Alice Munro wins the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature

In early July of this year, 82-year-old Alice Munro told the New York Times, that Dear Life: Stories (2012) was her last book. She was going to retire.

Perhaps Ms. Munro would like to rethink that decision. The Swedish Academy in Stockholm announced today that Munro, one of Canada's literary treasures, won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature. This prestigious award is given for an author's life's work. In Ms. Munro's case, that includes 14 short story collections.

Ms. Munro is no stranger to notable awards. In 1980 she was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction for The Beggar Maid: Stories of Flo and Rose (1979). Twenty-nine years later, she won the rebranded Man Booker International Prize.

The National Book Critics Circle Award for 1998 went to Ms. Munro for The Love of a Good Woman:Stories, a collection that also garnered her the first of two Giller Prizes. She won the second in 2004 for Runaway: Stories.

Ms. Munro is the first Canadian (and 14th woman) to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in its 113-year history.

One can only hope she changes her mind about that whole retirement thing.

Tom Clancy, king of techno-military thrillers, has died

Tom Clancy, author of nail-biting military suspense novels, known for their eerie prescience, has died.

Mr. Clancy turned a lifelong obsession for all things military-and-technological into instant success with his first novel, The Hunt for Red October (1984), published by the Naval Institute Press, housed at the U.S. Naval Academy. It was the NIP's first novel -- Clancy's detailed military descriptions caught their attention. It also captured then-President Ronald Reagan's interest as well; thus Mr. Clancy's instant rise to bestsellerdom.

Clancy's unerring accuracy with details had many convinced that he had connections inside the Pentagon. He adamantly denied all such charges, but did say, "I've made stuff up that's turned out to be real, that's the spooky part."

His series character, Jack Ryan, first seen in The Hunt for Red October, has made fourteen more appearances over the past three decades, the latest in Threat Vector which was published last year. The last Jack Ryan novel, Command Authority, will be released at the end of this year.

Several of his thrillers starring Jack Ryan (who morphed, during the course of the series, from U.S. Naval Academy instructor to CIA spy/Director to U.S. President) were turned into successful movies.Alec Baldwin, played Ryan in the 1990 release, The Hunt for Red October. Harrison Ford did the honors in the next two Jack Ryan films, Patriot Games (1992), and
Clear and Present Danger (1994). Ben Affleck appeared as Ryan in The Sum of All Fears in 2002.

Mr. Clancy, who died in a Baltimore hospital, was 66.

UM Professor, Dr. Susan Murphy, is one of this year's MacArthur Foundation 'Geniuses'

This morning, Dr. Susan Murphy, the H.E. Robbins Professor of Statistics and Professor of Psychiatry at The University of Michigan, was awarded one of two dozen new MacArthur Fellows,

Dr. Murphy's current focus is on adaptive intervention, which involves developing plans to work with patients who have chronic or relapsing illnesses (such as, substance abuse or depression) where effective courses of treatment are constantly adjusted for maximum benefit.

Novelist Karen Russell is another new Fellow. The first story in her debut collection, St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves (2006) served as the basis for her much acclaimed first novel, Swamplandia (2011), set in the Everglades and narrated by 13-year-old Ava. Swamplandia was one of three finalists for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. Alas, no award in that category was given last year, due to the lack of the minimum required number of votes.

These "Genius Awards", as they are affectionately known, come with no strings attached. The Fellows are free to spend the money as they wish. This year, the Geniuses received a raise. The formerly half-million dollar reward has been bumped to $625,000, paid out yearly for five years.

For a complete list of the MacArthur Foundation Fellows for the Class of 2013, check here.

The Anthony Awards 2013 have been announced

The Anthony Awards, which acknowledge the best in crime fiction, were announced at the conclusion of the 44th Boucheron, the conference for mystery writers and readers.

Among the winners were:

Louise Penny for her fourth consecutive Anthony. This year her Anthony was for The Beautiful Mystery, the eighth book in her Inspector Armand Gamache series. Her previous three Anthonys were also for entries in this critically acclaimed series.

