Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

HIS BLOODY PROJECT:
The Interview

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

9781510719217_2caa3The author of the most under-the-radar title on the Man Booker Prize shortlist  His Bloody Project: Documents Relating to the Case of Roderick Macrae (Skyhorse; OverDrive Sample), Graeme Macrae Burnet is interviewed by The Wall Street Journal today [subscription may be required].

The brief exchange focuses on the author’s writing process.

In a response to a question about the novel’s structure, including the use of fictional primary documents, Burnet talks about the personal differences in recollection and says he “wanted to present the reader with different viewpoints of the same incident, so they can … make up their own mind about what happened.”

He says he gathered some of his insider details from working his way through primary source “documents [that] still have wax seals on them. These are original, handwritten documents of post-mortem reports on victims or psychiatric evaluations of prisoners about to stand trial.”

As to the eloquence of his murderer he says “it goes against one’s expectations of how somebody who has committed a violent act will behave.”

Very interested in the interior workings of a character, Burnet concludes the interview by saying his favorite crime writer is Georges Simenon, author of the Inspector Jules Maigret series because he “is a brilliant writer on the psychology of his characters, and he’s brilliant at setting a scene in very simple language. You’re completely transported to whatever place he’s writing about.”

Burnet talks more about his research in a video created by his Scottish publisher:

Bookers on Screen

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

9781510719217_2caa3Another of the 2016 Man Booker Prize shortlist titles had made the first step towards adaptation.

Deadline Hollywood reports that Graeme Macrae Burnet’s historical crime thriller His Bloody Project: Documents Relating to the Case of Roderick Macrae (Skyhorse; OverDrive Sample), has been optioned for a TV series.

The Scottish production company Synchronicity Films, known in the UK as the force behind Not Another Happy Ending, has bought the rights.

Originally published by a tiny 2-person house Saraband, the novel earned praise from The Guardian, which said “The book’s pretense at veracity, as well as being a literary jeux d’esprit, brings an extraordinary historical period into focus.”

Skyhorse picked it up for US publication after its Booker nod.

Another of this year’s shortlist titles, Ottessa Moshfegh’s literary thriller Eileen, as we noted earlier, is being adapted by screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson, “Hollywood’s Go-To Scribe for Thrillers” for producer Scott Rudin, known for his many successful literary adaptations.

If the projects make it to screens, they will follow in the footsteps of adaptations of previous Booker titles. Hilary Mantel’s two winners Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies were made into a BBC/PBS Masterpiece series. Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally became the now iconic 1993 film Schindler’s List. Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day and Yann Martel’s Life of Pi were also successfully adapted.

NBA Longlists, 2016

Monday, September 19th, 2016

News of the World  blood-in-the-water  Pax
Best Books season begins officially with the announcement of the National Book Awards longlists.

In fiction, one of the ten titles is the number one LibraryReads pick for October, News of the World, Paulette Jiles (HC/William Morrow). It is also an Indie Next selection for October. Below is the LibraryReads annotation.

“Readers fortunate enough to meet Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, an old ex-soldier who makes a living reading the news to townspeople in 1870s Texas, and Joanna, the Indian captive he is charged with returning to her relatives, will not soon forget them. Everything, from the vividly realized Texas frontier setting to the characters is beautifully crafted, right up to the moving conclusion. Both the Captain and Joanna have very distinctive voices. Wonderful storytelling.” — Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY

Missing from the list is Elizabeth Strout’s My Name is Lucy Barton (PRH/Viking; OverDrive Sample; 1/13/16), a Booker longlist title, that did not make the cut to the shortlist (the two titles by U.S. writers on that shortlist were published here in 2015, so are not eligible for the NBA).

The nonfiction list is dominated by titles on racism in America, including a book which has received media attention, Heather Ann Thompson’s Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy (Pantheon Books/Penguin Random House; OverDrive Sample; 8/23/16).

