Tag Archives: Awards

The Wellcome Book Prize Short List!

As in past years, beloved patrons, we are celebrating awards that bring us diverse reading materials, authors, and funds that celebrate the written word.  Today, we are delighted to bring you the shortlist for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize, which was announced this morning in London.

The Wellcome Institute was originally funded by Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome (pictured at right), a fascinating entrepreneur, born in Wisconsin in 1853, whose first business was peddling invisible ink (it was lemon juice).  He later went into pharmaceuticals, where he revolutionized medicine by developing medicine in tablet form, though he called them ‘Tabloids’.  Upon his death, Wellcome vested the entire share capital of his company in individual trustees, who were charged with spending the income to further human and animal health, and even left specifics in his will as to the building in which the collections were to be housed.  Today, the Wellcome Trust, which funds all this gloriousness, is now one of the world’s largest private biomedical charities.

Yay for Science! (From the Wellcome Collection)

I cannot recommend exploring the Wellcome Collection online to you enough.  Because of their dedication to education and engagement, a surprisingly vast amount of their exhibits have online components, and a good deal of their archives and library are digitized, making it possible to access their treasure trove of educational riches from the comfort of your living room (or local Library!).  Their exhibits range from the emotional and contemporary, such as videos and talks on military medicine, to the sublimely bizarre, like this gallery on curatives and quack medicine.  Throughout their work is a very firm dedication not only to education, but to sparking a love of learning in their visitors, and that work pays huge dividends.

And, as part of their outreach efforts, and in the hope of encouraging more quality and creative writing in the sciences, the Wellcome Trust also funds one of the largest book prizes around, providing 30,000 GBP (right now, about $37,500) to it chosen author.  As described on the Wellcome Book Prize site, all the books that are nominated have “a central theme that engages with some aspect of medicine, health or illness.”  While this dedication to science is wonderful, the Wellcome Prize also recognizes art, standing by its core principles by recognizing that such books “can cover many genres of writing – including crime, romance, popular science, sci-fi and history.”  Thus, their list includes both non-fiction and fiction, in order to celebrate those works that “add new meaning to what it means to be human.”

Image result for wellcome book prize
The Wellcome Book Award, via FMcM

The winner of the Wellcome Book Prize will be announced at an evening ceremony on Wednesday 1 May at the Wellcome Collection headquarters in London, and it will be our pleasure to bring you the headlines as soon as they are printed!  Until then, let’s take a look at the Wellcome Book Prize Shortlist Honorees:

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh: Our narrator should be happy, shouldn’t she? It’s the year 2000, and she lives in a city full of potential, wealth, and glamor.  She’s young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate, works an easy job at a hip art gallery, lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, like the rest of her needs, by her inheritance. But there is a dark and vacuous hole in her heart, and it isn’t just the loss of her parents, or the way her Wall Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her best friend, Reva. So what could be so terribly wrong?  Through the story of a year spent under the influence of a truly mad combination of drugs designed to heal our heroine from her alienation from this world, Moshfegh shows us how reasonable, even necessary, alienation can be. Both tender and blackly funny, merciless and compassionate, it is a showcase for the gifts of one of our major writers working at the height of her powers.

Amateur: A True Story About What Makes a Man by Thomas McBee: In this groundbreaking new book, the author, a trans man, trains to fight in a charity match at Madison Square Garden while struggling to untangle the vexed relationship between masculinity and violence. Through his experience boxing—learning to get hit, and to hit back; wrestling with the camaraderie of the gym; confronting the betrayals and strength of his own body—McBee examines the weight of male violence, the pervasiveness of gender stereotypes, and the limitations of conventional masculinity. A wide-ranging exploration of gender in society, and its effects on the smallest details of our lives, McBee’s tale is ultimately a story of hope, tracing a new way forward, a new kind of masculinity, inside the ring and outside of it.

