Category Archives: Literary Awards & their Winners
An epic novel and a thrilling literary discovery, The Orphan Master’s Son follows a young man’s journey through the icy waters, dark tunnels, and eerie spy chambers of the world’s most mysterious dictatorship, North Korea.
Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother—a singer “stolen” to Pyongyang—and an influential father who runs Long Tomorrows, a work camp for orphans. There the boy is given his first taste of power, picking which orphans eat first and which will be lent out for manual labour. Recognized for his loyalty and keen instincts, Jun Do comes to the attention of superiors in the state, rises in the ranks, and starts on a road from which there will be no return.
Considering himself “a humble citizen of the greatest nation in the world,” Jun Do becomes a professional kidnapper who must navigate the shifting rules, arbitrary violence, and baffling demands of his Korean overlords in order to stay alive. Driven to the absolute limit of what any human being could endure, he boldly takes on the treacherous role of rival to Kim Jong Il in an attempt to save the woman he loves, Sun Moon, a legendary actress “so pure, she didn’t know what starving people looked like.”
Part breathless thriller, part story of innocence lost, part story of romantic love, The Orphan Master’s Son is also a riveting portrait of a world heretofore hidden from view: a North Korea rife with hunger, corruption, and casual cruelty but also camaraderie, stolen moments of beauty, and love. A towering literary achievement, The Orphan Master’s Son ushers Adam Johnson into the small group of today’s greatest writers.
The NBCC Awards Ceremony will be held on the 28th of February 2013. Here are the Fiction Finalists for the NBCC Awards:
Laurent Binet, HHhH (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). Translated from the French by Sam Taylor. Binet lives in Paris, where he teaches French literature at the University of Paris III. He is the author of a memoir, La Vie professionnelle de Laurent B. HHhH, his first novel, won the Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman. HHhH stands for “Himmler’s Hirn heist Heydrich” (“Himmler’s brain is called Heyrich”). In an unusual blend of fiction, memoir, and history, Binet recounts his obsession with the notorious Nazi Reinhard Heydrich and the two parachuters—a Czech and a Slovak trained by the British—who assassinated him.
Ben Fountain, BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK (Ecco). Fountain lives in Dallas, where he set Billy Lynn, his first novel. He has also published a book of short stories, Brief Encounters with Che Guevera, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award. Fountain quit his job as a lawyer and spent 18 years writing fiction before Brief Encounters was published in 2006, an experience Malcolm Gladwell described in a New Yorker story called “Late Bloomers.” Fountain’s reporting from Haiti has appeared on “This American Life.” In Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, a squad of American soldiers are touted as heroes after a Fox News crew films them during an intense firefight with Iraqi insurgents. The book follows them through one intense, surreal day—which happens to be Thanksgiving and the last day of their U.S. Victory Tour—as they visit Cowboys Stadium in Dallas to take part in the halftime show along with Beyoncé and the Cowboys’ cheerleaders.
Adam Johnson, THE ORPHAN MASTER’S SON (Random House). Johnson lives in San Francisco and teaches creative writing at Stanford University. He has published two previous books: Emporium, a collection of short stories, and Parasites Like Us, a novel. The Orphan Master’s Son follows the enigmatically named North Korean citizen Jun Do from his childhood in a work camp for orphans to the inner circles of power in Pyongyang. While researching the book, Johnson was one of the few Americans to visit North Korea.
Lydia Millet, MAGNIFICENCE (W. W. Norton). Millet lives near Tucson, Arizona, and is the author of nine novels. Magnificence is the third part of a loose trilogy that began with How the Dead Dream and Ghost Lights. With her wry humor and sense of the absurd, Millet introduces Susan, whose husband has just died when she learns that she’s inherited a ramshackle mansion full of taxidermied animals from a great-uncle and decides to restore them.
Zadie Smith, NW (The Penguin Press). Smith was born in northwest London, the setting for her most recent novel, and teaches at New York University. Her previous books include three novels—White Teeth, winner of the Whitbread First Novel award; The Autograph Man; and On Beauty, which won the Orange Prize for Fiction and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize—as well as a collection of essays, Changing My Mind. In Smith’s exuberant prose, NW follows four Londoners who grew up together in public housing as they make their way as adults in widely different circumstances.
The nominees for the 2013 Edgar Awards have been announced! The awards ceremony will be held on the 2nd of May 2013.
