Rowling’s good work does not stopped there and she is also helping in the battle against deforestation. When approached about protecting Canada’s ancient trees from the escalating hungry demand for wood to turn into throw away paper products, Rowling was keen to promote the use of environmentally friendly paper.
“The forest at Hogwarts is home to magical creatures like unicorns and centaurs. Because the Canadian editions are printed on Ancient Forest Friendly paper, the Harry Potter books are helping to save magnificent forests in the Muggle world, home of magical animals such as orangutans, wolves and bears. It is a good idea to respect ancient trees, especially if they have a temper like the Whomping Willow.”
Details of Game of Thrones RPG revealed
Cyanide Studio, having just finished their RTS; A Game of Thrones: Genesis, is now hard at work on an RPG set in George RR Martin’s fantasy universe. Drawing inspiration from several BioWare titles. The combat uses what he called an “active pause system,” which he compared to the battle system from BioWare’s Knights of the Old Republic.
The Game of Thrones RPG is slated for release in early 2012 on consoles and PC.
Shortlist for children’s fiction prize announced
The shortlist for The Guardian Children’s Fiction prize: has been announced:
- My Name Is Mina, by David Almond;
- Return to Ribblestrop, by Andy Mulligan;
- Moon Pie, by Simon Mason;
- Twilight Robbery, by Frances Hardinge.
A few days ago we covered this shortlist in greater detail, including extra information on the books and those judging the competition. The post was entitled Shortlist for the Guardian Children’s Fiction prize announced.
Spielberg’s War Horse scheduled for 13 January 2012 UK release
Michael Morpurgo‘s popular 1982 novel tells the story of Joey, a horse who begins life on the Narracott family’s farm in Devon and ends up being sold to the Cavalry for use in the First World War. But farm hand Albert Narracott cannot forget his former partner, and he ends up joining the army to try to find Joey and bring him home.
In the film, Jeremy Irvine stars as Albert while Tom Hiddlestone plays Captain Nicholls, the cavalry officer who rides Joey into combat. The movie was shot on location in Hampshire, Devon, Wiltshire, Surrey, Wales and parts of France.
Google to support new festival Word Up!
Google is to support a new family arts and literature festival, which is taking place during autumn half term in London. The internet giant will make 300 tickets to main theatre events at Word Up! available to low-income families referred to organisers through partner organisations such as Kids Company and the National Literary Trust’s London Literacy Champions scheme. The festival will run from 22nd-24th October.
Events will also include family workshops with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and interactive storytelling of Peepo!, The Moomins and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. There will also be workshops, stalls and a community stage.
Walden Media’s exclusive ‘Narnia’ film option expires
It has been reported that Walden Media no longer has exclusive rights to the rest of the Chronicles of Narnia books. According to the website NarniaWeb, during the negotiations between Fox, Walden, and the CS Lewis Estate, the film option that Walden Media owned was allowed to expire and Walden Media no longer has exclusive purchasing rights to any further Narnia films. This has been confirmed to us by representatives of the CS Lewis Estate.
Random House Children’s Books buys Fallen tie-in
Random House Children’s Books has bought an original novel by Lauren Kate that is connected to her paranormal romance series Fallen. Fiction publisher Annie Eaton and editorial director Becky Stradwick bought UK and Commonwealth rights from Michael Stearns and Ted Malawer of Upstart Crow Agency. Fallen in Love will be published on 2nd February 2012 ahead of Rapture, the fourth and final book in the Fallen series, which is lined up for June. Fallen in Love features four intertwined stories featuring characters from the series.
Donaldson joins fight for Surrey’s libraries
A group campaigning to save Surrey libraries has received support from an award-winning author. Julia Donaldson, children’s book playwright and the National Children’s Laureate, has added her support to Surrey Libraries Action Movement and their Love Your Libraries Campaign. Friends of Bagshot Library are against the closure of a host of libraries including Bagshot, Lightwater, Frimley Green and Ash that Surrey County Council propose to force local communities to run, or be closed. Under Surrey’s plans, volunteers would be able to take over the day to day running of the libraries, saving £300,000 a year.
"I am in full support of Surrey Libraries Action Movement and their Love Your Libraries Campaign. Libraries need trained librarians just as schools need trained teachers and hospitals need trained doctors. Volunteers may have a role to play, but to staff a library exclusively with volunteers is not the way forward,” said the author of The Gruffalo.
Pullman continues to fight for Oxford’s libraries
His Dark Materials author Philip Pullman has made an impassioned plea to save libraries in Oxfordshire and has warned that volunteers cannot replace professionals.
Pullman, whose attack on council plans to stop funding 20 of 43 libraries last year launched a mass campaign, admitted County Hall’s new proposals were an improvement.
“The trouble is, people the council are relying on to jump in and volunteer are already doing dozens of other things, volunteering at hospital friends groups or training primary school football teams. You cannot go on relying on volunteers to do professional work. There seems to be a rather disparaging view of librarians that all they do is tidy the shelves and stamp the books. It is far more than that, it requires pretty stringent professional training. It is not something you can just pick up after an hour or two,” said the award-winning author.
The council was forced into a U-turn in May, after thousands of people opposed plans that would have caused many branches to close. County Hall now proposes to keep all 43 libraries open but ask volunteers to make up a third of staff at five branches and two-thirds at 16 others.