Week 16/20 – week ending 17 April

Faber furloughs staff

Faber is from today furloughing certain members of staff under the Government’s Staff Retention Scheme. The affected staff will receive full pay. The furlough period is set initially for three weeks.

Stephen Page, Faber CEO, has written to authors and agents to update them on the company’s activities during the coronavirus lockdown.

An extract from Page’s letter follows:

“As we head towards Easter and the end of our fourth week working remotely, I wanted to get in touch and extend the warmest of wishes from all of us at Faber. We’ve adapted quickly to the new environment and have focused our energies on making a positive impact for readers and writers in this challenging moment. We’re all in good spirits, while looking forward to emerging from this uncertain time and returning to publishing with the full range of the market available to us.

“As you will all be aware, the pandemic has had widespread repercussions across the industry. Lockdown has resulted in the closure of many of our markets for print books in the UK, as has been the case internationally, though we continue to supply books to whoever is still open for business.

“Given the closure of many of our customers and our own reduced schedule, we are going to make use of the government’s Staff Retention Scheme, otherwise known as furloughing, from Tuesday April 14. Many publishers are looking at taking up this support, as are most businesses in the UK. It’s a temporary but necessary measure to ensure Faber’s long term good health. All areas of the company will have a good complement of staff to cover the work we are undertaking and we’ll be making clear who to be in touch with if the person you usually deal with is on temporary leave. All Faber staff on furlough will receive their full salary. This furloughing is for an initial period of three weeks in line with the government’s instructions, and we’ll review it in three weeks’ time.

“At a difficult time for publishing books, we’ve put a great deal of thought into how we engage with readers in new ways. To this end, we have developed a rich programme of online content for audiences seeking literary solace or inspiration, which began in earnest this week. Highlights included Simon Armitage reading from Magnetic Field and a children’s draw-a-long with Chris Mould, illustrator of The Iron Man. We also hosted our first ever live-stream book launch for Ingrid Persaud’s debut novel Love After Love, a global event unlike any we could have staged otherwise. Finally, to counteract any isolation blues, all our Faber Members are now receiving literary updates three times a week. Do follow this link to sign up – it’s free to join. We are very excited about the reach and impact of all this new online activity, spreading the word of all the work we publish to readers old and new.”

DK launches Stay Home Hub

DK has launched a new resource, the Stay Home Hub, on DK.com. The site provides free ‘informative and inspirational resources’ for children and adults, focusing on home learning for children and activities for adults such as hobbies, recipes, and tips on keeping fit.

Activity packs are available on the Home Learning for Kids page across all age groups, ranging from traditional school subjects like English, maths and science to creative packs inspired by DK’s children’s books such as Jess French’s Book Of Brilliant Bugs, Professor Robert Winston’s Science Lab, and activities from LEGO books.

In the Home Activities for Adults section, there are recipes from Mary Berry and Chris Bavin along with fitness tips from 7 Minute Body Plan author Lucy Wyndham-Read. There are also gardening tips from authors such as Huw Richards, James Strawbridge and Adam Frost.

In addition to the website, content will also be shared on Instagram @DKBooks. This will include a 7-minute workout with Wyndham-Read, a draw-along with Jonny Lambert, and food storage tips from Chris Bavin, plus videos from authors including Carol Vorderman, Professor Robert Winston, Huw Richards and Jess French.

The site can be found here.

Wilbur Smith launches adventure podcast

The Power of Adventure is presented by adventurer and survival consultant Megan Hine (Running Wild With Bear Grylls, Man Vs Wild) and was ‘commissioned by Wilbur Smith to share his love of adventure with the world and inspire others to embark on personal journeys of discovery. The podcast is designed to encourage introspection amongst listeners and be an intriguing, amusing and emotional study in the energizing effect you can derive from leaving your comfort zone.’

Smith (pictured) said: “It’s been said that having an adventure is the only way to learn something about yourself and the world at the same time. If that is not available to you right now with the global pandemic situation or for many other reasons, then reading or listening to adventure stories may broaden your horizons in unexpected thrilling ways.

“I am very pleased to bring to you a new podcast series that reinforces those principles by exploring the essence of adventure. I am sure my new heroes, the stars of the podcasts will invigorate you to place adventure in the heart of your imagination. I can’t think of a better collective of dare devils that capture the fierce determination of Saffron Courtney in Courtney’s War or the adventurous spirit of Penrod Ballantyne in King of Kings than the six people featured in the podcast.”

Kevin Conroy Scott, Smith’s literary agent, said: “It’s fantastic to see a new generation of adventurers talking to the intrepid Megan Hine. Each one could be a character in a Wilbur Smith novel in their own right. The essence of every adventure Wilbur has taken has ended up in the pages of his books. We hope that his passion for the power of adventure will help these adventurers share their stories too.”

In a statement announcing the news, Smith’s publisher Bonnier Books provided more information on the six episodes.

‘Episode 1: Pip Stewart – Surviving The Jungle – Megan meets Pip Stewart, an adventurer, journalist and presenter. The two discuss Pip’s cycling expedition from Malaysia to London, her journey down the length of South America’s third largest river, and surviving a deadly flesh-eating parasite.

‘Episode 2: Reza Pakravan – Imprisoned in Darfur – Explorer, filmmaker and writer Reza Pakravan talks about his trek across the entire African continent, and tells the story of a harrowing four-day prison stay.

‘Episode 3: Anna McNuff – Barefoot Marathon Runner – Traveler, influencer and public speaker Anna McNuff, talks to Megan about her incredible journey across New Zealand, and Barefoot Britain, which saw her running 2,352 miles through Britain – completely barefoot.

‘Episode 4: Mungo – Extreme Cameraman – Megan meets Paul ‘Mungo’ Mungeam, cameraman and presenter. The two trade stories from their work alongside Bear Grylls – including what happened when Channing Tatum tried to do a backflip out of a helicopter.

‘Episode 5: Dwayne Fields – From Gun Crime to the North Pole – Dwayne Fields tells his emotional life story to Megan, which took him from the street gangs of inner city London to a 400 mile expedition through the Arctic to the magnetic North Pole.

‘Episode 6: Megan Hine – What Is Adventure? – Megan reflects back on the series as well as her own experiences, to uncover the lessons from these incredible stories. She concludes with how an adventurous mindset can deliver transformative results.’

Smith’s latest novel, Call of The Raven, will be published in Autumn 2020, in Zaffre hardback, eBook and audio.