A shout-out to YA fiction

On Tuesday 18th April Blackwells bookshop hosted the Oxford Writers’ Circle’s event on Young Adult fiction. The panel consisted of three prominent YA authors; Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of The Girl of Ink & Stars and The Island at the End of Everything; Melinda Salisbury, author of The Sin Eater's Daughter series; and Samantha Shannon, author of The Bone Season series.

The audience was treated to an insight into the origins and inspirations of each writer’s work. Kiran spoke about a particular assignment during her MA course in Creative Writing which had begun with a young girl running away from something; the idea stayed with Kiran and in time developed into something bigger, ultimately forming the basis for The Girl of Ink & Stars. Although she didn’t initially plan to write something for a YA audience, Kiran said she went on to base the main character of her book on her 12-year old cousin.

Melinda, however, said she always planned on her writing fitting within the YA category. As her favourite category of books to read, she felt it was the only possibility, having seen young adult as the primary area of fiction which explores new avenues and pushes boundaries. She went on to say that her ideal readership to write for would be 10-12 year olds and those aged 75+, jokingly calling for a new category of ‘super-senior fiction’ to be launched!

A discussion of age in YA novels was then explored, especially after Samantha Shannon spoke about her protagonist, at the age of 19, who does not really fit the rules and age limits of YA fiction. Instead, Samantha said, the Bone Season teeters on the edge between YA and adult fiction, perhaps best-placed in a recently-formed category known as ‘new-adult’. However, it was mentioned during the event that the biggest readership of YA fiction tends to be in the over 25s – a number which suggests that it is not necessary for the protagonist to be of a similar age to the reader. Melinda made an interesting point that YA fiction as a category was not necessarily available when over 25s were teenagers, and sees this as the reason those readers are such big fans of the category today. This prompted discussion of the belief that the first book written by a young adult author is the book that they needed in their life as a teenager, an interesting point for us to ponder!

When discussing readership, each author agreed that teenagers, as the intended audience of their books, do not get much of a voice in the debate about YA content. According to Melinda, teenage girls are one of the biggest devourers of fiction, but as a group they are often undervalued as readers. Additionally, Kiran shared that as a teenager, one of her favourite books was One Hundred Years of Solitude because she was craving a lushness in writing that wasn’t available to her age group. But with the growth of the YA fiction category, writing styles and topics are becoming more varied and diverse now, yet as Samantha stated, teens need to be heard in the debate about what makes good YA fiction in order to appeal to the current trends and needs. With most marketing nowadays taking place on social media, many young readers are not yet participating on these platforms and so their views are not being vocalized as strongly as adult opinions. All three writers seemed to share the view that it is difficult to get immediate, honest feedback from their intended readership and the people whose views matter most to them.

When speaking of major themes running through the YA category, Samantha said she felt teenage readers were probably attracted to the dystopian feel of her writing because it offered tangible threats that they could relate to, especially in light of the somewhat bleak outlook we face today in political and societal aspects.
Kiran commented on the theme of hope and how publishers would ask for an optimistic ending and request the toning down of anything overly dark or nasty, or even sexually-charged. However, today some YA writers are pushing these types of boundaries, and Samantha cites Sarah J. Maas as one such author.

Melinda went on to point out that fan fiction is changing the rules in YA fiction, allowing authors to find out what teenagers want to read and realizing that they in fact want the boundaries to be crossed. It’s becoming more apparent that teens want to see the harsh realities they can relate to reflected back at them in the books they read, and Melinda believes that is something that needs to be honoured. As Samantha pointed out, darker themes are much more popular in all types of fiction at the moment, as an echoing of the times we live in, and she believes implementing these themes into YA writing can be cathartic. As Neil Gaiman wrote, “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” In this way, the darker themes of YA fiction can provide hope in demonstrating the overcoming of barriers and threats experienced during the transition from childhood to adulthood. As Kiran stated, being a teenager has always been difficult, and it is important that the books teenagers are reading at this age are true to life. As Melinda argued, it can be treacherous to imply everything has a happy ending, and while YA fiction moves away from this, hope can be shared in ‘moments and snatches’ rather than a happily ever after.

When asked about the difference between YA and adult fiction, all three authors agreed it is much more plot-driven, which is necessary as teenagers lead rather plot-driven, action-packed lives, punctuated by the significant physical, emotional and academic milestones they experience. As Melinda states, teens live life at a faster pace, while adults can afford to lead more meandering lifestyles; the stakes are higher and more immediate for teens as there are so many big impactful decisions to be made in a very short space of time, so reflecting this in the pace and content of the fiction they read is vital. Interestingly, Kiran reflects on the moment her readership was determined and the ‘brutal’ editing that had to take place in order to make the novel much more concise.

