Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Season of More Literary Prizes

The Man Booker Prize for best literary fiction was awarded on October 16 in London, England to Anne Enright for her novel The Gathering. It is a story of a grieving family in Ireland dealing with three generations of family secrets.

The Man Booker Prize, once called the Booker prize, was established in 1968 to honor the best novel of the year by a citizen of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland. Using an award committee including academics and literary lights the prize has in fact grown in prestige over the years. However, the web site, sounding like a PR firm, highlights how much more than prize money the winner of the award for "the finest in fiction" will receive in increased book sales and worldwide recognition. (Well, the Man Corporation is an investment firm which joined the Best Foods Group to sponsor it since 2002. They do name ball parks after companies these days. One wonders what prestige remains under these conditions.)

The PEN USA Literary Awards have been announced. They will be awarded to the winners at the Beverly Hills Hotel on November 6 in an evening hosted by television and screenwriter Larry Gelbart. Along with a lifetime achievement award to Clancy Sigal, the Second Amendment Award, and the Freedom to Write Award there will be other special acknowledgements and guests.

Fiction - Kevin Brockmeier, A Brief History of the Dead

Creative Fiction - Debra Marquart, The Horizontal World

Research Nonfiction - Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower

Journalism - Jake Silvrstein, "Highway", Harper's Magazine

Drama - Craig Volk - Mayakovsky Takes the Stage

Poetry - Ralph Angel, Exceptions and Melancholies

Translation - Mary Funge and David Lunde, The Carving of Insects by Bian

Teleplay - Phylis Nagy, Mrs. Harris

Screenplay - Zach Helm, Stranger Than Fiction

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