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Oprah’s Next Book Club Pick: BEHOLD THE DREAMERS by Imbolo Mbue

OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network and O, The Oprah Magazine announced today the newest Oprah’s Book Club selection, Imbolo Mbue’s BEHOLD THE DREAMERS  (Random House). In this novel, Ms. Mbue explores colliding classes, cultures and dreams.  It’s a story of two fathers, a working-class immigrant

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from Cameroon, hired as a chauffeur in the fall of 2007, right before one of the biggest financial crisis in history, and his lavishly wealthy employer, a top Lehman Brothers executive, and how their families become inextricably linked.   Watch Oprah making the announcement on CBS This Morning: “Fifteen years ago, I walked into a public library and borrowed my first Oprah’s Book Club selection–Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon –  and was so inspired by it that I began writing without thinking much of where my writing would lead me, never quite imagining that it would someday lead to this humbling privilege,” said Ms. Mbue. The cross-platform book club selection kicks off with Oprah’s interview with Imbolo Mbue in the August issue of O, The Oprah Magazine (on newsstands July 11). Oprah.com will feature video clips from Oprah’s interview with Imbolo. Imbolo Mbue is a native of the seaside town of Limbe, Cameroon. She holds a BS from Rutgers University and an MA from Columbia University. A resident of the United States for more than a decade, she lives in New York City.  BEHOLD THE DREAMERS, her critically acclaimed debut novel, won the 2017 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and was named by The New York Times and The Washington Post as one of their Notable Books of 2016.

Fear Strikes Back in SHADOW MAN

shadow man book buzzThis week’s Igloo Book Buzz, the psychological suspense novel SHADOW MAN by Alan Drew, was published by Random House on Tuesday, May 23, amidst much buzz and enthusiasm from the media, fellow authors and inside Penguin Random House. Kate Medina, Executive Vice President, Executive Editorial

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Director, Associate Publisher, Random House, said, “It has been a dream come true to work with Alan Drew on SHADOW MAN.  Alan knows how to tell a spellbinding story about characters who seem real, in a novel that also shows how the evil secrets in a suburban town can be hiding in plain sight, until one man has the guts to say, ‘Enough.’  SHADOW MAN is riveting to read, even as it reminds us of important truths about being human.” [caption id="attachment_6304" align="alignright" width="300"]Kate Medina and Alan Drew Kate Medina and Alan Drew[/caption] Alan Drew reveals, “SHADOW MAN was in part inspired by the summer of 1985 when Richard Ramirez, The Night Stalker, terrorized the suburbs of Southern California. He preyed on neighborhoods where people felt safe, where they left windows open and doors unlocked at night. It was the first time I remember being truly terrified of another person. I was 15 at the time, and I’d always wanted to write about that moment when your sense of safety is shattered, as mine was that summer in my master-planned community of Irvine, CA.” Mr. Drew adds, “It feels a bit miraculous that this book is finally out in the world. It’s a privilege to publish a book, to have readers out there in the world, and I’m so thankful that these characters have a life beyond my little attic office.” Fellow Penguin Random House authors have been effusive with their praise:  
  • “SHADOW MAN revises the old detective story and turns it in several fascinating directions. Alan Drew writes with precision, subtlety, and a streak of suspense that does not often color the literary novel.”  —Colum McCann
 
  • “A home run—wonderfully imagined and wonderfully written, patient but propulsive, serious but suspenseful, grown up but gripping, SHADOW MAN is everything a great thriller should be.” —Lee Child
 
  • “Always thrilling and often terrifying, SHADOW MAN is a descendent of Chandler’s The Big Sleep. Underlying the grisly dangers of Drew’s novel is the forceful honesty of all good California noir, the necessary and clear-eyed exploration of the innate human truths that should and do scare us.” —Claire Vaye Watkins
 

Random House Relaunches YouTube Channel to Harness the Power of Video

random house youtube channelVideo content continues to rise to the top of how consumers are choosing to access information and entertainment.  In a further step towards harnessing the power of online video, the Random House Publishing Group has relaunched its YouTube Channel with a compelling and inspiring trailer titled “Who is Random House? Highlights from Our Authors.” Watch the trailer here.   

