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Archives: 2017
May 9, 2017 News

Artemis, a near-future thriller by Andy Weir, author of the # 1 New York Times bestseller and international blockbuster The Martian, will be published November 14, 2017.

Said Andy Weir, “I’m really excited about Artemis. I got to do the science-dork stuff I love, but this time with a much more complex and character-driven plot. It’s a big stretch for me, but I think it came out well. Hopefully the readers will agree.”

An adrenaline-charged crime caper that features smart, detailed world-building based on real science and the charm that makes Weir’s writing so irresistible, Artemis introduces a protagonist every bit as memorable asThe Martian’s Mark Watney: Jasmine Bashara, aka Jazz. Jazz is just another too-smart, directionless twenty-something, chafing at the constraints of her small town and dreaming of a better life.  Except the small town happens to be named Artemis—and it’s the first and only city on the moon.

Life on Artemis is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire, and Jazz is decidedly not a member of either category.  She’s got debts to pay, her job as a porter barely covers the rent, and her budding career as a smuggler isn’t exactly setting her up as a kingpin, much to her disappointment. So when the chance at a life-changing score drops in her lap, Jazz can’t say no, even though she’s sure there’s more to the setup than meets the eye. And indeed, pulling off the perfect crime is just the first of Jazz’s problems as she finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself.

Andy Weir Photo: © John Weir
Andy Weir Photo: © John Weir

As first reported by Tracking-Board.com, movie rights to Artemis have been acquired in a preempt by 20th Century Fox and New Regency, with Simon Kinberg and Aditya Sood, two of the producers of The Martian, attached to produce for Genre Films. Starring Matt Damon and directed by Ridley Scott, The Martian was nominated for seven Oscars and won both the Best Picture and Best Actor awards at the Golden Globes. The movie has grossed more than $630 million worldwide.

Hailed as a new science-fiction classic,The Martian book has sold more than three million copies in North America, spending over a year and a half on the New York Times bestseller list since its February 2014 publication by Crown. To date, the book has been published in forty languages worldwide.

Learn more about the book here;

Apr 11, 2017 News

As we herald our newest Pulitzer Prize winners – in an unprecedented four of the five Letters categories – we celebrate all of the 131 titles published by a current or legacy imprint of Penguin and Random House that have been awarded a Pulitzer since the inception of the Prize more than a century ago. 

They include some of the defining fiction, nonfiction, and poetry of the past 100 years, such as: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz in 2008: Ghost Wars by Steve Coll in 2005: Lindbergh by Scott Berg in 1999; The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck in 1940; The Road by Cormac McCarthy in 2006; The Power Broker by Robert A. Caro in 1975;  Promises: Poems 1945-56 by Robert Penn Warren  in 1958; Humboldt’s Gift by Saul Bellow in 1976; The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkingtonin 1919; and Common Ground by J. Anthony Lukas in 1986.

Here are our four newest Pulitzer winners!

Biography

9780812994827The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between by Hisham Matar.

Edited by Noah Eaker.

Pulitzer citation: “For a first-person elegy for home and father that examines with controlled emotion the past and present of an embattled region.”

Susan Kamil, Hisham Matar’s publisher at Random House, said, “It’s thrilling to see Hisham’s work so recognized by the Pulitzer jury. The Return is about Hisham’s personal search for his father, but his art elevates it into a universal quest for justice.”

The Return previously won the inaugural PEN/Jean Stein Book Award.

Fiction

9780385542364The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.

Edited by Bill Thomas.

Pulitzer citation: “For a smart melding of realism and allegory that combines the violence of slavery and the drama of escape in a myth that speaks to contemporary America.”

Colson Whitehead commented, “I don’t even know what to say — this has been a crazy ride ever since I handed the book in to my editor. I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who picked up a copy and dug it, and to all the kind folks who championed it along the way — the booksellers, the reviewers, the awesome Oprah Winfrey, and the judges. It’s a nice day to put ‘New York, New York’ on the headphones and walk around city making crazy gestures at strangers.”

The Underground Railroad has sold over 825,000 copies in the United States across all formats.  An Oprah’s Book Club 2016 selection, #1 New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Book Review Ten Best Books of 2016 selection and the winner of the 2016 National Book Award for Fiction, the book chronicles young Cora’s journey as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. After escaping her Georgia plantation for the rumored Underground Railroad, Cora discovers no mere metaphor, but an actual railroad full of engineers and conductors, and a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil.

