Some literary award news:
Hilary Mantel becomes only the third writer (after Peter Carey and J.M. Coetzee) and the first woman to win the prestigious Man Booker Prize twice, for Bring Up the Bodies. Unlike Carey and Coetzee, who at least had to wait a while and wrote books in between, it only took Mantel three years to triumph again, and for her follow-up. Bodies is definitely one of the most successful and acclaimed novels of the year, but I didn't think she'd win again, especially for a direct sequel. It's a safe choice, in a way, but also a bold one, since it does really push Mantel into the highest echelons of English-language writers. The question now is: can she win an unprecedented third Booker, for the third and final volume of her projected Thomas Cromwell trilogy? It's amazing to think that, until 2009, Mantel had never even been shortlisted for the prize, and now, only four years later, she's 2/2!
Also, the National Book Award nominees were announced a few days ago. Here are the fiction finalists:
It's interesting that the NBA, after a couple years of embracing small presses and more obscure talent, has largely returned to bigger names, like Díaz, Eggers and Erdrich. Fountain and Powers are newcomers, but their books have received quite a bit of coverage too. Seems like a pretty open race.Junot Díaz, This Is How You Lose Her (Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group USA, Inc.)
Dave Eggers, A Hologram for the King (McSweeney's Books)
Louise Erdrich, The Round House (Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers)
Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers)
Kevin Powers, The Yellow Birds (Little, Brown and Company)