Murmur by Will Eaves: Please note, this title will be released April 9, 2019. In this intense, hallucinatory story, Will Eaves, a celebrated poet,  brings us into the brilliant mind of Alec Pryor, a character inspired by Alan Turing. Turing, father of artificial intelligence and pioneer of radical new techniques to break the Nazi Enigma cipher during World War II, was later persecuted by the British state for “gross indecency with another male” and forced to undergo chemical castration.  This novel unfolds in the weeks leading up to Turning/Pryor’s suicide, and offers a glimpse into not only the life of one remarkable human being, but into the very nature of consciousness, as well as an unflinching look at the systems of prejudice and privilege that seek to limit human expression in all its forms.

Heart: A History by Sandeep Jauhar: For centuries, the human heart seemed beyond our understanding: an inscrutable shuddering mass that was somehow the driver of emotion and the seat of the soul. But as cardiologist and author Sandeep Jauhar shows,  it was only recently that we demolished age-old taboos and devised the transformative procedures that have changed the way we live. Deftly alternating between key historical episodes and his own work, Jauhar tells the colorful and little-known story of the doctors who risked their careers and the patients who risked their lives to know and heal our most vital organ. He introduces us to Daniel Hale Williams, the African American doctor who performed the world’s first open heart surgery in Gilded Age Chicago. We meet C. Walton Lillehei, who connected a patient’s circulatory system to a healthy donor’s, paving the way for the heart-lung machine. And we encounter Wilson Greatbatch, who saved millions by inventing the pacemaker―by accident. Jauhar deftly braids these tales of discovery, hubris, and sorrow with moving accounts of his family’s history of heart ailments and the patients he’s treated over many years. He also confronts the limits of medical technology, arguing that future progress will depend more on how we choose to live than on the devices we invent.

The Trauma Cleaner : One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in the Business of Death, Decay, and Disaster by Sarah Krasnostein: Homicides and suicides, fires and floods, hoarders and addicts. When properties are damaged or neglected, it falls to Sandra Pankhurst, founder of Specialized Trauma Cleaning (STC) Services Pty. Ltd. to sift through the ashes or sweep up the mess of a person’s life or death. Her clients include law enforcement, real estate agents, executors of deceased estates, and charitable organizations representing victimized, mentally ill, elderly, and physically disabled people. In houses and buildings that have fallen into disrepair, Sandra airs out residents’ smells, throws out their weird porn, their photos, their letters, the last traces of their DNA entombed in soaps and toothbrushes.  The remnants and mementoes of these people’s lives resonate with Sandra. Before she began professionally cleaning up their traumas, she experienced her own. First, as a little boy, raised in violence and excluded from the family home. Then as a husband and father, drag queen, gender reassignment patient, sex worker, small businesswoman, and trophy wife. In each role she played, all Sandra wanted to do was belong. Sarah Krasnostein brings Sandra’s life of light in all its complexity, and, in so doing, forces us to reckon with the experiences that set us apart, and those we all share in common.

Mind on Fire: A Memoir of Madness and Recovery by Arnold Thomas Fanning: Please note, this title will be released on October 1, 2019. Arnold Thomas Fanning had his first experience of depression during adolescence, following the death of his mother. Some 10 years later, an up-and-coming playwright, he was overcome by mania and delusions. Thus began a terrible period in which he was often suicidal, increasingly disconnected from family and friends, sometimes in trouble with the law, and homeless in London. Drawing on his own memories, the recollections of people who knew him when he was at his worst, and medical and police records, he has produced a beautifully written, devastatingly intense account of madness—and recovery, to the point where he has not had any serious illness for over a decade and has become an acclaimed playwright. Fanning conveys the consciousness of a person living with mania, psychosis and severe depression with a startling precision and intimacy, providing insight that has the potential to change our thinking about these conditions, both medically and socially.

The Man Booker International Prize Longlist is here!