Discussion moved on to the question of whether it is damaging for a book to be labelled ‘Young Adult’. The authors argued that, while it can lead the book to be treated less seriously, it is in fact a category which is bringing in a lot of revenue. Kiran suggested that YA as a category could actually be propping up the rest of the industry without reaping the merits.  Ultimately, while publishers remain passionate about the YA category and marketing does endeavor to get authors the publicity they deserve, it is perhaps the market itself which enables the category to be treated in a dismissive manner. How YA fiction is discussed can be an enabler of treating it frivolously; while authors of adult literary fiction might be interviewed about their characters’ motivations and developments throughout the story, Samantha mentions a question she repeatedly gets asked is why she chose to write a strong female character. Similarly, Melinda quotes the irritating adage of “when are you going to write a real book”, something she claims to have heard many times and a statement that obviously diminishes the worth of young adult fiction.

The three authors had three pieces of advice for aspiring YA authors; Write the book you need to write and don’t worry about whether it is going to fit neatly into a genre or category; Experiment and don’t be afraid to break boundaries; Finish your first draft, and don’t compare it to someone’s published book; the final product is a result of the author and publisher collaborating in order to make it work. Your first draft will not be perfect, so just get it written!


*All three authors have new books recently published last month: The Scarecrow Queen, the final installment of Melinda Salisbury’s The Sin Eater trilogy, was published by Scholastic Press. Samantha Shannon’s third book in the Bone Season series, A Song Rising, was published by Bloomsbury. The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave and published by Chicken House was released early on account of her winning the 2017 Waterstones Children's Book Prize.


Michelle Fisher @miche1988

1001 Stories: Stories and Mythology

We're excited about this event at the Story Museum and to help you share our enthusiasm we're offering a free ticket to a lucky re-tweeter.

The Story Museum have lined up an expect panel to explore the roots of mythology and stories, and its echoes through the ages. The panel includes Dr Justine McConnell, Lecturer in Comparative Literature, King’s College London and performance storyteller Anna Conomos.

When: 7-8pm on Thursday 4th May

Where: The Story Museum, Rochester House, 42 Pembroke Street, Oxford, OX1 1BP

1001 Stories: Stories and Mythology

London Book Fair 2017

This year’s London Book Fair was another over the top event, with publishers from all around the world exhibiting and the tradition of focusing on a foreign market continuing with Poland. The Society of Young Publishers hosted three events this year at the fair and a post-LBF social. The afternoon started off with a networking event where students and professionals from British universities and publishers met with representatives from the Junge Verlagsmenschen (JVM), our sister-society from Germany. This was a great opportunity to connect with colleagues and learn a little about what publishing in Germany is like.

Our second event ‘How to Get into Publishing’ was aimed at delegates who are looking to get their first job in publishing, with a panel of experienced publishing professionals including Eleanor Helsby, HR Adviser at Hachette, Helen Youngs, Senior Consultant at Inspired Selection, Judith Watts, Senior Lecturer, Kingston University, and Ellie Pike, Resourcing Manager, Penguin Random House. A lot of great tips were given which can be read on Twitter using the hashtag #syppub.

A follow-on from that was the ‘How to Get Ahead in Publishing’, with panellists Nick Barreto, Co-founder of Canelo, Kathryn Taussig, Senior Commissioning Editor at Quercus, and Bryony Woods from Diamond Kahn & Woods Literary Agency Ltd. Some of the best tips to come from that session included promoting yourself through networking, doing the legwork as a junior employee, and taking advantage of any professional development opportunity available. More tips can be read on the hashtag #syphead.

There are plenty of round-ups of all the panel sessions held the fair, so make sure you read the follow-up literature to get an idea of what 2017 was all about. And hopefully see you at Frankfurt!

Red Nose Day Mania: Comic Covers

To celebrate the wonder that is Red Nose Day, we wanted to test whether you can tell these bookshelf pics past their noses.

Let us know how you get on!

  1. angelas ashes
  2. Da Vinci Code
  3. horton hears a who
  4. great gatsby
  5. animal farm
  6. five
  7. hp
  8. gold
  9. hunger games
  10. clockwork orange
  11. moby
  12. midnight
  13. misery
  14. witches


Stop cheating! Get back to the top!


