A couple of months ago I posted about the longlist for the Lettre Ulysses Award, a prize that is given to the best book-length reporting. They have since announced the winner and runners-up, and this year the award went to The People on the Street: A Writer’s View of Israel by Linda Grant. Her book is a ground level view of life in Israel, placing it in counterpoint to the scads of books that look at the region from 35,000 feet. In an excerpt, we read about the reaction on the street in Tel Aviv when people found out that Saddam had been captured.
The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award has unveiled its massive 2012 longlist. Recall that libraries around the world can nominate books for the prize, and these nominations, taken together, comprise the longlist. This year there are 147 novels on the list, nominated by 122 libraries in 45 countries. All of the books must have been published in English in 2010 (including translations). Because of the award’s global reach and egalitarian process, it’s always interesting to dig deeper into the longlist. Taken as a whole, the literary proclivities of various countries become evident, and a few titles recur again and again, revealing which books have made a global impact on readers. Overall favorites: books that were nominated by at least seven libraries. Room by Emma Donoghue (20 libraries representing Australia, England, France, Ireland, the Maldives, New Zealand, and the United States) The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (13 libraries representing Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, New Zealand, Switzerland, and the United States) Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (12 libraries representing Canada, England, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, and the United States) To the End of the Land by David Grossman (10 libraries representing Brazil, Canada, Germany, and the United States) Purge by Sofi Oksanen (8 libraries representing Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Norway, Poland, Sweden, and Switzerland) Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes (7 libraries representing the Czech Republic, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United States) You can also look at the list and see which books are favorites in different countries. Several books were nominated by multiple libraries in the same country. Here’s a few: In Canada, Annabel by Kathleen Winter In Germany, Fame by Daniel Kehlmann In Ireland, Skippy Dies by Paul Murray In the Netherlands, Counterpoint by Anna Enquist and The Book Club by Marjolijn Februari There were also several countries with only one library nominating just one or two books. Here are a few of those: From Bermuda, Gorée: Point of Departure by Angela Barry From Cyprus, A Watermelon, a Fish and a Bible by Christy Lefteri From Hungary, One Amazing Thing by Chitra Divakaruni From India, Serious Men by Manu Joseph From Japan, The Book of Heroes by Miyuki Miyabe
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The shortlist for a still fairly new, but very worthwhile award has been announced. The Best Translated Book Award highlights work in translation (of course), a corner of the literary world that gets far less attention in the U.S. than it deserves. "The Best Translated Book Awards launched in 2007 as a way of bringing attention to great works of international literature. Original translations (no reprints or retranslations) published between December 2009 and November 2010 are eligible for this year’s award. Quality of the original book and the artistry of the English translation are the criteria used in determining the winning titles. Thanks to the support of Amazon.com, each winning author and translator will receive a $5,000 cash prize." The shortlist comprises ten books, and six languages are represented: The Literary Conference by César Aira, translated from the Spanish by Katherine Silver The Golden Age by Michal Ajvaz, translated from the Czech by Andrew Oakland A Life on Paper by Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud, translated from the French by Edward Gauvin The Jokers by Albert Cossery, translated from the French by Anna Moschovakis Visitation by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky Hocus Bogus by Romain Gary (writing as Émile Ajar), translated from the French by David Bellos The True Deceiver by Tove Jansson, translated from the Swedish by Thomas Teal On Elegance While Sleeping by Emilio Lascano Tegui, translated from the Spanish by Idra Novey Agaat by Marlene Van Niekerk, translated from the Afrikaans by Michiel Heyns Georg Letham: Physician and Murderer by Ernst Weiss, translated from the German by Joel Rotenberg
The Tournament of Books is a wacky enterprise, but for the second year in a row, it has predicted the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Last year it was Cormac McCarthy's The Road, this year it's Junot Díaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Here are this year's Pulitzer winners and finalists with excerpts where available:FictionWinner: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz - Junot Díaz participates in our Year in ReadingTree of Smoke by Denis Johnson - excerpt, Garth's reviewShakespeare's Kitchen by Lore SegalGeneral Nonfiction:Winner: The Years of Extermination by Saul FriedlanderThe Cigarette Century by Allan BrandtThe Rest Is Noise by Alex Ross - excerptHistory:Winner: What Hath God Wrought by Daniel Walker HoweNixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power by Robert Dallek - excerptThe Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War by the late David HalberstamBiography:Winner: Eden's Outcasts by John MattesonThe Worlds of Lincoln Kirstein by Martin Duberman - excerptThe Life of Kingsley Amis by Zachary Leader - excerptWinners and finalists in other categories are available at the Pulitzer Web site.
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