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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Cunningham’

Margaret Atwood Advises the 2009 Whiting Writers’ Award Recipients

whitingawards.jpg“Congratulations to all ten of you. I’ll put you all in my blog.” author Margaret Atwood told the 2009 Whiting Writers’ Award recipients last night. She delivered some droll advice for the winners: “Write a cookbook or a book about vampires. Or troll through the classics, adding monsters…Or, better yet, write a vampire cookbook.”

Last night, ten authors received a $50,000 check from the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, part of the 25th annual Whiting Writers’ Awards. Since 1985, the philanthropic foundation has given emerging creative writers these grants. Previous winners have included: “Denis Johnson, Michael Cunningham, Alice McDermott, and Colson Whitehead. The complete list of winners follows after the jump.

GalleyCat was there, shooting video interviews with the winners and finding out more about Atwood’s recent foray into the world of Twitter. “It’s been quite a lot of fun. I can send out desperate tweets and 15 people will answer my question,” she explained after the ceremony. Twitter hadn’t corrupted her writing style, she concluded: “It’s a descendant of the telegram. Telegrams required succinctness because they charged by the word. It’s a message.”

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Michael Cunningham Sentence Animated

Today the bi-monthly literary journal Electric Literature released that bloody “Single Sentence Animation” video, as animator Jonathan Ashley interpreted a short short story from novelist Michael Cunningham.

This is the second single sentence animation posted on the journal’s brand-new YouTube page. Previously, animator Luca Dipierro interpreted Lydia Millet‘s “Sir Henry” in a brief video. Earlier this year, the journal made publishing headlines for its unusual distribution model and pledge to pay $1,000 per story.

Check it out: “This is the Electric Literature YouTube channel. Here you will find all kinds of cross-over projects. Whether we are matching contemporary writers with illustrators, fine artists, live-action filmmakers, or musicians, this is the place to see the results. These days, we’re on an animation kick. Enjoy.”

POD Literary Journal

electriclit.jpgThe brand new literary journal, Electric Literature, combines old and new media distribution models in a new kind of product. The magazine will be published as a digital text, with a print-on-demand option for readers looking for paper copies of the journal.

In addition, the journal can be purchased as an e-book, Kindle, or iPhone format. The opening issue features a blockbuster list with work by Jim Shepard, Lydia Millet, and Michael Cunningham.

Here’s more from the site: “Ultimately, the content of a book is information, and the methods of distributing information have changed. Electronic publishing is the greenest option: it kills no trees, requires very little energy, never goes out of print, and can reach anyone on the planet. To create the paper version of Electric Literature, we use print-on-demand, ensuring that every copy has a home.” (Via Patrick deWitt)

Susan Minot’s Complicated Hollywood Saga

Then again, almost all Hollywood sagas for novelists are complicated in some form or another, but Susan Minot found out in a special way when her book EVENING was adapted for the big screen by Pulitzer Prize winning novelist and screenwriter Michael Cunningham after a nine-year odyssey, which included her own adaptations. Now what would she tell other writers in her situation? “I would tell them ‘let it go’,” she said to the Times’s Martyn Palmer. “Just stand back and enjoy the ride.”

As for the differing screenplays, “If pressed, I think I’m going to say I like mine better but, you know, Michael’s was his. He brought a lot of people to the project and he managed to make the story more accessible.” But in truth, the “collaboration” was fairly amicable – a lot more than what journalists would make out. “I loved Susan’s book and I respect her enormously as a writer and the first thing I did was call and say ‘I don’t know what they’ll be, but I know I’m going to have to make real changes in the story,’” he recalled. “To her huge credit, Susan said: ‘Of course you’ll change it, that’s why they called you. That’s what I want to see happen.’ What works in a novel is not what works in a movie, and off we went.”

Minot is happy with the film but emphasizes that it is definitely a separate entity to the book. “The book stays where it is. The movie is another creation using the book as a base, not even inspiration because inspiration only goes so far, but as a sort of reference point.”

Didion, Gross to Receive Lifetime Achievement Awards

Though it didn’t quite happen at exactly 10 AM EST as the National Book Foundation‘s website promised (10:12 by my clock, admittedly on the fast side) the people who bring you the National Book Awards (the nominees of which will be announced in Philadelphia on October 10 and co-hosted by Camille Paglia) have announced their lifetime achievement winners. Joan Didion will receive the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Cunningham will present. Terry Gross is being honored with the Literarian Award For Outstanding Service to the Literary Community. Ira Glass, host and producer of National Public Radio’s THIS AMERICAN LIFE, will present.

In making the announcements, Harold Augenbraum, executive director of the Foundation, said, “These two women are icons in the literary world and their contributions are now legendary – Joan Didion as one of the keenest observers and finest prose stylists of our time and Terry Gross as one of the most intelligent voices on the airwaves and one of the few who devotes hundreds of hours a year to talking about books and literature. Both women are fearless in their questioning and their insights on the page and on the air have informed our understanding of America and of America’s writers for decades. Our Board of Directors is honored that they will accept these awards and grace our gala with their presence.”

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