Edinburgh International Book Festival 2011: Julia Donaldson and Eoin Colfer to appear

The Edinburgh International Book Festival first began in 1983 and is now a key event in the August Festival season, celebrated annually in Scotland’s capital city. Biennial at first, the Book Festival became a yearly celebration in 1997.

2011 will see a selection of international authors and a host of children’s writers will be in attendance at this years Edinburgh International Book Festival, which runs from 13 to 29 August.

Alasdair Gray will be officially opening proceedings with a live performance of his Fleck brings the curtain down, featuring starring roles for Will Self, Alan Bissett, Ian Rankin and AL Kennedy.

In the Children’s programme, Julia Donaldson, Jacqueline Wilson and Eoin Colfer are accompanied there by iconic characters such as Tarzan, Horrid Henry and Peter Rabbit.

For more information, please visit http://www.edbookfest.co.uk/.

Eoin Colfer signs three-book deal with Disney Publishing Worldwide

Disney-Hyperion Books has acquired the eighth and final instalment of internationally best-selling author Eoin Colfer’s hit Artemis Fowl series. Colfer will also helm a new series for the publisher in an additional two-book deal. The agreement is for North American rights.

The final Artemis Fowl book, entitled The Last Guardian. will be published in Summer 2012. The first book in the brand-new W.A.R.P series, The Reluctant Assassin, will be published in Winter 2013. The assassin of the title is young Riley, who has fallen into the FBI’s W.A.R.P. (Witness Anonymous Relocation Program) after a murderous escapade with a Victorian illusionist. Riley is transported to modern-day London, where he must both evade the illusionist and keep him from returning to Victorian times, where, with his new knowledge of all things scientific and technological, he could literally change the world. Additional W.A.R.P. books will follow every year.

“W.A.R.P. is an exciting new venture for me that combines a love of Victorian crime fiction, which I developed from reading Sherlock Holmes, and my fascination with science fiction, which has always been a hallmark of my books. W.A.R.P. is dark and funny and hopefully thrilling, and I am over the moon that Disney-Hyperion Books is prepared to journey into the past and future with me," commented Colfer.

Eoin Colfer, Puffin of Puffins, turns his pen to a more adult audience

Image: Fantasy author Eoin Colfer Irish fantasy author Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl was recently voted Britain’s all-time favourite Puffin book, beating Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Stig of the Dump to the accolade. A massive sixty-eight percent chose Colfer’s story about a young criminal mastermind who kidnaps a fairy in order to rebuild his family fortune. The Artemis Fowl fantasy series has sold well over 18 million copies and was shortlisted for Irish Book of the Decade.

Colfer said winning the vote was his "proudest professional moment". "To be chosen by Puffin as a modern classic is a huge honour, as it would be for any writer. For Artemis to be in a collection with Stig and Charlie is a huge thrill, but to win a public vote as well: it’s like two birthdays in one go," he added.

And now the Wexford-born author has begun writing for a more adult audience. Plugged, Colfer’s upcoming book, will focus on an Irish man "who lives just this side of the law but gets embroiled in things outside of the law," according to Marion Donaldson, who bought the book’s British Commonwealth rights.

"Obviously, this is intended for the adult market – there is a certain amount of violence in it – but you can still hear his voice in it," said Donaldson.

Plugged will be published in 2011.

Puffin’s Top 70 children’s book ever

Puffin has published its list of what it considers the 70 best children’s books of all time. It is an impressive list and will provide bookworms with a wonderful choice when they next look for a book. Amongst the list are many Fantasy Book Review favourites including A Wizard of Earthsea, Watership Down, Charlotte’s Web, Dracula, Young Samurai: The Way of the Warrior, Artemis Fowl, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief and Alice in Wonderland.

The list also highlighted some glaring omissions on the site, namely almost everything by Roald Dahl, Fungus the Bogeyman, Stig of the Dump, Finn Family Moomintrol, TimeRiders and Journey to the Centre of the Earth.

Here is the list in full:

The titles feature in The Puffin Handbook, a guide to children’s books for parents, which is available free here.

Here is the Puffin top 70:

The Best Mischief and Mayhem

  • The Twits by Roald Dahl
  • Diary Of A Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
  • The Hundred-Mile-An-Hour Dog by Jeremy Strong
  • The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend

The Best Weepies

  • Watership Down by Richard Adams
  • The Truth About Leo by David Yelland
  • Two Weeks With The Queen by Morris Gleitzman
  • Charlotte’s Web by EB White

The Best to Cuddle Up With

  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  • The Bog Baby by Jeanne Willis and Gwen Millward
  • Peepo! by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
  • Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd

The Best Blood and Guts

  • The Enemy by Charlie Higson
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • Being by Kevin Brooks
  • The Hound Of The Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Best Swashbucklers and Derring-Do

  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Captain Flinn And The Pirate Dinosaurs by Giles Andreae and Russell Ayto
  • Young Samurai: The Way Of The Warrior by Chris Bradford
  • Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Green

The Best Heroes

  • Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
  • Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
  • Young Bond – SilverFin by Charlie Higson
  • The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