Middle grade novels were winners in the Young Peoples Lit category in 2015 and 2013. They make a good showing on the 2016 longlist, taking four of the ten slots. Included is Pax by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Jon Klassen (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray; HC Audio; OverDrive Sample; 2/2/16). A bestseller, it may be the only one of all the nominees to have been optioned for a film. CORRECTION: At least one other adaptation is in the works, but as a limited TV series. Deadline reports that Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad, on the fiction longlist, is “about to hit the TV marketplace.”

In poetry, mainstays Rita Dove and Donald Hall received nominations. So did a debut poet, Solmaz Sharif for Look: Poems, Solmaz Sharif (Macmillan/Graywolf; OverDrive Sample; 7/5/16). Sharif and Hall share a notable distinction, both are among the rare poets who have books selected as Indie Next picks. Sharif made the July list and Hall’s collection was the #1 December 2015 pick:

“This is a gift of honesty, intimacy, and the pure genius that is Donald Hall, as he hand-picks what he considers to be the best of his poetry from more than 70 years of published works. From this former U.S. Poet Laureate comes one essential volume of his works, where ‘Ox-Cart Man’ sits alongside ‘Kicking the Leaves’ and ‘Without.’ As he is no longer writing poetry, this ‘concise gathering of my life’s work’ is the perfect introduction to Hall’s literary contributions, as well as closure for his many ardent followers.”–Katharine Nevins, of MainStreet BookEnds of Warner, Warner

The finalists will be announced on Oct. 13, the winners on Nov. 16.

Man Booker Shortlist, 2016

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

The six books that are still in the competition for the Man Booker Prize were announced today, winnowed down from the longlist of 13 titles announced in July.

Two of the titles are by authors from the U.S.  (in 2014, the rules were changed to make U.S. authors eligible). Three others did not make the cut, including  Elizabeth Strout’s My Name is Lucy Barton (PRH/Viking).

the-sellout  eileen

Paul Beatty, U.S., The Sellout (Macmillan/FSG, 3/3/15; OverDrive Sample)
On several U.S. best books lists for the year, including the NYT Book Review‘s Top Ten, it was heavily reviewed here.

Otessa Moshfegh, U.S., Eileen (PRH/Penguin; OverDrive Sample;  8/18/15)
Featured on the cover of the  NYT Book Review,  it was also reviewed in the LA TimesThe Washington Post, and NPR, appeared on several 2015 “best”  lists and is being adapted as a movie.

The other four titles are by authors from Canada and the U.K. Only one of the titles has been published in the U.S. The rest are set for release in time for the announcement of the winner on Oct. 25.

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Madeleine Thien, Canada, Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Norton; 10/11/16)
Reviewed by Publishers Weeklythe Guardian and by The Globe and Mail.

David Szalay, Canada-U.K.,  All That Man Is (Macmillan/Graywolf; OverDrive Sample; 10/4/16)
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly, the Guardian and the Telegraph.

Graeme Macrae Burnet, U.K., His Bloody Project, (Skyhorse, 10/4/16)
Published by the “tiny” press Saraband in Scotland, this title’s appearance on the list has drawn headlines in the U.K.. Up until the longlist announcement, the book had received little attention. In its review, the Guardian, said “this Man Booker-longlisted historical thriller deftly masquerades as a slice of true crime.”

Deborah Levy, U.K.,  Hot Milk (Macmillan/Bloomsbury USA; OverDrive Sample; 7/12/16)
Reviewed in the daily NYT, the Washington Post and the NYT Book Review

Taking Odds

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

9780307593313_66750 9780679743460_9b3f7Betting is underway on who will win the Nobel Prize in Literature with Japan’s Haruki Murakami topping the list.

He may be the Susan Lucci of authors, having led the betting for the last three years, only to see Svetlana Alexievich, a Belarussian journalist and oral historian take the prize last year, French novelist Patrick Modiano win in 2014 and Canadian Alice Munro in 2013.

He is not alone. Americans Philip Roth and Joyce Carol Oates and Irish writer John Banville annually get bandied about as the bookies make odds and this year is no different. Roth is the third favorite to win with Oates right behind him. Banville’s odds have, oddly enough, fallen out of the top 10. Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, another frequent pick for several years, is still in the top five.

