2016 Miles Morland Winners Announced

And the Winners are:

*Abdul Adan – Somalia

*Ayesha Harruna Attah – Ghana

*Lidudumalingani Mqombothi – South Africa

*Nneoma Ike-Njoku – Nigeria

iromuanya-penshortlist

Julie Iromuanya, author of Mr. and Mrs Doctor, is shortlisted for a 2016 Miles Morland Scholarship

The fourth annual Miles Morland Scholarship for African writers has announced an impressive shortlist:

*Abdul Adan – Somalia (Shortlisted for the 2016 Caine Prize; Founding member of the Jalada collective)

*Jekwu Anyaegbuna – Nigeria (Shortlisted for the 2012 Commonwealth Short Story Prize: Africa; Shortlisted by novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for the Farafina Trust International Creative Writers’ Programme)

*Ayesha Harruna Attah – Ghana (Shortlisted for the 2010 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize; author of two novels including Harmattan Rain and Saturday’s Shadows)

*Rotimi Babatunde – Nigeria (Winner of the 2012 Caine Prize; Longlisted for the 2015 Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award; included in the Africa39 Anthology)

*Dayo Forster – Gambia (Author of Reading the Ceiling)

*Amy Heydenrych – South Africa (Author of the short story “The Money Shot“)

*Abubakar Ibrahim – Nigeria (Author of The Season of Crimson Blossoms, The Whispering Trees, Daughters of Bappa Avenue, and The Quest for Nina;  winner of the 2016 Nigeria Prize for Literature; included in the Africa39 Anthology)

*Nneoma Ike-Njoku – Nigeria (Author of the short story “Daddy Lagos;” Recipient of a Writing for Peace Young Writers Prize)

*Julie Iromuanya – Nigeria (Author of Mr and Mrs. Doctor; Shortlisted for the 2016 PEN/Faulkner Award and PEN/Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction; Longlisted for the 2016 National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize for Debut Fiction and the Etisalat Prize for Literature)

*Hamse Ismail – Somalia (Author of the short story “Mediterranean Bird: A Quest for Love in Paradise,” a Mandela Washington Fellow at the University of Delaware in Newark)
William Ifeanyi Moore – Nigeria (Author of Lonely Roads and 30/30: Short stories on love, life and other such nonsense)

*Lidudumalingani Mqombothi – South Africa (Winner of the 2016 Caine Prize)

*Nick Mulgrew – South Africa (Author of Stations, The Myth of This is that We’re All in this Together; Co-Editor of Water: New Short Fiction from AfricaFounder of the poetry press, uHlanga)

*Otosirieze Obi-Young – Nigeria (Author of “The Lion in Harmattan;” 2015 Pushcart Prize Nominee)

*Okwiri Oduor – Kenya (Winner of the 2014 Caine Prize; included in the Africa39 Anthology and One World Two: A Second Anthology of Global Short Stories)

*Adeola Opeyemi – Nigeria (Editor at WriteHouse Collective)
Olawale Olayemi – Nigeria (Freelance Writer)

*Troy Onyango – Kenya (Winner of the 2016 Inaugural Nyanza Literary Prize)

*Mary Ononokpono – Nigeria (Winner of the 2014 Golden Baobab Prize for Early Chapter Books; Shortlisted for the 2015 Miles Morland Foundation Scholarship; included in the anthology of Water: New Short Fiction from Africa)

*Koye Oyedeji – Nigeria (Writer; Critic; Literature Professor)

*Bryony Rheam – Zimbabwe (Author of This September SunWinner of the Best First Book prize at the 2010 Zimbabwe Book Publishers’ Association Awards)

*Sandisile Tshuma – Zimbabwe (Honourable Mention in the 2010 Thomas Pringle Awards for the best short story published in a newspaper or journal in southern Africa in the preceding two years)

The Miles Morland Foundation will award one Fiction grant of £18,000 to be paid monthly over the course of 12 months, and one Non-Fiction scholarship at the discretion of the Foundation of up to £27,000, paid over an 18 month period.