The Best Characters

  • Charlie And Lola – Excuse Me But That Is My Book by Lauren Child
  • Meg And Mog by Helen Nicoll and Jan Pienkowski
  • Angelina Ballerina by Katharine Holabird and Helen Craig
  • Fungus The Bogeyman by Raymond Briggs

The Best Sugar and Spice

  • Milly-Molly-Mandy Stories by Joyce Lankester Brisley
  • The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy
  • The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
  • The Princess And The Pea by Lauren Child and Polly Borland

The Best Friends and Family

  • Dizzy by Cathy Cassidy
  • The Borrowers by Mary Norton
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • The Family From One End Street by Eve Garnett
  • Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild

The Best Phizzwhizzers

  • The BFG by Roald Dahl
  • Matilda by Roald Dahl
  • Charlie And The Chocolate-Factory by Roald Dahl
  • Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl

The Best Animals

  • Spy Dog by Andrew Cope
  • The Sheep-Pig by Dick King-Smith
  • My Family And Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
  • Lionboy by Zizou Corder

The Best War and Conflict

  • The Diary Of A Young Girl by Anne Frank
  • Once by Morris Gleitzman
  • Goodnight Mr Tom by Michelle Magorian
  • Carrie’s War by Nina Bawden


  • Stig Of The Dump by Clive King
  • Anne Of Green Gables by L M Montgomery
  • Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson
  • How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
  • Junk by Melvin Burgess

The Best Fantasy and Adventure

  • TimeRiders by Alex Scarrow
  • Dot Robot by Jason Bradbury
  • Journey To The Centre Of The Earth by Jules Verne
  • A Wizard Of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin

The Best Weird and Wonderful

  • Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • Five Children and It by E Nesbitt
  • The Wizard Of Oz by L Frank Baum
  • Peter Pan by JM Barrie

The Best Rhymes and Verse

  • Please Mrs Butler by Allan Ahlberg
  • Michael Rosen’s A-Z – The Best Children’s Poetry From Agard To Zephaniah
  • Talking Turkeys by Benjamin Zephaniah
  • Bad Bad Cats by Roger McGough

The Best Alternatives to Twilight

  • Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  • Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
  • The Luxe by Anna Godbersen
  • Along For the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Eoin Colfer turns his hand to musicals

Popular children’s writer Eoin Colfer has now turned his hand to a stage musical. The Wexford author of the Artemis Fowl series and the Hitchhiker’s Guide sequel has written the “book” for The Lords of Love , which will have its world premiere at the Jerome Hynes Theatre in Wexford Opera House on May 25th, followed by a three-night run.

With a plot that offers the opportunity for general mayhem, The Lords of Love concerns two ageing Irish crooners who were almost famous in the 1960s and 1970s, with such hits as My Love for You is Green and The Karate Chop. Now, years later, they are reunited for a concert with the woman who split them up – but harmony is not part of the evening.

Colfer’s musical collaborators are composers Liam Bates and Cyril Murphy, whose tunes span a range of styles, from swing to blues, showband and disco.

Source: The Irish Times

Peacock, Zemeckis and Starkey to bring Airman to the big screen

Ann Peacock, the writer behind the film adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, has been called upon to help bring Eoin Colfer’s fantasy adventure Airman to the silver screen.

The $150m film will be directed by Gil Kenan (City of Ember, Monster House) and produced by Robert Zemeckis (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Forrest Gump, Beowulf), Steve Starkey (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Forrest Gump, Beowulf) through their ImageMovers production company for Disney.

One dark night on the island of Great Saltee, fourteen-year-old Conor is framed for a terrible crime he didn’t commit. Thrown into prison by the dastardly Hugo Bonvilain, Conor is trapped in a seaswept dungeon and branded a traitor. He must escape and clear his name; he wants his old life back – his family, his friends… and his princess. Conor knows there is only one way out. It’s an impossible task, which has never been done before. But Conor is determined to do it. He’ll have to fly.

Born on 14th May 1965 in Wexford, South-East Ireland Eoin Colfer attended Dublin University to gain his degree and qualify as a primary school teacher like his father before him. His first book, Benny and Omar was inspired by his experiences in Tunisia, East Africa and was published in 1998. His first Artemis Fowl book was published in 2001 and was met with huge success. Describing his Artemis Fowl books as “Fairies meet Die Hard”. Eoin Colfer lives in Wexford, Ireland and the south of France with his wife and two children, Sean and Finn.

Niffenegger praises Jonathan Strange, JK Rowling tweets…

Here follows a round-up of the best fantasy-related news items from the past seven days.

Audrey Niffenegger’s novel The Time Traveller’s Wife has sold more than five million copies. In a recent interview she was asked “What book do you wish you’d written?” And her reply?

“Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. It’s mind-bending – a perfect blend of historical reality and fantasy.”

We completely agree with Audrey Niffenegger’s thoughts on this wonderful and truly unique novel – read our review to find out why.

In an attempt to counter numerous fake Rowlings on Twitter, JK Rowling has set up her own account. But she warned that she didn’t plan many tweets.

