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.

Letters about Literature National Contest

Have you ever read a book that changed you or your outlook on life? Do you ever wish that you could tell the author of that book how much they influenced you? The Library of Michigan has just announced that it is taking submissions for the statewide and national Letters about Literature contest for grades 4 through 12. Readers should write a letter to a favorite author explaining how a book changed them.

The Library of Michigan will be accepting submissions until December 10 for grades 9-12, and January 10 for grades 4-8.

To submit your letter, you will need to attach a Literature Entry Coupon, found here on the Library of Michigan website.

Want some inspiration? Check out the award-winning letters from last year’s contest and AADL's books for kids on writing.

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.

Seamus Heaney, one of Ireland's greatest poets, has died

Seamus Heaney, one of Ireland's most revered poets, died yesterday in Dublin.

Mr. Heaney was born in County Derry, Ireland, 1939, the eldest of nine children. His gift for poetry received increasing recognition, beginning in 1964 when The New Statesman, Britain's 100-year-old political and cultural magazine, published three of his poems.

He wrote poignantly and in equal measure of Ireland's Troubles and of his deep love of family. One of his most famous collections, (North, 1975), has poems on both topics.

He was a gifted academician, having taught at Harvard and Oxford. At the latter, his lecture series turned into the book, The Redress of Poetry in 1995. Also, that year he won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

He was also a renowned essayist. One of his most well-known collection, the 1980 Preoccupations: Selected Prose, 1968-1978, was a critical examination of such well-known writers, as Wordsworth, Yeats, and Sylvia Plath.

He also produced an outstanding translation of Beowulf in 1999.

In lieu of an autobiography, Heaney agreed to a series of interviews with poet Dennis O'Driscoll, his good friend. The resulting book, Stepping Stones, was published in 2008.

Two of the most moving tributes to Mr. Heaney's passing can be found here -- The Guardian and The New York Times.

Mr. Heaney, who was 74, had suffered a stroke in 2006 and had been in poor health ever since.

Elmore Leonard, crime writer extraordinaire, has died

Elmore Leonard, longtime Michigan resident who captivated his readers for years, died this morning in his beloved Detroit.

Born in New Orleans in 1925, he started out as a writer of western fiction. One of his earliest (1953) westerns, 3:10 to Yuma, was the first of many of his novels to be made into a movie. In the case of Yuma, both the 1957 original release, starring Van Heflin and Glenn Ford and the 2007 remake, with Russell Crowe and Christian Bale, were popular.

Once westerns reached their peak in the early 1960s, Leonard stuck with his copywriting career which had funded his writing since the 1950s. Then in 1965, his agent sold the film rights to Hombre(1961) (on order) which was released two years later, starring Paul Newman and Fredric March.

With the money from that sale, Leonard switched gears and began writing one entertaining, suspenseful crime novel after another, many of which, again, were optioned into movies. First up was The Big Bounce, 1969, which hit the the silver screen in 1969 and again with the remake in 2004.

Get Shorty, the movie (John Travolta and Rene Russo, 1995), was based on his 1990 novel by the same name.

In all, more than two dozen Elmore Leonard novels got the Hollywood treatment.

Critics and fans adored his books, marveling at his gift for dialog and spare storytelling. On July 16, 2001, Leonard wrote an article for the New York Times. In WRITERS ON WRITING; Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle, he laid out his ten rules for writing which have become revered guidelines ever since.

Elmore Leonard was the recipient of multiple awards, including a couple of Edgars, a Peabody, and the Owen Wister Award.In addition he had honorary PhDs from The University of Michigan, Florida Atlantic University and University of Detroit Mercy.

Mr, Leonard, who had suffered a stroke on July 29th of this year, was 87 years old.

Winners of the 2013 AADL Short Story Wrting Contest for Grades 3-5!

Writers were recognized for their creativity and encouraged to keep writing at a packed house 'Awards Celebration',
with plenty of wit and enthusiasm from guest author, Shutta Crum.

