Last Thursday, November 27, 2014, the five member jury of the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature announced the shortlisted titles in contention for its $50,000 prize. After initially culling 75 entries to a longlist of 10, the jurors selected these five books for the shortlist: The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri, The Mirror of Beauty by Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, The Scatter Here is Too Great by Bilal Tanweer, A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie, and Noontide Toll by Romesh Gunesekera.
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
Though well-reviewed, James McBride’s The Good Lord Bird has not been on the many Best of 2013 Lists that have started circulating, so the New York Times describes its win of the National Book Award as a surprise. The novel beat out Jhumpa Lahiri’s multi-nominated and shortlisted The Lowland, Thomas Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge, Rachel Kusher’s The Flamethrowers, and George Saunders’ Tenth of December. McBride himself was shocked by the win, the Times says, reporting a “stunned expression” as he took the stage at the 64th Annual Awards ceremony held at Manhattan’s Cipriani Wall Street on Wednesday November 20th, no speech in hand or committed to memory.
George Packer’s The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America won the non-fiction award. Mary Szybist’s Incarnadine won the Poetry honor. Cynthia Kadohata’s YA novel The Thing About Luck earned the Young Adult Literature prize. The winners, selected earlier that day over a lunch by the judges, each received $10,000 and a statue.
Special honors went to Maya Angelou, who sang part of her acceptance of the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community; and E.L. Doctorow, recipient of the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. In his speech, Doctorow asserted books are the foundation of interactivity, even in a digital world. “Reading,” he explained, “[brings] sentences to life in the mind.”
Media Bistro lists all the National Book Award finalists.
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.
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 MacFarlane, Martha Kearney, Stuart 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.
The full Shortlist is below:
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.
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…