Five things we loved this week
1. The kids are alright
OBE winner, journalist and beloved broadcaster Clare Balding will be writing her first children’s book. The book will called, The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop, which is a book all about how tennis players fare in outer space. No, of course not, it is an utterly delightful book aimed at 7-year-olds about a little girl Charlie and her horse Nobel Warrior. And giants of the picture book world (not literally, of course) Julia Donaldson and Helen Oxenbury are collaborating for the first time on a picture book called The Giant Jumperee. The book is about a politician who can’t stop trampolining. No, that’s not true either, it is about Rabbit, who realises that the “Giant Jumperee” is lurking in his burrow
2. Through the Instagram looking glass
I have just fallen down a bibliophiles rabbit hole: our Instagram feed. If you like stunning snapshots, beautiful books and wise word play, you could lose hours drifting gently through our Instagram gallery of current books, events and thoughts. This week, we began #ThrowbackThursday. Every Thursday, we will feature a picture from the Waterstones events archives of an esteemed literary person who has held an event with us. Our first was the beautiful Emma Thompson, who visited our Piccadilly shop in 2010 to promote her children's book Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang.
3. Picture this – new prize
Want to see some of the most amazing envelope art ever? Of course you do. Take a look at Klaus Flugge’s post bag. I wish my post looked like his…Klaus Flugge, now 82, is the publisher who launched the careers of some of our best-loved illustrators, from Quentin Blake to Chris Riddell. He has just announced the inception of The Klaus Flugge Prize for the Most Exciting Newcomer to Picture Books, a brand new Children’s fiction Prize that will be the only one to focus on debut picture books; submissions will open in February. So get illustrating.
4. The cat revolution is nigh #CatLit
Cats are ever closer to rising up and taking over. We all know that cats paint, and that some are plotting to kill us, well, now they are reading literature too. It is only a matter of time. For more information, refer to our Twitter and Facebook pages this afternoon. Be prepared, people. Be prepared.
5. Roll over, ShostakovichIf you have read Darkness at Noon, you will have a tiny idea of what it may have been like to wait for the definite possibility of Stalin ordering your death…which is how, for a long period of his working life, Shostakovich had to live. Julian Barnes’ new novel, The Noise of Time, which depicts the triumphs and the defeats of this extraordinary composer, has been described as a masterpiece by The Guardian, while The Telegraph’s five star review noted Barnes’ “commitment to reinventing himself”. What it will do: Make you appreciate the music of Shostakovich. What it won’t do: improve your piano skills.