Beloved American novelist Philip Roth has died at age 85. Author of more than two dozen novels, including Goodbye, Columbus, Portnoy's Complaint, and American Pastoral, Roth garnered every accolade (except, famously, The Nobel--read our plea to the Swedish Academy here), and his passing marks the end of an era in American letters. Some Roth pieces from our archives: -An Open Letter to the Nobel Committee -Ten Lessons from the Professor of Desire -Staff Pick: Sabbath's Theater -Philip Roth's Bleak Theater -Life and Counterlife Image credit: Bill Morris/[email protected]
The 2018 New England Society Book Awards were given out during the group's annual Founders' Day celebration in New York. Designed to "recognize books that honor New England culture," nominated titles must be about or set in New England. The New England Society in the City of New York (NES) presents awards in four categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Art & Photography, and Specialty. Fiction: A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline Nonfiction: Darkness Falls on the Land of Light: Experiencing Religious Awakenings in Eighteenth-Century New England by Douglas L. Winiarski Art: Cartoon County: My Father and his Friends in the Golden Age of Make-Believe by Cullen Murphy Photography: East of the Mississippi: Nineteenth-Century American Landscape Photography by Diane Waggoner with Russell Lord and Jennifer Raab Specialty: Moon New England Road Trip by Jen Rose Smith (Bonus Link: an essay about Infinite Boston, a walking tour dedicated to the places found in David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest)
Celebrating its eleventh consecutive year of honoring literature in translation, the Best Translated Book Awards is pleased to announce the 2018 finalists for fiction and poetry (we announced the 2017 and 2016 winners here at The Millions; see the 2018 longlist here, and read more about this shortlist at the Three Percent website). The winners will be announced on Thursday, May 31 as part of the New York Rights Fair, following the 4:30 panel on “Translated Literature Today: A Decade of Growth.” Thanks to grant funds from the Amazon Literary Partnership, the winning authors and translators will each receive $5,000 cash prizes. Three Percent at the University of Rochester founded the BTBAs in 2008, and over the past seven years, the Amazon Literary Partnership has contributed more than $140,000 to international authors and their translators through the BTBA. This year’s fiction jury is made up of: Caitlin Baker (University Book Store, Seattle), Kasia Bartoszyńska(Monmouth College), Tara Cheesman-Olmsted (Reader at Large), Lori Feathers (Interabang Books), Mark Haber (writer, Brazos Bookstore), Adam Hetherington (author), Jeremy Keng (reader, freelance reviewer), Bradley Schmidt (translator), and P.T. Smith (Ebenezer Books, The Scofield). The poetry jury includes: Raluca Albu (BOMB), Jarrod Annis (Greenlight Bookstore), Tess Lewis (writer and translator), Aditi Machado (poet and translator), and Emma Ramadan (translator, Riffraff Bookstore). For more information, visit the official Best Translated Book Award site and the official BTBA Facebook page, and follow the award on Twitter. Best Translated Book Award 2018: Fiction Finalists Suzanne by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, translated from the French by Rhonda Mullins (Canada, Coach House) Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller by Guðbergur Bergsson, translated from the Icelandic by Lytton Smith (Iceland, Open Letter Books) Compass by Mathias Énard, translated from the French by Charlotte Mandell (France, New Directions) The Invented Part by Rodrigo Fresán, translated from the Spanish by Will Vanderhyden (Argentina, Open Letter Books) Return to the Dark Valley by Santiago Gamboa, translated from the Spanish by Howard Curtis (Colombia, Europa Editions) Old Rendering Plant by Wolfgang Hilbig, translated from the German by Isabel Fargo Cole (Germany, Two Lines Press) I Am the Brother of XX by Fleur Jaeggy, translated from the Italian by Gini Alhadeff (Switzerland, New Directions) My Heart Hemmed In by Marie NDiaye, translated from the French by Jordan Stump (France, Two Lines Press) August by Romina Paula, translated from the Spanish by Jennifer Croft (Argentina, Feminist Press) Remains of Life by Wu He, translated from the Chinese by Michael Berry (Taiwan, Columbia University Press) Best Translated Book Award 2018: Poetry Finalists Hackers by Aase Berg, translated from the Swedish by Johannes Goransson (Sweden, Black Ocean Press) Paraguayan Sea by Wilson Bueno, translated from the Portunhol and Guarani to Frenglish and Guarani by Erin Moure (Brazil, Nightboat Books) Third-Millennium Heart by Ursula Andkjaer Olsen, translated from the Danish by Katrine Øgaard Jensen (Denmark, Broken Dimanche Press) Spiral Staircase by Hirato Renkichi, translated from the Japanese by Sho Sugita (Japan, Ugly Duckling Presse) Directions for Use by Ana Ristović, translated from the Serbian by Steven Teref and Maja Teref (Serbia, Zephyr Press) Before Lyricism by Eleni Vakalo, translated from the Greek by Karen Emmerich (Greece, Ugly Duckling Presse)