“I should flag up now that although I could twitter endlessly, I’m afraid you won’t be hearing from me very often as pen and paper is my priority at the moment.”

To follow Ms Rowling’s likely-to-be infrequent tweets, visit http://twitter.com/jk_rowling.

October 12, 2009 will be the 30th anniversary of the launch of Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It will also be the day on which the sixth instalment, And Another Thing? (penned by Eoin Colfer), will be unleashed upon a slightly-wary public.

To celebrate this, Colfer will be touring the UK, promoting and signing copies of his new book beginning with Hitchcon’09 in Central London, where a gathering of the largest number of Hitchhiker fans ever will take place.

The History Channel will air an episode on JRR Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings as part of its “Clash of the Gods” series. The episode airs at 10 pm EST, Monday October 5 and again at 2 am EST on Tuesday, October 6.

Karen George, an undiscovered illustrator from London and graduate of the Royal College of Art, has been named the winner of Waterstone’s and Macmillan Children’s Books ‘Picture This’ competition. She beat more than 900 aspiring artists to take the prize of illustrating a new book by Julia Donaldson. George receives a full publishing contract, with advance and royalties, to illustrate Freddie and the Fairy, a charming tale of a boy and a hard-of-hearing fairy told in Donaldson’s trademark rhythmic rhyme. Freddie and the Fairy, by Donaldson and George, will be published by Macmillan Children’s Books in Autumn 2010.

Ghost Hunter, Michelle Paver‘s six-part series comes full circle. Torak, the boy orphaned in the first book, Wolf Brother, is drawn by a tantalising glimpse of the ghost of his adored father into the clutches of the most powerful of the Soul-Eaters, the Eagle Owl Mage. The Independent says that “the finale is a climax as intense as Tolkien’s fall of Mordor, with demonic dogs, fiendish one-time children, and Soul-Eaters summoned from beyond the grave. Best of all, Paver succeeds in creating a conclusion with no mawkishness when she resolves the relationship between Torak and Renn – and, of course, Wolf.”

Puffin Ireland look to unearth new breed of young authors

An image of the Puffin Books logo. Puffin, the children’s imprint of the Penguin publishing group, is setting up in Ireland. Michael McLoughlin, the Penguin Ireland managing director believes that the wealth of talented authors on the Emerald Isle can create the best-selling young children’s books of the future, both in Ireland and abroad.

Next year is Puffin’s 70th birthday and Puffin Ireland will publish its first books as part of the anniversary celebrations.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis; Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce; Charlotte’s Web by EB White; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl and Watership Down by Richard Adams are among the iconic titles on the Puffin list. Best-selling Irish writer Eoin Colfer, famous for his Artemis Fowl books, is also a bright star in the Puffin constellation.

Writers can submit manuscripts to Puffin Ireland, 25 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin.

Also in Ireland…

The Faber Academy will begin a six-month course Writing a Novel from Start to Finish in Dublin next month. The novel-writing course, based at the Winding Stair bookshop on Ormond Quay, will take the form of weekly evening workshops and monthly day-long seminars on Saturdays.

Guest lecturers will include Anne Enright, Joseph O’Connor, Hugo Hamilton, Claire Keegan and Claire Kilroy and they will address issues such as plotting, editing and presenting of a novel.

16 places are available on the course, but one participant chosen on merit will be awarded a fellowship and will not have to pay the €3,000 fee.

Patrick Keogh, head of the Faber Academy, said that he sees Ireland as a place “that is wrapped up in the idea of storytelling, both the written and the spoken word”.

Participants will be chosen based on the quality of their submitted and all applicants must send a sample of their prose fiction no longer than 1,000 words to the Faber Academy before September 11th.

The Faber Academy has been offering similar courses in Britain for almost a year and most of them have sold out quickly. Applications close next Friday for the course which starts on October 7th. See www.faberacademy.co.uk for more details.

The Stoneheart Trilogy to be made into a movie?

Robert Zemeckis’ Imagemovers and Disney are in talks for the rights to make a movie based on Charlie Fletcher’s popular fantasy novel series, The Stoneheart Trilogy.

The film would, like all of Imagemovers’ projects to date, be made using motion capture technology, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Story follows a London boy who enters a world where statues come to life using the souls of their sculptors and gets caught in the midst of a struggle between good and evil.

The film would join an Imagemovers slate that includes Mars Needs Moms, directed by Simon Well and based on the Berkeley Breathed book, and Airman, adapted from the adventure book by Eoin Colfer and directed by Gil Kenan.

Source: Animation Magazine

Born on 14th May 1965 in Wexford, South-East Ireland Eoin Colfer attended Dublin University to gain his degree and qualify as a primary school teacher like his father before him. Returning to Wexford to begin his teaching career he left his home county once again in 1992, this time with his now wife Jackie, whom he married in 1991, to teach in East Africa, Asia and Europe (Italy) over a period of four years. His first book, Benny and Omar was inspired by his experiences in Tunisia, East Africa and was published in 1998. It has since gone on to be translated into several different European languages.