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Posts Tagged ‘Gore Vidal’

Gore Vidal Has Died

The novelist and essayist Gore Vidal has passed away. He was 86 years old.

He wrote many novels, screenplays and a bookshelf full of inspiring essays. His novels included: Myra Breckinridge, Burr , Lincoln, 1876, Empire, Hollywood, and Washington, D.C.

Here is an excerpt from an essay about Orson Welles that ends with a magical phone call between Vidal, Welles, and singer Rudy Vallee. It is a haunting way to remember the great author.

I have a recurring fantasy that if one were to dial the telephone number of someone in the past, one would hear again a familiar voice, and time would instantly rewind from now to then. I still have Orson’s telephone number in my book (213-851-8458) … From out of the past, I hear, “My time is your time,” in that reedy highly imitable voice. The afterlife’s only a dial tone away. “What makes you think that this is the afterlife?” Orson chuckles. “This is a recording.” Stop story here.

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Liveblogging the National Book Awards

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11:03
A photo of the four National Book Award winners for 2009, post-ceremony…

10:37
Colum McCann wins the National Book Award for Fiction for “Let the Great World Spin.” “Stories are the purest form of engagement…American publishing is able to embrace the other… As Dave Eggers said, we have to take this honor as a challenge.” GalleyCat interviewed the novelist before the ceremony, here’s an excerpt: watch his thoughts about Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight here.

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NBF Will Celebrate Gore Vidal and Dave Eggers

nba.jpgThe National Book Foundation (NBF) announced that Gore Vidal will receive the 2009 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters and Dave Eggers will receive the 2009 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community.

Both awards will be given out at the 60th National Book Awards Ceremony in New York City on November 18, an evening hosted by writer and actor Andy Borowitz. Vidal will be the twentieth author to receive his prestigious award, which was shared by writers like Joan Didion, Norman Mailer, and Toni Morrison.

National Book Foundation executive director Harold Augenbraum had this statement: ““Vidal and Eggers have made a significant impact on the literary culture of the United States, in two very distinct eras. Although one could call both ‘men of letters,’ their approaches to their craft and to their writing and public lives can be described as very distinctive models of the American artiste engagé.” (Editor’s note: The headline of this post has changed.)

Doubleday Executive Editor Wins 2009 Maxwell E. Perkins Award

geraldhoward.jpgDoubleday executive editor and VP Gerald Howard has won the Mercantile Library Center for Fiction’s 2009 Maxwell E. Perkins Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Field of Fiction.

Howard will receive his award at the Library’s November 9 annual dinner in New York City. This is the fifth year the award has been given out, and past recipients included Harcourt editor Drenka Willen and Farrar, Straus & Giroux president Jonathan Galassi. To find out more about the winner, check out this GalleyCat interview with Howard.

Here’s an excerpt from the release: “Mr. Howard has been with Doubleday since 1998. In his tenure at Doubleday, he has worked with Kate Christensen, Pat Barker, Walter Kirn, Chuck Palahniuk, Bill Bryson, Muriel Spark, Robert Bingham and Gore Vidal.”

Vidal Gets PEN/Borders Prize

The Associated Press reports that Gore Vidal, author, playwright and general provacateur, has been named the first winner of the PEN/Borders Literary Service Award, given to “a truly distinguished American writer whose critically acclaimed work helps us to understand the human condition in original and powerful ways.

“The breadth and depth of Gore Vidal’s brilliant work, his courage in speaking out, even at times when free speech has been at risk in our country, and his lifelong commitment to democracy, justice, reason, and common sense make him the ideal recipient of the inaugural PEN/Borders Literary Service Award,” Borders Group CEO George Jones said Tuesday in a statement.

The award, which has no cash prize, will be given to Vidal as part of the PEN Gala on April 30.

Book Awards: Contract Obligations, CIA Connections, and more

It really does seem like every other day there’s a new award announcement that goes out to the press, and almost as frequent is the backlash. V S Naipaul (paraphrased by Nilanjana Roy) once said that the Booker was “destroying literature” by looking for good, commercial books that died very quickly, while France’s Prix Goncourt rewarded “antiquated” books. Then there’s Gore Vidal, who pointed out that there are now more American book awards than writers. And Peter Whittle at the Times of London belives that “it can’t be a coincidence that [awards] have become so dominant during an era that has seen an odd alliance between the populism of the marketplace and the effects of cultural relativism.” But a couple of recent developments truly underscore how awards are less about the books and more about the behind-the-scenes machinations.

Earlier this week, the Sunday Times reported that Boris Pasternak‘s Nobel Prize win for DOCTOR ZHIVAGO owed much to the CIA and British intelligence, who secretly facilitated the accolade to embarrass the Kremlin, which had banned the novel. “I have no doubt whatsoever that the CIA played a key role in ensuring Pasternak received the Nobel prize,” said Ivan Tolstoy, a respected Moscow researcher who wrote a book about the the matter, which includes excerpts from a letter by a former CIA agent describing the operation that followed.

And then there’s Lemn Sissay, a recent judge for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, who was shocked to find out that apparently, agents can collude with publishers to guarantee, through publishing deals, that certain authors are put forward for specific prizes based on contractual obligations. “I heard of this practice, especially when we administered the Booker prize,” said Tarryn McKay at the charity Booktrust, which now runs the Orange prize. “But I don’t know too much about it personally.” Francis Bickmore, an editor at the independent publisher Canongate Books, was more forthcoming. “It’s standard for the big hitters and big prizes,” he says. “Yann Martel, who wrote LIFE OF PI, might not have been put forward if he’d been with a big publisher that already had writers who had to be put forward for the Booker.” Blame the Booker prize rules, which only allow publishers to submit two works – any others have to be called in through other channels.