There is a new name in the top three, Adunis, the pen name for a Syrian poet and essayist, has risen through the ranks and is now holding the #2 spot on the oddsmakers list.

Predictably unpredictable, the Nobel Prize in Literature has baffled odds makers for years and is just as likely to go to a  dark horse this year.

The exact announcement date has yet to be set but is most often awarded in early to mid October.

Man Booker Drop-In

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

9780393609882_10fdeAnother of the titles on the Man Book Awards longlist will be released in the U.S. this fall. W.W.Norton is publishing  Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien, making it the second award contender picked up by a US publisher since the list was announced in July (after His Bloody Project).

Norton clearly has faith in the novel, pubbing it on Oct. 11, nearly a month after the Booker shortlist announcement and just two weeks before the winner is announced on Oct. 25.

Set during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the novel is a family saga of music, loss, and politics that travels in time to the Tiananmen Square protest and on to the present day.

Macleans calls it “a serious accomplishment.” The Guardian says it is “a moving and extraordinary evocation of the 20th-century tragedy of China, and deserves to cement Thien’s reputation as an important and compelling writer.” The Globe and Mail writes that the book is a “gorgeous intergenerational saga, stretching as far back at the 1940s and traversing China from Beijing in the north to rural Guangxi in the south … [cementing] Madeleine Thien as one of Canada’s most talented novelists.”

Critics compare Thien to Amy Tan, Dai Sijie, and Rohinton Mistry.

Of the 13 title longlist, only one title is not currently scheduled for publication in the U.S., Wyl Menuir’s The Many.

Booker Longlist Title Gets US Publishing Date

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

In addition to famous names and international publishing houses, the Booker Prize also shines a light on small presses.

9781510719217_43f40Last year Marlon James and the U.K. indie press Oneworld took top honors for A Brief History of Seven Killings (published here by Riverhead, an imprint of the much larger Penguin Random House). This year’s longlist includes a title by an even smaller press, His Bloody Project: Documents Relating to the Case of Roderick Macrae, Graeme MaCrae Burnet (OverDrive Sample), published by the tiny 2-person house, Saraband.

At the time of the longlist announcement in July, the novel was not scheduled for a US release, but it is now set to be published here, also by an indie press, but one that is much larger, Skyhorse. The ship date is Sept. 13 [Correction: Ship Date is Sept. 27] , which will work well if the title makes it to the shortlist, which will be announced that very day.

Back in Scotland, the staff at Saraband fielded an endless round of inquiries after the longlist was announced. Publisher Sara Hunt told The Guardian, “It’s been crazy but fantastic … it’s hard to take in when most of the time we’re fighting to tell people about how good our books are, then suddenly everyone who hasn’t been in touch is wanting to speak to you at the same time – it’s that tricky day at work that you dream of having.”

The novel, a historical crime thriller, got little attention prior to the Booker spotlight, which The Guardian says is an oversight,

“a psychological thriller masquerading as a slice of true crime; a collection of ‘found’ documents …The book’s pretense at veracity, as well as being a literary jeux d’esprit, brings an extraordinary historical period into focus, while the multiple unreliable perspectives are designed to keep the audience wondering …  This is a fiendishly readable tale that richly deserves the wider attention the Booker has brought it.”

THE FIFTH SEASON Wins Hugo

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

9780316229296_62f5aThe 2016 Hugo Awards winners were announced on Saturday at the World Science Fiction Convention. N.K. Jemisin won Best Novel for The Fifth Season (Hachette/Orbit; OverDrive Sample).

The first book in the Broken Earth trilogy grabbed reviewers’ attention for its scope and scale. In the NYT Sunday Book Review, multiple award-winning author Naomi Novik wrote it is a novel of “intricate and extraordinary world–building.” The NPR reviewer  also lauded the author’s world-building as being full of “sumptuous detail and dimensionality.” Wired picked it as their book club title and Smart Bitches Trashy Books gave it an A grade, writing:

The Fifth Season blew my entire weekend. I had plans. I was supposed to, at least at some point, get out of bed and take a shower. Instead I stayed in my blanket fort and devoured this book. The most I managed to accomplish was feeding the cat and tweeting about how much I loved this novel.”

