For WBEZ Chicago, Sandra Cisneros discusses winning the Fuller Award, an honor given to the city’s greatest living writers. Her most celebrated novel, The House on Mango Street, takes place in Chicago, and she reflects on the book’s enduring legacy. “I think that I was able to reach non-readers as well as book lovers because it’s a small, slender book,” Cisneros says. “It doesn’t intimidate non-readers and it’s written in a language that’s very simple. So even if you grew up in Taipei, Oslo or Chicago, people recognize something of themselves in that story. It becomes a universal story and that’s what I wanted. I never say it’s Chicago in the book. I wanted the reader from Tokyo or Tripoli to read it and say, ‘Oh, I know these people. That’s my street too.'”
Pulitzer Prize-winning author James Alan McPherson has passed away at 72. His anthology Elbow Room won the Pulitzer for fiction in 1978. He was one of the first individuals to receive a genius grant from the MacArthur Foundation. He graduated from Harvard Law school, but instead decided to pursue writing and later earned an MFA from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa, where he was a professor emeritus.
The 2012 finalists for the Costa (formerly Whitbread) Book Awards have been anounced. In the “Novel” category, they are Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, Life! Death! Prizes! by Stephen May, The Heart Broke In by James Meek, and Days of the Bagnold Summer by Joff Winterhart. The Costa site has lists of the nominees in all categories.
Following the news that Beyoncé sampled a TED talk given by Year in Reading contributor Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, Tin House dug up an interview with the author, who says that to this day, when she looks at the manuscript of Americanah, she feels “thrilled and amazed that [she] actually finished writing this.”