Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sherman Alexie Wins 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

Picked from among 350 novels and short story collections, Sherman Alexie's War Dances has won the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

The award was judged by Rilla Askew, Kyoko Mori, and Al Young, analyzing books from more than 90 publishing houses, small presses, and academic presses.

Judge Young had this statement about the book: "War Dances taps every vein and nerve, every tissue, every issue that quickens the current blood-pulse: parenthood, divorce, broken links, sex, gender and racial conflict, substance abuse, medical neglect, 9/11, Official Narrative vs. What Really Happened, settler religion vs. native spirituality; marketing, shopping, and war, war, war. All the heartbreaking ways we don't live now--this is the caring, eye-opening beauty of this rollicking, bittersweet gem of a book."

- Jason Boog, Galleycat

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Orange Prize longlist announced

Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, the Orange Prize for Fiction today announces the 2010 longlist.

“It was a tough judging process as there was a particularly strong range of books submitted from all over the world in this, the 15th year of the Orange Prize,” commented Daisy Goodwin, Chair of Judges, “but in the end we have chosen a muscular, original and pleasurable longlist that will appeal to all kinds of readers.”

The 2010 longlist features new and well-established writers, including seven first novels alongside previous Orange Prize and Orange Best of the Best winner, Andrea Levy, and Man Booker 2009 winner, Hilary Mantel.

The shortlist will be available on the 20th of April and the winner will be announced on the 9th of June.

Click here to learn about the Orange Prize

Thursday, March 11, 2010

e-readers versus books: what's greener?

The Sony Reader e-book viewer hits the UK today, hoping to "revolutionise" the way we read. Whether you think it's a hot gadget, a solution in search of a problem, an opportunity for new authors (Toby Young's opinion) or an over-priced gizmo (Nick Hornby's take), one question remains: is it green? Does Sony's e-book viewer have a smaller environmental impact than the printed book? Let's take a look.

Below, I've looked at how 'p-books' and e-books square up on three areas of environmental impact.

First is the 'embodied carbon', the amount of carbon dioxide emitted to manufacture a book and the Sony Reader in the first place. Second is the carbon running cost -- the energy consumed to acquire new books and read them. Lastly, I've considered what happens to books and the Reader when they reach their end of life.

So, without further ado… let eco battle commence!

- by SmartPlanet,

See who wins the battle here.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

That Woman Who Writes

I’m always seeking places to write. Never at home—laundry piles, dishes in the sink, MOM emblazoned on my forehead. Although problematic, coffeehouses and libraries are a mainstay. Inevitably, I’ll be thick into my work when someone I know will come up behind me, “Hey, hi! What’cha doin’?” Depending on a combination of fluctuating circumstances—a scale that includes politeness, how the writing is coming, and how well I know the person—my reaction will be to glare until I’m left alone, drop everything and chat, or, more likely, a response somewhere in between the continuum of these two extremes.

For a while, I used a private conference room at my local library, partitioned like an office. The conference room’s intended purpose was for gatherings—conferences—and I was politely asked to stop, even when it wasn’t signed out, and just sat there, vacant, begging to be used. Apparently, the various voices in my head do not constitute a group.

I’m a nervous writer. I drink coffee and subsequently get thirsty and drink water. I chew gum—packs and packs, studding the wastebasket with my spit-out wads. I read my work out loud, again and again (I imagine one might hear a light mumble coming from my direction). There are frequent trips to the bathroom (coffee and water). I have to haul my writing materials—computer, notebooks, etc.—with me, so that they won’t get stolen. Or else I take on the Bathroom Sprint—going as fast as I can, returning in a light sweat.

- Victoria Patterson, The Millions

Read the rest of the essay here.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Obama sends Martel a note about Life of Pi

Martel ... revealed that he recently received a handwritten thank you note from Barack Obama, who had just finished reading Martel’s Life of Pi with his daughter. The president wrote that it was “a lovely book – an elegant proof of God, and the power of storytelling.” Martel told Harper that he would frame the note “for sure,” and still takes it out sometimes to marvel at it:

What amazes me is the gratuity of it. As you would know, there is a large measure of calculation in what public figures do. But here, what does he gain? I’m not a US citizen. In no way can I be of help to President Obama. Clearly he did it for personal reasons, as a reader and as a father. And in two lines, what an insightful analysis of Life of Pi. Bless him, bless him.

- Laura Godfrey, Quill & Quire

Monday, March 1, 2010

Electric Literature

Electric Literature’s mission is to use new media and innovative distribution to return the short story to a place of prominence in popular culture.

We are a quarterly anthology of five top-notch short stories, delivered in every viable medium.

As A.O. Scott wrote recently in the New York Times:
The blog post and the tweet may be ephemeral... but the culture in which they thrive is fed by a craving for more narrative.”

Fiction transports us. It uniquely captures the experience of human consciousness like no other art form, revealing underlying truth and opening us to life’s possibilities. Like any creative act, writing fiction carries within it an implicit belief in the future. Electric Literature was created by people who believe in the future of writing.

We're tired of hearing that literary fiction is doomed. Everywhere we look, people are reading—whether it be paperbooks, eBooks, blogs, tweets, or text messages. So, before we write the epitaph for the literary age, we thought, let’s try it this way first: select stories with a strong voice that capture our readers and lead them somewhere exciting, unexpected, and meaningful. Publish everywhere, every way: paperbacks, Kindles, iPhones, eBooks, and audiobooks. Make it inexpensive and accessible. Streamline it: just five great stories in each issue. Be entertaining without sacrificing depth. In short, create the thing we wish existed.

“Best sign that perhaps the end of the publishing industry as we know it won't be the utter disaster we're all dreading”
–The L Magazine

“A refreshingly bold act of optimism”
–Washington Post

Read more here.