We wrote about Jemisin and critical reaction to the sequel, The Obelisk Gate (Hachette/Orbit; OverDrive Sample), earlier this week.

Jemisin headlines a sweeping win for female authors, with every fiction category going to a woman.

9780765385253_40f87Nnedi Okorafor won Best Novella for Binti (Macmillan/Tor; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample). Tor.com writes “Okorafor’s stories are where the ancient cultures of Africa meet the future, where what we have been and what makes us human meets what we can be and what we may be in the future.” NPR’s All Things Considered recently aired an interview with the author.

Uncanny2Hao Jingfang won Best Novelette for “Folding Beijing,” translated by Ken Liu. Tor.com says “it’s not just that this is a smart story doing crunchy, smart things in a clever fashion—that’s just one layer of the thing. It’s also an emotionally resonant and intimately personal piece, grounded thoroughly through the life experience of the protagonist.”

Naomi Kritzer won Best Short Story for “Cat Pictures Please.” io9 includes the story in a round up of “What Are The Best Short Stories of the Year So Far?” (for 2015) and links to a review in Apex magazine.

9781401265199_7147aNeil Gaiman takes home the Best Graphic Story prize for The Sandman: Overture Deluxe Edition, (DC Comics/Vertigo). The Nerdist and Tor.com provide reviews. Last year, NPR’s Terry Gross interviewed Gaiman about the book on Fresh Air.

MV5BMTc2MTQ3MDA1Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODA3OTI4NjE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,675,1000_AL_It was also a great night for Andy Weir. He won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (which is not a Hugo Award but is given at the same time) and the film The Martian (adapted from Weir’s debut novel) won Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form.

An episode of Jessica Jones won Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form.

Once again, the “Puppy” effect could be seen. However, it seems the voting members of the Hugo are learning to both live with and ignore the alt-right wing attack on the award (see our overview of the ongoing controversy).

As The Verge put it, “The immediate takeaway from tonight is that once again, slated works [the Puppy nominees] added to the ballot through a coordinated campaign have trouble swaying voters, although they were not unanimously dismissed, but in these instances, the awards largely went  to authors and works that really didn’t need help from slated works in the first place, such as Andy Weir or Neil Gaiman. In all other instances, voters opted to give the awards to extremely deserving works.”

Man Booker Longlist Title to
Big Screen

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

Screen-Shot-2015-08-26-at-11.01.59-AM  9780399184260_5f8e2  9780735212169_GirlontheTrain_MTI_MM.indd

On the heels of the announcement that Ottessa Moshfegh’s literary thriller Eileen (PRH/Penguin) is a finalist for the Man Booker Prize, comes the news that screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson has been hired to adapt the novel for producer Scott Rudin.

The Hollywood Reporter writes that Wilson has “become a go-to writer for adapting book-to-screen thrillers with provocative female heroines who are not always likable” ( the WSJ profiled her last year under the headline “Hollywood’s Go-To Scribe for Thrillers“). Having written the screenplay for The Girl on the Train, she was hired last year to adapt Maestra by L.S. Hilton (PRH/Putnam; BOT), another title that was sometimes compared to The Girl on the Train (Note: the cover for the latter, above, is the newly-released art for the tie-in).

Maestra is still in development. No stars or director have yet been named.

The Man Booker Longlist Announced

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

The U.K.’s most prestigious literary award, the Man Booker Prize, is one of the few awards that affects sales in the U.S., surpassing even our own National Book Awards.

The longlist of thirteen titles was released earlier today. Six of the titles have not yet been published in the U.S., including the title regarded as the front-runner, J.M. Coetzee’s The Schooldays of Jesus, scheduled for release here in February (U.K. readers have to wait as well, it won’t be published there until September). Attached is a downloadable list, for your use in creating displays, Booker 2016 Longlist, Available in U.S.

