Tiffany Briere. Ashlee Crews. Kristin Dombek. Margaree Little. Kirstin Valez Quade. Jill Sisson Quinn. Remember these names, because the Rona Jaffe Foundation has a remarkable track record for picking future stars. The only national literary program of its kind devoted to supporting women writers exclusively, the awards were established by novelist Rona Jaffe (1931-2005) in 1995, and provide grants of $30,000 each to six outstanding emerging women writers. Past recipients include Lan Samantha Chang, Rivka Galchen, Tracy K. Smith, and ZZ Packer, a storied group that has gone on to win the Pultizer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Whiting Writer’s Award.
The Guardian reported that Robert Macfarlane, this year’s Man Booker chair of judges, said: “This is surely the most diverse longlist in Man Booker history: wonderfully various in terms of geography, form, length and subject. These 13 outstanding novels range from the traditional to the experimental, from the first century AD to the present day, from 100 pages to 1,000, and from Shanghai to Hendon.”
The reveal arrives one week after the Folio Prize named the panel of judges for their inaugural prize given in 2014, which includes Pulitzer Prize-winning author (and husband to sometimes controversial essayist Ayelet Waldman) Michael Chabon. The award, created by the Literature Prize Foundation, was perceived by some to be the highbrow answer to the Man Booker Prize when first announced in 2011.
Literary agent and prize founder Andrew Kidd said at the time that the two prizes would complement each other, but still added that he wouldn’t apologize if the committee is excited by books that might seem “daunting.” He wrote an impassioned defense of the newly-named prize (it was previously the Literature Prize) in a blog post for the Guardian in March.
Debates about highbrow or lowbrow aside, one major difference between the two prizes is the Folio’s inclusion of international authors whose English-language fiction is published in the United Kingdom. The Booker is open only to citizens of the Commonwealth. It stands to reason, then, that prize will be decided on by a global array of judges, who were announced on Tuesday. The group includes Australian (by-way-of Vietnam) writer Nam Le and Indian novelist Pankaj Mishra. It will be chaired by English poet and novelist Lavinia Greenlaw.
“Great literature respects no borders or boundaries, and it’s a thrill to be a part of the first literary prize designed to honor that crucial disrespect,” remarked Chabon.
English novelist Sarah Hall, whose The Electric Michelangelo was a finalist for the 2004 Man Booker Prize, is also among the judges. “Great fiction can be divisive as well as edifying,” said Hall. “As a reader and a judge you have to transcend personal taste and preferences, and consider the particular vision, ambition and execution of each work. I’m looking forward to those discussions enormously.”
A shortlist of eight titles will be announced in February 2014, and the winner, who will take home £40,000 (roughly $60,000) will be revealed at a ceremony in London in March.
The Man Booker shortlist will be announced in September, and the winning title will be named in October.
This year’s shortlist for the Aurealis Awards, Australia’s top awards for science fiction and fantasy, has a surprise in the science fiction novel category: a self-published book, And All the Stars by Andrea K Höst. I believe this is a first for major SF/F awards (unless you count the Andre Norton Award as part of the Nebulas, in which case precedent was set by Catherynne M. Valente’s The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making). It’s certainly a sharp retort to people who sneer at self-published books as being universally terrible. I expect to see more self-published books showing up on various award shortlists in the next few years as self-publishing authors get more sophisticated and increase their reach.
Although we didn’t get a confirmation, we don’t ever recall there being a tie for the winner of the Best Graphic Album-New award at the annual Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards, held Friday night at the Bayfront Hilton as part of the 2011 Comic-Con International. But that’s what happened.
Daniel Clowes’s Wilson (Drawn & Quarterly) and Jim McCann and Janet Lee’s Return of the Dapper Men (Archaia) ended up in a flat-footed tie for the big book prize that brings the awards event to a close.
That was certainly a highlight moment of the comics industry’s big gala awards show, “the Oscars” or “The National Book Awards” of the comics industry depending on your preference for gala media events. But there were other captivating moments throughout the evening (an evening that clocked in at about 3 hours this year). Among them: Paul Levitz, former president and publisher of DC Comics, winning his first Eisner award (Best Comics-Related Book) for 75 years of DC Comics: The Art of Modern Mythmaking (Taschen); two trips to the podium by Fantagraphics publisher Kim Thompson to accept Eisners (Best U.S. edition of International Material and Best Reality-based Work) on behalf of French cartoonist Jacques Tardi; Fabio Moon and twin brother Gabiel Ba citing the comic book reading of their mom when they accepted their Eisner (Best Limited Series) for Daytripper (Vertigo); the pure screaming delight of Raina Telgemeier when she won (Best Publication for Teens) for Smile (Scholastic/Graphix) and the backslapping and boozy grins of Shannon Wheeler (Best Humor Publication) and his publisher Chip Mosher when Wheeler won for I Thought You Would be Funnier (Boom!).
Joyce Brabner and daughter Danielle were on stage for the induction of her late husband, the great autobiographical comics writer Harvey Pekar, into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame. Brabner also used the occasion to remind the audience of her Kickstarter.com campaign to raise funds to build a statue of Pekar in Cleveland and she outlined–in classic Brabner fashion–how she insisted on a statue that would truly represent the spirit of Harvey.
