stopping by: First Lady Michelle Obama surprised children from Willow Springs Elementary School in Fairfax, Va., before they performed part of a play at the Decatur House, a National Trust for Historic Preservation Site.
American writer Lydia Davis, whose stories are among the shortest ever written, has been awarded the Man Booker International Prize.
Davis, 65, a professor of creative writing at the University of Albany, has been described as the master of a literary form largely of her own invention. She has written some short stories of conventional length, but she is known for writing stories that range as long as nine pages to a single sentence. The fiction award, announced in London on Wednesday, is given every two years to a living author for “an achievement in fiction on the world stage.” It is accompanied by a prize of about $90,000.
Booker International panel chairman Christopher Ricks said Davis’ stories embraced so many literary structures that it was hard to narrow them down to a single label. “Should we simply concur with the official title and dub them stories?” Ricks said in a statement announcing the prize. “Or perhaps miniatures? Anecdotes? Essays? Jokes? Parables? Fables? Texts? Aphorisms, or even apophthegms? Prayers, or perhaps wisdom literature? Or might we settle for observations?”
Davis is considered influential by a generation of writers including David Eggers, Jonathan Franzen and David Foster Wallace. Her new collection, “Can’t and Won’t,” is to be published in the United States in 2014.
Aretha Franklin cancels June shows
Aretha Franklin is taking off the month of June. A spokesman for the 71-year-old singer says Franklin will reschedule two shows and resume her touring schedule in July. Publicist David Brokaw provided no other details. Franklin announced earlier this month that she would cancel scheduled performances in Chicago and Connecticut this week to undergo medical treatment. She did not specify what type of treatment she was receiving. Franklin appeared on the season finale of “American Idol” last week via satellite, singing a medley of her hits with the show’s female finalists.
fired on TV: This time “you’re fired” is more than a Donald Trump catchphrase. Fox is turning the firing of real people from real jobs into prime-time entertainment starting this week. The network on Thursday will begin airing “Does Someone Have to Go?” a series where cameras go into small businesses and employees are compelled to rat out underperforming colleagues. At the end, they choose one co-worker to recommend for firing. “This is the thing they promise to do in retreats but nobody really does it,” said Mike Darnell, executive in charge of alternative programming for Fox.