General Nonfiction

9780553447439Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond.

Edited by Amanda Cook.

Pulitzer citation: “For a deeply researched exposé that showed how mass evictions after the 2008 economic crash were less a consequence than a cause of poverty.”

Ms. Cook commented, “It’s been an honor for all of us at Crown to help bring Evicted into the world. Matt Desmond writes with great heart and intellectual rigor about America’s housing crisis. He follows eight families in Milwaukee as they struggle to keep a roof over their heads, showing us how a lack of stable shelter traps families in poverty and destroys lives meant for better things. Matt often says, ‘We don’t need to outsmart poverty; we need to hate it more.’ With Evicted, he has helped us do exactly that.”

Evicted previously won the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonficiton, the 2017 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, the 2017 PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction, and the 2016 Discover Great New Writers Award in Nonfiction, among other honors.

History

9780375423222Blood in the WaterThe Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy by Heather Ann Thompson.

Edited by Edward Kastenmeier.

Pulitzer citation: “For a narrative history that sets high standards for scholarly judgment and tenacity of inquiry in seeking the truth about the 1971 Attica prison riots.”

Mr. Kastenmeier commented, “Heather is a remarkable historian who has spent the last ten years of her life working diligently to make sure she could do justice to this story before it is too late.  She has shown remarkable courage and fortitude in researching a story the authorities didn’t want told.  We need that now more than ever. In the years she’s been working on this book the issues it raises have become more urgent than ever. For all these reasons I could not be happier for her upon this news.”

We thank and congratulate Hisham Matar, Colson Whitehead, Matthew Desmond, and Heather Ann Thompson, their respective editors Noah Eaker, Bill Thomas, Amanda Cook, and Edward Kastenmeier, and our colleagues at Random House, Doubleday, Crown Publishers, and Pantheon for continuing and building upon one of our proudest literary traditions.

To view the complete 2017 Pulitzer winners list, click here.

Learn more about the winners here:

Apr 4, 2017 News

Brightly, the Penguin Random House site that helps parents raise kids who love to read, is in the running for a Webby’s People’s Voice Award in the Family and Parenting category.  Cast your vote today and show your support for this online resource dedicated to growing lifelong readers.

Nominees in the 21st Annual Webby Awards were chosen from a record-setting 13,000 entries, and they represent the best online work in the world. Brightly is currently in first place and your vote can help keep the momentum going. Voting is open until Thursday, April 20, 2017. Once you’ve cast your vote, visit Brightly for book recommendations, tips, advice, and more.

Mar 27, 2017 Blog
Photo: © Molly Winters
Photo: © Molly Winters

Viking and Penguin Books are thrilled that Karan Mahajan’s The Association of Small Bombs has won the 2017 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Fiction.  Henry Louis Gates, the chairman of The Cleveland Foundation, announced the winners of its 82nd Annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards on March 23.  Since 1935, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards have promoted and honored books that have made important contributions to our understanding of racism and human diversity. 

Congratulations to Mr. Mahajan and everyone involved with the success of this exceptional book.

The Association of Small Bombs is an expansive and deeply humane novel that is at once groundbreaking in its empathy, dazzling in its acuity, and ambitious in scope. Mr. Mahajan writes brilliantly about the effects of terrorism on victims and perpetrators.

The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards will be presented to this year’s winners at the State Theatre in Cleveland, hosted by the Cleveland Foundation and emceed by Jury Chair Gates on September 7 as part of Cleveland Book Week.

For a complete list of award winners, click here.

Mar 15, 2017 Blog

We are excited to congratulate our authors Samanta Schweblin, Stefan Hertmans and David Grossman on being longlisted for The Man Booker International Prize 2017.  Start reading War and Turpentine, Fever Dream and A Horse Walks into a Bar today!

Mar 14, 2017 Blog

58846FROM RANDOM HOUSE CHILDREN’S BOOKS, PENGUIN YOUNG READERS, DUTTON, AND THE CROWN PUBLISHING GROUP

We are deeply saddened by the news of our author Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s death. We have had the honor of working with Amy for many years, and have great admiration for her both professionally and personally. Together, we will be privileged to bring the joy of her books to adult and children’s readers for generations to come.