The nominees for Best Novel:
The Lost Ones by Ace Atkins
The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye
Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn
Potboiler by Jesse Kellerman
Sunset by Al Lamanda
Live by Night by Dennis Lehane
All I Did Was Shoot My Man by Walter Mosley
The nominees for Best First Novel:
The Map of Lost Memories by Kim Fay
Don’t Ever Get Old by Daniel Friedman
Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal
The Expats by Chris Pavone
The 500 by Matthew Quirk
Black Fridays by Michael Sears
From the author that brought us the 2009 Man Booker Prize winning Wolf Hall comes the sequel to the Thomas Cromwell featured story, Bringing Up the Bodies. This sequel, Bringing Up the Bodies, has won the 2012 prize making Hilary Mantel the 3rd author to have won the Man Booker Prize twice. She is, however, the first author to have won a second time with a sequel and the first to win with such little time between wins.
What’s Bringing Up the Bodies about? Goodreads provides us with the low down.
Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice.
At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down. Over three terrifying weeks, Anne is ensnared in a web of conspiracy, while the demure Jane Seymour stands waiting her turn for the poisoned wedding ring. But Anne and her powerful family will not yield without a ferocious struggle. Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies follows the dramatic trial of the queen and her suitors for adultery and treason. To defeat the Boleyns, Cromwell must ally with his natural enemies, the papist aristocracy. What price will he pay for Anne’s head?
This second installation of the Wolf Hall series by Hilary Mantel is sure to please historical fiction fans and has been described by readers as even better than the first novel with many Goodreads members awarding Bringing Up the Bodies 5 star reviews.
The 2012 winner is The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller which is her debut novel about which Joanna Trollope, Chair of Judges, said: “This is a more than worthy winner — original, passionate, inventive and uplifting. Homer would be proud of her.”
The Song of Achilles Greece in the age of Heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to Phthia to live in the shadow of King Peleus and his strong, beautiful son, Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something far deeper — despite the displeasure of Achilles’s mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.
The Orange Prize for Fiction is the UK’s only book prize celebrating works of fiction written by women. This year’s shortlist was announced of 17 April 2012 and includes both new and established authors. The shortlist includes Madeline Miller’s debut novel The Song of Achilles as well as previous Orange prize winner Ann Patchett who won the prize in 2002 for Bel Canto. You can check out previous prize winners and 2010 & 2011 shortlists right here on Lilolia. If you are looking for good books to read then I think the shortlists of most book prizes are a good place to start. Here is what the Orange prize judges had to say about the shortlisted novels:
“This is a shortlist of remarkable quality and variety,” commented Joanna Trollope, Chair of judges. “It includes six distinctive voices and subjects, four nationalities and an age range of close on half a century. It is a privilege to present it.”
She continues, “My only regret is that the rules of the prize don’t permit a longer shortlist. However, I am confident that the fourteen novels we had to leave out will make their own well-deserved way”.
Here are the 2012 Orange prize shortlisted novels:
Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
Canadian 2nd Novel
The aftermath of the fall of Paris, 1940. Hieronymus Falk, a rising star on the cabaret scene, was arrested in a café and never heard from again. He was twenty years old. He was a German citizen. And he was black.
Fifty years later, Sid, Hiero’s bandmate and the only witness that day, is going back to Berlin. Persuaded by his old friend Chip, Sid discovers there’s more to the journey than he thought when Chip shares a mysterious letter, bringing to the surface secrets buried since Hiero’s fate was settled.
Esi Edugyan is a graduate of the University of Victoria and John Hopkins University. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, including Best New American Voices 2003. Her debut novel, The Second Life of Samuel Tyne, written when she was 25, was published internationally. Half Blood Blues was shortlisted for the 2011 Man Booker Prize and won the Scotiabank Giller Prize 2011. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia.
The judges said: “We were all struck by the sustained and powerful voice, and sense of place and period, in this wonderful novel of jazz, war-torn Europe, and remorse.”
The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright
Irish 5th Novel
The Forgotten Waltz is a memory of desire: a recollection of the bewildering speed of attraction, the irreparable slip into longing. In Terenure, a pleasant suburb of Dublin, in the winter of 2009, it has snowed. Gina Moynihan, girl about town, recalls the trail of lust and happenstance that brought her to fall for ‘the love of her life’, Seán Vallely. As the city outside comes to a halt, Gina remembers the days of their affair in one hotel room or another: long afternoons made blank by bliss and denial. Now, as the silent streets and the stillness and vertigo of the falling snow make the day luminous and full of possibility, Gina walks through the weather to meet a girl she calls his ‘beautiful mistake’: Seán’s fragile, twelve-year-old daughter, Evie.
Anne Enright was born in Dublin, where she now lives and works. She has published two volumes of stories, collected as Yesterday’s Weather, one book of non-fiction, Making Babies, and four novels, most recently The Gathering, which was the Irish Novel of the Year and won the Irish Fiction Award and the 2007 Man Booker Prize.
The judges said: “What an achievement, we all thought — a flawed heroine, a modern tale of unromantic adultery and conflicted parental loyalties, and a compelling, believable, lyrical read.”
Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding
British 3rd Novel
Iasi, Romania, the early 1950s. A man is found on the steps of hospital, frail as a fallen bird. He carries no identification and utters no words, and it is days before anyone discovers that he is deaf and mute. And then a young nurse called Safta brings paper and pencils with which he can draw. Slowly, painstakingly, memories appear on the page: a hillside, a stable, a car, a country house, dogs and mirrored rooms and samovars in what is now a lost world.
The memories are Safta’s also. For the man is Augustin, son of the cook at the manor at Poiana that was her family home. Born six months apart, they grew up with a connection that bypassed words. But while Augustin’s world remained the same size, Safta’s expanded to embrace languages, society — and love, as Augustin watched one long hot summer, in the form of a fleeting young man in a green Lagonda.
Safta left before the war, Augustin stayed. But even in the wide hills and valleys around Poiana he did not escape its horrors. He watched uncomprehending as armies passed through the place. Then the Communists came, and he found himself their unlikely victim. There are many things that he must tell Safta that may be more than simple drawings can convey.
Georgina Harding is the author of two novels: The Solitude of Thomas Cave and The Spy Game, a BBC Book at Bedtime and shortlisted for the Encore Award. Her first book was a work of non-fiction, In Another Europe, recording a journey she made across Romania by motorbike in 1988 during the worst times of the Ceausescu regime. It was followed by Tranquebar: A Season in South India, which documented the lives of the people in a small fishing village on the Coromandel coast. Georgina Harding lives in London and on a farm in the Stour Valley, Essex.
The judges said: “We were impressed by this deceptively quiet book, which grows in effect and strength as it goes on, portraying a deep understanding of unconventional ways of self-expression, and of relationships. The writing is beautiful.”
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
American 1st Novel
Greece in the age of Heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to Phthia to live in the shadow of King Peleus and his strong, beautiful son, Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something far deeper — despite the displeasure of Achilles’s mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.
Madeline Miller was born in Boston, MA, and grew up in both New York City and Philadelphia. She attended Brown University, where she graduated magna cum laude with a BA and MA in Classics. She has also studied at the Yale School of Drama specialising in adapting classical tales to a modern audience. Since graduation she has taught Latin, Greek and Shakespeare, both at her high school, The Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, PA, and elsewhere. Madeline began writing fiction when she was in high school, and has been working on The Song of Achilles, her first novel, for the last ten years. She currently lives in New England, where she teaches Latin and writes.
The judges said: “Terrific. The Trojan Wars and the legendary love story of Patroclus and Achilles told with all the intensity and accuracy that this world of violence and superstition and romance deserves.”
Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick
American 7th Novel
The collapse of her brief marriage has stalled Bea Nightingale’s life, leaving her middle-aged and alone, teaching in an impoverished borough of 1950s New York. A plea from her estranged brother gives Bea the excuse to escape lassitude by leaving for Paris to retrieve a nephew she barely knows; but the siren call of Europe threatens to deafen Bea to the dangers of entangling herself in the lives of her brother’s family.
Travelling from America to France, Bea leaves the stigma of divorce on the far side of the Atlantic; newly liberated, she chooses to defend her nephew and his girlfriend Lili by waging a war of letters on the brother she has promised to help. But Bea’s generosity is a mixed blessing: those she tries to help seem to be harmed, and as Bea’s family unravels around her, she finds herself once again drawn to the husband she thought she had left in the past.
Cynthia Ozick’s novels, essays, and short stories have won numerous prizes and awards, among them the Presidential Medal for the Humanities and the PEN-Nabokov Award for Lifetime Achievement. She was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Man-Booker International Prize, and her fiction has garnered four O. Henry First Prizes, the Rea Award for the Short Story, the PEN-Malamud Award for the Short Story, and the National Book Critics Circle Award for the Essay. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she lives in Westchester County, New York, with her husband.
The judges said: “This novel is so fresh, and so sophisticated, in its clear eyed look at family dynamics, and so exquisitely written — we were charmed by it.”
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
American 6th Novel
Among the tangled waterways and giant anacondas of the Brazilian Rio Negro, an enigmatic scientist is developing a drug that could alter the lives of women forever. Dr Annick Swenson’s work is shrouded in mystery; she refuses to report on her progress, especially to her investor’s, whose patience is fast running out. Anders Eckman, a mild-mannered lab researcher, is sent to investigate. A curt letter reporting his untimely death is all that returns.
Now Marina Singh, Anders’s colleague and once a student of the mighty Dr Swenson, is their last hope. Compelled by pleas of Anders’s wife, who refuses to accept that her husband is not coming home, Marina leaves the snowy plains of Minnesota and retraces her friend’s steps into the heart of the South American darkness, determined to track down Dr Swenson and uncover the secrets being jealously guarded among the remotest tribes of the rainforest.