The award is covered widely in the British press, but The Irish Times offers the most extensive coverage, amounting to a cheat sheet to each title., noting that the overall list is:

“… a solid, wide-ranging 13-strong selection dominated by the forthcoming novel from 2003 Nobel Literature Laureate, the South African-born J.M.Coetzee … There is no disputing [he] is one of the world’s finest living authors – and at a time when English-language fiction is being consistently overshadowed by the brilliance of literature in translation. Coetzee is the first double Booker winner … and any work from him is eagerly awaited.”

Last year’s winning novel was A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James. After the announcement, it went on to the New York Times Paperback Fiction, rising to a high of #3. HBO has optioned screen rights.

The shortlist of six books will be announced on Tuesday, September 13 and the winner on Tuesday, October 25.

Below are the longlist titles, with U.S. publishing information and links to U.S. consumer reviews. U.S. covers are featured, where available.

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Paul Beatty, U.S., The Sellout (Macmillan/FSG, 3/3/15; OverDrive Sample) — On several U.S. best books lists, including the NYT Book Review‘s Top Ten, it was heavily reviewed here.

J.M. Coetzee, South Africa/Australia, The Schooldays of Jesus (PRH/Viking) — Currently scheduled for publication in hardcover in the U.S. on Feb. 21, 2017.

A.L. Kennedy, U.K., Serious Sweet (Little A,) — Scheduled for publication in hardcover in the U.S. on Oct. 8, 2016 Amazon’s literary fiction imprint Little A.

Deborah Levy, U.K.,  Hot Milk (Macmillan/Bloomsbury USA; OverDrive Sample; 7/12/16) — reviewed in the daily NYT and the Washington Post.

Graeme Macrae Burnet, U.K., His Bloody ProjectUPDATE: Now scheduled for publication in the U.S. by Skyhorse, ship date, 9/27/16.   The Guardian called it “Perhaps the most eye-catching book on the list” since the Booker has rarely recognized a title in that genre.

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Ian McGuire, U.K., The North Water (Macmillan/Holt; OverDrive Sample;  3/15/16) — Reviewed in the NYT Book Review by Colm Toibin, the daily NYT by Michiko Kakutani, as well as the Wall Street Journal.

David Means, U.S., Hystopia (Macmillan/FSG,; OverDrive Sample; 4/19/16) — A debut, it was reviewed widely and is on NY Magazine ‘s list of “The Best Books of 2016 (So Far)“.

Wyl Menuir, U.K., The Many — Not currently scheduled for publication in the U.S.

Otessa Moshfegh, U.S., Eileen (PRH/Penguin; OverDrive Sample;  8/18/15) — Featured on the cover of the  NYT Book Review,  it was also reviewed in the LA Times, The Washington Post, and NPR, and made several 2015 “best”  lists. UPDATE: This title is being adapted as a movie.

9781501112492_5f5c9  9781400067695_38ba8  All That Man Is

Virginia Reeves, U.S., Work Like Any Other (S&S/Scribner; OverDrive Sample; 3/1/16) — Featured in Harper’s Bazaar as a Spring 2016 pick, it was reviewed by the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Miami Herald.

Elizabeth Strout, U.S., My Name is Lucy Barton (PRH/Viking; OverDrive Sample; 1/13/16) — Reviewed widely in the U.S., in the NYT Book ReviewThe Washington Post, NPR, and New York Magazine.

David Szalay, Canada-U.K.,  All That Man Is (Macmillan/Graywolf; OverDrive Sample;) — Scheduled for publication in hardcover in the U.S. on Oct. 4, 2016.

Madeleine Thien, Canada, Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Granta Books; Knopf Canada; OverDrive Sample) — UPDATE: Scheduled for publication in the U.S. by W.W. Norton on 10/11/16.

The “Oscars of Comics” Go To …

Monday, July 25th, 2016

The 28th annual Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Oscars of the format, were announced on Friday during Comic-Con.