Amy Rennert, Amy’s longtime literary agent and friend, shared this: “Everything Amy did was life and love affirming. She was such a bright light with a great sense of wonder. Amy loved her family. She loved words, ideas, connections. She taught us that life’s seemingly small moments are not really small at all. Amy’s final essay, written under the most difficult of circumstances, a love letter to her husband Jason, was the ultimate gift to him and also to the rest of us. She leaves behind a legacy of love and beauty and kindness.” Random House Children’s Books, Penguin Young Readers, Dutton, and The Crown Publishing Group (3/13/17)

 

Feb 28, 2017 Editor’s Desk

Riverhead Vice President & Editorial Director Rebecca Saletan, Mohsin’s longtime editor, shares her insights on Mohsin Hamid’s new novel: “I have had the enormous privilege of publishing Mohsin Hamid for the entire span of his extraordinary writing life, some twenty years now. He has the rare and precious gift, never more evident than in this new book, of being able not only to see into the future but to imagine, in the shape of real human lives, plausible and humane alternatives to the dark places where our worst impulses could lead us.”  

Mohsin Hamid, Photo by Jillian Edelstein

Mohsin Hamid. Photo by Jillian Edelstein

From the internationally bestselling author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Exit West goes on sale from Riverhead Books on March 7 and is an astonishingly timely love story that brilliantly imagines the forces that transform ordinary people into refugees — and the impossible choices that follow — as they’re driven from their homes to the uncertain embrace of new lands.  Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, this book tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.

Exit West has been lauded with tremendous advance praise.  Here is a sampling:

“Mohsin Hamid’s dynamic yet lapidary books have all explored the convulsive changes overtaking the world…His compelling new novel, Exit West, is no exception…Writing in spare, crystalline prose, Hamid conveys the experience of living in a city under siege with sharp, stabbing immediacy….Hamid does a harrowing job of conveying what it is like to leave behind family members, and what it means to leave home, which, however dangerous or oppressive it’s become, still represents everything that is familiar and known.” –Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“[A] thought experiment that pivots on the crucial figure of this century: the migrant… [A] wry, intelligent novel… brilliantly managed… Hamid’s cautious, even fastidious prose makes the sudden flashes of social breakdown all the more affecting,” the author continues. “Evading the lure of both the utopian and the dystopian, Exit West makes some rough early sketches of the world that must come if we (or is it ‘you’?) are to avoid walling out the rest of the human race in the 21st century.” –The Financial Times

“Writers should be wise, and Hamid is wiser than many… No novel is really about the cliche called ‘the human condition,’ but good novels expose and interpret the particular condition of the humans in their charge, and this is what Hamid has achieved here.” –The Washington Post

“Hamid’s prose powerfully evokes the violence and anxiety of lives lived ‘under the drone-crossed sky.’ But his whimsical framing of the situation offers a hopeful metaphor for the future as the ‘natives’ come to accept their new neighbors.” –TIME Magazine

Learn more about the book here:

Feb 13, 2017 Editor’s Desk

As Penguin Random House continues its ongoing commitment to social responsibility, today we’re featuring an interview with Penguin Press Vice President and Publisher Scott Moyers.  He worked closely with world renowned environmentalist and Patagonia co-founder Yvon Chouinard on his book, Let My People Go Surfing; a 10th anniversary fully updated trade paperback edition was published by Penguin last fall.

In this interview, Scott offers insights into Mr. Chouinard’s book, business philosophies, core values, and environmental activism as well as the “contagious success” of Patagonia, whose primary mission is “to use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”  The recent news on the Earth Setting a Temperature Record for the Third Straight Year reminds us all of the urgency of global warming and the importance of how we consider the environment.

Scott Moyers

What brought about your initial contact with Yvon Chouinard and how would you characterize the experience and process of working with him as his book editor and publisher while presenting all aspects of his life and business? 

Yvon Chouinard is powerfully inspiring because he has stubbornly refused to do anything with his business that does not advance its core mission: “to use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”  You can’t be in partnership with him without learning that, one way or another.  I was submitted the book by his agent, Susan Golomb, in 2004 or 2005, and I knew enough about Patagonia’s brand halo, as they say, and was sufficiently taken by the voice on the page, which even in proposal form had that thrilling ring of authenticity and irreverence, that I went for it, and was fortunate enough to prevail in a heated auction. But really diving off the deep end with him was something else entirely.  First, everything was slightly irreverent, and counterintuitive – what business leader calls his memoir “Let My People Go Surfing?”  Which is from the company policy that when the surf’s up, employees should feel free to hit it.  And he wanted to do an oddball trim size, with all sorts of funky sidebars and a lot of art.  And he and Patagonia nudged us over to using a different kind of paper, recycled, of course.  And on and on.