Bob Dylan Won the Nobel Prize in Literature!

bob-dylan-wins-nobel-prize-in-literature_via-nobel_peoplewhowriteOur cultural definition of literature has officially been blown wide open with the Swedish Academy’s award of the Nobel Prize in Literature to songwriter Bob Dylan. Past prizes have recognized essayists, playwrights, poets, novelists, and writers of various genres of non-fiction prose, but this is the first time the Nobel has been awarded to an artist primarily known for writing songs.

The Swedish Academy awards lifetime achievement in six categories–Physics, Chemistry, Literature, Medicine, Peace, and Economic Sciences–evidently using “Literature” as a catchall for all arts and letters genres, while approaching the sciences with a bit more nuance. This reading of Literature in the broadest sense has sparked confusion, derision, and appreciation at the inclusion of an artist most people have heard of.

@n_martinsson tweeted: “Probably the first time I have works of this years Nobel Prize winner in my Bookshelf.” @chrispbone added: “Bob Dylan, imma let you finish, but Geri Halliwell wrote some of the best songs of all time.” @sabrinajeria wrote: “Nothing against Dylan but it’s a shame so many incredibly deserving novelists were overlooked.” The Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, Kenyan writer Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, and British Indian author Salman Rushdie had been among a shortlist of rumored frontrunners for the prize.

We’ll have to wait and see how the Academy’s honor of a non-traditional literary life will impact the tastes of acquiring editors at the publishing houses, but with venues for consuming literature changing by the minute–see Wally Lamb’s plans to release his upcoming sixth novel via an app, Beyonce’s collaboration with Warsan Shire on her album Lemonade which led to a sales spike and widespread recognition for the Somali poet, and Aziah King‘s viral twitter tale of a stripper’s wild weekend in Florida–our collective understanding of what literature is will continue to expand. Not to mention the fact that telecommunications companies are expressing interest in adding literature to the content they serve up to subscribers.

These developments open up the possibilities for how literature can be experienced and expand what readers will expect from their literary content. This expansion will eventually reflect in the work editors publish.

It’s already evident in the literary prize landscape. The Goldsmiths Prize was founded in 2013 specifically to “encourage more risk-taking among novelists, editors and agents alike,” with Goldsmiths creative writing professor Blake Morrison observing, “There’s an idea that innovative and genre-busting books are bound to be inaccessible. We don’t believe that’s the case.”

Writers like Eleanor CattonTeju Cole , and Zadie Smith have also been interrogating traditional forms and experimenting with new ways to tell compelling stories for some time now. Catton won the 2013 Man Booker Prize for her novel The Luminaries which was in excess of 800 pages and chronologically structured around zodiac signs. Likewise, Cole has been lauded for his literary use of Twitter (I love his seven short stories about drones), as well as the stream of consciousness style of his 2011 novel Open City.

The Guardian‘s review of Smith’s 2012 novel NW noted “The whole of the first section is defined by its resistance to genre…” The Washington Post review further explained:

Each of the four sections of “NW” demonstrates a different form. There’s no second-person narrator or anything as weird as a PowerPoint presentation, but the longest part of “NW” is divided into 185 short, numbered sections, ranging from straightforward narrative to menu items, quiz answers, IM chats and even stage directions. I sympathize if you have no patience for this sort of experimentation, which can seem so graspingly avant-garde, but Smith uses the swirl of these disparate elements to illustrate the complexity of modern life.

Additionally, though “alt lit” has been declared “dead,” the genre also signals a hunger among writers and readers for alternative narrative expressions.

As writers, whether we choose to be more experimental with our work or double down in our obeisance to more classically literary forms, the box-breaking genre defiance that’s happening in and around literature doesn’t have to be scary if we are prepared for it. But prepare we must. Like it or not, “the times, they are a’ changin’.” (I had to.)

National Book Awards 2016

UPDATE: The 2016 National Book Award Winners are:

FICTION
Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad

NON-FICTION
Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America

POETRY
Daniel Borzutzky’s The Performance of Becoming Human

YOUNG PEOPLE’S LITERATURE
John Lewis, Andrew Aydin & Nate Powell’s March: Book Three

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Arlie Russell Hochschild

The National Book Awards, set for November 16th, has named the 20 authors who earned a spot on their 2016 shortlist. Among them, 2002 MacArthur Fellow Colson Whitehead, former Guggenheim, Fulbright, and Mellon Fellow Arlie Russell Hochschild, and Jacqueline Woodson whose book Brown Girl Dreaming earned the 2014 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.

