Discussing Antonia Honeywell’s ‘The Ship’

The ShipI was lucky enough to be selected as a member of the Curtis Brown Book Group, and Antonia Honeywell’s debut novel ‘The Ship’ was the first book up for discussion. It was a great pick, and there are so many points for discussion that it’s hard to know where to start!

Sixteen year-old Lalla has been raised in a world that is slowly disintegrating before her eyes. Floods, banking crashes, food shortages and disease have destroyed parts of the world and driven the survivors into small, isolated pockets. Every citizen is required to keep themselves registered. Without their cards, they are no longer considered to be the responsibility of the government and are liable to be shot on sight. The homeless and the unregistered are forced to seek shelter wherever they can – from a tent city in Regents Park to the British Museum or St Paul’s Cathedral.

For as long as she can remember, Lalla’s parents have been talking about the Ship – the vessel that will lead them to a better place along with five hundred carefully selected ‘worthy’ souls. But when Lalla finally makes it onto the promised Ship, she can’t shake the feeling that there’s something deeply wrong. She’s plagued with questions that no one is willing to answer – where are they going, who are they leaving behind, and ultimately, what are they living for? Continue reading

Spreading some Christmas cheer

It’s the time of year when every company pushes out all the stops in terms of marketing to help maximise sales or to get their message across to the masses. This year, there are bookish giveaways and gift guides galore. It’s well worth having a look around on Twitter to keep up to date with everything festive, but here are a few of my favourites to get you started

Headline launched an online advent calendar on Monday 1st December, with a different giveaway going up each day. So far, there have been signed copies of novels by Martina Cole and Victoria Hislop, as well as a Downton Abbey TV tie-in book bundle.

An interactive Christmas gift guide has been designed by Hodder and Stoughton, which lets users answer questions with details about the person they’re buying for. The guide then recommends books from both Hodder’s frontlist and its backlist as gifts. I tried it for a couple of different people – one worked really well and I actually got some good recommendations, but the other one not so much! A good idea though and a bit of fun!

Elsewhere, Curtis Brown Literary Agency is running a Twelve Days of Christmas giveaway every working day until the 16th December. This kicked off on 1st December with a giveaway of ‘Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell’ and will see different authors pick their Christmas giveaway choices throughout the promotion. To be in with a change to win, visit the @CBBookGroup Twitter page.

On a more charitable festive note, the English PEN and the Howard League for Penal Reform are hoping to raise awareness of and support for the Books for Prisoners campaign, which calls on the government to overturn the ban on sending books and other essentials into prisons. A digital advent calendar has been launched, which features authors such as Monica Ali, and supporters are asked to recommend the books they would send to prisoners using the hashtag #booksforprisoners.

If you’ve noticed any other good promotions in the run up to Christmas, let me know!