‘Tis the season for sensational book awards, beloved patrons, and yesterday, the longlist for the Man Booker International Prize, which celebrates the best novels written in a language other than English, and the translations that makes them accessible to us as English readers. The £50,000 prize is split between the winning author and translator.  This years’ list is a celebration of independent publishers, women’s voices, and diverse forms of story-telling, and we can’t wait to add these books to our reading lists!

Via https://themanbookerprize.com/international/news/2019-longlist-announced-man-booker-international-prize

Bettany Hughes, chair of the 2019 Man Booker International Prize judging panel, said:

This was a year when writers plundered the archive, personal and political. That drive is represented in our longlist, but so too are surreal Chinese train journeys, absurdist approaches to war and suicide, and the traumas of spirit and flesh. We’re thrilled to share 13 books which enrich our idea of what fiction can do.

The shortlist for this award will be announced April 9th and the winner will be announced May 21st.   This will, incidentally, also be the last year that the prize is known under this title.  Next year, the prize will be known as the International Booker Prize, as the sponsorship from the Man Group comes to an end and the prize’s new sponsor, Crankstart, begins.  We’ll be bringing you all the highlights and announcements, as ever.

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Just so you know, where these books are available, links have been provided to the NOBLE catalog.  Otherwise, information on when the title may be available is provided.  You can always check with your friendly public service staff for further information.  And now, without further ado, here is the 2019 Man Booker International Prize Longlist!

Author (Original Language –Country/territory), translator, title 

  • Jokha Alharthi (Arabic / Omani),  Marilyn Booth, Celestial Bodies This title is currently unavailable
  • Can Xue (Chinese / Chinese), Annelise Finegan Wasmoen, Love In The New Millennium 
  • Annie Ernaux (French / French), Alison L. Strayer, The Years 
  • Hwang Sok-yong (Korean / Korean), Sora Kim-Russell, At Dusk This title will be released on July 16, 2019
  • Mazen Maarouf (Arabic / Icelandic and Palestinian), Jonathan Wright, Jokes For The Gunmen 
  • Hubert Mingarelli (French / French), Sam Taylor, Four Soldiers Available via ComCat–please check with a public service staff member for details
  • Marion Poschmann (German / German), Jen Calleja, The Pine Islands This title is currently unavailable–please check back later for updates.
  • Samanta Schweblin (Spanish / Argentine and Italian), Megan McDowell, Mouthful Of Birds 
  • Sara Stridsberg (Swedish / Swedish), Deborah Bragan-Turner, The Faculty Of Dreams This title is currently unavailable–please check back later for updates.
  • Olga Tokarczuk (Polish / Polish), Antonia Lloyd-Jones, Drive Your Plow Over The Bones Of The Dead Available via ComCat–please check with a public service staff member for details
  • Juan Gabriel Vásquez (Spanish / Colombian), Anne McLean, The Shape Of The Ruins 
  • Tommy Wieringa (Dutch / Dutch), Sam Garrett, The Death Of Murat Idrissi  This title is currently unavailable–please check back later for updates.
  • Alia Trabucco Zeran (Spanish / Chilean), Sophie Hughes, The Remainder This title will be released on August 6, 2019
An enormous Free-For-All congratulations to all the nominated authors and translators!

The Women’s Prize 2019 Longlist is here!

And we could not be more excited!

Via https://www.womensprizeforfiction.co.uk/reading-room/news/announcing-the-womens-prize-for-fiction-2019-longlist

Just as a reminder, The Women’s Prize for Fiction is the UK’s most prestigious annual book award that specifically celebrates fiction by women.  It was founded in 1996 to ” celebrate originality, accessibility & excellence in writing by women and to connect world-class writers with readers everywhere.”

Over the years, the Prize has had several sponsors, the most recent of which was Bailey’s.  From 2018, however, the prize has moved to a collaborative sponsorship model, which means that it is now just “The Women’s Prize for Fiction,” and we must admit, we like that name!

