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Hong Kong detainee’s daughter urges book trade to intervene


Shaun Usher’s Speeches of Note has been pre-empted in North America by Ten Speed Press for a “significant” six figures. It follows the same format as Letters of Note (Canongate/Unbound), using famous speeches by an array of well-known names and from seminal moments. Ten Speed’s Julie Bennett pre-empted North American rights from Nelle Andrew on behalf of Caroline Michel at PFD and Unbound. Hutchinson and Unbound have UK and Commonwealth rights. Negotiations are ongoing in a dozen other territories, PFD said, with German (Heyne) and Polish (SQN) rights signed. Usher said: “This will be a visually stunning, heady collection of oratory that will shine a light on speeches that for various reasons are often left in the dark.”


Gollancz has acquired a “gritty” epic fantasy trilogy from débutant Ed McDonald for “a robust” six- figure sum after a “hectic auction”. Publishing director Gillian Redfearn acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to Blackwing from Ian Drury at Sheil Land Associates. US rights were also acquired for six figures, by Jessica Wade at Ace in New York. The trilogy follows Galharrow, who must investigate a late sorcerer’s legacy when his republic is faced with annihilation. Auctions for German and French rights are ongoing.


Transworld has acquired an anthology of writing by author and scientist Richard Dawkins, which it will issue in June 2017. Susanna Wadeson acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Max Brockman of Brockman, Inc, who will be selling international rights at the fair. Science in the Soul: Selected Shorter Writings, edited by Gillian Somerscales, contains essays and articles described by Wadeson as “potent, pithy, thought-provoking and revealing windows into the world as [Dawkins] perceives it”.

Angela Gui, daughter of a Hong Kong publisher being detained by Chinese authorities, is holding meetings with the International Publishers Association (IPA) at the Frankfurt Book Fair to encourage the global book trade to intervene in her father’s plight. Swedish-Chinese bookseller

Gui Minhai went missing from his holiday home in Pattaya, Thailand, in October 2015. He was one of five staffers of publishing house Mighty Current and its bookshop Causeway Bay Books, which published and sold books critical of China’s political elite, to be apprehended by Chinese authorities. The other members of staff have since been released. Gui Minhai appeared on Chinese state TV in January to say he had turned himself in over a drink-driving accident that took place a decade ago, but Amnesty International has said it suspects the recording was made under duress. Gui’s daughter is attending this

week’s fair at the invitation of the IPA after recently launching a website dedicated to raising awareness of her father’s plight, She told The Bookseller Daily she was

Angela Gui

“disappointed” with the UK’s efforts to help her father. The UK has “a responsibility” to uphold the “one nation, two systems” principle in Hong Kong, she said, referring to the joint 1984 British/Chinese declaration to give Hong Kong autonomy over its own laws and guarantee freedom of speech. “I feel a little bit disappointed; the

UK government hasn’t done much,” she said. “It might be due to internal turmoil within UK politics [but] it’s important symbolically that the UK steps up to demonstrate [my father’s detention] is unacceptable. The UK has a responsibility because of its history with Hong Kong and China to lead action in the international community.” Angela Gui, a student living

in the UK, has been branded a “troublemaker” by the Chinese foreign ministry for publicising her father’s case. She said it was “a scary thing to hear” but is undeterred, appearing at Gothenburg Book Fair last month and at FBF despite veiled threats and her father’s calls that her actions could “make things worse” for him. She said: “The more time passes, a resolution to all this seems further and further away. I was hoping he would be released quite quickly, especially when all of his colleagues started coming back in the spring. Nothing has happened in so long, it’s been a year and there haven’t been any signs that anything is going to happen anytime soon. I don’t even know if I can ever expect to see him again.”

Wiley chief calls for community to end academic ‘crisis’

John Wiley president and c.e.o. Mark Allin called on the trade to tackle the “acute crisis” in the research community and the recruiting and retention of staff. In a keynote speech at yesterday’s “The Markets”

conference at the Frankfurt Book Fair, Allin told delegates that Wiley was changing its focus and “moving closer to customers” than ever before. “As publishers we used to get obsessed with content, with making a product and seeing if we could sell it. But we have changed . . . we are moving to an ongoing partnership with our customers,” he said, claiming the shift had “digital at its heart”. Allin highlighted Wiley’s shift from providing

products for academics to working with companies and investing in platforms that focus on professional development and training. “Talent is a big concern: finding it, retaining it, training it. Most employers realise that those leaving university today need to be prepared to train, in future, for jobs we have not yet created, with technology not yet invented.” Allin also claimed that, on average, researchers spend less than half of their time at work researching, and are instead occupied by time-consuming tasks such as admin. “This is a catastrophe,” he said. “It is why we have launched [management tools] programmes like Wiley Author Services.”


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