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“We work to promote the power of the written word, but we must utilize every medium our readers are consuming to help them discover our books,” said Theresa Zoro, Executive Vice President, Director of Publicity, Random House. “Our strategy moving forward is to meet them where they are, and create a YouTube Channel that is searchable and informative.” Random House Social Media Publicist Danielle Siess is spearheading this project, in collaboration with the corporate video team led by John Clinton. Their collective goal is to continue to explore innovative and creative ways to reach readers. Interesting facts: YouTube remains the second largest search engine on the Web, right behind Google. And Google has adjusted its search settings so videos are shown first, ahead of text and photo online content.

Random House Debut Novelist Imbolo Mbue Wins 2017 PEN/Faulkner Fiction Award

PEN FaulknerThe winner of the 2017 PEN/Faulkner Fiction Award, recognized as America’s largest peer-juried prize for fiction, is Random House author Imbolo Mbue, for her debut novel BEHOLD THE DREAMERS. The $15,000 prize was announced on Tuesday by PEN/Faulkner Foundation Chair Susan Richards Shreve. 

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BEHOLD THE DREAMERS relates the struggle of immigrants longing to become American citizens, the stark divide between rich and poor, and the global financial crisis following the collapse of Lehman Brothers. The New York Times offered this praise: “As a dissection of the American Dream, Imbolo Mbue’s first novel is savage and compassionate in all the right places.” Imbolo MbueThe PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction is a national prize which honors the best published works of fiction by American citizens in a calendar year. Three writers are chosen annually by the directors of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation to serve as judges for the prize, with Penguin Random House authors Chris Abani and Sigrid Nunez, along with author Chantel Acevedo, selected for the honor. They considered 500 novels and story collections by American authors published during 2016, picking the winner from among five finalists, listed here. The 37th Annual PEN/Faulkner Award Ceremony will take place at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, May 6. The event will feature the judges’ citations for each finalist’s book, the presentation of the 2017 PEN/Faulkner Award, and a reading by each author. Our congratulations to Ms. Mbue, her editor Noah Eaker and publisher Susan Kamil, and everyone at the Random House Group.

Our 10 2017 RITA Awards Finalists

rwa logoThe Romance Writers of America (RWA) has announced the finalists for its 2017 RITA  Awards, with 10 books published by Penguin Random House imprints among the nominees in the following categories:

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  romance awardsBest First Book SUMMER OF SUPERNOVAS by Darcy Woods (Crown Books for Young Readers) Contemporary Romance: Mid-Length CAROLINA DREAMING by Virginia Kantra (Berkley) OFF THE HOOK by Laura Drewry (Loveswept) romance awards2WANDERLUST by Roni Loren (InterMix) Erotic Romance THE MASTER by Tara Sue Me (Berkley) OFF THE CLOCK by Roni Loren (Berkley) Paranormal Romance THE BEAST by J R Ward (Berkley) romance awards3Romantic Suspense ATONE by Beth Yarnall (Loveswept) MR. AND MR. SMITH by HelenKay Dimon (Loveswept) Young Adult Romance SUMMER OF SUPERNOVAS by Darcy Woods (Crown Books for Young Readers) Warm congratulations to our nominated authors, their editors and publishers. The RITA — considered the highest award of distinction in romance fiction — recognizes excellence in published romance novels and novellas.  The award itself is a golden statuette named after RWA’s first president, Rita Clay Estrada, and has become the symbol for excellence in published romance fiction. Up to 2,000 romance novels are entered in the RITA competition. A novel may be entered either by the author or by the book’s publisher in one of the contest categories.  After the first round of judging by published romance authors, entries that meet the qualifications to become a finalist then advance to the final round. View the complete list of finalists here. This year’s RITA  Awards winners will be announced July 27 at the 2017 RWA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida.
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Andy Ward on George Saunders’ LINCOLN IN THE BARDO

George Saunders book buzzAndy Ward, Vice President, Editor in Chief, Random House, offers insights into the editing of this week’s Igloo Book Buzz selection, George Saunders’ LINCOLN IN THE BARDO:  “I’d be lying if I said I had any idea what a novel by George Saunders would look like. This is a guy who was fiercely devoted to the short story