1.Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt; 2. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown; 3. Horton Hears A Who! by Dr Seuss; 4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald; 5. Animal Farm by George Orwell; 6. Five Forget Mother’s Day by ‘Enid Blyton’; 7. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling; 8. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt; 9. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins; 10. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess; 11. Moby-Dick; or, The Whale by Herman Melville; 12. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt; 13. Misery by Stephen King; 14. The Witches by Roald Dahl


Just for fun: What’s your literary tipple?

‘I’m an occasional drinker, the kind of guy who goes out for a beer and wakes up in Singapore with a full beard.’

         - Raymond Chandler

irish pubs


We hope you have a fantastic St Patrick’s Day.

After a few cheeky Guinness, we feel in the mood to test your drunken prowess.

Can you read between the boozy lines to guess the novel?  

1.Good people drink good beer.’


2. ‘I don’t think I’ve ever drunk champagne before breakfast before.

With breakfast on several occasions, but never before before.’


3. ‘Ho! Ho! Ho! To the bottle I go/ To heal my heart and drown my woe/

Rain may fall, and wind may blow/ And many miles be still to go/

But under a tall tree will I lie And let the clouds go sailing by.’



Albert: Oh, yes, sir. But alcohol sort of compensates for not getting them.’


5. 'We were not hugging people. In terms of emotional comfort it was our belief that

no amount of physical contact could match the healing powers of a well-made cocktail.'


6. ‘Next to music, beer was best.’


7. ‘As far as I’m concerned the only thing to do is sit in a room and get drunk.’


8. ‘Beer’s intellectual. What a shame so many idiots drink it.’


9. ‘I tell you, Mr Okada, a cold beer at the end of the day is the best thing life has to offer.

Some choosy people say that a too cold beer doesn’t taste good, but I couldn’t disagree more.

The first beer should be so cold you can’t even taste it. The second one should be a little

less chilled, but I want that first one to be like ice. I want it to be so cold my temples throb with pain.

This is my own personal preference of course.’


10. ‘It’s a great advantage not to drink among hard drinking people.’


11. ‘I began to think vodka was my drink at last. It didn’t taste like anything,

but it went straight down into my stomach like a sword swallowers’ sword and made me

feel powerful and godlike.’


12. ‘She was the third beer. Not the first one, which the throat receives with almost tearful gratitude;

nor the second, that confirms and extends the pleasure of the first. But the third, the one you drink

because it's there, because it can't hurt, and because what difference does it make?’


13. ‘If you ever know a man who tries to drown his sorrows, kindly inform him his sorrows know how to swim.’


14. ‘It says that the best drink in existence is the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, the effect of which is

like having your brains smashed out with a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick.’


15. ‘Sublime is something you choke on after a shot of tequila.’


16. ‘So much the worse for those who fear wine, for it is because they have some bad thoughts

which they are afraid the liquor will extract from their hearts.’


17. ‘I would not put a thief in my mouth to steal my brains.’



1.Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson; 2. Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote; 3. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkein; 4. The Hogfather by Terry Pratchett; 5. Naked by David Sedaris; 6. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers; 7. On the Road by Jack Kerouac; 8. The October Country by Ray Bradbury; 9. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami; 10. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald; 11. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath; 12. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison; 13. The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore; 14.The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams; 15. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski; 16. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas; 17. Othello by William Shakespeare

And next year’s Oscar goes to…

Now that the mayhem of the Oscars is over for another year (Envelopegate notwithstanding), it’s time to take a breath, get over the drama, and start looking ahead to the next crop of cinematic masterpieces!

Hollywood in particular isn’t often accused of excessive originality and this year’s nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay were a diverse bunch, including two films based on plays, two inspired by works of non-fiction, and one developed from a short story. With Moonlight’s victory, a burgeoning trend seems to have been bucked, as all of the winners over the preceding five years were based on works of non-fiction or memoirs, with the exception of 2011’s The Descendants. So, does this bode well for fictional forays into the big screen at next year’s Academy Awards?

Happily, there’s no shortage of source material, and while the first couple of months of the year have already seen a fair few such adaptations, these seem to be just the tip of the iceberg. With that in mind we’ve put together a rundown of literary adaptations that look set to hit screens over the coming months so you can stock up your bookshelves and pick next year’s winner!


