Bookish News of the Week

by |January 17, 2017


Fifty Shades of Grey to be turned into a musical.

The Sun in the UK recently broke the news that E.L. James, bestselling author of the Fifty Shades of Grey series, has had secret talks with theatre bosses to turn Fifty Shades of Grey into a musical for the West End and Broadway.

An insider said: “There has been massive hype around the books and producers know that the stage adaptation will sell out in minutes… Theatre bosses have been in talks with E.L and although these things can take years to plan they know it will be a big success”.

“It could be the sort of thing that hen parties will flock to with all the steamy scenes and tourists will love it too.”

The first book in the series, Fifty Shades of Grey, hit shelves in 2012 and has sold more than 300 million copies worldwide since then. It follows the life of literature student Anastasia Steele and her encounters with successful and deeply intimidating entrepreneur, Christian Grey. As they embark on a passionate love affair, Anastasia discovers more about her own desires, as well as the dark secrets Christian keeps hidden away from public view.

Books 2 and 3, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed respectively, were met with the same enthusiasm; a film adaptation soon followed.

The news of the musical comes just after the report that superstar musicians Taylor Swift, Zayn Malik and Sia will all be featuring in the soundtrack of the second film in the franchise – Fifty Shades Darker. Watch the trailer below.



John Le Carre’s The Spy Who Came In From The Cold to be adapted for film.

After the recent success of The Night Manager at the Golden Globes (Tom Hiddleston, Olivia Coleman, and Hugh Laurie all won for their roles), it has been reported that another of John Le Carre’s books, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, will be adapted for film.

Simon Beaufoy, the script writer for Slumdog Millionaire and The Full Monty, will be adapting the book for the big screen. It will be produced by The Ink Factory, who also worked on The Night Manager.

Beaufoy has said: “It’s incredibly exciting to be working on the best Cold War spy story ever written.”

Co-CEO of The Ink Factory, Simon Cornwell, added: “The Spy Who Came In From The Cold is an utterly gripping story, and one of the great books of the twentieth century. We are looking forward enormously to bringing it to a twenty-first century audience.”

The Spy Who Came In From The Cold was originally published in 1962 and previously made into a film starring Richard Burton.



Babette Cole, children’s author and illustrator of Princess Smartypants, dies at 66.

Babette Cole, the flamboyant and beloved children’s author and illustrator of Princess Smartypants, has died.

Cole created more than 150 picture books and her bestselling Doctor Dog has been adapted as a successful children’s cartoon TV series. Famous for her wacky sense of humour, most of her work is comedy like The Smelly Book, The Hairy Book, The Slimy Book and The Silly Book.

In 1986 she received the Kate Greenaway medal for Princess Smartypants, an honour she repeated with Prince Cinders in 1987. In 2015 she was commissioned to illustrate a 70th-anniversary edition of Enid Blyton’s classic The Famous Five: Five on a Treasure Island.

Booktopia’s own Ilse Scheepers speaks of her experience reading Cole’s books: “I loved Princess Smartypants. She was one of the first kick ass women I saw in books that was ‘girly’ as well as being tough and cool and fun, all without judgement or condescension from the author.”

Browse books by Babette Cole


Jacob Polley has taken out the prestigious 2016 TS Eliot Prize for Poetry.

Jacob Polley has become the 23rd winner of the TS Eliot Prize and will walk away with £20,000 prize money for his collection of poems, Jackself.

Jackself was chosen from a shortlist of 10, including the winner of the 2015 Forward prize, Vahni Capildeo, and previous TS Eliot prizewinner Alice Oswald.

Ruth Padel, chair of judges, said that Jackself was “a firework of a book; inventive, exciting and outstanding in its imaginative range and depth of feeling… It’s a sort of autobiography, set in a place called Lamanby, but it’s really like Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast, where everything is strange”.

“His mastery of phrase and rhythm and the control of line, combined with the hurts of childhood and his glee in inventive language, have taken his writing to a new level.”

In 2004, Polley was among 20 others to be named as the Next Generation of best British poets by the Poetry Book Society. He was first shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize in 2003 for his debut collection The Brink, and then again in 2012 for The Havocs.


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About the Contributor

Anastasia Hadjidemetri is the editor of The Booktopian and star of Booktopia's weekly YouTube show, Booked with Anastasia. A big reader and lover of books, Anastasia relishes the opportunity to bring you all the latest news from the world of books.

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