The 2017 Shirley Jackson Award nominees have been announced. Given for "outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic," the award categories are as follows: Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story, Single-Author Collection, and Edited Anthology. Here are the nominees (or Scary Stories Nominated for Awards [in the Dark]): Novel Ill Will by Dan Chaon (Our most recent interview with Chaon) The Bone Mother by David Demchuk The Changeling by Victor LaValle (Our 2016 interview with LaValle) The Hole by Hye-young Pyun The Night Ocean by Paul La Farge (Part of our 2017 Great Book Preview) Single-Author Collection Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado (Our review of Machado's "body horrors") She Said Destroy by Nadia Bulkin The Dark Dark by Samantha Hunt (Read our 2016 interview with Hunt) The Doll’s Alphabet by Camilla Grudova Things to Do When You’re Goth in the Country by Chavisa Woods The rest of the nominees can be found at the award website. [millions_ad]
We are no longer accepting applications for this position. The Millions is hiring a new Web Editor. This is an exciting, paid opportunity to play a key role at The Millions involved in the editing, production, and presentation of our longform pieces. You will help shape the work beloved by a readership that boasts a laundry list of influential, brilliant folks in publishing, media, and academia — not to mention the most engaged, avid readers you’ll find anywhere. Our deadline is end of day, Monday, May 14. The gig: The Millions publishes one to two pieces, five days a week. For each piece, our web editor: Does a final copy edit/proofread. Writes headlines (if needed) and selects art and pullquotes. Formats the piece and inserts links as needed within Wordpress. Inputs bios for Millions contributors. The web editor will also: Assist with our popular annual features, e.g. Year in Reading, Previews, etc. Be a key member of the Millions editorial staff, involved in ideas and strategy. You are: A Wordpress pro, with experience editing and formatting within Wordpress (experience with basic HTML also a plus) A copy-editing/proofreading pro, with knowledge of AP Style A reader with a solid knowledge of and love for all things books Extremely reliable and organized and ready to take on an indispensable role More details: The Millions has no dedicated office, so this is a remote position and can be done from anywhere in the world. The web editor is paid on a per piece basis resulting in a competitive hourly rate. This is a part-time position that we expect will amount to 5-10 hours per week. To apply: Please send the following materials to [email protected] People of color are strongly encouraged to apply. Resume Cover Letter One or two references who can attest to your Wordpress and copy-editing skills. [millions_ad]
We wouldn’t dream of abandoning our vast semi–annual Most Anticipated Book Previews, but we thought a monthly reminder would be helpful (and give us a chance to note titles we missed the first time around). Here’s what we’re looking out for this month — for more May titles, check out our First-Half Preview. Let us know what you’re looking forward to in the comments! (Also, as Millions founder and publisher C. Max Magee wrote recently, you can help ensure that these previews, and all our great books coverage, continue for years to come by lending your support to the site as a member. The Millions has been running for nearly 15 years on a wing and a prayer, and we’re incredibly grateful for the love of our recurring readers and current members who help us sustain the work that we do.) Warlight by Michael Ondaatje: From internationally acclaimed, bestselling author of The English Patient and Divisidero among his other works, this new novel from Ondaatje is set in the decade after World War II. When their parents move to Singapore, 14-year-old Nathaniel and his older sister, Rachel, are left in London under the watchful eye of a mysterious figure called The Moth. As they become immersed in his eccentric circle of friends, they are both protected and educated