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form – who once actually said, ‘A novel is a story that hasn’t figured out how to be short yet.’ But then, one day in September 2015, the draft appeared in my inbox, with a simple message: ‘Here it is.’ I opened the file. It was … historical fiction. It was … a story told by ghosts … in a swirling chorus of voices, oral-history style … unfolding in a graveyard over the course of a single night in 1862 … starring Abraham Lincoln and his recently departed, 11-year-old son, Willie… a novel that blended fiction and nonfiction. But given that it’s George, I can’t say I was surprised. Thrilled is probably the better word. Thrilled by the formal innovation, the total commitment to the idea, and the central story of a father trying to come to terms with the loss of his beloved son.” [caption id="attachment_5187" align="alignright" width="262"]George Saunders George Saunders[/caption] In a New York Times Book Review cover review of LINCOLN IN THE BARDO, Penguin Random House author Colson Whitehead wrote, in part, “It’s a very pleasing thing to watch a writer you have enjoyed for years reach an even higher level of achievement. To observe him or her consolidate strengths, share with us new reserves of talent and provide the inspiration that can only come from a true artist charting hidden creative territory. George Saunders pulled that trick off with Tenth of December…. How gratifying and unexpected that he has repeated the feat with Lincoln in the Bardo, his first novel and a luminous feat of generosity and humanism…. Here is a crucible for a heroic American identity: fearful but unflagging; hopeful even in tragedy; staggering, however tentatively, toward a better world. The father must say goodbye to his son, the son must say goodbye to the father. Abraham Lincoln must stop being the father to a lost boy and assume his role as a father to a nation, one on the brink of cataclysm.” More praise has been heaped on Mr. Saunders and LINCOLN IN THE BARDO. Here is a small sampling: “Opening a George Saunders book feels like falling into a lucid dream: a world so fantastically vivid and strange that it wouldn’t be entirely surprising to wake up and find some new, untraceable stamp on your passport. A master of the short form for more than two decades, Saunders has finally produced his first full length novel — though that word hardly begins to convey the literary wonder contained within its pages, an extraordinary alchemy of free-verse ghost story, tender father-son devotional, and backdoor presidential biography….wild high-wire pastiche. He’s always been a dazzlingly clever voice in fiction, but Bardo is something else: a heartfelt marvel, sad and funny and surreal.” — Entertainment Weekly “A stunning depiction of the sixteenth President’s psyche … witty and garrulous … Saunders does a fine job—and has a fine time—quickening his little necropolis to literary life…These are the voices of fiction, not history, but they are also the voices of history still having to be made, with whatever hopelessness, in whatever time.”—New Yorker “A brilliant, Buddhist reimagining of an American story of great loss and great love… Saunders has risen an unsentimental novel of Shakespearean proportions, gorgeously stuffed with tragic characters, bawdy humor, terrifying visions, throat-catching tenderness, and a galloping narrative, all twined around the luminous cord connecting a father and son and backlit by a nation engulfed in fire.”—Elle In case you missed it, check out this recent feature: Nearly 60 Colleagues Featured on George Saunders’ LINCOLN IN THE BARDO Random House Audio Title

Nearly 60 Colleagues Featured on George Saunders’ LINCOLN IN THE BARDO Random House Audio Title

george saunders2An unprecedented cast of 166 different voices narrate the Random House Audio edition of LINCOLN IN THE BARDO, the first novel by George Saunders, bestselling author of TENTH OF DECEMBER and a National Book Award nominee. Nearly 60 Penguin Random House colleagues (scroll down to see the list of names) are featured as part of the audiobook cast, led