Chris Pavone's The Expats received its second Best First Novel award. The first was a 2013 Edgar in the same category.

Books to Die For: The World's Greatest Mystery Writers on the World's Greatest Mystery Novels took the Best Critical/Non-Fiction Work category.

For a complete list of 2013 Anthony Winners, check here.

2013 Primetime Emmy winners announced

The 2013 Primetime Emmy winners were announced in a three-hour, star-studded extravaganza.

The Emmys, hosted by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, are the television equivalent of the silver screen's Oscars. The Emmys are a bit different than the Oscars in that there are several award ceremonies throughout the year. The Primetime and the Daytime Emmys are the most popular.

Some of the big winners are:

Claire Danes, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, for her role as Carrie Mathison, a brilliant volatile CIA agent who battles modern day terrorism in the series, Homeland.

Chelsea, MI resident, Jeff Daniels got the nod for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his portrayal of acid-tongued news anchor, Will McAvoy in The Newsroom.

Breaking Bad captured Outstanding Drama Series. What's not to love (and fear) about a chemistry teacher whose diagnosis of terminal cancer inspires him to go on a crime spree to build up resources to take care of his family when he's gone?

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is the new Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, Veep. Her character, Vice President Selina Meyer, has a lot to juggle -- political land mines, a challenging relationship with the President, and a stressful personal life.

One of the big winners of the evening was the HBO movie, Behind the Candelabra, based on the tell-all book by the same name, written by Liberace's longtime lover Scott Thorson. Michael Douglas walked away with the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie. Steven Soderbergh picked up the Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special, and the film itself was named Outstanding Miniseries or Movie.

For a complete list of the Primetime Emmy winners, click here.

The 2013 National Book Award fiction longlist titles have been released

The National Book Foundation announced the National Book Award fiction longlist for 2013 this morning.

Included in this year's fiction longlist are:

Debut novelist, Anthony Marra for A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. In Chechnya in 2004, two doctors want to save the life of a little girl whose father has been captured by the Russians. Marra is no stranger to awards. He won last year's Whiting Writers' Award for emerging authors and a 2010 Pushcart Prize for his 2009 short story Chechnya.

Thomas Pynchon, who won a previous National Book Award (Gravity's Rainbow, 1974), is up for Bleeding Edge. Maxine Tarnow is a single mother of two and an unlicensed fraud investigator with her own renegade code-of-ethics. The dot.com bust has just happened, and 9/11 is about to shock the world, when she gets tangled up with a billionaire, her sorta ex-husband, the Russian mob, and some code monkeys. 477 pages of nail-biting thrills.

Also on the longlist is a short story collection, Tenth of December by MacArthur Fellow, George Saunders, as well as The Lowland, by Jhumpa Lahiri who is also on the Man Booker Prize shortlist.

The complete list of titles on the fiction longlist may be found here.

The other longlist nominees in Young People's Literature, poetry, and nonfiction are listed here.

The shortlist of all categories will be announced on October 16th.

The winners will be announced on November 20th.

National Book Awards' nonfiction longlist for 2013 has been released

The lists just keep on rolling out from the National Book Awards.

Monday we had the young people's list. Yesterday, we learned of the poetry contenders.

Today, it's the nonfiction titles. Of the ten authors selected, nine are new to this honor. Among the contenders are:

Jill Lepore, who tells the story of Ben Franklin's impressive sister in Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin.

In Hitler's Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields, Wendy Lower digs into the lives of half a million women Nazis who participated in the genocide.

Part of Alan Taylor's The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832, is his fascinating account of a group of Virginia slaves who boarded British warships and made a bargain -- in exchange for protection of their families, the slaves would share their extensive knowledge of Virginia to help England's war efforts.

For a complete list of nonfiction titles, check here.

Watch this space for release of the fiction titles.

All finalists will be announced on October 16th.

Winners will be announced on November 20th at the National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner.

