Sunday, December 9, 2012

2012 Literary Awards

Cover of "Life and Death are Wearing Me O...
Cover via Amazon
Every year there are a number of awards that highlight some of the best literature and writers. With so much being published and people having less and less time to read, awards are a good place to find books to read. Literature awards are also a good place to follow along with the happenings in the literature world as well as discover new writers. 

Nobel Prize In Literature

One of the highest honors a writer can get is the Nobel Prize in Literature. This award is given to writers for their body of work. It is not limited to a country or type of writing. The award can go to any writer writing in any language. It is a very exciting award because of all the rumors that fly around. “Will so and so finally win?” There is a long list of great writers around the world that are considered for this and you can count on being surprised by the winner. This year was no exception. Mo Yan, a chinese novelist and short story writer, won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature. This is a very controversial selection and many people, including Chinese dissidents and past prize winners were critical of the choice. No one is critical of his writings. He seems like a fascination writer, one that defends censorship while being censored himself. I had never heard of him before he won the award and it seems he is one of the most well read writers in the world and barely known here in the US. Here are some of his most popular novels.

Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out $8.98
The Garlic Ballads $3.99

Shifu, You'll Do Anything For a Laugh $7.69

The Pulitzer Prize

The Pulitzer Prize for fiction  is “awarded for distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life.” There are also many other awards ranging from journalist to nonfiction. The Award was founded in 1918. Some previous winners are Willa Cather, John Steinbeck, William Faulkner, and Ernest Hemingway. This is yet another controversial year for a coveted award. This years winner is NOBODY! The panel that judges the winner is made up of 3 judges. There were three novels on the short list and each judge chose a different author. It was a three way tie with no winned and so no award will be given in 2012. This has happened a few times in its long history. This is a great award to follow highlighting some of the best fiction by American writers. Here are the three finalist. 

David Foster Wallace - The Pale King $8.89
Karen Russel - Swamplandia! $9.99

Denis Johnson - Train Dreams: A Novella $9.99
English: Announcement of the Laureate of the N...
English: Announcement of the Laureate of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2008 at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm by Horace Engdahl Deutsch: Bekanntgabe des Preisträgers des Literatur-Nobelpreises 2008 durch Horace Engdahl in der Schwedischen Akademie in Stockholm Svenska: Nobelpriset i litteratur år 2008, Horace Engdahl i Svenska Akademien Français : Prix Nobel de littérature pour l'année 2008 Español: El premio Nobel de literatura 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

National Book Award

The National Book Award’s mission is to “celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of good writing in America.” This book has a long and varied past and is one of the major awards given to American writers. This is another great place to find books to read and they do a lot of outreach to communities and in supporting public appearances by writers. Faulkner, Pynchon, Updike, McCarthy, and Franzen are someof the past nominees and winners. This years winner is Louise Erdrich with The Round House.

The Round House $12.99

And the runners up.

Junot Diaz - This Is How You Lose Her $12.99
Dave Eggers - A Hologram for the King $9.99
Ben Fountain - Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk: A Novel $9.68
Kevin Powers - The Yellow Birds: A Novel $9.99

The Man-Booker Prize

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original full-length novel, written in the English language, by a citizen of the Commonwealth of Nations, Ireland, or Zimbabwe, according to Wikipedia. This is a very big deal. This is the biggest of the English Language awards given. They have a long list which they announce very early on and then a short list is selected out of that. They have had their own share of controversy but this year was free of any. Hilary Mantel won for the second time in 5 years for her historical novel Bring Up the Bodies. This is a major award to follow because it includes many countries that speak English and covers a diverse range of topics. I discovered a couple of my favorite writers while reading these novels, Julian Barnes and J.M. Coetzee.

Bring Up the Bodies: A Novel $13.49

Please note all the prices are accurate as of the time of this post, in the US Amazon store. You can check out the other awards given by the different organizations. I study and follow fiction and so these are just the awards that I like to keep up on. I try to read the Pulitzer and the Man Booker every year. They also have many different awards for nonfiction, science fiction, horror, and children’s books.

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