Eleanor Catton, Eimear McBride on Dylan Thomas Prize Shortlist

Eleanor Catton, author of The Luminaries, has been shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize - peoplewhowrite

Eleanor Catton

The 2014 Dylan Thomas Prize Shortlist boasts an emergent literati. Contender Eleanor Catton’s much lauded novel The Luminaries won the 2013 Man Booker Prize. Eimear McBride’s A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing took the 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. Kseniya Melnik‘s debut Snow in May earned a longlist nod for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Kei Miller‘s The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion was recently shortlisted for the 2014 Forward Prize for Best Collection. Owen Sheers’ Mametz has inspired an exhibit at the National Theatre of Wales. Naomi Wood‘s Mrs Hemingway nabbed the 2014 Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize. Joshua Ferris’ To Rise Again at a Decent Hour was just named to the 2014 Man Booker Shortlist.

Peter Stead, founder and President of the International Dylan Thomas Prize, said the celebrated writers on the list “indicates the extent to which the International Dylan Thomas Prize has earned its place at the forefront of world literature.”

The Dylan Thomas Prize is run by Swansea University and awarded to the best published or produced literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under. Swansea was Dylan Thomas’ hometown. The prize’s eponymous poet would have been 100 this year.

The winner will be announced in November 2014 at a gala in Swansea in Wales.

Booker-Winning Author Announces a Grant that Gives Writers "Time to Read"

Eleanor Catton grants writers

Elanor Catton

Between her 2013 Man Booker Prize win and her recent New Zealand Post Best fiction and People’s Choice Awards, Eleanor Catton has earned close to £60,000 for her novel The Luminaries. Now, she’s paying it forward.

The Guardian reports that Catton announced intentions to grant scribes $3,000 “not to write, but to read”. She further explained:

“We’re very lucky in New Zealand to have a lot of public funding available for writers, but they generally require the writer to have a good idea about what they want to write, and how, before they apply. I think that this often doesn’t understand or serve the creative process, which is organic and dialectic; I also think it tends to reward people who are good at writing applications rather than, necessarily, people who are curious about and ambitious for the form in which they are writing. I’m also uncomfortable with the focus that it places on writing as production, with publication as the end goal, rather than on writing as enlightenment, with the reading as the first step.”

The 2014 Man Booker Longlist Announced

Longlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize - peoplewhowrite

Longlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize

The 2014 Man Booker Longlist is here. For the first time, the prize is open to any title written in English (rather than just English and Commonwealth Writers); a change that was received with some grumbling for fear that future judges would privilege North American sensibilities. The longlist features six Britons, four Americans, two Irish writers, and one Australian:

Eleanor Catton, author of The Luminaries won the prestigious £50,000 prize last year.

Adichie, Catton, Kushner, & Tartt on Baileys Longlist

Rachel Kushner, author of The Flamethrowers, has been longlisted for the Baileys Prize for Women's Fiction - peoplewhowrite

Rachel Kushner

The longlist for the 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction has been announced and it boasts Donna Tartt whose novel The Goldfinch has sat atop pretty much every “Best of 2013” list, Man Booker Prizewinner Eleanor Catton, and Chimamanda Adichie whose third novel Americanah has been right there with Tartt’s on the love lists and enjoyed a bump in attention and sales when Beyonce sampled the author’s TEDx speech on feminism. Also in contention are Pulitzer Prizewinner Elizabeth Strout, Rachel Kushner, and Elizabeth Gilbert who has tirelessly promoted her latest novel The Signature of All Things with a focus on bringing along the legion of readers who made her memoir Eat, Pray, Love a juggernaut success.

The Prize’s five judges–“Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge, writer Denise Mina, Times columnist, author and screenwriter, Caitlin Moran and BBC broadcaster and journalist, Sophie Raworth…chaired by former Managing Director of Penguin Books UK and Chief Executive of the Girls’ Day School Trust, Helen Fraser”–will cull the 20 books listed below to six, before the winner is announced on June 4, 2014.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood
The Dogs of Littlefield by Suzanne Berne
The Shadow of the Crescent Moon by Fatima Bhutto
The Bear by Claire Cameron
Eleven Days by Lea Carpenter
The Strangler Vine by M.J. Carter
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
Reasons She Goes to the Woods by Deborah Kay Davies
The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Undertaking by Audrey Magee
A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride
Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson
Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen
The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
All The Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld

Eleanor Catton wins the Man Booker Prize

Eleanor Catton has won the 2013 Man Booker Prize. - peoplewhowrite

Eleanor Catton, winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize.

Eleanor Catton, author of The Luminaries has won the Man Booker Prize worth £50,000.

The Duchess of Cornwall Camilla Parker-Bowles presented the prize in England’s Guildhall tonight. Jim Crace, author of Harvest and the oldest of the contending authors was widely believed to be the favorite (at least that was the impression many expressed on Twitter) though the Twitterverse could not say enough about Catton, the youngest on the shortlist. The social media network was a nail biting nerve center in the minutes and seconds before the announcement as the #ManBookerPrize hashtag reported mood swings of anxiety and soccer hooligan-like passion.

151 titles were originally in consideration before Man Booker Judges Robert MacFarlaneMartha KearneyStuart Kelly,Natalie Haynes, and Robert Douglas-Fairhurst edited down to the 13 authors on the  Longlist in July. In September, the judges cut the list in half to six novels:

We Need New Names NoViolet Bulawayo (Chatto & Windus)
The Luminaries Eleanor Catton (Granta)
Harvest Jim Crace (Picador)
The Lowland Jhumpa Lahiri (Bloomsbury)
A Tale for the Time Being Ruth Ozeki (Canongate)
The Testament of Mary Colm Tóibín (Viking)
Catton’s win could signal increased support for debut and young talent amongst the literary establishment which often pays lip service in support of new writers while nurturing back lists and investing in past successes.