Yvon Chouinard

Yvon Chouinard

But what really hit me was the story of the business itself.  Just one story for now: there came a point when Patagonia commissioned a holistic environmental impact study of their entire business.  What came back surprised and dismayed them: the worst thing they were doing to the planet was using so much factory-farmed cotton.  As you can imagine, cotton shirts, etc., make up a big chunk of the business.  What did they do? They pulled all of their cotton products, reinvented their supply chain, sourced their cotton ethically and in such a way as to catalyze environmentally responsible cotton growing more generally… in short, they used their market power to be a force for good and not ill.  And ultimately, in the long run, they were more profitable by doing so!  In the short run, of course, they had to absorb a tremendous hit to the bottom line.  Needless to say, if they were a publicly held company, this might have been impossible, even unimaginable.  Though thanks in no small part to Patagonia’s example, there’s been a change in consciousness, and perhaps it’s less unimaginable than it was.  I hope this book has contributed to that; I think it has.

How does Let My People Go Surfing, divided into a History of Patagonia and eight Philosophies sections, best inform and inspire readers through key takeaways from this environmentally-responsible businessman/adventurer and his company? 

I think the bottom-line takeaway for your own life and work is that, in area after area – design, production, distribution, marketing, finance, HR, management, environmental stewardship – if you don’t blink, if you keep fear at bay and keep your focus on the most quality for the least harm, you will be a magnet for talented, big-hearted colleagues and customers, and your story will carry.  Every time this company took a short-term hit to innovate in the direction of greater responsibility for the state and fate of the earth, the more successful they have been in the long term.

How transferable are Mr. Chouinard’s approaches to business, life and the environment to other industries and individual readers? 

No one wants to leave their values at home when they come to work. Yvon Chouinard never did, and his company has been an enormous force for the good. We all are part of the problem that is the global sustainability crisis, including global warming, one way or another.  Activism and capitalism don’t have to be opposed, in fact they can’t be, if we’re going to keep this planet of ours and all the creatures on it.

What factors were involved in the decision to produce a new edition of Let My People Go Surfing on the 10th anniversary of its first publication and what are examples of some of the most significant new content? 

Back in 2006, “sustainable business” was just emerging as a concept in mainstream terms.  Part of the good news of the past decade is that sustainability has become cooked in to the mix of business education, at the MBA level and down, and Let My People Go Surfing is widely taught.  The past decade has been a period of great growth and thus change for Patagonia, and it has also really doubled down and then some on its environmental activism, so there was so much more to tell. Yvon added a good 20% of new material to the book, including an entirely new chapter on environmental activism, and Naomi Klein has added a passionate new foreword.  There are revisions throughout the book, my favorite being that it’s now in four-color and Yvon and Patagonia have added many wonderful new photographs.  One way or another, all of the additions only sharpen the point, which is that, as Naomi Klein puts it in her foreword, “This is the story of an attempt to do more than change a single corporation – it is an attempt to challenge the culture of consumption that is at the heart of the global ecological crisis.”  And to have fun doing it!  Contagious fun, contagious righteousness, contagious success – that’s Yvon Chouinard and Patagonia, and that’sLet My People Go Surfing, now cleaned up for the next 10 years, and then some.

Learn more about the book:

Feb 7, 2017 Writing Tips

We know readers tend to be writers too, so we feature writing tips from our authors. Who better to offer advice, insight, and inspiration than the authors you admire? They’ll answer several questions about their work, share their go-to techniques and more. Now, get writing!

Did you always want to write? How did you start your career as an author? 

