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Posts Tagged ‘Patrick Somerville’

NYT Book Review Generates Correction & Email for Fictional Character

When Janet Maslin reviewed This Bright River by Patrick Somerville recently, the novelist discovered that the critic had misread a crucial and deliberately ambiguous moment in the novel.

Somerville explained the error in an essay for Salon: “I realized that Janet Maslin, who is not only one of the most accomplished critics in the world, but who is also the person who lifted my first novel, The Cradle, out of obscurity with a rave review three years before, had made a simple reading error within the first five pages of my novel. She‘d mixed up two characters. It was really important to not mix up those characters. And she never realized it.”

That could have been the end of the whole sad story, but a New York Times editor contacted Somerville through an email to one of his fictional characters. Read the whole email chain at Salon. The lovely email exchange ended with the newspaper printing a spoiler-free correction in the review.

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Center for Fiction First Novel Prize Shortlist Announced

23library23.jpgThe Center for Fiction has announced the five finalists for the $10,000 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize.

The prize–once known as the John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize–went to Hannah Tinti last year for her novel, “The Good Thief.” The Center was founded in 1820 as the Mercantile Library (pictured). The 2009 finalists are: “American Rust” by Philipp Meyer from Spiegel & Grau; “The Cradle” by Patrick Somerville from Little, Brown and Co.; “Tinkers” by Paul Harding from Bellevue Literary Press; “The Vagrants” by Yiyun Lin from Random House; and “Woodsburner” by John Pipkin from Doubleday/Nan A. Talese.

Here’s more from the release: “Librarians, staff, and members of The Center first read submissions and the recommendations of these Common Readers, as they are called, are then forwarded to a committee of distinguished American writers. This committee selects the novels on the short list and the winner.”