FICTION
Chris Bachelder’s The Throwback Special
Paulette Jiles’ News of the World
Karan Mahajan’s The Association of Small Bombs
Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad
Jacqueline Woodson’s Another Brooklyn

NON-FICTION
Arlie Russell Hochschild’s Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right
Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War
Andrés Reséndez’s The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America
Heather Ann Thompson’s Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy

POETRY
Daniel Borzutzky’s The Performance of Becoming Human
Rita Dove’s Collected Poems 1974 – 2004
Peter Gizzi’s Archeophonics
Jay Hopler’s The Abridged History of Rainfall
Solmaz Sharif’s Look

YOUNG PEOPLE’S LITERATURE
Kate DiCamillo’s Raymie Nightingale
John Lewis, Andrew Aydin & Nate Powell’s March: Book Three
Grace Lin’s When the Sea Turned to Silver
Jason Reynolds’ Ghost
Nicola Yoon’s The Sun Is Also a Star

6 Writers Earn 2016 MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grants

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Gene Luen Yang

Today, graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang, journalist Sarah Stillman, artist and writer Lauren Redniss, poet Claudia Rankine, writer Maggie Nelson, and playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins were named among 23 artists and scientists receiving 2016 MacArthur Fellowships. Nominated by a committee of “external, invited nominators,” MacArthur Fellows are ultimately selected by 12 jurists to receive a stipend of $625,000, paid in quarterly installments over five years. The FAQs section of the MacArthur Foundation website details: “The fellowship is designed to provide recipients with the flexibility to pursue their own artistic, intellectual, and professional activities in the absence of specific obligations or reporting requirements.”  Last year’s class included Ta-Nehisi CoatesBen LernerLin-Manuel Miranda, and Ellen Bryant Voigt.

 

2016 Man Booker Winner: Paul Beatty

UPDATE: Paul Beatty’s The Sellout  wins the 2016 Man Booker!

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sellout-blog-imagePaul Beatty’s The Sellout, Deborah Levy’s Hot MilkGraeme Macrae Burnet’s His Bloody ProjectOttessa Moshfegh’s EileenDavid Szalay’s All That Man Is, and Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing made the cut from a longlist of 13 titles announced in July. Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings earned the 2015 Man Bookerthe first time for a Jamaican novelist, and a first for indie publisher Oneworld Publications. With Paul Beatty’s novel, Oneworld is hoping for a repeat performance.

Each shortlisted author will receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book. The winner will receive an additional £50,000.

Svetlana Alexievich Earns 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature

Svetlana Alexeivich, winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize for Literature - peoplewhowrite

Svetlana Alexievich

Svetlana Alexievich, author of Voices from Chernobyl, Zinky Boys, and War’s Unwomanly Face, was announced today at noon, Swedish time, as the 2015 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. The prize is worth $960,000.

The permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, Sara Danius, released the news this morning in Stockholm, though, on Twitter, the  unverified @SvAlexievich account reportedly scooped the story, tweeting: “Swedish Academy awarded to me the Nobel Prize in Literature 2015. I receive now a call from Sweden. I’m happy, very happy! Thanks.”
Danius praised Alexievich as “absolutely brilliant.” adding “[she] “has mapped the soul” of the Soviet and post-Soviet people.

Kirkus Prizes Announces Second Annual Awards Contenders

Valeria Luiselli is the author of The Story of My Teeth - peoplewhowrite

Valeria Luiselli is the author of The Story of My Teeth

Kirkus, the book review and editing service, has announced the finalists contending for $50,000 per category for its second annual prize. The winners will be announced on October 16, 2015 at a ceremony in Austin, Texas.