Yes. As a child, when people used to ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say I wanted to be an authoress (that word certainly dates me, doesn’t it?). I used to fill notebooks with stories. When I grew up, of course, I discovered that I needed to eat so became a high school English teacher. Then I got married and had children. There was no time to write. I took a year’s leave of absence following the birth of my third child and worked my way through a suggested Grade XI reading list. It included Georgette Heyer’s Frederica. I was enchanted, perhaps more than I have been with any book before or since. I read everything she had written and then went into mourning because there was nothing else. I decided that I must write books of my own set in the same historical period. I wrote my first Regency (A Masked Deception) longhand at the kitchen table during the evenings and then typed it out and sent it off to a Canadian address I found inside the cover of a Signet Regency romance. It was a distribution centre! However, someone there read it, liked it, and sent in on to New York. Two weeks later I was offered a two-book contract.

What’s the best piece of advice you have received?

 Someone (I can’t even remember who) at a convention I attended once advised writers who sometimes sat down to work with a blank mind and no idea how or where to start to write anyway. It sounded absurd, but I have tried it. Nonsense may spill out, but somehow the thought processes get into gear and soon enough I know if what I have written really is nonsense. Sometimes it isn’t. But even if it is, by then I know exactly how I ought to have started, and I delete the nonsense and get going. I have never suffered from writers’ block, but almost every day I sit down with my laptop and a blank mind.

What clichés or bad habits would you tell aspiring writers to avoid? Do you still experience them yourself? 

You don’t have to know everything before you start. You don’t have to know the whole plot or every nuance of your characters in great depth. You don’t have to have done exhaustive research. All three things are necessary, but if you wait until you know everything there is to know, you will probably never get started. Get going and the knowledge will come—or at least the knowledge of what exact research you need to do.

Do you ever base characters off people you know? Why or why not?

Never consciously. I wouldn’t want anyone to recognize himself or herself in my books. However, I have spent a longish lifetime living with people and interacting with them and observing them. I like my characters to be authentic, so I suppose I must take all sorts of character traits from people around me. And sometime yes, I suddenly think “Oh, this is so-and-so.”

What are three or four books that influenced your writing, or had a profound affect on you?

All the books of Georgette Heyer would fit here. She was thorough in her research and was awesomely accurate in her portrayal of Georgian and Regency England. At the same time she made those periods her own. She had her own very distinctive voice and vision. When I began to write books set in the same period, I had to learn to do the same thing—to find my own voice and vision so that I was not merely trying to imitate her (something that never works anyway).

Learn more about the book below:

Jan 24, 2017 Behind the Scenes

Ottessa Moshfegh’s debut novel Eileen, published by Penguin Press, was one of the literary events of 2015.  Garlanded with critical acclaim, it won the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction, was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and was named a book of the year by The Washington Post and San Francisco Chronicle.  But as many critics noted, Ottessa Moshfegh is particularly held in awe for her short stories.

Homesick for Another World, on sale now from Penguin Press, is the rare case where an author’s short story collection is, if anything, more anticipated than her novel. And for good reason. There’s something eerily unsettling about Ottessa’s stories, something almost dangerous, while also being delightful, and even laugh-out-loud funny.  Her characters are all unsteady on their feet in one way or another; they all yearn for connection and betterment, though each in very different ways, but they are often homesick for another worldtripped up by their own baser impulses and existential insecurities. Homesick for Another World is a master class in the varieties of self-deception across the gamut of individuals representing the human condition.

In this interview, Ottessa takes us inside her world: 

How would you describe your writing regimen and routines?

Obsessive and neurotic and captivating. I wake up, I work, I dilly dally, work, take out the trash, work, pace around, eat, work, shower, work, read, work, go for a walk, call people, work, eat, work, sleep. Toward the end of writing a book, I often sleep with my computer under my pillow…

What differentiates your approach to conceiving a novel as compared with your short stories?

The motivation to write a short story often comes from an abstract, mysterious noise in my head, and I can take my time concentrating on that sound and experimenting with what words, voice, characters, and narrative movements are being described by the music in my mind. Writing a novel is that, plus a million pounds of pressure at my back, loaded with questions about how my life is being reflected in this writing process, and what I want to learn and say to the world. So, novels are more prolonged and intense journeys, although they can start out as playfully as a story.

ottessa quote1Where do inspirations for your characters and storylines come from?

 

They come from my life experiences, overheard conversations, dreams, the imagination, the ether…

It what ways has Penguin Press impacted your writing career?

Penguin Press has been a miracle in my life – this team has been so incredibly supportive, positive, and – I think – gutsy.  I tell everyone how blessed I feel to have a publisher that understands my work and sees its value today and the potential for the future.

Explore Moshfegh’s books below:

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