If you’ve missed the big-screen incarnation of Dennis Lehane’s gangster epic Live By Night or the Fifty Shades sequel isn’t quite up your street, then don’t panic, as March will see the release of Logan, the most recent installment of the X-Men franchise and the last to feature Hugh Jackman. Inspired in part by the Wolverine: Old Man Logan graphic novels, it sees an older, disillusioned Wolverine drawn out of hiding to aid a fugitive young mutant with whom he shares a troubling connection. Far from the only graphic novel/comic/movie mash-up on the horizon, this year will also see the hotly anticipated Wonder Woman movie and the live-action film version of seminal manga Ghost in the Shell (already generating controversy over its casting).

Julian Barnes’ enigmatic Man Booker Prize-winning novel, The Sense of an Ending, might seem a difficult prospect for a film: an elliptical study of memory and fallibility, it manages to be profoundly shocking while still retaining much of its mystery. Audiences intrigued to find out how this masterful work translates from page to screen will be able to see for themselves when it’s released on 14 April: Jim Broadbent leads the cast as Tony, a man confronted with a legacy which forces him to question his own past and the repercussions of his actions.


Dave Eggers’ The Circle stirred up controversy on publication with its sinister perspective on the insidious incursions of Internet corporations into our lives. Emma Watson stars as a young worker hired by a powerful tech company who starts to have doubts about its leader’s (Tom Hanks) ostensibly philanthropic motives, while John Boyega gives a notable turn as a mysterious possible ally in one of his first major roles since his Star Wars breakout. Unsettling parallels with Brave New World and 1984 suggest a possible new classic of dystopian sci-fi.


Reaching screens in June is The Shack, in which Sam Worthington plays a man grieving the loss of his daughter who receives a mysterious invitation from God to revisit the scene of her abduction and likely murder. An evocative meditation on loss and faith based on the self-published phenomenon by Canadian author William P. Young it’s likely to draw comparison with Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones and also offers a chance to see Octavia Spencer, one of this year’s nominees for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, shine in a leading role.


Sofia Coppola adds a bold new twist to her filmography with The Beguiled, due for release on 23 June. Based on the 1966 Southern Gothic novel A Painted Devil by Thomas P. Cullinan, previously adapted in 1971 and starring Clint Eastwood, it tells the story of a wounded Union soldier’s catalytic effect on a group of sheltered Virginia schoolgirls and their caretakers during the American Civil War. While the Western genre is a point of departure, Coppola’s preoccupation with female sexuality and desire also takes a dark new direction in concert with frequent collaborators Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning.


Summer will also see the release of My Cousin Rachel, the second film adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s mystery-romance novel and the latest in a long line of adaptations of her work. The plot revolves around Philip, a young man intent on proving the involvement of his enigmatic and beautiful cousin in the death of his guardian while falling ever more deeply under the spell of her charms. Rachel Weisz stars with Sam Claflin in this mesmerizing study in dangerous infatuation.


Fans of Stephen King and Idris Elba are in for a treat this summer with each enjoying not one but two literary adaptations for the big screen. In October Elba will star opposite Kate Winslet in an adaptation of Charles Martin’s The Mountain Between Us, after taking up the mantle of The Gunslinger in The Dark Tower, scheduled for release on 28 July and based on King’s series of novels of the same name and self-described magnum opus. Upping the ante on fear, 8 September will see the release of a film version of the author’s horror classic, It, previously adapted in 1990 as a television mini-series and now back to terrify a whole new generation as the Losers Club regroup to take on the nightmare that hunted them down as children.


If it’s more graphic novels you’re after then make sure you don’t miss the big screen debut in August of Valérian and Laureline, heroes of the eponymous French comics written by Pierre Christin and illustrated by Jean-Claude Mézières. In Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Luc Besson returns to the same brand of science fiction action-adventure as his 1997 hit, The Fifth Element, with Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne’s space-and-time-travelling agents tasked with the investigation of a intergalactic empire.


DeHaan’s profile will rise further with the long-awaited film of Deborah Moggach’s 1999 bestseller, Tulip Fever, expected this year after delays in editing. Set during the height of the Dutch tulip mania of the 1630s, it recounts the illicit romance between a young artist and the married woman whose portrait he has been commissioned to paint. Those expecting another Girl with a Pearl Earring should brace themselves for an extra helping of sex, deception, and betrayal, though the line-up is similarly starry with Tom Stoppard on screenwriting duties and Academy Award winners Alicia Vikander, Christoph Waltz, and Dame Judi Dench among the cast.


