Louise Erdrich's "awesome" breadth of work has earned her the PEN/Saul Bellow Award, it was announced today. The award is a lifetime achievement honor and carries with it a $25,000 prize and is presented every two years.
In their citation, judges Zadie Smith, E.L. Doctorow and Edwidge Danticat praised Erdrich's range.
"Some writers work a small piece of land: Louise Erdrich is not one of those writers," they said. "Her work has an awesome capaciousness--each person is a world. For Erdrich, the tale of the individual necessarily leads to the tale of the family, and families lead to nations, while the wound of a national injustice is passed down through the generations, expressing itself in intimate deformations, a heady intertwining of the national and the personal. Yet despite the often depressingly familiar, repetitive nature of so much human business, Erdrich¹s eye is always fresh, her sentences never less than lyrical."
In an e-mail to the Associated Press, Erdrich said, "Getting this award would intimidate the hell out of me if I weren't so excited."
Earlier this year, Erdrich was awarded with the Dayton Literary Peace Prize distinguished achievement award for her body of work. Her novel "The Round House" was the 2012 winner of the National Book Award; "Plague of Doves" was a Pulitzer finalist in 2009, and "Love Medicine," her debut novel, won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1984. She has also won five Minnesota Book Awards.
Erdrich, 58, lives in Minneapolis and is the owner of Birchbark Books.
The story of a Nova Scotia family during World War I, our critic called it a "beautiful novel about a terrible war."
Others in the running for the prize are:
Anthony Marra, "A Constellation of Vital Phenomena."
Antonio Munos Molina, "In the Night of Time."
Bob Shacochis, "The Woman Who Lost Her Soul."
Margaret Wrinkle, "Wash."
Jo Roberts, "Contested Land, Contested Memory"
Steve McQuiddy, "Here on Edge: How a Small Group of WWII Conscientious Objectors Took Art and Peace from the Margins to the Mainstream."
Katy Butler, "Knocking on Heaven's Door." (Strib review here)
Jesmyn Ward, "Men We Reaped." (Strib review here)
David Finkel, "Thank You for Your Service." (Strib review here)
Karima Bennoune, "Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here."
The Dayton Literary Peace Prize is given annually to one work of fiction and one work of nonfiction that promotes peace, justice and understanding. Previous winners include Chang- rae Lee, Marlon James, Adam Johnson, and Adam Hochschild.
The winners will be announced Sept. 24. They will be honored at a ceremony on Nov. 9, when Louise Erdrich will also be honored with the 2014 Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award.
So much prize news this morning that I'm just going to round it all up in one place. We have the Man Booker Prize longlist (with Americans, for the first time!); the Dylan Thomas prize longlist (hello, Coffee House Press!), and the New Rivers Many Voices prizes for both poetry and prose (hello, California and Duluth!).
Worth noting: Joshua Ferris' novel, "To Rise Again at a Decent Hour" is on the longlist for both the Booker Prize and the Dylan Thomas Prize.
The Man Booker Prize longlist
This is the first year that the prestigious British literary prize has been opened to any author who writes in English. Previously, the award was restricted to writers of Ireland, UK and its commonwealth. The list includes Northfield, Minn., native Siri Hustvedt. Several of the titles have not yet been released in the United States.
To Rise Again at a Decent Hour, Joshua Ferris (Viking)
The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Richard Flanagan (Chatto & Windus)
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler (Serpent's Tail)
The Blazing World, Siri Hustvedt (Sceptre)
J, Howard Jacobson (Jonathan Cape)
The Wake, Paul Kingsnorth (Unbound)
The Bone Clocks, David Mitchell (Sceptre)
The Lives of Others, Neel Mukherjee (Chatto & Windus)
Us, David Nicholls (Hodder & Stoughton)
The Dog, Joseph O'Neill (Fourth Estate)
Orfeo, Richard Powers (Atlantic Books)
How to be Both, Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton)
History of the Rain, Niall Williams (Bloomsbury)
The Man Booker Prize carries an award of 50,000 British pounds (about $85,000). The short list will be announced Sept. 9 and the winner Oct. 14.
The Dylan Thomas Prize
The Dylan Thomas Prize, named for the Welsh poet and administered by Swansea College in Wales, goes to a writer 39 years old or younger. Included on this list is "A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing," winner of the Baileys Award (formerly the Orange Prize) and to be published this fall by Coffee House Press.
Daniel Alarcón, At Night We Walk in Circles
Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries
John Donnelly, The Pass
Joshua Ferris, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour
Emma Healey, Elizabeth is Missing
Meena Kandasamy, The Gypsy Goddess
Eimear McBride, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing
Kseniya Melnik, Snow in May
Kei Miller, The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion
Nadifa Mohamed, The Orchard of Lost Souls
Owen Sheers, Mametz
Tom Rob Smith, The Farm
Rufi Thorpe, The Girls from Corona del Mar
Naomi Wood, Mrs Hemingway
Hanya Yanagihara, The People in the Trees
Many Voices Project, New Rivers Press
The Many Voices Project of New Rivers Press began in 1981 and seeks to highlight new and emerging writers in poetry and prose.