And we have to confess a moment of pride and connection at the induction of the great underground cartoonist and historian of the Texas Republic, Jack Jackson. For a brief moment in 2003-2004 I was the graphic novel editor at Reed Press, a short-lived trade publishing imprint at Reed Elsevier, and had the honor and privilege of somehow convincing Jackson (who was both skeptical and encouraging to me) into letting us reprint his classic work of graphic nonfiction Comanche Moon, the cover of which was used to illustrate Jackson’s induction into the Eisner Hall of Fame. He was a great cartoonist and an equally great and engaging historian and bringing that book back into print for a short while was without a doubt the highlight of my short career as a comics publisher.
Last and certainly not least, we’d like to send a shoutout to our colleague at PW Comics World, Heidi MacDonald, who was nominated for an Eisner (Best Comics-Related Periodical-Journalism) for her pioneering comics news and culture blog, The Beat. She didn’t win (congratulations to Comic Book Resources on their Eisner award) but she’s still a winner! For a complete list of Eisner winners go to the Comic-Con International Website.
The winners of the 2011 Southern Independent Book Awards, celebrating the best of southern writing in six categories and chosen by booksellers and the general public, have been announced:
- Children’s Winner: Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine (Puffin Books)
- Cooking Winner: Southern My Way by Gena Knox (Gena Knox Media, LLC)
- Fiction Winner: Burning Bright by Ron Rash (Ecco Press)
- Nonfiction Winner: The Blueberry Years by Jim Minick (Thomas Dunne Books)
- Poetry Winner: A House of Branches by Janisse Ray (Wind Publications)
- Young Adult Winner: Countdown by Deborah Wiles (Scholastic)
Mockingbird has been drawing considerable buzz, especially since it won the National Book Award. The story follows the aftermath of a school shooting from the perspective of the sister of one of the victims.
Rash is shockingly underrated. The highlight of his winning collection, Burning Bright, is “The Ascent,” a touching and understated story about a boy who finds a wrecked plane in the woods. The story was anthologized in the most recent editions of the Best American Short Stories and New Stories of the South.
The Blueberry Years tells the story of how author Minick and his wife Sarah started their own organic blueberry farm, but then turns into a big picture examination of independent farming in America and its financial challenges.
A House of Branches is Ray’s first book-length poetry collection. In their review, the New Southerner called Ray the Mary Oliver of the Southeastern forests: “Ray’s poems, like Oliver’s, are grounded in native observations that lead to breathtaking insights.”
Rounding out the list of winners is Southern My Way by Gena Knox, which highlights Georgia’s traditional cuisine, and Countdown by Deborah Wiles, the YA hit that takes place during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Bookstore Opening in Altoona: Read Green Books is opening in Altoona, PA. From the Altoona Mirror.
Winning ‘Horse’: ‘War Horse,’ based on a 1982 novel, took multiple awards at the Tonys. From the NYT.
Rushdie to Write for TV: Salman Rushdie is working on a sci-fi drama for Showtime. From the Guardian.
Comics Reboot: DC Comics has announced it will restart 52 comics series from issue number 1.
Facebook’s Influence on Writing: The Chronicle of Higher Ed contemplates the negative effects of Facebook on student writing.
And Journalism…: ArsTechnica wonders something similar as the above about the Internet’s effect on Journalism.
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Orange Tea Obreht: The 25-year-old writer has won the prestigious Orange Prize, and says she doesn’t feel she’s earned it. From the Guardian.
10 Summer Reads: Malcolm Jones offers 10 new books to read this summer. From Newsweek/ Book Beast.
Kobo in Five Languages: The Digital Reader reports that Kobo has started selling e-books in Spanish, German, French, Italian and Dutch, in addition to English.
Patchett on the Writing Life: Ann Patchett tells the Guardian about her new novel, set in the Amazon.
Why E-books Are Bad for You: PC World explains–it has, among other things, to do with copyright.
No Nook for Nook: One Boston Herald columnist can’t let herself love her e-reader.
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Whats Up Doc. Edmond de Waal’s biography of his family history, The Hare with Amber Eyes, has been named winner of the £10,000 Ondaatje prize.
David and Goliath. An Independent Bookstore Goes Up Against Amazon.
Brave New Publishing World? Publishers fears mount as Larry Kirshbaum takes over Amazon publishing.
Literary Performance Mashup. A New York theatrical group combines three classic novels in idiosyncratic on-site readings.
Congrats to the winners of this year’s Pulitzers in letters. Before these folks were big winners, PW interviewed, profiled, or at least reviewed them all. Here are links to our past coverage and reviews:
Jennifer Egan (Fiction):
Our Review of A Visit From the Goon Squad
Ron Chernow (Biography):
Our Review of Washington: A Life
Eric Foner (History):
Our Review of The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery
Borders Bonus Bummer: A judge told Borders it must renegotiate its bonus plan. From The Detroit News.
Remember When: Gizmodo remembers 1999, when the NYT‘s Thomas Friedman said Amazon would never catch on.
The Onion on Author Events: A satirical article about an author giving it her all at a reading.
Staples to Sell Nook Color: Starting May 1. From Slash Gear.
Kindle DX On Sale: Down from $399 to $299.
Eating Dirt: Salon/ B&N Review looks closely at a book about eating dirt.