Today In Books

LORD OF THE RINGS Team Talks Going Up Against HOUSE OF THE DRAGON: Today in Books

Society of Authors Respond to Calls for Joanne Harris to Step Down as Committee Chair

The Society of Authors, the UK’s largest trade union for writers, illustrators and translators, is defending its position on free speech, in light of calls for Joanne Harris to step down as the chair of its management committee. In the wake of the attack on Salman Rushdie, the Chocolat author launched a controversial poll on Twitter. In the tweet, Harris, who said she was “shaken” by the attack, asked authors if they had ever received a death threat. The available responses were “Yes,” “Hell, yes,” “No, never,” and “Show me, dammit.” Harris later deleted the poll and re-posted it with different options. Now in response to the tweet, two open letters – one calling for Harris’ resignation and one in support of her – are currently being circulated.

The Society of Authors said in a statement that it is “absolutely committed” to condemning any personal attacks made on authors for exercising their rights to freely express themselves: “What we have seen time and again over the past few years is that polarised viewpoints have become the norm, and that so many exchanges on complex issues are happening in online forums where nuance and meaning are lost.” Harris says she has no plans to resign. In another tweet, the author said, “My term of office as Chair ends in 2024. I won’t be leaving before that.”

Lord of the Rings Team Talks Going Up Against House of the Dragon

Two new, big fantasy series are launching this fall: Amazon’s Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power and HBO’s House of the Dragon. Already, the two shows are being pitted against each other. But the team behind Lord of the Rings says there’s plenty of room for both shows in the fall lineup. “The more, the merrier!” said Sophia Nomvete, who plays Princess Disa in The Rings of Power. “People are going to have so much to watch. Get ready, the popcorn industry is gonna go ‘ching!’ There is a place for absolutely all of us, of course. I’m so excited to watch those guys.” Speaking on the camaraderie between the Rings of Power team and the House of the Dragon team, Morfydd Clark, who plays Galadriel, added, “There’s definitely a lot of support from all the actors. There’s a lot demanded of you when you’re in something this big.” Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premieres on Amazon on September 2, and House of the Dragon drops just a few weeks earlier on HBO on August 21.

The Butler Author Wil Haygood Wins Prestigious Book Award

On Wednesday, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize announced that author Wil Haygood will receive the Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award. Haygood is the author of multiple nonfiction books chronicling the lives of 20th-century Black Americans, including The Butler, based on the life of Eugene Allen, who served eight presidents at the White House. “For three decades, Haygood has captured the sweep of American culture, focusing on the rarely or never-told stories of the Black experience with the analysis that this nation so desperately needs,” said Sharon Rab, founder and chair of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation. Inspired by the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords that ended the war in Bosnia, the literary prize celebrates the power of literature to foster peace, social justice and understanding. Haygood will receive the award on November 13th from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Clarence Page.

The Bible is Now Gone, Along with Dozens of Other Books in Keller ISD

Keller ISD’s new extreme right-wing board ushered in a new book policy, demanding approved books be pulled immediately.