In the UK, literary agent Toby Eady died on December 24. David Higham Associates, which acquired Eady’s agency in 2015, noted in a statement, “With great sadness we have to announce the death of our colleague, Toby Eady. Toby was a maverick, a passionate champion of his authors and advocate of their work.” He started Toby Eady Associates in 1968, and Bernard Cornwall was his first client.
Self-published hit Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls has become the focus of complaints for featuring Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi as one its 100 great women. As British Labor MP and shadow justice minister Yasmin Qureshi tells the Guardian “I often wonder how it can be possible to go from being one of the most admired and respected civil rights champions, a symbol of courage, patience and principle, to someone who shows such lack of compassion. I have no doubt that history will remember her as the leader who watched on while mass killing, systematic rape and ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands who were forced to live in squalid refugee camps. I’d encourage the authors to consider that there is an entire generation of young Rohingya children who are stateless and hopeless, suffering a miserable existence. Aung San Suu Kyi’s refusal to condemn makes her complicit.”
Authors Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo told the Guardian in a statement, “We’re monitoring the situation closely and we don’t exclude the idea of removing her from future reprints.” They published the book through their Timbuktu Labs, raising over $1.1 million through Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms. They sell the hardcover directly, and through Barnes & Noble.
As an apt pairing, the NYT ran a page one look at the use of sensitivity readers in children’s publishing. David Levithan at Scholastic notes, “There is a newfound fervor in children’s publishing to be authentic and get the story righ. When any author is writing outside their own experience, we want to make sure they’ve done their homework.” But the newspaper worries that “the role that readers play in shaping children’s books has become a flash point in a fractious debate about diversity, cultural appropriation and representation, with some arguing that the reliance on sensitivity readers amounts to censorship.”