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Literary prize updates

Literary prizes are popping up this spring faster than the season's tulips.

The James Tait Black Memorial Prizes, awarded by Scotland's University of Edinburgh, has shortlisted Ian McEwan (Saturday), Kazuo Ishiguro (Never Let Me Go), Joyce Carol Oates (Missing Mom), Andre Brink (Praying Mantis -- not yet available in the US), and Ali Smith (Accidental) for their 2005 awards in Biography and Fiction. The prizes, the UK's oldest literary awards, will be announced in June of this year.

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The Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award, given to a young novelist of attention-getting talent, has been awarded to a Michigan author.

Nick Arvin received the $5000 for his debut novel, Articles of War. Arvin graduated in 1991 from Clio High School. Clio is northeast of Flint.

Death claims two noted authors

galbraith toer

Noted authors John Kenneth Galbraith and Pramoedya Ananta Toer, have died.

Galbraith, 97, gave economic advice to four Democratic presidents (Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson), cautioning against the run-away power of giant corporations. And still he found time to pen an extraordinarily rich body of work, including The Affluent Society (1958) and The Good Society (1996). Galbraith died Saturday, April 29.

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Pramoedya Ananta Toer, whose quartet of powerful novels about Indonesia's struggle for independence captured the literary world, died April 30 at the age of 81.

His Buru Quartet, This Earth of Mankind, Child of all Nations, Footsteps, and House of Glass were banned in his own country. Toer knew of what he wrote. He was arrested in 1965 and jailed for 14 years with no charges, and then placed under house arrest until 1992.

Michigan Notable Books, 2006

Michigan Notable Books, 2006

The Library of Michigan announced its list of 20 Michigan Notable Books. To be considered for this distinguished list Michigan must be "...the inspiration, the setting or the source..."

This year's list includes:

Youth novel Harry Sue, by Sue Stauffacher; The Summer He Didn't Die, by long-time great Michigan storyteller, Jim Harrison; Ann Arbor author Steve Amick's The Lake, the River, and the Other Lake; and Paul Clemens' outstanding Made in Detroit: A South of 8 Mile Memoir.

For the full list, go to the Library of Michigan website.

2006 Pulitzer Winners

Pulitzer Winners, 2006

Columbia University announced the winners of the 2006 Pulitzer Prizes on April 17, 2006.

Winners in the Letters & Drama categories are:

Fiction
Geraldine Brooks, for March

History
David Oshinsky for Polio: An American Story

Biography
Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin for American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer

Poetry
Claudia Emerson for Late Wife

General Non-Fiction
Caroline Elkins for Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya

For a complete list of categories and winners, go to the Pulitzer website.

Didn't know much about mythology...and so much more...

When I picked up Kenneth C. Davis's Don't Know Much About Mythology, I was expecting a humorous and informative read answering some of my questions about mythology and religion, such as whether Nirvana is a Hindu or Buddhist concept (there's a good reason for my confusion) or what people used to do on Christmas before the common era (think much less gift-giving and many more spiked drinks). What I wasn't expecting was the deluge of information Davis packs into these 400 or so pages, such as when the oldest civilizations began, which of them started writing first, why Tara is the perfect name for Scarlet O'Hara's homestead in Gone with the Wind (see p. 289), why Ganesh is a great choice for Apu's favorite god in The Simpsons, or how much the early books of the Bible were influenced by Mesopatamian myths.

How Opal Mehta plagiarism charge rocks the publishing world

Harvard sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan plunged from literary phenom to disgraced plagiarist when it was discovered that her brand new chick lit title, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life, included healthy doses of passages from two of Megan McCafferty's titles, Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings.

Viswanathan's publisher, Little, Brown, announced April 27 that it would pull all unsold copies of Opal Mehta from all retail outlets. In true American style, this news instantly sent the price of Opal soaring on eBay ("buy now for $99.99").

Viswanathan insists that the borrowing was unintentional -- she's a big fan of McCafferty's writing and said she's read the two titles in question many times.

Good news for Ms. McCafferty -- she's getting a good bounce for the two books in the spotlight, which may carry over to her latest entry, Charmed Thirds.

Where the women are strong, the men are good looking, and all the children are above average

"It's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, Minnesota." So surely will begin 2006 Honorary Oscar winner Robert Altman's film version of A Prairie Home Companion, opening on June 9th.

All of your favorite residents of Lake Wobegon will be there: Guy Noir private eye (played by Kevin Kline), the singing cowboys Dusty & Lefty (John C. Reilly and Woody Harrelson respectively), and of course, hometown boy and host Garrison Keillor (played by none other than himself). Also on hand will be a few new old-fashioned singers from Lake Wobegon: Rhonda (Lily Tomlin), Yolanda (Meryl Streep), and Lola (Lindsay Lohan).

Make sure that you brush up on your Lake Wobegon gossip and A Prairie Home Companion antics to keep abreast of all the town happenings!

2006 Edgar Winners

2006 Edgar nominees

The Mystery Writers of America announced the winners of the 2006 Edgar Allan Poe Awards on April 27, 2006. Winners in the top categories are:

Best Novel
Jess Walter for Citizen Vince

Best First Novel by an American Author
Theresa Schwegel for Officer Down

Best Paperback Original
Jeffrey Ford for Girl in the Glass

Best Fact Crime
Edward Dolnick for Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece

For the complete list of winners, go to this website

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Best Sellers List (4/23/06)

Who knew Mary Higgins Clark was such a star in France? The Jerry Lewis of fiction writers? According to the Times, she hits the bestseller list over there regularly at #1, just as she did here last Sunday.

Coincidentally the other three new titles are all set in the states hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina.

At #1 is Two Little Girls in Blue by Mary Higgins Clark: "A small girl communicates telepathically with her kidnapped twin."

At #4 is Shiver by Lisa Jackson: "A New Orleans detective tracks a serial killer."

At #12 is Hey, Good Looking by Fern Michaels: "Family feuds and forgiveness in Baton Rouge."

At #16 is We Are All Welcome Here by Elizabeth Berg: "In Mississippi in 1964, a paralyzed woman struggles to raise her teenage daughter with the help of an African-American aide."

And You Know You Should be Glad...

Award-winning columnist for the Chicago Tribune, broadcast journalist on ABC's Nightline, and bestselling author Bob Green (Duty), (All Summer Long) will be a featured speaker at the 2006 Ann Arbor Book Festival on May 13th.

He will be reading from his latest And You Know You Should be Glad. This true story of a lifelong friendship of five pals from Bexley, Ohio – the “ABCDJ” gang (Allen, Bob, Chuck, Dan and Jack) and their emotional reunion due to Jack’s terminal illness, is both nostalgic and heartwarming.

"Readers who enjoyed Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking will find Greenes writing to be more wistful and plainspoken but similarly rewarding." (Library Journal).

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