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Posts Tagged ‘Junot Diaz’

Finalists for £100,000 Award Announced

impaclgotemplate.gifThe shortlist for the 2009 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award was just announced. Judges combed through 146 novels, picking the finalists for the £100,000–reportedly “the world’s most valuable literary prize for a single work of fiction published in English.”

Last year, Rawi Hage won the award for “De Niro’s Game.” The 2009 shortlist includes:

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (Dominican / American) Riverhead Books
Ravel by Jean Echenoz (French) in translation. The New Press
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid (Pakistani / British) Hamish Hamilton / Harcourt / Doubleday Canada
The Archivist’s Story by Travis Holland (American) Dial Press
The Burnt-Out Town of Miracles by Roy Jacobsen (Norwegian) in translation. John Murray Publishers
The Indian Clerk by David Leavitt (American) Bloomsbury Publishing
Animal’s People by Indra Sinha (Indian / British) Simon & Schuster
Man Gone Down by Micheal Thomas (American) Grove / Atlantic

(Via Three Percent)

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Scene @ the American Academy of Arts and Letters Annual Ceremonial

ceremonial.jpg

What do Joan Acocella, Paul Auster, David Markson, Don DeLillo, John Updike, William Vollmann, Deborah Eisenberg, Stephen Sondheim, Reynolds Price, Richard Ford, Garrison Keillor, Jim Harrison, Mary Gordon, John Corigliano and many, many more luminaries in the literary, artistic and music worlds have in common? They all sat on the stage at the American Academy of Arts & Letters‘ Annual Ceremonial, held in the organization’s Harlem-area auditorium to honor the best and brightest in the arts. Some, like Gold Medal for Fiction winner Updike, have been members for nearly half a century; others, like Dana Spiotta, Junot Diaz, Tony D’Souza and Adam Rapp, received generous monetary awards honoring their recent writing-related outputs.

It may just be my own biased viewpoint that makes me think the Academy is a well-kept secret within the current state of the arts community, but then, it might not: while the turnout was strong, it was decidedly bereft of publishing professionals and those under the age of 35. And Academy President Ezra Laderman‘s opening remarks, highlighting how “we’re in an extraordinary time for the arts” thanks to questions about intellectual property, the decline of a proper arts curricula in any American school and eschewing artistic endeavors for market forces, had just the barest whiff of the old school. And yet it was remarkably clear how much the Academy, and its members, care about the arts and about ensuring that promising writers and artists continue the non-profit’s legacy, and how old school values produce a certain dignity that’s easy to admire. One need only listen to Updike’s spare remarks about how his induction into the Academy as its then-youngest member helped further his career by exposing him to peers as well as “magi-like writers” whom he revered. Bestowing awards onto Diaz and Spiotta is a step to the future, and I look with interest to see which younger writers the Academy recognizes from here on in.

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Mixing Wellies with Bikinis

That’s about my favorite line from Robert McCrum‘s summary of the 2nd annual Cartagena Literary Festival, the result of Colombia’s quest for a fresh international narrative coinciding with the Hay Festival‘s ambitions to take off from Wales and bring contemporary literature to the wider world.According to Hay festival director Peter Florence, the choice of Cartagena is a no-brainer: the secret of a successful literary festival ‘is all to do with location’. Eventually, Florence says he wants to launch similar venues in the US.

Speaking of Hay UK, he admits to McCrum ‘we have been Anglocentric for too long. The fact is: we’re 20 years old; we’ve got a big audience; we have to go global.’ Last week’s sold-out events at Cartagena vindicated Florence’s smooth PR. There were appearances from Wole Soyinka, Junot Diaz, Manuel Rivas, DBC Pierre and rising stars Jorge Volpi and Tishani Doshi. Oh and don’t forget Christopher Hitchens; he was the opening speaker.

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