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by such award-winning actors as Nick Offerman, Carrie Brownstein, Lena Dunham, Ben Stiller, Julianne Moore, Susan Sarandon, Bill Hader and Rainn Wilson. A number of musicians, fellow authors, Saunders’ family and friends also participated. Kelly Gildea directed and produced this audiobook. Random House publishes the hardcover and eBook editions. lincolnUnfolding in a graveyard over the course of a single night and narrated by a dazzling chorus of voices both living and dead, LINCOLN IN THE BARDO is an exploration of struggle, death, love and the powers of good and evil. On February 22, 1862, a grief-stricken Abraham Lincoln visits the crypt where his eleven-year-old son was just laid to rest so that he might hold his boy’s body once more. LINCOLN IN THE BARDO is a story told in a thrilling new form that features a theatrical panorama of voices, which reflect how varied the America of that time was by using high diction and low diction, along with beautifully articulate 19th century letters and obscene rants. The audiobook simulates that diversity of voice intended within the book. “I love the idea that by casting actors and non-actors,” Saunders says, “we were able to simulate that ‘I hear America singing’ notion.” Watch  this video: George Saunders on the LINCOLN IN  THE BARDO Audiobook Here is the complete list of participating Penguin Random House colleagues, preceded by the characters (in order of appearance) they gave voice to: DAVID VON DREHLE – Benjamin Dreyer MRS. KATE O’BRIEN – Barbara Fillon ANN BRIGHNEY – Mika Kasuga BERNADETTE EVON – Dhara Parikh DOLORES P. LEVENTROP – Molly Turpin I.B. BRIGG III – Greg Kubie ALBERT TRUNDLE – Lane Jantzen MAXWELL FLAGG – Richard Romaniello TYRON PHILIAN – Jeff Kenyon A SPRINGFIELD NEIGHBOR – Amanda D’Acierno SIMON WEBER – Michael Goldsmith SIMON IVERNESS – Joe Scalora BENJAMIN BROWN FRENCH – Andy Hughes MR. MAXWELL BOISE – Andy Ward JASON TUMM – Dan Musselman SOLDIER (from Bell/Trust) – Noah Eaker C.R. DEPAGE – Louise Quayle JAYNE COSTER – Hilary Redmon JAMES R. GILMORE – Ben Greenberg MARTIN P.S. RINDLAUB – Aaron Blank ROBERT WILSON – Robert Guzman F.B. CARPENTER – Peter Mendesund JOHN S. BARNES – Simon Katz JOHN WIDMER – Michael Gentile THE UTICA “HERALD” – Richard Wylde ORLANDO B. FICKLIN – Phil Stamper-Halpin JAMES MINER – Mike Murray A JOURNALIST (from Piatt) – Sean Baker HORACE WHITE – Cesar Guadamuz SENATOR JAMES HARLAN – Eric Lovaas NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE – David McLaughlin CORDELIA A.P. HARVEY – Susan Kamil CHARLES A. DANA – Patrick Billard ABRAHAM M. GORDON – Oliver Mundy EDWARD J. KEMPF – Tom Russell REV. GEORGE C. NOYES – Simon Tepas CLARK E. CARR – Bill Rood COLONEL THEODORE LYMAN – Bob Quinto W.A. CROFFUT – Henry Williams ALLEN THORNDIKE RICE – Thomas Perry DAVID LOCKE – Dan Zitt LARRY TAGG – David Weller GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN – Hugo Bressin EDWARD EVERETT – Pat Stango CONGRESSMAN CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS – David Haase TOBIAN CLEARLY – David Phethean JAMES SPICER – Greg Wilson B. MILLBANK – Robin Schiff THEODORE BLASGEN – Michael Rotondo MAUREEN H. HEDGES – Jennifer Rubins ELIZABETH TODD GRIMSLEY – Alaina Waagner LEONARD SWETT – Sam Nicholson “LINCOLN LORE” – Leigh Marchant THOMAS J. CRAUGHWELL – Jeff Weber EMILY WEDGE – Caitlin McKenna MATHILDE WILLIAMS – Avideh Bashirrad MRS. ANTOINETTE BOXER – Kelly Gildea

Susan Kamil and Sophie Kinsella Talk About Creating MY NOT SO PERFECT LIFE

My not so perfect life2This week’s Igloo Book Buzz selection is Sophie Kinsella’s MY NOT SO PERFECT LIFE, on sale now from The Dial Press. Part love story, part workplace drama, this sharply observed novel is a witty critique of the false judgments we make in a social-media-obsessed world. At no time in the history of humankind do we know more about “other people’s lives,” thanks to social media.

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Ms. Kinsella opens a window into the writing of her book: “In MY NOT SO PERFECT LIFE, my struggling heroine so desperately wants her life in London to be perfect – as she believes her older female boss’s life is – that she creates the online myth that it is. I always write what I see around me and I’ve seen so many people compare their own lives to other people’s ‘lives’ on Instagram. It’s kind of addictive. It was great to write about such a current topic and wonderful to focus on the relationship between two strong females.” Susan Kamil, Executive Vice President, Publisher, Random House and The Dial Press: “I have had the joy of working with Sophie Kinsella for over 15 years and have marveled at how she maintains her perfect pitch for both story and character. Each book is sharply observed, and filled with wit and humor and her heroines are as recognizable as members of my own family. In MY NOT SO PERFECT LIFE, readers will find Kinsella’s most relatable heroine yet.” [caption id="attachment_4940" align="alignright" width="177"]Sophie Kinsella Sophie Kinsella[/caption] Fellow Penguin Random House author Jojo Moyes commented, “Sophie Kinsella keeps her finger on the cultural pulse, while leaving me giddy with laughter. I loved it.” The “Girls Night Out with Sophie Kinsella” event is happening Tuesday (2/7) from 7:00 to 9:00 pm at one of Barnes & Noble’s new Concept Stores at Vernon Hills Shopping Center in Eastchester, NY. This is a Ticketed Event, with a special gift bag (including a signed book). Wine & Appetizers will be served. Sophie’s launch event will be Facebook Lived on the B&N Eastchester page as well as shared on the Random House and Sophie Kinsella platforms Random House partnered with Barnes & Noble to create an innovative book tour experience. The goal is to give fans more of a personal connection with the author than the traditional event. Sophie is the first author to launch this series. For more details, click here.

