Amy Hempel Wins Short Story Award

Amy HempelAmy Hempel

Author Amy Hempel has been named this year's winner of the The Rea Award for the Short Story. The award was established in 1986 by Michael M. Rea, a publisher and collector of first-edition short stories who died in 1996.

Ms. Hempel has won several prestigious literary awards for her work, including the Hobson Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Over the years, she has served as a judge for the National Book Award, The PEN/Revson Award, The PEN/ Hemingway Award, and the Mary McCarthy Prize among others. Her Collected Stories (2006), was named one of the The New York Times' Ten Best Books in 2007.

Amy has taught at a number of colleges and universities across the country, including New York University, Saint Mary's College, and the University of Missouri. She is currently a faculty member in the graduate writing programs of Bennington College in Vermont and The New School University in New York City.

Mavis Gallant, John Updike, Alice Munro and Stuart Dybek are among the previous winners. The award comes with a $30,000 prize.

October 14, 1964 - Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Have you ever wondered about the Nobel Prizes? We all know them as a mark of prestige, but where did those world-famous awards come from and who decides the winners? Check out The Nobel Prize : A History of Genius, Controversy, and Prestige and wonder no more. Burton Feldman relates the lively history of the awards, touring their century-long existence forward from the will of dynamite mogul Alfred Nobel. Readers will learn about the quirky preferences of the award committees, winners who really didn't deserve to win, losers that should have been winners, and amusing bits of Nobel trivia (like the awarding of the prize in medicine to the inventor of the lobotomy). For details on Martin Luther King, Jr. and his award, the AADL has a GIANT collection of MLK materials for you to peruse. Enjoy!

Mudbound

Every two years, Barbara Kingsolver funds a prize for the best work of fiction by a new author writing about social change. Called the Bellwether Prize, the 2006 recipient was Mudbound by Hillary Jordan. A darkly brooding story, told in alternating, first-person narrative by each character, the events reveal the scarring and devastating effects of both racism and war on two families in rural Mississippi. The long-standing hatreds of the community, combined with two returning soldiers' crippling experience of violence in World War II, beget the final betrayal for each character.

Why would one want to read such a stark-sounding, downer of a book, you may wonder? Because, frankly, it is a stunning story, told in a strong, clear voice, with characters you may never forget, and, though it unveils the dark, frightening forces at work in the human soul, it also celebrates the fierce allegiances to family, land and love. Jordan’s first book is a compelling journey with the characters to a chilling and inevitable conclusion. What surprises and satisfies is how she shines a light of hope at the end.

Bridge to Terabithia

In Katherine Patterson's Newberry award winning novel, "Bridge to Terabithia," two 5th grade kids dream up a magical land where they can escape from the pressures of everyday life. Jesse and Leslie don't quite fit in with the rest of the kids in their rural community. Their friendship and their imaginary kingdom provide them with a safe place to be themselves.

John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel of 2007

The Campbell Award (and a list of previous winners) named In War Times by Kathleen Ann Goonan the Best Science Fiction Novel of 2007. The award was created to honor the late editor of Astounding Science Fiction magazine (now called Analog). Many writers and scholars call Campbell, who edited the magazine from 1937 until his death in 1971, the father of modern science fiction.

You might remember back in January 2008, In War Times was picked as the best 2007 SF novel by the American Library Association's Reading List Council Genre Fiction Awards. For a list of the major literary award winners, check out our new service : BookLetters.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #112

Malaysian Preeta Samarasan scores high marks with critics for her debut Evening is the Whole Day*.

This impressive novel is based on an earlier version that won the 2005-6 Avery and Jule Hopwood Awards while Preeta Samarasan (check out her website) was a graduate student at The University of Michigan.

On the outskirts of Ipoh (Malaysia), The Rajasekharans, a wealthy Indian family, suffers a series of personal and familial tragedies that begin with the death of the matriach, Paati, and the disgraceful dismissal of a young servant girl. Most affected by all of the uproar is 6 year-old Aasha, who is harboring a secret that could further devastate not only her family, but the entire community.

Samarasan "scores impressively with the creation of an intimate, gossipy omniscient narrative voice that's the perfect vehicle for her slowly unfloding, intricately layered story".

For fans of Kiran Desai and Arundhati Roy.

Jean Nouvel – the 2008 Pritzker Prize Winner

NouvelNouvel

French architect Jean Nouvel snatched this year’s top honor in architecture. The prize which includes a $100,000 grant and a bronze medallion, is to be presented on June 2nd at the Library of Congress, Washington D.C.

The Pritzker Prize “honors annually a living architect whose built work demonstrates talent, vision and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.”

Nouvel, respected for his inquisitive and agile mind, takes great risks in each of his strikingly distinctive projects, expanding the vocabulary of contemporary architecture.

Examples of Nouvel’s works include 40 Mercer (SoHo), a luxury residence; Abgar Tower in Barcelona; the Guthrie Theater (photo at left); and the Quai Branly Museum in Paris.

We Are a Winning Walkable City

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Add another accolade to Ann Arbor's cap: Prevention magazine and the American Podiatric Medical Association named Tree Town as one of the 10 Best Walking Cities in America. According to the judges, our parks, mass transit system, dynamic Downtown and Kerrytown, 400 miles of sidewalks, 22.5 miles of shared use paths and a population that loves to walk all add up to a walking wonderland.

Beagles Rule!

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Finally. Uno became the first of his breed to win the 132-year-old Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York last night. Uno, who won over the crowd and judges, showed why the beagle is such a favorite with families. Molly and Aidan know beagles rule.

Westminster Update

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You'll need your clicker tonight to see the entire Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. USA Network, Channel 51 in AA, will host the show from 8 - 9 p.m. and then CNBC, Channel 39 in AA, will take over from 9 - 11 p.m. Bertie gives the show a two-paws up rating.

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