BOOK NEWS: a cover for The Secret Commonwealth + the full Byron Bay Writers Festival lineup!

by |June 12, 2019

This week is just flying by, thanks to Monday’s much needed public holiday. While we’re on the subject, does anybody else feel like the idea of a public holiday is always better than the actual holiday itself? Just me?

Anyway, it’s Wednesday (how is it already Wednesday???), which means that it’s time for another book news round up.

This week, I’ve got plenty of exciting news for you about Volume 2 of Philip Pullman’s The Book of Dust, Byron Bay Writers Festival, and all the Aussie authors on the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Read on…

Book News June 12

Philip Pullman’s The Secret Commonwealth gets a cover and an extract!

Oh, I am so excited about this.

2017 saw the long-awaited release of La Belle Sauvage, Volume 1 of The Book of Dust. With this book, readers of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy got a rare glimpse into the tumultuous events that marked the beginning of Lyra Belacqua’s life and the people who would go on to become major players in the events that would follow.

Last week, the cover for Volume 2, The Secret Commonwealth, was revealed and folks, I was not ready.

Feast your eyes on this glorious thing:

Book News June 12


This book will pick up seven years after the events of The Amber Spyglass, the last book in Pullman’s original trilogy, and will show Lyra as a 20-year-old student journeying far beyond her beloved Oxford into Europe and Asia as the repercussions of her search for Dust begin to be revealed.

The Secret Commonwealth is released later this year on 3 October (you can pre-order your copy here!), but if you absolutely cannot wait, you can read an extract from the book in The Guardian.

Byron Bay Writers Festival reveals full program

At long last, Byron Bay Writers Festival has announced their full lineup for 2019! Over 140 Aussie and international authors, speakers, journalists, and more will be attending the festival this year.

There are so many big names on the lineup – highlights include Marcus Zusak (Bridge of Clay), Tara June Winch (The Yield), Min Jin Lee (Pachinko), A.C. Grayling (Democracy and Its Crisis), Clementine Ford (Boys Will Be Boys), Benjamin Law (Growing Up Queer in Australia), Richard Fidler (Saga Land), and this year’s Stella Prize-winning author Vicki Laveau-Harvie (The Erratics). You can check out the full list of attendees here.

Festival Director Edwina Johnson said, “Now more than ever our world needs writers, environmentalists, poets, commentators, politicians and artists who together can shape stories of hope, courage and change. Now in its 23rd year, Byron Writers Festival embraces audiences and authors from far and wide for three unforgettable days that celebrate the power of words and storytelling, creating lasting memories for all who attend.”

Byron Writers Festival will take place on 2-4- August at the Elements of Byron resort – you can find more information here and buy tickets here!

Book News June 12

Aussie authors awarded 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours

A number of Australian authors have made it onto the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for 2019.

Chief among them is Aussie diamond Di Morrissey (Arcadia), the author of 25 novels and 5 children’s books, who was awarded a Member in the General Division for ‘significant service to literature as a novelist, and to conservation and the environment’.

Also on the list is Charlotte Wood (The Natural Way of Things), who received an AM for ‘significant service to literature’. Sophie Cunningham, the author of City of Trees and one of the founding members of the Stella Prize, received an AM for ‘significant service to literature as an author, editor and role model’.

Other authors recognised include Jane Caro (Accidental Feminists), Anna Fienberg (the Tashi series), Ita Buttrose, and more. You can find a complete list of all the Australians honoured at the Queen’s Birthday celebrations here.

Book News June 12
Di Morrissey, Charlotte Wood, and Sophie Cunningham.

Other interesting tidbits…

  • Thelma the Unicorn is coming to a screen near you – Netflix has bought the rights to an animated musical version of Aaron Blabey’s bestselling book – read more about it here.
  • SP Books, a Parisian publishing house specialising in the publication of classic manuscripts, has announced that it will publish the original handwritten manuscript of Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf – find out more here.
  • The Guardian has released a list of the Best Books of 2019 so far, a list that includes books like Lanny by Max Porter, Spring by Ali Smith, Mouth Full of Blood by Toni Morrison, and more.

Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more bookish goodness next Wednesday!

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About the Contributor

Olivia Fricot is the Editor of the Booktopian Blog. After finishing a soul-crushing law degree, she decided that life was much better with one's nose in a book and quickly defected to the world of Austen and Woolf. You can usually find her reading (obviously), baking, writing questionable tweets, and completing a Master's degree in English literature. Just don't ask about her thesis. Olivia is on Twitter and Instagram @livfricot - follow at your own risk.

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