Rollout of the 2013 National Book Awards' longlists has begun -- first up, Young People's Literature

The 2013 longlists from the National Book Awards began this morning with the release of ten candidates for the Young People's Literature category.

Kathi Appelt has been nominated for The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp. a fanciful tale of two raccoon brothers, who serve as an early warning system for a yeti living in the swamp and a 12 year old boy, who has to help his mother raise a lot of money to keep from being evicted. All parties join forces to hold at bay a developer determined to take over the swamp.

Kate DiCamillo was been tapped for Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures. Illustrated by K.C. Campbell, Flora rescues Ulysses, a squirrel sucked into a powerful vacuum cleaner. Once revived, Ulysses dazzles with his ability to type fantastic poetry.

Meg Rosoff was chosen for Picture Me Gone. Mila, 12, is a mind reader. Her father needs all the help he can get to find his friend, missing in America, so he and Mila leave Londonf or upstate New York, where Mila realizes that all is not as it seems, starting with her father.

For the complete list of longlist titles, look here.

The longlists will continue to roll out this week. Poetry will be announced tomorrow; nonfiction on Wednesday, the 18th, and the fiction longlist titles will be revealed on Thursday, the 19th.

Mark your calendars for Wednesday, October 16th, when the shortlist titles are announced. Then on Wednesday, November 20th, we will learn the winners.

Man Booker 2013 Shortlist has been announced

The Man Booker Prize, one of the most prestigious literary prizes for more than 40 years, has released its shortlist for 2013.

The six authors on the shortlist are notably diverse. Per the requirements of the Man Book Prize, they are all citizens of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland. They range in age from 28 (Eleanor Catton to 67 (Jim Crace. Catton, who splits her time between Canada and New Zealand, has written the longest book (The Luminaries -- on order -- is 540 pages). Veteran Irish author, Colm Toibin has produced the shortest -- The Testament of Mary is just 81 pages.

The Luminaries is a mystery set in New Zealand during that country's 1866 Gold Rush.

Toibin's short powerful novel imagines Mary's struggles with faith and grief in her later years, after Jesus' death.

Other contenders are NoViolet Bulawayo whose debut novel, We Need New Names, tracks the life of a 10 year old girl from Zimbabwe who moves in with her aunt in America, swapping abject poverty for shocking excess.

Jim Grace is enjoying his second appearance on the Man Booker shortlist with Harvest, a tale of the unraveling of pastoral calm in a British medieval farming community whose residents battle strangers, witchcraft and each other. His first foray into Man Booker Shortlist territory was in 1998 for Quarantine (1997).

For the complete list of shortlist contenders, check here.

The winner, who will receive the £50,000 prize, will be announced on October 15th.

Frederik Pohl, one of the grand masters of science fiction, has died

Frederik Pohl, winner of the trifecta of science fiction awards (Hugo, Nebula, and John W. Campbell awards), has died.

Pohl, born in New York City in 1919, was one of the most prolific writers of science fiction ever. In the 1930s, he belonged to a science fiction writers club, whose members called themselves the Futurians. Some of those in the group were C.M. Kornbluth, Isaac Asimov, and James Blish.

While he was writing in the 1940s and 1950s, he started a literary agency to put support his growing family. Some of the writers he represented were John Wyndham, Robert Sheckley, and Fritz Leiber. His first published effort, The Space Merchants, 1953), was the first of many collaborations with science fiction giant, C.M. Kornbluth (see above).

Pohl won multiple Nebulas, Hugos, and John W. Campbell awards, the three biggies in the science fiction world. His 1979 novel, Gateway, won all three.

His short story, Fermi and Frosty (1985), which appears in the anthology, Platinum Pohl: The Collected Stories (2005), won the 1986 Short Story Hugo.

Pohl's interests were not restricted to the science fiction world. He was passionate about politics and the environment. He and Asimov collaborated on Our Angry Earth in 1991. Nine years later, he published Chasing Science: Science as Spectator Sport.

Mr. Pohl, who was 93, died yesterday,

Syndicate content