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What is essentially the best book of the year award went to Ruins by Peter Kuper (Abrams/SelfMadeHero, Oct. 2015) for “Best Graphic Album—New. “The publisher describes it as exploring “the shadows and light of Mexico through its past and present as encountered by an array of characters. The real and surreal intermingle to paint an unforgettable portrait of life south of the Rio Grande.”

March: Book Two, John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (Diamond/Top Shelf, Jan. 2015) won “Best Reality-Based Work.” Book Three in the series is schedule for release on Aug 2. PW reports that a delighted Lewis “bounded from his seat and ran to the stage at the announcement.”

Nimona, Noelle Stevenson (HC/Harper Teen, May 2015) won the Eisner for “Best Graphic Novel Reprint.” Librarians will recall it was a National Book Award finalist for Young Peoples Literature last year.

Image Comics swept the series stakes, winning all three categories:

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Paper Girls: Volume 1, Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chian (Diamond/Image Comics, Apr. 2016) won “Best New Series.” Paper Girls: Volume 2 is forthcoming in December.

“Best Continuing Series” went to Southern Bastards, Jason Aaron and Jason LaTour. Southern Bastards Volume 3: Homecoming is the most recent (Diamond/Image Comics, July 2016).

The Fade Out, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Diamond/Image Comics; OverDrive Sample) won for “Best Limited Series.” It was issued in three volumes starting in 2015 (vol 1, 2, 3) and will be released in a complete deluxe edition with added material this fall.

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“Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 8)” went to Little Robot, Ben Hatke (Macmillan/First Second, Sept. 2015; OverDrive Sample).

“Best Publication for Kids (ages 9-12)” was snagged by Over the Garden Wall, Pat McHale, Amalia Levari, and Jim Campbell (S&S/Boom! Studios, Sept. 2016; OverDrive Sample). Volume 2 is forthcoming in Feb. 2017.

SuperMutant Magic Academy, Jillian Tamaki (Macmillan/Drawn and Quarterly, Apr. 2015) won “Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17).”

9781770462083_6c2d3In a year that was particularly notable for the number of women nominees, Kate Beaton’s Step Aside Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection (Macmillan/Drawn and Quarterly, Sept. 2015) won best humor publication, which The Hollywood Reporter points out, is “the first time in the Eisners’ long history that a woman has ever won that category solo.”

In addition, Lynda Barry and Matt Groening were voted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame. The full list of winners is available online.

UPROOTED Wins, Again

Monday, June 27th, 2016

9780804179034_f41139780316246682_2dffbLibrarians picked it first. The number one LibraryReads pick for May 2015, Uprooted, by Naomi Novik (PRH/Del Rey; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample) was announced as the winner of the 2016 Locus Award for Fantasy on Saturday, having also won the Nebula last month.

The winner in the Science Fiction category is Ancillary Mercy, by Ann Leckie (Hachette/Orbit; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) the final book in the series which began with Ancillary Justice  winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Awards. The middle novel, Ancillary Sword, also won the Locus award in 2015.

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The late Terry Pratchett won the YA category for The Shepherd’s Crown (HarperCollins; HarperCollinsAudio and Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Pratchett and his fellow nominees in the YA category are all male, a choice that has raised eyebrows even as the Locus awards have avoided much of the controversy that has plagued the Hugo awards.

The Guardian reports on the story, saying that “the Locus awards were broadly representative of a sci-fi field that is continuing to grow in diversity: 18 female to 17 male writers, with many upcoming writers of colour among the voters’ top picks. Placed in that context, the way the YA category has turned out seems less like myopic sexism, and more indicative of the older demographic of readers who read Locus magazine and see the YA genre from their own preferences.”

However, YA author Gwen Katz said:

“YA, including YA fantasy, is a vastly female-dominated age category, but there’s a history of male authors being picked out for awards or heralded as champions of the age category … Yet another all-male slate reinforces the message that an art form primarily practised by women and girls only becomes noteworthy when a man gets in on it.”

9781481424271_445d99780062330260_ada2cThe Grace of Kings, Ken Liu (S&S/Saga; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample) won best First Novel.