Along with period drama, the YA film genre is in for a strong year, especially with the release of Before I Fall, based on Lauren Oliver’s 2010 novel. Samantha, an American high-schooler, seems to be living a charmed life until what should have been just another day turns out to be her last: miraculously able to relive it over the course of a week, she begins to untangle the mystery of her death and to discover the real value of everything she is in danger of losing. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and a UK release date is hopefully on the cards for later this year.

One disconcerting YA trope is about to get much more familiar to movie audiences with not one but two treatments of severe combined immunodeficiency expected to air this year: while Asa Butterfield encounters a related predicament in The Space Between Us, Everything, Everything more straightforwardly takes up the storyline of a medically confined teen falling in love from afar. Nicola Yoon’s 2015 novel has seen an impressively quick transition to film and with voice-of-a-generation Amandla Stenberg on board it looks set to be a both a box-office hit and an emotional touchstone of The Fault in Our Stars magnitude.

2 - fassbender

If there’s a Scandi-noir-shaped hole in your life, look no further than the upcoming adaptation of Norwegian crime author extraordinaire Jo Nesbø’s The Snowman, directed by Tomas Alfredson. Starring Michael Fassbender and slated for release in October, The Snowman is the seventh of Nesbø’s series of books following Inspector Harry Hole but the first to be adapted for the silver screen. The disappearance of a woman whose scarf is found wrapped around a snowman by her son and the discovery of a pattern of missing wives and mothers stretching back years promises chilling viewing heading into winter.

2 - julia

If something slightly more affirming is what you’re after, then R. J. Palacio’s multi-award winning children’s book, Wonder, is getting the big-screen treatment on 17 November and follows August ‘Auggie’ Pullman, a 10 year old boy with a facial deformity experiencing school and all the challenges it brings for the first time. Though helmed by YA leading light Stephen Chbosky, who most recently directed the film adaptation of his own novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, it’s not just for the kids – expect valuable insights on prejudice, fitting in, and embracing yourself and others no matter what your age.

1 - ken

Though some way off with a release date of 24 November, Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express is already firmly on the radar: the cast is about as eclectic as they come, with Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Willem Dafoe supplying Hollywood clout alongside cream of British talent Dame Judi Dench, Olivia Colman, and Daisy Ridley. For anybody concerned about Depp’s (or Dafoe’s) Belgian accent, Branagh himself will be taking on the mantle of Christie’s treasured detective, Hercule Poirot, in this dark tale of murder and deception.

If that’s not enough to keep you busy, head over to IMDb for the latest news as it’s released and don’t forget to stop by the SYP Book Club to see what we’re reading! Happy page-turning/popcorn-munching, and here’s to #OscarsSoLiterary next year!

Hey fussy! All dates and film information taken from IMDb and correct at the time of writing.

Just for Fun: Emoji-lit

Emoji quizz - literature


Can you guess the classic novel by the emojis?

  1. Doc1144_Page_01
  2. Doc1144_Page_07
  3. Doc1144_Page_04
  4. Doc1144_Page_09
  5. Doc1144_Page_08
  6. Doc1144_Page_03
  7. Doc1144_Page_02
  8. Doc1144_Page_14
  9. Doc1144_Page_13
  10. Doc1144_Page_15
  11. Doc1144_Page_16
  12. Doc1144_Page_12
  13. Doc1144_Page_05
  14. Doc1144_Page_10
  15. Doc1144_Page_11

Easy right? How many have you actually read?

1.The Catcher and the Rye; 2.Middlemarch; 3.To Kill a Mockingbird; 4.Of Mice and Men; 5.Midnight’s Children; 6.Little Women; 7.Lords of the Flies; 8.The Time Traveller's Wife; 9.The Silent History; 10.Life of Pi; 11.The Old Man and the Sea; 12.A Tale of Two Cities; 13.Dracula; 14.Heart of Darkness; 15.The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Selling Online Academic Content: New Business Models

Most scholarly publishers have been feeling the adverse effects of difficult market conditions over the past few years. Libraries have on the whole been investing more in online products that provide access to more content than traditional books-on-shelves would. Academic publishers are rethinking the ways in which they package their content. Digital products such as University Press Scholarship Online (Oxford University Press), University Publishing Online (Cambridge University Press), SAGE Knowledge and Wiley Online Library (John Wiley and Sons) mean a thousands of books are at the fingertips of researchers, students and academics at institutions around the world. However, the collections that these products are split into are still prohibitively expensive for many smaller institutional libraries, leaving a chunk of the potential market untapped. So, what are academic publishers doing to make these products accessible for all?

