The big story this week was the unauthorised distribution of Malcolm Turnbull’s memoir A Bigger Picture, allegedly by a staffer in the Prime Minister’s Office, which Hardie Grant chief executive Sandy Grant said the company would be referring to the Australian Federal Police. Today, Grant confirmed that Hardie Grant has reached a settlement with the staffer for an ‘undisclosed sum’, and that the staffer has disclosed how they got the book and to whom it was distributed. Members of the book trade have condemned the illegal distribution of copyrighted material, especially during this time of economic crisis.
In more new responses to Covid-19, Bloomsbury announced it will implement salary reductions for the majority of its staff among other cost-saving measures, while a new program from Booked Out, as well as a new online author listing from ALIA and the ASA, aim to connect authors with schools and libraries for virtual visits.
In awards news, K M Kruimink’s 19th-century Tasmania-set historical novel A Treacherous Country won the 2020 The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award and a number of Australian publishers and writers were shortlisted for international awards. Sydney writer Malla Nunn won the LA Times Book Prize for YA for her novel When the Ground is Hard; Affirm Press, Hardie Grant Egmont and Windy Hollow Books were among the publishers shortlisted in the Oceania category for the Bologna Prize for Best Children’s Publisher of the Year; and Australian writer Andrea E Macleod was shortlisted for the 2020 Commonwealth Short Story Prize in the Pacific category.
Overseas, the shortlist for this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction was announced; the International Booker Prize, for which Australian writer Shokoofeh Azar has been shortlisted, was postponed; Amazon closed six of its warehouses after a court ruling stopped the delivery of nonessential items in France; and the winner of the US$50k International Prize for Arabic Fiction was announced.