International Industry Notes: A Teen Takeover of Libraries, a Timely Release from Open Road

In News by Porter Anderson

As teens in the UK prepare to ‘take over’ their community libraries, Open Road media begins releasing Gerald Durrell’s books in the States, as ‘The Durrells’ comes to PBS.
Image by Marcus Haydock, provided by A Place Free of Judgment

Image by Marcus Haydock, provided by A Place Free of Judgment

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘Personal Stories and Strange Ideas’
With a goal of “reimagining libraries as cultural centers and exploring the power of storytelling,” A Place Free of Judgment is an event scheduled for October 29 in England.

a-place-free-of-judgment-logoThe project has broad support from the cultural funding establishment, including Arts Council England, Staffordshire County Council, Worcestershire County Council, Arts Connect, and others.

Staged at libraries in Telford, Stafford and Worcester, and Web-cast during the afternoon and evening, the event is billed as “a teenage takeover of libraries,” and follows on workshops held in the West Midlands with the arts collective Blast Theory and author Tony White.

As Publishing Perspectives and other media have covered, public libraries in the UK have come under severe funding strains and a news release from the Free Judgment program asserts, “This project shows how they are evolving: taking risks to inspire visitors to think differently about the world around them.”

The process of the actual event on the 29th has to do with storytelling and live-writing. The public is invited to watch the live stream and, if locally based, to come to the libraries in person for the event.

“Unfolding over three consecutive events at libraries,” according to a prepared statement, “the teenagers will talk to you about personal stories and strange ideas and what they mean to both of you.  Together you will make up stories and hide them in amongst the books.  And, as the stories build, a new story by acclaimed author Tony White comes to life with a reading every hour.”

Author White is quoted saying, “It has been an incredible privilege to work with really inspiring and creative young people in Cannock, Telford, Worcester, and beyond, and I’ve learned a huge amount from all involved. When so many libraries are closing and under threat, I’m glad to have seen again first-hand the vital role that libraries and librarians play for young people today, and to have been reminded of just how important my local library was to me when I was their age. With A Place Free of Judgement, I feel that we are giving something back, and I hope people enjoy it.”

A promotional image for 'The Durells,' a UK-US production based on Gerald Durrell's Corfu Trilogy

A promotional image for ‘The Durells,’ a UK-US production based on Gerald Durrell’s Corfu Trilogy

Open Road Meets ‘Masterpiece Theatre’

Open Road Integrated MediaOpen Road Media new logo August 2016 featured in New York has announced a release of ebook editions of Gerald Durrell’s Corfu Trilogy for October 11. And on the 16th, PBS’ Masterpiece Theatre will air the US premiere of The Durrells, Season 1, an ITV/Masterpiece/Sid Gentle Films production.

Rights for Open Road’s release of the ebooks—as part of its program of deep backlist digital publishing—were acquired by Charlotte Grieg, the company’s London-based advisor. The acquisition comprises 14 Durrell memoirs and one novel, from Norah Perkins at Curtis Brown in London.

In a prepared statement, Open Road says, “Gerald Durrell, OBE, is a beloved British author, zookeeper, naturalist, and conservationist, who founded the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Durrell Wildlife Park on the Channel Island of Jersey. Many of his books, such as A Zoo in My Luggage, center on his life as an animal collector and conservationist.

“Open Road will release twelve more of Durrell’s backlist titles throughout the end of 2016 and early 2017. He is the younger brother of bestselling author Lawrence Durrell, whose backlist is also published by Open Road.”

And Tina Pohlman, Open Road executive vice president and publisher, is quoted saying, “We are thrilled to make the delightful Corfu Trilogy—as well as many other backlist titles by Gerald Durrell—available to an ebook audience for the first time in the States. And we look forward to a resurgence of interest in his work with the premiere of the Masterpiece Theatre program.”

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.