This year is a banner one because, for the first time in the Prize’s 27-year history, a non-binary transgender author has made the shortlist.  Thirty-one-year-old Nigerian author Akwaeke Emezi is nominated for their first novel, Freshwaterwhich is being hailed on both sides of the Atlantic.  Emezi, who does not identify as male or female and lives in Brooklyn, and is in good company among seven debut authors on the longlist.

“It is a historic moment,” Professor Kate Williams, chair of judges, told the Guardian. “We’re very careful not to Google the authors while judging, so we did not know. But the book found great favour among us, it is wonderful. They are an incredibly talented author and we’re keen to celebrate them.”  We are, also delighted to confirm that Emezi is very happy with their inclusion on the Women’s Prize Longlist.

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via The Evening Standard https://static.standard.co.uk/s3fs-public/thumbnails/image/2019/03/04/10/womens-prize-for-fiction-1.jpg?w968

The shortlist of books for the Women’s Prize will be announced on April 29, and the winners will be announced on June 5.  We’ll be eagerly waiting to bring you more details about this fabulous prize as they are announced, but for now, here is the list of nominated titles.  Where available, links are provided so you can request the book and get reading.  When possible, we’ve also included the US publication date for titles not yet released here.

The 2019 longlist is:

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
Remembered by Yvonne Battle-Felton  (This title is not yet available in the US)
My Sister, the Serial Killer Oyinkan Braithwaite
The Pisces Melissa Broder
Milkman Anna Burns
Freshwater Akwaeke Emezi
Ordinary People Diana Evans
Swan Song Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott (This title is not yet available in the US)
An American Marriage Tayari Jones
Number One Chinese Restaurant Lillian Li
Bottled Goods Sophie van Llewyn (Check with a member of the public service staff to access this title)
Lost Children Archive Valeria Luiselli
Praise Song for the Butterflies Bernice L. McFadden
Circe Madeline Miller
Ghost Wall Sarah Moss
Normal People Sally Rooney

 

A hearty Free-For-All congratulations to all the nominated authors!

The 2018 National Book Award Winners!

On Thursday, November 15, the National Book Award winners were announced in New York, in a ceremony hosted by Nick Offerman.  In addition, writer Luís Alberto Urrea presented the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters to Isabel Allende, saying in his presentation that  “Isabel is calling us to believe in words of love, words of witness.  You can’t build a wall to keep them out. You can’t lock them up. She has taught us that words have wings. They fly over barriers, and they sing all over the globe.”  Hidden Figures author Margot Lee Shetterly presented Doron Weber with the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community.  Weber is the vice president and program director for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation,which runs a program for Public Understanding of Science, Technology & Economics, which supports projects that bridge science and the arts (check out the link–it’s a pretty amazing place!).

Then came the announcement of the Winners of National Book Awards in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young People’s Literature.  We are pleased to list the winners below, with links to their NOBLE catalog entries.  Come into the Library and check out these award-winning books for yourself!

Young People’s Literature

Congratulations to all the National Book Award Winners–we can’t wait to start reading!

Anna Burns Wins the Man Booker Prize!

We’d like to take a moment to congratulate Northern Irish author Anna Burns, who was awarded the 50th Annual Man Booker Prize on October 16 for her novel Milkman!  Burns becomes the first Northern Irish author to win the award, and the first female winner since 2013, when Eleanor Catton took the award with The Luminaries.

Anna Burns wins 2018 Man Booker Prize for Fiction with her novel ‘Milkman’, at Awards ceremony announcing winner of the UK’s most important literary prize, at The Guildhall, London.
Via https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/oct/16/anna-burns-wins-man-booker-prize-for-incredibly-original-milkman

Burns drew on her memories of living through The Troubles in Northern Ireland to craft a story about middle sister in an unnamed city as she navigates her way through rumor, social pressures and politics in a tight-knit community. Burns shows the dangerous and complex outcome that can happen to a woman coming of age in a city at war.