Neil Gaiman won twice: in the Novelette category for ‘Black Dog,’’ a piece in Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances (HC/William Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), which also netted Gaiman another trophy for best Collection.

Beyond the winners, readers’ advisors looking for suggestions in SFF will find a ready list of titles in the award’s short lists.

9780765381149_d2b6bThe SF nominees read like a who’s who of the genre:

The Water Knife, Paolo Bacigalupi (PRH/Knopf; OverDrive Sample)

Aurora, Kim Stanley Robinson (Hachette/Orbit; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample)

Seveneves, Neal Stephenson (HC/ William Morrow; OverDrive Sample)

A Borrowed Man, Gene Wolfe (Macmillan/Tor; OverDrive Sample)

9780765375247_060ccThe Fantasy short list is equally impressive:

Karen Memory, Elizabeth Bear (Macmillan/Tor; OverDrive Sample)

The House of Shattered Wings, Aliette de Bodard (PRH/Roc; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample)

Wylding Hall, Elizabeth Hand (PS; Open Road; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample)

The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (Hachette/Orbit; OverDrive Sample)

9780765385246_028feThe First Novel Short list points to the breadth of these two genres, their international flavor, and the range of subjects being explored:

Sorcerer to the Crown, Zen Cho (PRH/Ace; OverDrive Sample)

Signal to Noise, Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Solaris; OverDrive Sample)

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, Natasha Pulley (Macmillan/Bloomsbury; OverDrive Sample)

The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, Kai Ashante Wilson (Macmillan/Tor; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample)

9780804178457_d46eeThe controversial YA category included:

Half a War, Joe Abercrombie (PRH/Del Rey; OverDrive Sample)

Half the World, Joe Abercrombie (PRH/Del Rey; OverDrive Sample)

Harrison Squared, Daryl Gregory (Macmillan/Tor; OverDrive Sample)

Shadowshaper, Daniel José Older (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine; Scholastic Audio ; OverDrive Sample)

Also useful for readers advisors is the annual reading list created by Locus, a gold mine of titles and authors to know.

The full list of winners is online.

Winners: Baileys and Bubbly

Monday, June 13th, 2016

9780804189064_4f14eA debut novel by an Irish writer wins the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, given for the best novel by a woman writing in English. The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney (PRH/Tim Duggan Books, Aug. 9; Random House Audio) topped several better known authors including the multiple awar- winning Anne Enright for The Green Road and the bestselling Hanya Yanagihara for A Little Life.

The Guardian reports that The Glorious Heresies “tells how an accidental murder … plays out in the lives of a cast that includes a 15-year-old drug dealer, his alcoholic father, a prostitute and a gangland boss.”

The chair of the judging panel said it is “a superbly original, compassionate novel that delivers insights into the very darkest of lives through humour and skilful storytelling.”

Calling it “big, gritty and compelling,” a spokeswoman for one of the UK’s most notable bookstores said the selection was a “brave choice … by the least conventional and edgiest writer on the list.”

The Glorious Heresies is scheduled for release in the US on Aug. 9.

McInerney’s debut was among 11 other first novels to make the long or short list for the award, which The Guardian notes is becoming “a showcase for new and emerging talent.”

9781101874141_9e7a9One of those debut authors is Hannah Rothschild whose The Improbability of Love (RH/Knopf; OverDrive Sample) made it through to the final round. Rothschild, the first woman chair of London’s most prestigious art museum, The National Galley, can console herself with champagne. Her book recently won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comic fiction (shared with Paul Murray for The Mark and the Void), which comes with a large bottle of Bollinger champagne, the complete Everyman Wodehouse Collection, and the honor of the having a Gloucestershire Old Spot pig named after the winning title, a nod to the Empress of Blandings, a fictional pig featured in P. G. Wodehouse’s Blandings Castle novels.

Previous winners of the pig, bubbly, and books include Terry Pratchett and Alexander McCall Smith. Photos of several past winners with their pigs are online.

