Round-Up: Samuel French, LeVar Burton, and Philip Pullman

Person outside a bookstore.

From an iconic bookstore’s closure to Philip Pullman’s big announcement, here’s the latest literary news:

  • After 187 years in business, London’s Samuel French bookshop is due to close permanently in April. Douglas Schatz, the shop’s managing director, cited increases in rent, “about 200-300% over the last five years,” as the primary reason for the closure. The self-described “House of Plays & Musicals” will donate the remainder of its theater book inventory to drama schools and libraries.
  • On February 16th, LeVar Burton celebrated his sixtieth birthday. Known for roles such as Kunta Kinte in ABC’s Roots miniseries, Burton is especially beloved by bibliophiles for his twenty-one-season tenure as the host of Reading Rainbow, a PBS series that encouraged a love of reading in young people. Currently, Burton resides in California and continues to work as an actor and director.
  • Author Philip Pullman has announced a new “companion” trilogy to his massively successful His Dark Materials series. His Dark Materials is a coming-of-age story that follows a prodigal girl named Lyra on a quest through multiple parallel worlds. The series has sold over 17 million copies worldwide. The new trilogy’s first installment, The Book of Dust, is due on October 19.