Listen to Excerpts of the Man Booker Shortlist on iTunes

Man Booker Prize Shortlist on iTunes_peoplewhowrite

Now, free audio readings of the Man Booker Prize shortlist are available on iTunes along with author interviews. The dramatic performances take pains (sometimes with painful accents) to express the authors’ respective voices, and the interviews do a great job of piquing interest in the books. If only Man Booker/iTunes had included “Buy” buttons for full audio versions of the books! (If there aren’t audio versions, there should be and they should have been timed with the release of this podcast.) Another missed opportunity.

Check out the Man Booker Prize podcasts here.

Man Booker Shortlist Announced

NoViolet Buluwayo is the only debut novelist on the Shortlist for the 2013 Man Booker Prize. - peoplewhowrite

NoViolet Buluwayo

The list of contenders for the 2013 Man Booker Prize has been shortened once again, advancing toward the October 15th announcement of the winner of the £50,000 prize. Judges Robert MacFarlaneMartha KearneyStuart Kelly,Natalie Haynes, and Robert Douglas-Fairhurst whittled the list down from an initial 151, then edited even further to a Longlist of 13 before arriving at the final six. With content ranging from the Biblical Middle East to 1960s India to present-day Zimbabwe, the titles under consideration are so diverse it’s hard to guess which one the judges will find consensus around; but whom they land on could offer an interesting window to the literary establishment’s agenda.

NoViolet Bulawayo, author of the internationally acclaimed novel We Need New Names is now the only debutant on the prestigious list, while Eleanor Catton, at 28, still has the chance to be the youngest ever winner of the prize. If either of them win, it could signal — and lead to — increased support for debut and young talent.

Meanwhile, the honor is a first for author Jhumpa Lahiri who won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her novel The Namesake as it is for novelist Ruth Ozeki and the multiple award-winning Jim Crace who, at 67, is the oldest on the 2013 Shortlist. Should either of them take the day, it would likely direct even more attention to their backlists and to the industry’s renewed interest in multicultural literature. 

If anyone has an edge, it’s author Colm Tóibín. With The Testament of Mary the third of his five books to make the shortlist, it’s safe to say Man Booker likes his work.

The full Shortlist is below:

We Need New Names NoViolet Bulawayo (Chatto & Windus)
The Luminaries Eleanor Catton (Granta)
Harvest Jim Crace (Picador)
The Lowland Jhumpa Lahiri (Bloomsbury)
A Tale for the Time Being Ruth Ozeki (Canongate)
The Testament of Mary Colm Tóibín (Viking)

Publishers, Bookstores May Lose Out on Man Booker Boost

Jhumpa Lahiri's The Lowland is currently scheduled for a September release. - peoplewhowrite

Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland is currently scheduled for a September release.

Two days after the Man Booker Longlist was announced, six of the books have yet to be released. That’s almost half the list of 13 titles! The Bookseller reports publishers are either “considering” or scrambling to push up the release dates for Alison McLeod’s Unexploded, Eve Harris’ The Marrying of Chani Kaufman, Charlotte Mendelson’s Almost English, Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries, and Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland.

Though publishers could not have known which books would make the cut, the books that were in contention should have been released or at least a small print run should have been ready to go upon announcement. Now, as British bookseller Henry Layte pointed out, “Customers who want to get hold of those books will probably end up pre-ordering them on Amazon.”

The industry really needs to do a better job at synergy and anticipating business opportunities. Though the direct correlation between prizes and sales numbers is questionable, the boost in publicity and name recognition the longlisted titles get presents an easier sell in bookstores at a time when they need it most.

Three Debut Novelists-Buluwayo, Harris, Ryan-Longlisted for Man Booker Prize

NoViolet Buluwayo's debut novel "We Need New Names" has been Longlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize - peoplewhowrite

NoViolet Buluwayo

The Man Booker Prize Longlist was announced today and it boasts three debut novelists–NoViolet Bulawayo, Eve Harris, and Donal Ryan–alongside celebrated literati like Jhumpa Lahiri and Colum McCann. The last time a first-time author earned the prize was 2008 when Aravind Adiga won for The White Tiger. The list is also internationally diverse highlighting stories by Malaysian scribe Tash Aw, New Zealander Eleanor Catton, and Canadian Ruth Ozeki among others. This follows a recent trend the NY Times pointed out re: Granta’s decidedly un-British list of literature’s top 20 stars to watch.

The Longlist of 13 novels to make this year’s Man Booker cut was culled from an initial 151 that included work by Margaret Atwood and J.M. Coetzee. Judges Robert MacFarlane, Martha Kearney, Stuart Kelly, Natalie Haynes, and Robert Douglas-Fairhurst will ultimately choose the winner who will receive the £50,000 prize.

And the Longlist is…

Five Star Billionaire Tash Aw (Fourth Estate)
We Need New Names NoViolet Bulawayo (Chatto & Windus)
The Luminaries Eleanor Catton (Granta)
Harvest Jim Crace (Picador)
The Marrying of Chani Kaufman Eve Harris (Sandstone Press)
The Kills Richard House (Picador)
The Lowland Jhumpa Lahiri (Bloomsbury)
Unexploded Alison MacLeod ( Hamish Hamilton)
TransAtlantic Colum McCann (Bloomsbury)
Almost English Charlotte Mendelson (Mantle)
A Tale for the Time Being Ruth Ozeki (Canongate)
The Spinning Heart Donal Ryan (Doubleday Ireland)
The Testament of Mary Colm Tóibín (Viking)