FICTION
The Incarnations by Susan Barker
A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff (also longlisted for the 2015 National Book Award)
The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli; translated by Christina MacSweeney
The Book of Aron by Jim Shepard
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (also on the 2015 Man Booker Prize shortlist and the 2015 National Book Award longlist)

NONFICTION
Between the World and Me: Notes on the First 150 Years in America by Ta-Nehisi Coates (also on the 2015 National Book Award longlist)
Whirlwind: The American Revolution and the War that Won It by John Ferling
H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
The Deluge: The Great War, America and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916-1931 by Adam Tooze
Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World’s Superpowers by Simon Winchester
The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World by Andrea Wulf

YOUNG READERS’ LITERATURE
Picture Book
The New Small Person by Lauren Child
Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by Jonah Winter; illustrated by Shane W. Evans

Middle Grade
Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras by Duncan Tonatiuh

Teen
The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough
Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older

Last year, Lily King’s Euphoria, Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, and Kate Samworth’s Aviary Wonders Inc.: Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual took the inaugural Kirkus Prizes for fiction, non-fiction, and young readers’ literature, respectively .

Four Writers Named to 2015 MacArthur 'Genius' Class

Ta-Nehisi Coates - peoplewhowrite

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ben Lerner, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Ellen Bryant Voigt have been inducted into the MacArthur Foundation’s 2015 Fellows Class, alongside 20 other ‘Geniuses’.

As National Correspondent at The Atlantic, Coates has written a number of illuminating articles about the impact of race and racism in American life including the 2013 National Magazine Award Winning “Fear of a Black President” and 2014’s “The Case for Reparations” which earned the 2015 Harriet Beecher Stowe Center Prize for Writing to Advance Social Justice. His most recent book Between the World and Me, released in July 2015 and shortlisted for a 2015 National Book Award, was an instant bestseller. Last week, Coates and comic book icon Marvel announced Coates will pen a new Black Panther series.

Ben Lerner is the author of the novels Leaving the Atocha Station and 10:04, and the poetry collections The Lichtenberg Figures, Angle of Yaw, and Mean Free Path, among other projects. Leaving the Atocha Station earned the runner-up honor for the 2013 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature and made the shortlist for the 2013 James Tait Black Prize10:04 was shortlisted for the 2nd Annual Folio Prize. 

The playwright behind 2007 Broadway hit In the Heights and the 2015 release Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda is also an actor, composer, and lyricist whose credits include Bring It On: The Musical, tick, tick…BOOM!Merrily We Roll Along, and “21 Chump Street,” for This American Life.

Ellen Bryant Voigt has authored eight poetry collections Claiming Kin, Forces of Plenty, KyrieThe Lotus Flowers, Two Trees, Shadow of Heaven, Messenger: New and Selected Poems 1976-2006, and Headwaters.

The 2015 International Press Freedom Award Winners Announced

AP reporter Kathy Gannon to receive lifetime achievement award at 2015 International Press Freedom Awards - peoplewhowrite

Kathy Gannon, The Associated Press’s Special Regional Correspondent for Pakistan and Afghanistan to receive lifetime achievement honor at 2015 International Press Freedom Awards

The Committee to Protect Journalists has announced the recipients of their 2015 International Press Freedom Awards via a press release distributed on Tuesday September 15th. The winners are:

  • Zone 9 bloggers of Ethiopia, a group of bloggers of which six were arrested, imprisoned, and charged with terrorism in retaliation for critical reporting;
  • Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, “Zunar,” of Malaysia, CPJ’s first cartoonist awardee, who is charged with sedition and faces a potential 43-year jail term for drawings lampooning high-level abuse in the Malaysian government;
  • Cándido Figueredo Ruíz, a Paraguayan journalist who faces death threats and has lived under 24-hour police protection for the past decade because of his reporting on drug smuggling on the Brazil-Paraguay border; and
  • Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, a Syrian citizen journalist collective and one of the few independent news sources that continues to report from inside the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed capital.
  • The Associated Press’s special regional correspondent for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Kathy Gannon, will receive the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award for lifetime achievement in the cause of press freedom.

ABC World News Tonight anchor David Muir will host the award and benefit dinner honoring the winners in New York on November 24, 2015.  Steven R. Swartz, President and CEO of Hearst, is the dinner chairman.