Dylan Thomas Prize 2016 longlist revealed | The Bookseller

The International Dylan Thomas Prize 2016 longlist has been revealed, including Granta senior editor Max Porter’s debut and two books that were shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize

The £30,000 prize, designed to ensure a “Welsh link with the great global phenomenon of contemporary English writing”, is now in its 10th year. The prize is open to poetry, drama, novels and short story submissions, and across all genres. Specifically for those aged 39 and under, it is hoped the prize will help “savour the vitality and sparkle of a new generation of young writers”.

Source: Dylan Thomas Prize 2016 longlist revealed | The Bookseller

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Lauren Groff Among 2015 NBCC Finalists

The National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) nominated five finalists in six categories–autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry–for the outstanding books of 2015.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, who already won the National Book Award and the MacArthur “genius” fellowship with Between the World and Me, is up for the NBCC Award for criticism. Also among the finalists are Fates and Furies author Lauren Groff (fiction), H is for Hawk author Helen Macdonald, SPQR: A History of Rome author Mary Beard (nonfiction), and Elizabeth Alexander, author of The Light of the World (autobiography).

Source: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Lauren Groff Among 2015 NBCC Finalists

You can read the complete list of NBCC Award finalists for the publishing year 2015 here.

Which NBA Fiction Finalist is Right for You?


Marlon James, Jamaican Novelist, Wins Man Booker Prize – The New York Times

The Jamaican novelist Marlon James won the Man Booker Prize on Tuesday for his novel “A Brief History of Seven Killings,” a raw, violent epic that uses the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in 1976 to explore Jamaican politics, gang wars and drug trafficking. Mr. James is the first Jamaican-born author to win the Man Booker, Britain’s most prestigious literary award.

Source: Marlon James, Jamaican Novelist, Wins Man Booker Prize – The New York Times

Stephen King wins Edgar award for killer thriller Mr Mercedes | Books | The Guardian

“He represents a plausible evil; it’s impossible not to hear echoes in his story of other troubled young American men who have opened fire in crowded schools or cinemas, as King peels back the layers to understand how a killer like Brady is formed,” said the Observer review of the novel, quoting King’s lines: “The truth is darkness, and the only thing that matters is making a statement before one enters it. Cutting the skin of the world and leaving a scar. That’s all history is, after all: scar tissue.”

Source: Stephen King wins Edgar award for killer thriller Mr Mercedes | Books | The Guardian

I wrote about Mr. Mercedes here.

Marlon James wins Anisfield-Wolf fiction prize – The Washington Post

Marlon James’s explosive novel about Jamaica, “A Brief History of Seven Killings,” has won this year’s Anisfield-Wolf fiction prize.

Billed as “the only national juried prize for literature that confronts racism and examines diversity,” the Anisfield-Wolf book awards in fiction, nonfiction and poetry are sponsored by the Cleveland Foundation.

via Marlon James wins Anisfield-Wolf fiction prize – The Washington Post.

Book News

Q&A: Northwest is the new frontier for science fiction fanatics

Puget Sound seems to be a center of fandom for what’s often called speculative fiction. For one thing, Tacoma was the home of Frank Herbert, author of the 1965 science fiction classic “Dune.”

In 2015, the calendar is filled with fan functions devoted to science fiction and fantasy from Emerald City Comicon, in Seattle from Friday through Sunday, to Tacoma’s Jet City Comic Show in October

In the Tacoma newspaper The News Tribune, Craig Sailor interviews Brett Rogers, assistant professor of classics at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma. Rogers “pursues a wide range of subjects that include Homer and classical drama, superhero narratives and ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’”

Rogers and colleague Ben Stevens recently published The Once and Future Antiquity: Classical Traditions in Science Fiction and Fantasy, a book of essays about the links between the ancient classics and present day science fiction and fantasy.

This Friday and Saturday the University of Puget Sound will host a conference that focuses on “all things related to speculative fiction.”

Asked how he defines science fiction, Rogers replied that it’s not just about robots and space travel:

We’re more interested in how science fiction is not product oriented, cyborgs (for example), but process oriented — the way it gets people to think differently and imaginatively about their interaction with the world.

Rogers says he doesn’t believe in rigid definitions for terms such as science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction. To Sailor’s question of what science fiction and fantasy allow us to do that regular fiction does not, Rogers replied that many people say they allow us to run thought experiments: If you have different starting premises, how might things turn out differently? Mystery and wonder, a way to explore the unknown, are other aspects of the power of speculative fiction, according to Rogers.