The answer lies in the models which publishers are adopting to make these products appealing for smaller libraries. Over the last few years, several models have been adopted to allow libraries to continue expanding their e-book collections, answering their patrons’ content needs but remaining within budget. Two of the more common models are evidence-based acquisition (EBA) and demand-driven acquisition (DDA) (or patron-drive acquisition, PDA), which allow libraries to purchase access to e-books that their patrons will actually use. Under these models, the patrons’ use of resources (which is monitored by the library and the publisher) ultimately decides which titles are purchased for perpetual access. The difference is that under the DDA/PDA model patrons make recommendations and collection data is reviewed, whereas EBA allows for a full title-by-title analysis of usage at the end of an access period.

How these models work is that a library purchases access to a collection of e-books up-front for an extended period of time (normally six to twelve months). Throughout the access period, usage is monitored, to ensure the library’s patrons are getting as much out of the collection as possible. The library will at last decide, based on usage statistics, which titles they wish to include perpetually in their e-book collection.

Early trials of these models proved to be unconvincing in arguments for libraries to change their purchasing habits, as libraries spent too much too quickly and the models were rather more complex than purchasing print. However, as more information and evidence is available, purchasing content is this manner is becoming more desirable. Experiments are still being conducted with how to attain ultimate cost effectiveness for libraries (e.g. this pilot at the University of Central Florida Libraries), aiming to understand how patrons use scholarly content and how publishers can best deliver it.

Digital platforms for scholarly publishing will continue to gain in importance, and publishers need to recognise this by adapting sales models to answer this demand. With EBA and DDA/PDA, there is a slow change in this. Time will tell whether these models become the norm in accessing academic monographs from leading publishers.

More information about these models can be found in the white paper Demand Driven Acquisition of Monographs prepared by the National Information Standards Organization (NISO).

Tamarindo Communications Intern and Graduate Evening

Considering a career in communications? Enthusiastic about energy? Please join Tamarindo Communications on 22nd February 2017 at the Turl Street Kitchen. (Rumour has it there may be free beer.)

Tamarindo Communications are on the search for new talent as part of their Internship and Graduate programmes.

They are a strategic, commercially focused PR and communications advisory based in central Oxford. They provide consultancy and advice to established global businesses and fast-growing young firms within the renewable energy, maritime, and financial services sectors.

It's free to join, but please register at the link below:



Welcome to Scion

March will see the publication of the third instalment in Samantha Shannon’s Bone Season series. The books are a must-read for fans of the urban fantasy or supernatural dystopian genres.

Shannon published the first book of the series in 2013 at just 21 years old, acquiring a six-figure deal for a potential seven-book series that aspiring authors would be envious of. Since then the film rights have been picked up by Imaginarium Studios, owned by Andy Serkis and Jonathan Cavendish.

Samantha Shannon’s work is influenced somewhat by Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale as well as George Orwell’s books, and centres on Paige Mahoney, a ‘dreamwalker’ living in a high-security society called Scion, located in London in the year 2059. The first book sees her kidnapped and taken to Oxford, now turned secret prison camp for people like her who go against the system. Here she meets the Rephaim, a community of otherworldly beings and one in particular, Warden, who is placed as her keeper and soon appears to have a secret motive when it comes to Paige’s abilities. The subsequent books in the series see Paige embrace her abilities and challenge the Scion government, further exploring her relationship with the Rephaim and allowing readers to experience the world Shannon has created in more depth.

Shannon has been likened to J. K. Rowling which isn’t surprising when you look at the rich, multi-layered fantasy world she has created. Her characters feature in an alternative land as unique and three-dimensional as those created by the likes of Philip Pullman and C. S. Lewis. With its seven orders of clairvoyants, alternative slang, and an entire alternate history of wars, uprisings and factions, the Bone Season series displays an extensive amount of world-building and research that has gone into this project.

Interestingly, the idea for the novel came to the author while she was interning at David Godwin Associates literary agency, the very same agency that went on to represent her completed first novel. After promoting the novel at the London Book fair the agency sold the rights to Bloomsbury, and Shannon has made her home there ever since.

Samantha Shannon, having studied at Oxford University, has visited the city on occasion to talk about her books and carry out book signings, so here’s hoping next year will see her return after the publication of The Song Rising—watch this space!

Michelle Fisher @miche1988

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