 

Tony Awards: Page to Stage

Monday, June 13th, 2016

hamiltonHamilton emerged from last night’s Tony Awards show with 11 wins, including Best Musical, from a total of 16 nominations. While the number of nominations set a record, Hamilton came in just short of the record for wins, behind The Producers which won 12 Tonys in 2001.

It earned multiple nominations in two categories. As a result, it  twice “lost” to itself. The only nominated categories it did not win were Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical which went to Cynthia Erivo for The Color Purple and Best Scenic Design of a Musical which went to She Loves Me.

Below, a clip of  the cast performing during the show, with a special introduction by two major fans:

The show opened with a statement about the mass shootings in Orlando and, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the Hamilton cast decided not to use prop muskets in their performances.

Below, a clip of Miranda’s emotional acceptance speech:

A transcript of Miranda’s sonnet (from New York magazine’s site, Vulture):

My wife’s the reason anything gets done.
She nudges me towards promise by degrees.
She is a perfect symphony of one.
Our son is her most beautiful reprise.
We chase the melodies that seem to find us
Until they’re finished songs and start to play.
When senseless acts of tragedy remind us
That nothing here is promised, not one day
This show is proof that history remembers.
We live through times when hate and fear seem stronger.
We rise and fall, and light from dying embers
Remembrances that hope and love last longer.
And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love;
Cannot be killed or swept aside.
I sing Vanessa’s symphony; Eliza tells her story.
Now fill the world with music, love, and pride.

Thank you so much for this.

Miranda speaks to the press after the award show:

colorpurpleAnother book related production, The Color Purple,  received 4 nominations and won two awards, for Best Revival of a Musical and Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, Cynthia Erivo (Celie).

The play has been well received, with the NYT writing about its opening, “Give thanks this morning, children of Broadway, and throw in a hearty hallelujah. The Color Purple has been born again, and its conversion is a glory to behold.” The rousing performance was introduced by Oprah (begins at 2:06):

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Four other book-related plays were nominated, but none of them won,  American Psycho (which has already closed), Misery, Tuck Everlasting, and Thérèse Paquin (based on the novel by Émile Zola).

A full list of nominees and winners is available from Entertainment Weekly.

Stars Align for Nobel Winner

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

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When Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize in Literature last October, only two of her books were available in English in the US. That is slowly changing. Arriving this week is Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets, translated by Bela Shayevich (PRH/Random House; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample), her fifth book first published in Russia in 2013.

On the strength of the NYT‘s profile on Saturday, the author’s Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets, translated by Bela Shayevich (Random; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample) is rocketing up the Amazon sales charts, close to breaking into the top 100.

The NYT‘s calls the oral history:

“An intimate portrait of a country yearning for meaning after the sudden lurch from Communism to capitalism in the 1990s plunged it into existential crisis … Tolstoyan in scope, driven by the idea that history is made not only by major players but also by ordinary people talking in their kitchens … With every page, the book makes clear how President Vladimir V. Putin manages to hold his grip on a country of 143 million people across 11 time zones.”

All four trade review journals gave it a star with Kirkus calling it “Profoundly significant literature as history” and PW saying: “Alexievich’s work turns Solzhenitsyn inside out and overpowers recent journalistic accounts of the era. Readers must possess steely nerves and a strong desire to get inside the Soviet psyche in order to handle the blood, gore, and raw emotion.”

Holds are running roughly 2:1 on light orders in libraries we checked.

Librarians can look for more to come. The NYT reports that, in 2017 and 2018, Random House will issue translations of Alexievich’s previous work by the powerhouse team of Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (who brought new life to War and Peace). The paper also reports that Alexievich has plans for new collections, on aging and on love, and is planning a cross-country trip around the former Soviet Union to conduct interviews.

9780312425845Of her books in English translations, the two that have been published here are Zinky Boys: Soviet Voices from the Afghanistan War (Norton; 9780393336863; 1992) and Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster (hardcover, Dalkey Archive Press; trade pbk Macmillan/Picador, 2006), which won the 2005 National Book Critics Circle Award.