What Marina does not yet know is that, in this ancient corner of the jungle, where the muddy waters and susurrating grasses hide countless unknown perils and temptations, she will face challenges beyond her wildest imagination. Marina is no longer the student, but only time will tell if she has learnt enough.
Ann Patchett is the author of five previous novels, including Bel Canto, which won the Orange Prize for Fiction. She is also the author of two works of nonfiction; What Now? and the bestselling Truth & Beauty. She writes for the New York Times Magazine, Elle, GQ, Financial Times, Paris Review and Vogue. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee where she has her own independent bookshop. In April 2012, Ann Patchett was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.
The judges said: “An extraordinary novel of science and adventure handled with equally extraordinary grace and lightness and wit.”
The 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction was awarded on 8 June in London to American/Serbian author Téa Obreht for her debut novel The Tiger’s Wife. At age 25, Téa Obreht is the youngest author to take the prize.
Bettany Hughes, Chair of Judges, had this to say about the winning novel:
"The Tiger’s Wife is an exceptional book and Téa Obreht is a truly exciting new talent. Obreht’s powers of observation and her understanding of the world are remarkable. By skilfully spinning a series of magical tales she has managed to bring the tragedy of chronic Balkan conflict thumping into our front rooms with a bittersweet vivacity."
She continues, "The book reminds us how easily we can slip into barbarity, but also of the breadth and depth of human love. Obreht celebrates storytelling and she helps us to remember that it is the stories that we tell about ourselves, and about others, that can make us who we are and the world what it is."
Some extra information about Téa Obreht and her debut novel The Tiger’s Wife
Téa Obreht was born in 1985 in the former Yugoslavia and raised in Belgrade. In 1992 her family moved to Cyprus and then to Egypt, where she learned to speak and read English, eventually immigrating to the United States in 1997. After graduating from the University of Southern California, Téa received her MFA in Fiction from the Creative Writing Program at Cornell University in 2009. Téa was featured in The New Yorker’s Top 20 Writers under 40 Fiction Issue (June 2010) and at 24, was the youngest on the list. Her short story, The Laugh, debuted in The Atlantic fiction issue and was then chosen for The Best American Short Stories 2010, a further short story, The Sentry, featured in the Guardian Summer Fiction Issue. Her journalism has appeared in Harper’s magazine and she lives in Ithaca, New York.
The Tiger’s Wife
A tiger escapes from the local zoo, padding through the ruined streets and onwards, to a ridge above the Balkan village of Galina. His nocturnal visits hold the villagers in a terrified thrall. But for one boy, the tiger is a thing of magic – Shere Khan awoken from the pages of The Jungle Book.
Years later, in a Balkan country ravaged by conflict, Natalia, a young doctor, is visiting an orphanage when she receives word of her beloved grandfather’s death far from their home in mysterious circumstances. Remembering fragments of the stories her grandfather told her as a child, Natalia becomes convinced that he spent his last days searching for ‘the deathless man’ a vagabond who was said to be immortal. As Natalia struggles to understand why her grandfather, a deeply rational man, would go on such a far-fetched journey, she stumbles across a clue that leads her to the extraordinary story of the tiger’s wife.
The winner of the 2011 Pen/Faulkner Award for Fiction is:
The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg by Deborah Eisenberg
The honoured book, The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg, brings together four volumes of Eisenberg’s work: Transactions in a Foreign Currency, Under the 82nd Airborne, All Around Atlantis, and Twilight of the Superheroes, which was a PEN/Faulkner Finalist in 2007. Eisenberg’s stories have long been admired for their exceptional language and nuanced evocation of thought and emotion. About this collection, judge Laura Furman says, “From the first to the last of her collected stories, Deborah Eisenberg demonstrates her sharp intelligence, literary inventiveness, and her clear understanding of human interconnectedness as it exists in isolation. Eisenberg’s reader often has the feeling that her characters don’t quite understand either who they are or how they got themselves into their present fix. The struggle of her characters to create a whole life from the shards of their experience and emotions forms the moral core of Deborah Eisenberg’s work.” The recipient of a MacArthur Genius Grant, a Whiting Writer’s Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, Deborah Eisenberg has also taught at the University of Virginia since 1994.
The PEN/Faulkner Award is America’s largest peer juried prize for fiction in the United States. As winner, Eisenberg receives $15,000. Each of the four finalists—Jennifer Egan for A Visit From The Goon Squad (Knopf); Jaimy Gordon for Lord of Misrule(McPherson & Co.); Eric Puchner for Model Home (Scribner); and Brad Watson for Aliens in The Prime of Their Lives (W.W. Norton)—receives $5,000.