Sphere launches podcast and video for debut autism novel

Sphere launches podcast and video for debut autism novel

Sphere has launched a podcast and video as part of its "digital strategy" for debut novel A Boy Made of Blocks by journalist Keith Stuart.

The novel, about a father bonding with his autistic son over Minecraft, published on 1st September, has sold to 24 territories and is currently Amazon's "debut of the month" for September.

The new regular ongoing podcast, called "Day of the Dad", was spearheaded by the book's publisher, Sphere fiction editorial director Ed Wood, and its author Stuart, also games editor at the Guardian. It will look at modern parenting issues in an "entertaining and irreverent way", according to Sphere, and feature guests talking about different themes in each episode.

"It is intended to stand as a podcast in its own right, but will also draw on issues raised by Stuart’s novel," said Wood, who also has an autistic son. The first part, about male role models, and starring the Guardian journalist and author Stuart Heritage, will go live later this month.

Sphere has also been involved in the creation of a video for the book in collaboration with The Bookshop Band, Beth Porter and Ben Please, who write songs inspired by books, and play them in bookshops, and a Minecraft artist. Porter and Please penned a track inspired by A Boy Made of Blocks called "Open the Door" and Minecraft artist Adam Clarke - aka Wizard Keen - went on to use it as the backing track for a video he created in Minecraft, also inspired by the book. Clarke has 40k Twitter followers, and has currently been viewed more than 10,000 times.

A Boy Made of Blocks first built momentum via peer quotes, from author Graeme Simsion, Jenny Colgan, and "Unmumsy Mum" blogger Sarah Turner. National press coverage includes reviews from Heat, the Mail on Sunday, Metro, Guardian, Sunday Express, Sunday Mirror, Good Housekeeping, Red, Woman and Home, Prima, Sunday Express S magazine, Fabulous magazine, Sun on Sunday and the Huffington Post.

Stuart is set to tour festivals including Cheltenham and the 5 x 15 speaker series in Bristol and Guildford.