Posts Tagged: National Book Award
Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad won the National Book Award on Wednesday night. In his acceptance speech he told us, “We’re happy in here; outside is the blasted hellhole wasteland of Trumpland. Be kind to everybody. Make art and fight the power.”
Not only was this apt for the evening, but it also describes the landscape of his novel, which presents us with several different Americas, including the diverse, literary America he was referring to....more
It can be hard to describe a Jesse Ball novel. They’re willfully strange, dark and puzzling, but the pieces aren’t always designed to fit together. Instead, each of his books, which are always written in the first person, have a tendency to take the reader into the heads of the lead characters, which is often more treacherous than the physical landscape....more
At the School Library Journal, Kelly Jensen examines gender norms and double standards in YA fiction, questioning which female protagonists we refer to as “strong”—and why do not refer to male voices as such:
When women take risks in their writing, when they choose to write female-driven narratives with take-no-bull girls who may not care at all whether you like them or not, they’re not seen as brave.
This year’s judges of the National Book Award seem to agree that women’s nonfiction writing is abundant and prize-worthy. The 2015 nonfiction longlist includes seven female-authored books, out of 10, the largest percentage of female nominees in the prize’s history. The longlist also contains two books by people of color, compared to last year’s one.
A recent study by author Nicola Griffith reveals that books written about men were more likely to win major literary prizes over the last fifteen years than books written about women. During this timeframe, 12 Man Booker Prize winners and 10 National Book Award winners were primarily about men or boys....more
I think I was pretty nervous about it as a kid. I think I did [have] that fear of the world coming to an end. I think also it’s kind of how kids exist anyway, you know? You’re always fearing change; you’re always fearing the wrath of a parent; you’re always fearing that something is going to go wrong somewhere.
The mismatch between quality and recognition in the world of translated fiction and nonfiction is surely more extreme than in any category of literature, and while this category has a growing number of great advocates, it deserves to have them at the highest level.
This weekend, Heather Partington reviews Fridays at Enrico’s, Don Carpenter’s posthumous novel about novelists, and Inside Madeleine, a collection of stories by Paula Bomer that takes an unblinking look at femininity. While the former will strike a familiar chord for many Rumpus readers—Carpenter’s book follows a married couple pursuing literary success in the Beat world of 1960’s California—the latter is a “raw,” “sexual,” and “visceral” exploration of women in conflict with themselves and those around them....more
The final key moment was when, suddenly, I was able to write the novel without feeling as though I needed the crutch of all the research and all of the books, and I felt that the characters were strong enough and their motivations had become more or less solid for me and satisfying for me to just go deeper with them, knowing that this was part of who they were and part of their world.
Here is the complete list of finalists for the National Book Award in the fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young adult categories.
The finalists include Rumpus interviewee Rachel Kushner and Rumpus book club participant George Saunders—plus one of the judges in the young adult category is our Letters for Kids editor Cecil Castellucci!...more
William Vollmann is the author of dozens of novels, short stories, essays, and articles, and the recipient of a multitude of nominations, grants, and prizes, including the National Book Award.
He is also, according to a piece he wrote for the latest issue of Harper’s, the subject of a 785-page FBI file related to suspicions that he was the Unabomber or some other manner of terrorist....more
Congratulations to Keith Waldrop, winner of the National Book Award in Poetry. Here’s their interview with Waldrop.
Mark Scroggins uses the Barrett Watten reading I mentioned last week as a jumping off point for an interesting discussion of, as he puts it, “the relationship of personal formation, as detailed & explored in autobiography, and literary interpellation.”
The Valpariaso Poetry Review’s Poem of the Week is a selection from Rumpus contributor Alison Stine....more
“I like to go where the life is. I’m pro-life, in the sense that chaos seems like life to me and order seems like death. I’m of the people in the bar and the people in my stories. They are my tribe.” – The Rumpus interviews the National Book Award finalist....more
Here’s some interesting reading from the world of poetry this week.
This is a little dated by internet standards, but it’s still worth looking at: Calvin Trillin versifies about the Roman Polanski apologists....more
Abject admiration is the worst way to start a review. Isn’t it the blurbist’s job to kiss a writer’s behind, the critic’s to skewer it on the formidable barb of his or her literary intellect?