99 submissions were received this year, our first year for Grades 3-5, with stories coming in from 20 different schools,
including home schooled writers.

Click here for writing resources for grades K-5.

Congratulations to the winners in each grade:
5th Grade: 1st Place - Pastel's Journey by Ashlee Freeman
2nd Place - The Boulder Block by Krishna Davis
3rd Place - Sallie Sweetwater and the Nebraska Disaster by Jenna Allman

4th Grade: 1st Place - A Weird Day at the Science Museum by Arjun Purohit
2nd Place - Winston and His Ears by Abby Dobson
3rd Place - Blueberry Girl by Anabellee Jones

3rd Grade: 1st Place - My Secret by Emma Crownover
2nd Place - The Story of the Talking Hamster by Alma Moga
3rd Place - Allians-A True Story by Mohammed Hamoud

We hope all of you continue to write many, many more stories!

Winners of the 2013 AADL Teen Short Story Contest!

47 Finalists were honored on Saturday, May 11, from a pool of 335 submissions for this year's 21st Annual Teen Short Story Writing Contest.

A. S. King spoke to a packed house of teen writers, their families and friends. She delivered a motivational speech, sharing stories of her path as a writer, full of inspiration and wit.
Click here to see the slate of award winning judges.

Below are the top nine winners in each off the three grade categories:

Middle School:
1st Place - 'The Soles of Our Shoes' by Cynthia Jia
2nd Place - 'Beach Glass' by Sofia Kwok
3rd Place - 'The Invasion of Lizzy Burnell' by Mary Collins

High School 9th/10th:
1st Place - 'The Gourd Tree' by Marie Martelli
2nd Place - 'Prisoner's Dilemma' by Milo Davidson
3rd Place - 'Sunstep' by Steven Schulte

High School 11th/12th:
1st Place - 'Going Once' by Allison Light
2nd Place - 'Buoyancy' by Josie Benson
3rd Place - 'Breach' by Leah Awkward-Rich

Congratulations to all the writers, and we hope you continue to write many stories!

Kids Rock Music Workshop: Songwriting The ICV Way

Sunday June 16, 2013: 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Meet Ice Cream Vendors in person on the afternoon of their Top Of The Park Kids Rock performance.

Ice Cream Vendors songs are all written and composed with a collaborative effort. For this workshop, ICV's Jon Kostal and Greg Barnett let you in on their unique approach to songwriting. Learn about song inspiration based on unusual everyday sources.

The workshop will also feature an interactive demonstration.

For Grades K-5.

Kids Rock Music Workshop With The Not-Its!

Sunday June 30, 2013: 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Meet The Not-Its! in person on the afternoon of their Top Of The Park Kids Rock performance.

This hands-on music creation workshop will give music lovers and fans a chance to learn how The Not-Its! combine crunchy guitars with smooth, four-part harmonies, to create pop gems.

Meet them in person as they teach you how they create their fantastic sounds.

This event is for grades K - 5.

Introducing Judge #9 Teen Short Story Contest 2013 - Don Gallo

Editor Donald R. Gallo is a recipient of the ALAN Award for Outstanding Contributions to Young Adult Literature and the editor of several short story anthologies for teens, including the highly praised DESTINATION UNEXPECTED. The American Library Association includes his anthology SIXTEEN:Short Stories by Outstanding Writers for Young Adults among the 100 Best Books for Young Adults.

A former junior high school teacher and university professor of English, Don Gallo currently spends his time as an editor, author, workshop presenter,
and interviewer of famous authors.

Don Gallo is also a Judge for this year's It's All Write short story writing contest for teens.

The panel of 11 judges will look at the finalists in three grade categories of 6-7-8 (Middle School), 9-10 (High School) and 11-12 (High School) and select the
winners who are announced at an Awards Ceremony on May 11, with A. S. King as guest speaker.

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