The nonfiction medal for excellence went to Timothy Egan for his biography, "Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis."
Edward Curtis devoted his life, his health and his marriage to photographing the Indians of North America at a time when their traditions--and many of the tribes--were dying out. Egan's book is gracefully told, in language and scene that employs all five of the senses, the Strib critic said.
Ford and Egan received their awards--$5,000 and a medal--Sunday at the American Library Association annual conference in Chicago.
Runners up, who won $1,500, include Louise Erdrich for "The Round House," Junot Diaz, for "This is How You Loser Her," Jill Lepore, for "The Mansion of Happiness," and David Quammen, for "Spillover."
Now, some of you will think that Shakespeare doesn't need buffing up, that his words are perfectly fine the way they are. They've lasted this long, you say, so why mess with them? (Classics Comics retellings notwithstanding.) And some of you might think it a travesty to turn the plays into novels. But to you, the Hogarth Press says, prithee, good reader, give us but a chance.
The press (established by Virginia Woolf, and now an imprint of Random House) announced yesterday a plan to commission notable writers to retell Shakespeare for the modern reader.
First up: Anne Tyler--hard to argue with that choice--who will take on "The Taming of the Shrew." Said Tyler, in a press release, "I don't know which I'm looking forward to more: delving into the mysteries of shrewish Kate or finding out what all the other writers do with their Shakespeare characters."
British writer Jeanette Winterson will retell "The Winter's Tale." Said Winterson, in the very same press release, "I have worked with 'The Winter's Tale' in many disguises for many years. This is a brilliant opportunity to work with it in its own right. And I love cover versions."
The project begins in 2016, the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.
Author Tim O'Brien--born and educated in Minnesota--has won the 2013 Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. The prestigious prize carries an honorarium of $100,000.
O'Brien was born in Austin, Minn., grew up in Worthington, Minn., and graduated from Macalester College in St. Paul. He served in Vietnam from 1968 to 1970, and most of his books have dealt with that war, and its aftermath. He won the National Book Award for "Going After Cacciato," and last year won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.
He is perhaps best known for his novel, "The Things They Carried," and his memoir, "If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home."
O'Brien now lives and teaches in Texas.
Previous winners of the Pritzker Award include James McPherson and Rick Atkinson. O'Brien will accept the award in November.
After years of holding the Minnesota Book Awards spring gala event in downtown St. Paul, this year the organizers hauled the whole thing--books, authors, trophies, wineglasses, and all--across the river to downtown Minneapolis. The Hilton was a fine venue, and it made perfect sense to hold the event in Minneapolis. After all, while the big sponsor is the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, it really is a state-wide event.
But yesterday they announced that books, authors, trophies, and wineglasses will pack up and move back across the river for the 2014 event.
And why not? Look at the gorgeous venue they nabbed: The newly refurbished historic Union Depot in St. Paul's Lowertown. It'll also be a wee bit earlier in the spring than in years past, so mark your calendars: 7 p.m., April 5.
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