Inside the Editing of Lindsey Lee Johnson’s THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACE ON EARTH

most dangerous place on earthThis week’s Igloo Book Buzz title, Lindsey Lee Johnson’s captivating debut novel, THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACE ON EARTH, was edited by Random House Executive Editor Noah Eaker, who commented, “What was so striking the first time I read Lindsey’s novel was how she had brought such a layered and adult point of view into the world of adolescence. Her

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characters were complex, often flawed, but always sympathetic – I felt like I internalized each of their dilemmas, which is the feeling I crave as a reader from any great book.” [caption id="attachment_4817" align="alignright" width="200"]Lindsey Lee Johnson. Photo by Matt Sayles Lindsey Lee Johnson. Photo by Matt Sayles[/caption] Lindsey Lee Johnson: “From the start, my experience working with Noah Eaker and Susan Kamil was magical. The novel has a layered plot with multiple points of view; during the editing process, we worked to knot these POVs and plot lines more tightly together in order to create a reading experience that is propulsive and engrossing. I’m so grateful to have had the guidance of these brilliant editors.” A Spring 2017 Barnes & Noble Discover Pick and a January ABA “Indie Next” Pick, THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACE ON EARTH has elicited high praise: “In sharp and assured prose, roving between characters, Lindsey Lee Johnson plumbs the terrifying depths of a half-dozen ultra-privileged California high school kids. I read it in two chilling gulps. It’s a phenomenal first book, a compassionate Less Than Zero for the digital age.” —Anthony Doerr, #1 New York Times bestselling author of All the Light We Cannot See “In her stunning debut, Johnson…explores the fallout among a group of teens—an alpha girl turned stoner, a striving B student, an Ivy League wannabe—who prove, in the end, less entitled than simply empty and searching. An eye-opener.” —People “Book of the Week” “The characters in Lindsey Lee Johnson’s novel affected me in a way I can’t remember feeling since I binge-watched all five seasons of Friday Night Lights…you’ll walk away feeling like you could revisit hallway drama armed with bulletproof perspective.” —Glamour

Lauren Graham’s Dispatches About Gilmore Girls, Life, Love and Hollywood

lauren graham book buzz“I’ve always loved being transported to another world” Lauren Graham has said of her passion for reading. Growing up in Washington, DC, she and her dad would scour local bookstores for new discoveries. Writing a novel seemed like a logical next step in the career of the beloved actress, who holds a BA in English from Barnard College. Her first book, SOMEDAY, SOMEDAY, MAYBE became a bestseller and a critical success, with The Wall Street Journal calling it “A charmer

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of a first novel . . . [Graham] has an easy, unforced style and, when the situation calls for it, a keen sense of the ridiculous.” “Lauren’s 2013 novel, SOMEDAY, SOMEDAY, MAYBE, established her as a talented writer with a terrific voice,” says her editor Sara Weiss. “When she approached us about writing a book of personal essays that would tie into the release of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, we knew it was a winning idea. Not only are Gilmore fans die-hard, but Lauren is the real deal – and the book more than delivers: The essays are honest, hilarious, quirky, and charming and reading it is like having a cup of coffee with your best friend. “ [caption id="attachment_4583" align="alignright" width="231"]LaurenGrahamAndrewEccles copy Lauren Graham[/caption] In TALKING AS FAST AS I CAN, Graham reveals stories about love, life, and working as a woman in Hollywood—along with the behind-the-scenes dispatches from the set of the new Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life. “Returning to the show justified putting together these thoughts and essays,” with the Gilmore endeavors serving as “bookends,” Graham told USA Today. “I thought, ‘I feel so grateful to get to do this again that I’m going to write about what it was like.’” Ms. Graham appeared on Ellen, The Today Show, Rachael Ray, The Chew, National Public Radio and was featured in The New York Times, USA Today, People magazine,Entertainment Weekly, among many other national outlets. Her events at the 92nd St. Y in New York and Sixth & I in Washington, DC both instantly sold out, along with a fantastic event at Barnes & Noble Union Square.