Kwame Anthony Appiah, 2018 Chair of judges, commented on the book:

None of us has ever read anything like this before. Anna Burns’ utterly distinctive voice challenges conventional thinking and form in surprising and immersive prose. It is a story of brutality, sexual encroachment and resistance threaded with mordant humour. Set in a society divided against itself, Milkman explores the insidious forms oppression can take in everyday life.

Milkman also spoke to the concerns of today, Appiah reflected.  as quoted by The Guardian, he noted, “I think this novel will help people think about #MeToo … It is to be commended for giving us a deep and subtle and morally and intellectually challenging picture of what #MeToo is about.”

In addition to her prize money and public recognition, the Royal Mail is issuing a congratulatory postmark featuring the winner’s name, which will be applied to millions of items of stamped mail nationwide for six days from 17 October. It will read ‘Congratulations to Anna Burns, winner of the 2018 Man Booker Prize’.

We here at the Free For All would like to add our congratulations to Anna Burns.  Milkman will shortly be available in the US, and we cannot wait to get our hands on it!

Announcing the winner of the Alternative Nobel Award!

As we reported here in September, there will be no Nobel Prize for Literature in 2018.  Following a series of cover-ups, discrediting disclosures and allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct, the board was taking a hiatus.  In its place, a New Academy organized to award an Alternative Nobel this year, with input from the public.

Today, we are delighted to announce that Guatemalan author Maryse Condé has been awarded the 2018 Alternative Nobel prize!

‘Very happy and proud’… Maryse Condé.
Via https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/oct/12/alternative-nobel-literature-prize-maryse-conde-new-academy-prize

The author of some 20 novels, Condé is renown for providing a voice for those who have been silenced by politics, poverty, and history.  The chair of judges Ann Pålsson noted of her contribution to literature, “She describes the ravages of colonialism and the post-colonial chaos in a language which is both precise and overwhelming…The dead live in her stories closely to the living in a … world where gender, race and class are constantly turned over in new constellations.”

As reported by The Guardian, Condé said she was “very happy and proud” to win the award. “But please allow me to share it with my family, my friends and above all the people of Guadeloupe, who will be thrilled and touched seeing me receive this prize,” she said. “We are such a small country, only mentioned when there are hurricanes or earthquakes and things like that. Now we are so happy to be recognised for something else.”

Conde will win about £87,000 raised from crowdfunding and donations, and will receive the prize at a ceremony on 9 December, one day before the Nobel banquet.

It is our honor to congratulate Maryse Condé on her award, and thank her for a lifetime of stories, honest, and compassion.

The Man Booker Shortlist is Here!

And we could not be more excited!

This year’s shortlist recognizes three writers from the UK, two from the US, and one from Canada.  There are four women and two men nominated.  Moreover, Daisy Johnson, at 27-years-old, is officially the youngest novelist nominated for the award.

At a press conference this morning, the 2018 Chair of judges, Kwame Anthony Appiah, remarked that each of these novels is “a miracle of stylistic invention.”   He continued: 

In each of them the language takes centre stage. And yet in every other respect they are remarkably diverse, exploring a multitude of subjects ranging across space and time. From Ireland to California, in Barbados and the Arctic, they inhabit worlds that not everyone will have been to, but which we can all be enriched by getting to know. Each one explores the anatomy of pain — among the incarcerated and on a slave plantation, in a society fractured by sectarian violence, and even in the natural world. But there are also in each of them moments of hope. These books speak very much to our moment, but we believe that they will endure.

The winner on the Man Booker Prize will be announced on 16 October at a dinner in London’s Guildhall.  Until then, we hope you enjoy perusing this shortlist!  Sadly, three of the titles are not yet available to us in the US, but we’ll be bringing you updates when they do!

The Man Booker Prize 2018 Shortlist

Esi Edugyan Washington Black (Canada)

Rachel Kushner The Mars Room (USA)

Richard Powers The Overstory (USA)

Daisy Johnson Everything Under (UK) This title will be released in the US in January 2019

Robin Robertson The Long Take  (UK)  Not yet released in the US

Anna Burns Milkman (UK) Not yet released in the US