in confusing ways. The mystery deepens when their mother returns months later without their father, but gives them no explanation. Years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover the story through a journey of facts, recollection, and imagination. If only Anthony Minghella were still with us to make the movie. (Claire) The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner: In her third novel, two-time National Book Award-finalist Kushner writes about a woman named Romy Hall who is serving two consecutive life sentences (plus six years) in a prison in California’s Central Valley. The year is 2003, and the Mars Room in the title refers to a strip club in San Francisco where Romy used to dance; according to the jacket copy, Kushner details “the deadpan absurdities of institutional living…with humor and precision.” George Saunders calls Kushner “a young master” and Robert Stone wrote that she is “a novelist of the very first order.” Check out this short excerpt published by Entertainment Weekly. (Edan) Some Trick by Helen DeWitt: If you periodically spend afternoons sitting around wondering when you will get to read something new by DeWitt, this is your season. In May we get 13 stories from the brilliant writer who brought us The Last Samurai—one of the best books of this or any millennium—and the evilly good Lightning Rods. In this collection DeWitt will evidently apply her mordant virtuosity to territory ranging from statistics to publishing. (Lydia) Not That Bad, edited by Roxane Gay: In this age when (some) sexual assault survivors are finally being listened to and (some) sexual predators are being held accountable, there couldn't be a better time for an essay collection examining just how pervasive and pernicious rape culture is. Gay has become a champion for survivors of sexual assault since the beginning of her writing career, so she is the ideal editor of this book that attacks rape culture from all angles. From essays by well-known figures such as Gabrielle Union to emerging writers, this book explores all elements of this ill from child molestation to the rape epidemic in the refugee world. (Tess) Motherhood by Sheila Heti: Heti’s previous two books have created and followed lines of inquiry—with Misha Glouberman she wrote a book of conversational philosophy, The Chairs Are Where People Go. Heti’s novel How Should a Person Be? is an early work of autofiction that delves deep into art-making and friendship. Some called it a literary form of reality TV, making James Wood’s backhanded assessment of the book as both “unpretentious” and “narcissistic” quite the unintentional compliment. Heti’s new novel Motherhood follows in a similar line of existential questioning—the narrator approaches the topic of motherhood, asking not when but if she should endeavor to become a mother at all. (Anne) That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam: “Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s easy.” Priscilla Johnson says those words to Rebecca Stone early in Alam’s novel. Rebecca’s just given birth to her son Jacob, and the novel’s first scene feels both dizzying and precise—a visceral reminder of life’s complex surprises. Priscilla is the hospital staffer who most calms Rebecca’s anxieties, so much that she asks Priscilla to be Jacob’s nanny. A few years later, Priscilla’s own pregnancy ends in heartbreak. Rebecca’s decision to adopt Andrew is complex: she loves and misses Priscilla, and dearly loves this boy, but is she ready for the reality of raising a black son as a white mother? Alam’s sharp narrative asides—lines like “Some percentage of the things she did for the children were actually for her”—carry such weight and truth that we trust his route toward the bigger question of the book: are we ever ready for the pain and joy that life delivers us? (Nick R.) Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo: Five characters arrive in the megacity seeking to make a new start, leaving behind traumatic situations born of Nigeria's sociopolitical complexities and mingling their fortunes in what Booklist calls, in a starred review, "a tangy Ocean’s Eleven–esque escapade that exposes class and ethnic divides in the country even as it manages to mock the West for its colonial gaze toward the African continent as a whole." (Lydia) Spring by Karl Ove Knausgaard, translated by Ingvild Burkey: This is the third book in the master's Seasons Quartet, a novel rather than the essays that characterized the previous volume. With Spring, Knausgaard explores a family disaster, explaining to his daughter (the intended audience of the Quartet) why it is that they