This year is the 50th anniversary of Tacoma writer Frank Herbert’s Dune. Rogers praised Herbert’s ability at creating a complete world: “What Tolkien does with elves and dwarves and dragons, Herbert does with prophetic powers and spice that is mined from the desert planet of Arrakis.” Rogers also says that Herbert plays with narrative structure in the novel in a way that challenges readers’ expectations. By presenting various parts of the narrative from different characters’ points of view, Herbert requires readers to put the various pieces of the story together.

In addition to this weekend’s conference at UPS in Tacoma, the Emerald City Comicon will take place Friday through Sunday at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. Tickets for Comicon are sold out.

30 books we recommend for spring reading

Mary Ann Gwinn reports that spring used to be a quiet time for publishing, but not any more. Here she lists notable books to be published between March and June, including the following:

  • Fiction by Kazuo Ishiguro, Sara Gruen, Toni Morrison, Kate Atkinson, Jane Smiley, Neal Stephenson, Judy Blume, Stephanie Kallos, and Stephen King
  • Nonfiction by Robert Putnam, Tony Angell, David Brooks, David McCullough, Val McDermid, Willie Nelson, and Oliver Sacks

4 African authors among Man Booker International finalists

The finalists for the prestigious literary award the Man Booker International Prize were announced on Tuesday by the chair of judges, Marina Warner, in South Africa at the University of Cape Town. The Man Booker International Prize recognizes an author’s achievement through a body of work covering the writer’s career. Previous winners include American novelist Philip Roth, Canadian writer Alice Munro, and the late Chinua Achebe.

Here is the list of finalists:

  • Mia Couto of Mozambique
  • Marlene van Niekerk of South Africa
  • Ibrahim al-Koni of Libya
  • Alain Mabanckou of the Republic of Congo
  • Cesar Aira of Argentina
  • Maryse Conde of Guadeloupe
  • Amitav Ghosh of India
  • Fanny Howe of the United States of America
  • Laszlo Krasznahorkai of Hungary
  • Hoda Barakat of Lebanon

“This is a most interesting and enlightening list of finalists,” said Jonathan Taylor, chairman of the Booker Prize Foundation. “It brings attention to writers from far and wide, so many of whom are in translation. As a result, our reading lists will surely be hugely expanded.”

The prize is 60,000 pounds, or about $90,000. The winner will be announced in London on May 19.

‘Lila’ Honored as Top Fiction by National Book Critics Circle – NYTimes.com

Marilynne Robinson won the National Book Critics Circle Award on Thursday for her novel “Lila,” the final book in her trilogy set in the fictional Gilead, Iowa.

. . .

David Brion Davis won the nonfiction award for “The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation,” the third volume of his trilogy and the culmination of nearly 50 years of research.

Claudia Rankine won the poetry award for “Citizen: An American Lyric,” a meditation on race in America that weaves together poetry, sports and pop culture references and cultural criticism. (Ms. Rankine was nominated in two categories: poetry and criticism.) The criticism award went to “The Essential Ellen Willis,” a collection of work by the rock critic Ellen Willis. John Lahr won the biography prize for “Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh.”

via ‘Lila’ Honored as Top Fiction by National Book Critics Circle – NYTimes.com.

Phil Klay wins National Book Award for fiction

Phil Klay’s “Redeployment,” a debut collection of searching, satiric and often agonized stories by an Iraq war veteran, has won the National Book Award for fiction.

Klay was chosen Wednesday night over such high-profile finalists as Marilynne Robinson’s “Lila” and Emily St. John Mandel’s “Station Eleven.” His book was the first debut release to win in fiction since Julia Glass’ “The Three Junes” in 2002, the first story collection to win since Andrea Barrett’s “Ship Fever” in 1996 and the first fiction win for an Iraq veteran.

via Phil Klay wins National Book Award for fiction | Entertainment | The Seattle Times.

This article also includes news of the other National Book Awards.

2014 National Book Award Finalists Named

The National Book Foundation has revealed the finalists for the 2014 National Book Awards for Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People’s Literature. The fiction shortlist includes 2014 “5 Under 35” honoree Phil Klay, along with two-time National Book Award finalist and a Pulitzer Prize winner, Marilynne Robinson. Also shortlisted, for nonfiction, is Roz Chast, the first cartoonist to be honored by the National Book Awards in the adult categories.

via 2014 National Book Award Finalists Named.