The first winner of the Folio prize, created in response to “shortcomings of the Man Booker prize”, was awarded today to the short story collection Tenth of December by George Saunders. Judges, including Lavinia Greenlaw, Michael Chabon, Sarah Hall, Nam Le and Pankaj Mishra, praised the stories as “darkly playful” saying: ” they take us to the edge of some of the most difficult questions of our time and force us to consider what lies behind and beyond them.” The other candidates on the shortlist were Red Doc by Anne Carson; Schroder by Amity Gaige; Benediction by Kent Haruf; The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner; A Girl is a Half-formed thing by Eimear McBride; and A Naked Singularity by Sergio de la Pava. Mr. Saunders recently won the Story Prize, yet another major literary award for this author. Read the entire article here.
George Saunders won $20,000 for his collection of stories Tenth of December. According to the judges of the Story Prize: “George Saunders offers a vision and version of our world that takes into account the serious menace all around us without denying the absurd pleasures that punctuate life.” Runners-up Andrea Barrett for Archangel and Rebecca Lee for Bobcat each won $5,000. You can read the title story from Tenth of December in this NPR post. And check the EPL catalog for other works by this author.
Imagine hearing Will Shakespeare read one of his sonnets to you. How about Dickens regaling listeners with a reading from Oliver Twist? Proust, reciting in French about those madeleines? That would require a time-traveler willing to schlep around a whole lot of not-yet-invented recording equipment. But for some authors of the more recent past, it is possible to listen to them speak their own words thanks to the an idea dreamed up by Lynne and Harry Schwartz in 1962.
As Susan Stamberg reports in this Morning Edition feature from today’s show, the Schwartz’s, both avid readers, were taken with the recordings of very established authors–Dylan Thomas and T. S. Eliot for instance–and realized that there were younger, less established authors who might want to cut recordings. And, so in 1962, the project was launched. Among the first writers they record were James Baldwin, Philip Roth, Bernard Malamud and John Updike. Lynne and Harry’s original recordings were released in 1963. Now, they’re being re-issued on CDs and audio files as Calliope Author Readings.
Listen to the whole story here.
Picture above: James Baldwin was the first in a series of authors Harry and Lynne Sharon Schwartz recorded.
French filmmaker Alain Resnais died on Saturday in Paris at the age of 91. Most well-known for his films Last Year at Marienbad and Hiroshima Mon Amour, Mr. Resnais was often associated with French New Wave directors Jean-Luc Godard and Francoise Truffaut. “Fascinated by the ability of film editing to take apart and reassemble fragments of time, Mr Resnais incorporated the effects of scrambled memories, deja vu and fantasy into his work.” Born in 1922 in Brittany, he began making short films at the age of 14. Although most of his films were serious in nature, he loved cartoons, comedy and Broadway musicals, and was inspired by the television show Curb Your Enthusiasm. Recently honored at the Berlin Film Festival for his last film “The Life of Riley”, Mr. Resnais was editing drafts for his next project from his hospital bed. Read more about this influential director in this NYT article. And check the EPL catalog for his works.
This list of “22 Books You Should Read Now, Based on Your Childhood Favorites” is causing quite the debate here at the Reader’s Services Desk. Some of the recommendations we vehemently disagree with: Swamplandia! for fans of A Wrinkle in Time??! Others are spot-on: Love The Giver? Try Never Let Me Go.
For the first time in history, 26 hats from Dr. Seuss’s personal collection, along with his original artwork, will be touring the country, stopping in six states. His sister Marnie said that he collected unique and historic hats using them as a foundation for his book The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, which marked its 75th anniversary last year. Making their way around the country “in a specially retrofitted old-fashioned steamer trunk,” the collection’s next stop is Northampton, Mass. See where else the collection will be touring in this NPR article.
“We’re in a juncture right now where bookstores as we have known them are at risk. Libraries as we’ve known them are at risk, publishers are at risk, American literature is at risk, as we’ve known it, and getting kids reading is at risk.
The government has stepped in to help banks, automobiles, anything where money is concerned, but nobody seems to care about books and our bookstores. …And I’m telling you, American literature is in jeopardy.”
- James Patterson
Well said, Mr. Patterson.
Last September, the best-selling author pledged to personally give $1 million to independent bookstores around the country. Yesterday, he announced the first round of 55 stores that would receive over $267,000. More funds will be distributed in stages throughout the year. The grants range from $2,000 – $15,000, with the recipients free to determine their best use. Learn more about Mr. Patterson’s initiative on NPR, The New York Times, and The San Francisco Chronicle.
You can sign up to receive information about his efforts on ”Saving Bookstores, Saving Lives” – and tell him about your favorite independent booksellers – at his official website.
J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame announced that she has penned another Cormoran Strike mystery titled The Silkworm. It is to hit the bookstands next June and will still show the author as Robert Galbraith. The first Strike novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling, was met with mixed, but generally good reviews, but when it was leaked who the real author was, sales skyrocketed. In the new book Strike’s able assistant, perky Robin Ellacott, is still around, and works with her boss to solve the brutal and bizarre murder of writer Owen Quine. Read the article in The Independent for more on Rowling’s latest.
A handwritten letter written in 1891 by Alice in Wonderland author Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) will be auctioned in England March 19 – and is expected to be sold for 4,000 pounds or more. In it he writes that he hated being famous and sometimes wished he “had never written any books at all.” In the letter written to his friend Mrs. Symonds he notes that there are plenty of people “who like being looked at as a notoriety. ..But we are not all made on the same pattern: & our likes & dislikes are very different.” You can read the entire article here. And check the EPL catalog for works by and about Lewis Carroll.
On February 24, a portrait of Booker prize-winning author Hilary Mantel by Nick Lord will be on display at the British Library – making it the first painting of a living author to be displayed there. Although she had complained in the past that women are depicted in portraits as the “passive recipients of an artist’s gaze or a camera’s gaze,” she said she is “thrilled” with the Mr. Lord’s work. The 25-year-old artist won the Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year competition and received 10,000 pounds to paint Ms. Mantel’s portrait. Read more in the NYT and Telegraph articles. And check the EPL catalog for books by the acclaimed author.