Today in books and publishing: J.K. Rowling's new book has a title and skeletal plot outline, Salman Rushdie rechristened himself for his memoir, and what books people wanted banned in 2011.
J.K. Rowling's first non-children's book is coming out in September, and we now know the title: The Casual Vacancy. We also have a skeletal outline of the plot. What it lacks in potions and magic boarding schools, it makes up for in buried sins and class warfare. From the Little, Brown press release:
When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock.
Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.
Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils...Pagford is not what it first seems.
And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?
Interesting! We'll even supply the first glowing blurb: "Municipal elections in rural England will never be the same." (Other options include: "The best book about a small town going nuts since Needful Things" and "Pagford may be Rowling's most magical creation yet -- and her most crushingly real." And something that starts out "Move over, Harry, Ron and Hermoine" would be nice, but we need more details about who they're moving over for. [via Little, Brown]
Salman Rushdie's memoir of his fatwa years, Joseph Anton, is due out September 18 and we now know why it's called Joseph Anton: because Rushdie didn't feel comfortable using his own name. So he took the names of two of his favorite writers, Joseph Conrad and Anton Chekov instead. "Explains Rushdie: "I thought it might help dramatise, for the reader, the deep strangeness and discomfort of those years." Arty! Random House's press release makes a point of making the book sound more like a novel than a memoir, promising a full account of the "sometimes grim, sometimes comic realities of living with armed policemen, and of the close bonds he formed with his protectors," with cameos from "governments, intelligence chiefs, publishers, journalists, and fellow writers" who supported and sustained him. [The Guardian]