Hey book nerds! It’s Emily, returning to the Book Beat to bring you up to date you on some cool literary news.

A New Prize for Books that Don’t Make Women Victims

Author and screenwriter Bridget Lawless is tired of women in fiction being placed in danger. To combat the common theme, she has launched a new prize for the best thriller “in which no woman is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered.” This newly announced Staunch Book Prize fights back against the rise of violence against women in fiction by “invit[ing] thriller writers to keep us on the edge of our seats without resorting to the same old clichés.”

The competition opens next month and publishers, agents, and writers may submit traditionally published or self-published books for consideration until mid-July. The winner will be announced on November 25th, the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women, and will take home £2000.

This is definitely an award that I’ll gladly keep a close eye on. There’s only one winner for this prize, but readers will be rewarded with so many new options that don’t resort to violence against women to make a point. So, I think that makes us all winners here.

Upcoming Adaptations

When I usually report on adaptation news, I talk about books becoming movies. However, I’ve got something a little different this week.

First, filmmaker and former NFL player Matthew A. Cherry is working on a picture book called Hair Love. As announced in The New York Times, the book is based on his animated short film of the same name and tells the story of an African-American father Stephen and his natural-haired daughter Zuri.

Cherry launched a Kickstarter for the short film in July of last year, raising $284,058 with just below 5,000 backers. Vashti Harrison is illustrating the project, and if her character designs on the Kickstarter page are any indication, the book will be gorgeous.

Illustration of an African-American father doing his daughter's hair

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry, via Kickstarter

Next, Tor Teen has acquired The Bright Sessions Trilogy by Lauren Shippen. For those unfamiliar, The Bright Sessions is Shippen’s science fiction podcast about the titular psychologist Dr. Bright and her supernatural patients. It is one of the most popular fiction podcasts on iTunes, and a favorite among the Bookmarked editorial staff. Shippen will write three books for Tor focussed on popular characters from the podcast, which is currently in its fourth season.

Meanwhile, the podcast is also being developed into a television series by Dark Horse Entertainment and UCP, and will presumably adapt the series proper. Shippen’s creative future is certainly looking bright.

Canada Reads Shortlist Announced

Canada Reads panelists with books

Finally, I thought I’d wrap up with an update from Canada Reads: the 2018 shortlist has just been announced!

This year, the theme is “One Book to Open Your Eyes,” and the contenders include The Boat People by Sharon Bala, American War by Omar El Akkad, Precious Cargo by Craig Davidson, Forgiveness by Mark Sakamoto, and The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline. These titles will go head-to-head over four days of debates at the end of March. So you’ve got some time to cross them off your TBR lists, if you want to get the most out of the discussions – and read some pretty great books next month.

Happy Thursday!