receive visits from Child Services, and what it was that caused her mother to leave. (Lydia) Last Stories by William Trevor: Prior to his death in November 2016, Trevor told a friend that the book he was working on would be called Last Stories. That is this book—the last we will ever have from the Irish author. Six of the 10 stories included here have never been published before, and what preview would be sufficient? Perhaps just this: if the engine of accomplished fiction truly is empathy, then you will be hard pressed to uncover a finer practitioner of the core humanity that inspired and inspires this deliberate, and personal, epitaph. (Il’ja) Slave Old Man by Patrick Chamoiseau, translated by Linda Coverdale: A newly translated novel from a Prix Goncourt winner who Milan Kundera called the “heir of Joyce and Kafka,” Slave Old Man is the hallucinatory journey of an old man who has escaped enslavement on a plantation in the forest of Martinique, pursued by his former captor and a fierce dog. In a starred review, Publishers' Weekly writes, "Chamoiseau’s prose is astounding in its beauty." (Lydia) Like a Mother by Angela Garbes: Several years ago Garbes, a food writer, wrote a viral and absolutely bananas piece about the mysteries and miracles of breastfeeding. Now she brings the same spirit of inquiry and amazement to a related and equally bananas process, filling a lacuna she faced when she was pregnant with her first child. The result is a deeply reported, deeply felt book on everything surrounding reproduction and its effects on the body and the mind. (Lydia) Calypso by David Sedaris: In this, his first essay collection in five years, Sedaris uses a family beach house as a starting point to explore mortality and age with his characteristic humor and aplomb. (Read Sedaris's latest essay, on his mother's alcoholism, here at The New Yorker.) (Lydia) The Ensemble by Aja Gabel: A novel about art and friendship and the fraught world of accomplished musicians—four young friends who comprise a string quartet. Mat Johnson said Gabel’s novel “deserves a standing ovation.” For a taste of Gabel’s prose, read her Best American Essays-notable piece on grief and eating ortolans in France. (Lydia) The Lost Empress by Sergio De La Pava: De La Pava’s first novel, A Naked Singularity, was the rare self-published novel to receive critical acclaim, including the PEN/Bingham Prize. The Lost Empress is as ambitious as his first, a 672-page doorstopper that takes on both football and the criminal justice system. The novel has a large cast, but centers on two characters: Nina Gill, the daughter of the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, and presumed heir to the franchise; and Nuno DeAngeles, “a brilliant criminal mastermind,” who gets himself thrown into prison in order to commit a crime. (Hannah) A Lucky Man by Jamel Brinkley: New York-bred writer Brinkley (and Year in Reading alum) delivers this anticipated debut story collection. Ranging from encounters on the New York subway to a young boy’s first encounter with the reality of racial hierarchy, these sensitive and probing stories promise to captivate. If you’ve read Brinkley’s title story “A Lucky Man” in A Public Space, then you know that he’s a talent to watch. (Ismail) The Optimistic Decade by Heather Abel: Abel's debut centers around a group of young people who converge in a utopian summer camp in a small town in the Colorado mountains, exploring American obsessions of freedom, ownership, property, and class against the vagaries of the Reagan and Bush years. In a starred review, Publishers' Weekly calls this novel "politically and psychologically acute." (Lydia) Belly Up by Rita Bullwinkel: Bullwinkel’s stories are fantastic and fabulist feats that (often) address our messy, cumbersome bodies in thrilling and imaginative ways. For example: in lieu of a bra, a man is hired to support a daughter’s breasts; a woman whose plastic surgeon, when fixing her eyes, leaves her with a turkey neck (not literally but); twin brothers Gleb and Oleg, surgeon and sculptor, live in a prison infirmary and perform a thumb transplant. A compelling new voice, Bullwinkel has had stories in Tin House, Guernica, and Noon. Her first book, the story collection Belly Up, will be published by A Strange Object. (Anne) Meet behind Mars by Renee Simms: In stories taking place across the United States and ranging in style from fabulist to realist to satyrical, Simms, a professor at University of Puget Sound, writes scenes from the American experience, focusing on the connections and inner spaces of a large cast of African-American characters. Tayari Jones calls this "an exciting debut of a vibrant new voice in American literature." (Lydia) Kickflip Boys by Neal Thompson: We all turn out like our parents to some degree -- an unsettling revelation when we remember our own missteps growing up. In Neal Thompson's new memoir Kickflip Boys, he recalls his rough-edged upbringing as he raises his skateboard-obsessed boys and wonders about their own emerging rough edges. Thompson is a magazine writer and the author of four prior books, most notably his biography of Robert "Believe It or Not!" Ripley. (Max) The Pisces by Melissa Broder: You may know Broder because of her incredible So Sad Today tweets. If you do, you won’t be surprised to hear about her novel, The Pisces, which follows a Ph.D student in love with a Californian merman. The student, Lucy, has a breakdown after nine years of grad school, which compels her Angeleno sister to invite her to dogsit at her place. On the beach, a merman appears, and Lucy embarks on a romance that seems impossible. (Thom) The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar: A novel about the Syrian war and the refugee crisis, juxtaposing the life of a modern girl fleeing Homs across land and sea and her medieval counterpart, a girl who traversed the same territory while apprenticed to a renowned mapmaker. Simultaneously an homage to Arab intellectual history and a lament of modern chaos. (Lydia)
The award is coming from inside The Millions! Staff writer Mark O'Connell won the 2018 Wellcome Book Prize for his book, To Be A Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death. The annual prize is given to new works of fiction or nonfiction regardless of genre whose "central theme that engages with some aspect with medicine, health, or illness." During an award ceremony tonight at Wellcome Collection, London, judge Edmund de Waal praised To Be a Machine as "a book that brings into focus timely issues about mortality, what it might mean to be a machine and what it truly means to be human." Bonus links: along with his writing on The Millions, you read our interview with O'Connell from last year.
The 15th annual RSL Ondaatje Prize announced its 2018 shortlist. The award is given to "a distinguished work of fiction, non-fiction, or poetry" for "best evoking the spirit of a place." (Sidenote: is best evocation of a place's spirit the coolest award criteria known to man or what?) Here is this year's shortlist (with bonus links when applicable): The Epic City by Kushanava Choudhury Once Upon a Time in the East by Xiaolu Guo Peculiar Ground by Lucy Hughes-Hallett (Featured in our 2018 Great Book Preview) Border by Kapka Kassabova Elmet by Fiona Mozley (The Millions' review) Mama Amazonica by Pascale Petit The winner will be announced on May 14, 2018.
The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction announced their 2018 shortlist. Founded in 2010 in honor of the "founding father of the historical novel," the award rewards "writing of exceptional quality which is set in the past." The winner will be announced on June 16, 2018. The 2018 shortlist is as follows: Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan (The Millions's profile of Egan) Sugar Money by Jane Harris Grace by Paul Lynch The Wardrobe Mistress by Patrick McGrath Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves by Rachel Malik The Gallows Pole by Benjamin Myers Bonus link: Contributing Editor Sonya Chung's essay on historical fiction. [millions_ad]
The Pulitzer jury named Andrew Sean Greer's Less this year's winner in the fiction category. Here are this year's Pulitzer winners and finalists with bonus links: Fiction: Winner: Less by Andrew Sean Greer In the Distance by Hernan Diaz The Idiot by Elif Batuman (read not one, but two Millions' reviews) General Nonfiction: Winner: Locking Up Our Own by James Foreman Jr. Notes on a Foreign Country by Suzy Hansen The Evolution of Beauty by Richard O. Prum History: Winner: The Gulf:The Making of an American Sea by Jack E. Davis Fear City: New York's Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of Austerity Politics by Kim Phillips-Fein Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots Against Hollywood and America by Steven J. Ross [millions_ad] Biography or Autobiography: Winner: Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser Richard Nixon: The Life by John A. Farrell Robert Lowell, Setting the River on Fire by Kay Redfield Jamison Poetry: Winner: Half-light by Frank Bidart (Read about the poet IRL) semiautomatic by Evie Shockley Incendiary Art by Patricia Smith (Our interview with Smith) Winners and finalists in other categories are available at the Pulitzer Web site.