The prize includes $1,000 and publication. This year's winner in poetry is Julie Gard of Duluth, and the winner in prose is Tracy Robert of southern California. Gard's poetry collection, "Home Studies," and Robert's book, "Flashcards & The Curse of Ambrosia," will be released in October 2015.
And that brings us to...
Minneapolis writer Kate DiCamillo, so recently honored with her second Newbery Award, the Christopher Medal, the Library of Congress National Ambassadorship to Young People's Literature, the AP Anderson Award, and the Guardian Children's Prize longlist, has yet another honor. (We don't know how big her house is but we are thinking she might need an addition for all of these trophies). DiCamillo has been awarded the Voice of the Heartland Award, which honors writers and institutions that value independent bookselling. DiCamillo was the brains and the enthusiasm behind the establishment this year of the first Indies First Storytime Day, a day in which writers and illustrators read books (not their own) to children in local indie bookstores. DiCamillo read to a throng at Chapter2 Books in Hudson, Wis.
She will be presented with the Voice of the Heartland award Sept. 30 at the annual Heartland Fall Forum trade show in Minneapolis.
A second debut novelist got the "Colbert bump" last night on the "The Colbert Report"--this time it was St. Paul author Stephan Eirik Clark, who teaches at Augsburg College. His novel, "Sweetness No. 9"--which will be published Aug. 19--was recommended on the show by novelist Edan Lepucki.
Overnight, his book shot up from being unlisted on Powell's Books best-seller list, to number three.
Lepucki was paying it forward; her own debut novel, "California," became a New York Times best-seller after Colbert recommended it a few weeks ago as part of his attack on Amazon.
Colbert's love for first-time Hachette authors and disdain for Amazon stems from an ongoing dispute between the publishing group and the internet retailer over e-book pricing. Authors and customers are caught in the middle, as Amazon has severely restricted sales of Hachette books. (This includes books published by Grand Central, Little Brown, Hyperion, and others, and it includes authors J.K. Rowling, Kate Atkinson and David Baldacci. It also includes Lepucki and Clark--and Colbert.)
Not-yet-published Hachette books, such as Clark's, are listed on Amazon as "currently unvailable," with no option for pre-ordering. Other Hachette books face five- and six-week delays in shipping. Colbert has asked his viewers to buy books--specifically, Hachette books--from independent booksellers, and his first recommendation was for Lepucki's "California." He challenged viewers to make it a best-seller, and they did.
"Is there another Hachette author that you'd like to recommend?" Colbert asked Lepucki night. "I'm reading Stephan Eirik Clark's 'Sweetness No 9,' which is sooo good," Lepucki said. (She later said on Twitter that the book is "funny, moving, like DeLillo crossed with AM Homes.")
Clark said this morning that when his publisher and agent told him yesterday that his book would be bumped on the Colbert Report, he was left uncharacteristically speechless.
"You'd think I would burst out with an excited speech, but I just didn’t have anything to say," he said. "It was too good for words."
Clark's first book, a collection of short stories called "Vladimir's Mustache," was a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award. "Going with a small press for my collection, I didn’t expect to find readers," he said. "I’ve experienced the absence of readers, and so it’s encouraging to think that this one might find a readership, and I'm extremely grateful."
Kate DiCamillo is just back from Las Vegas ("exhausted and overjoyed," she says on Facebook), where she was picking up the Newbery Medal that she won earlier in the year for "Flora & Ulysses," her funny, charming and poignant story about a girl, a squirrel and a vacuum cleaner. And she now finds herself on another longlist for yet another prize.
The Guardian of London has announced its longlist for The Guardian Children's Prize, a list that was described as being "challenging, funny, exciting, beautiful, thoughtful, bonkers," according to one of the judges, writer Gillian Cross.
DiCamillo's "Flora & Ulysses" is on the list, along with seven other books. Here's the list, with the UK publishers listed. (DiCamillo's US publisher is Candlewick.) The short list will be announced in August, and the winner will be annonced on Nov. 13.
"The Diaries of Bluebell Gadsby: Flora in Love," by Natasha Farrant (Faber)
"Phoenix," by SF Said (David Fickling)
"Flora and Ulysses," by Kate DiCamillo (Walker)
"The Dark Wild," by Piers Torday (Quercus)
"Shine," by Candy Gourlay (David Fickling)
"We Were Liars," by E Lockhart (Hot Key Books)
"She Is Not Invisible," by Marcus Sedgwick (Orion)
"The Lost Gods," by Francesca Simon (Faber)
I don't want to jinx anyone, but wouldn't it be fun to have her report on Facebook in November that she is just back from London, exhausted and overjoyed?
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