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1. FEBRUARY UPDATE!

APPEARANCES/EVENTS! Lots to do this month.  Hope you can make it to one of these events in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Amherst. Thursday, Feb. 5, Pasadena, CA 11 am- READING & SIGNING AT VROMAN'S BOOKSTORE   695 E. Colorado Blvd Pasadena, CA 91101 I'll spend the morning reading, answering questions, & signing books in my only LA area appearance for a while.  If you're in the area,

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2. H is For Hawk Takes 2014 Costa Book Award

H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald has won the 2014 Costa book prize. The author will take home a £30,000 prize for the memoir, which tells her personal account of training a goshawk in order to deal with the death of her father.

“All of the judges felt passionately about this book and its wonderful, muscular, chiseled prose,” explained Robert Harris, chair of the final judges, in a statement. “This is a clever, accomplished piece of writing that everyone will enjoy. It melds a memoir about grief, a biography of TH White and is a wonderful evocation of nature and training a hawk. It’s unique, unforgettable, haunting and a natural book to win this prize.”

Zoe Gilbert won the 2014 Costa Short Story Award for her story, “Fishskin, Hareskin.” She will take home £3,500 in prize money.

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3. Katsuhiro Otomo wins Grand Prix at Angoulême

201501291441 Katsuhiro Otomo wins Grand Prix at Angoulême

In what is not a shock but is a break with tradition, Katsuhiro Otomo, creator of Akira and Domu, has been awarded the Grand Prix at the 42nd annual Festival d’Angoulême which is taking place as we speak.

Otomo beat out beloved Belgian cartoonist Hermann (the safe choice) and Alan Moore, who probably would have just chucked it into his garden and forgotten about.

This caps off several years of unrest for the prize, which is awarded for a body of work and voted on by participating cartoonists (just how you participate isn’t always clear, but I think attending a past Angouleme qualifies you.) Traditionally the prize has been given to Franco-Belgian cartoonists—all strong but many of them better known for being popular with their peers than for making a mark on world cartooning. In 2013 a younger, more international group of cartoonists wanted to give the prize to Akira Toriyama, but Willem, a Dutch cartoonists who makes his home in Paris, was selected, with Toriyama being given a special prize.

In 2014, Otomo was once again a finalist, along with Alan Moore and Bill Watterson, who weren’t very likely to actually make the trip to pick up the prize and attend the festival, as if the Gran prix winner’s duty. In the event, Watterson won out and he’s represented at the festival by a gorgeous art exhibit.

This time, the influence of manga has finally been recognized officially and a new day is dawning for the world culture of comics.

2015012914411 Katsuhiro Otomo wins Grand Prix at Angoulême

Otomo is of course one of the world’s greatest living cartoonists and animators, whose visionary work has influenced countless creators around the globe. Akira, a darkly futuristic tale of bikers racing across a neon Tokyo, helped create the entrée look of cyperpunk and video games. He’s world class and highly deserving of the win.

Also, if I’m not mistaken, the prize is usually given out on Sunday night…so not sure why the news was released on the first day of the festival. Maybe it was just leaked. Hope here’s his acceptance speech:

0 Comments on Katsuhiro Otomo wins Grand Prix at Angoulême as of 1/30/2015 1:11:00 AM
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4. Katsuhiro Otomo wins Grand Prix at Angoulême

201501291441 Katsuhiro Otomo wins Grand Prix at Angoulême

In what is not a shock but is a break with tradition, Katsuhiro Otomo, creator of Akira and Domu, has been awarded the Grand Prix at the 42nd annual Festival d’Angoulême which is taking place as we speak.

Otomo beat out beloved Belgian cartoonist Hermann (the safe choice) and Alan Moore, who probably would have just chucked it into his garden and forgotten about.

This caps off several years of unrest for the prize, which is awarded for a body of work and voted on by participating cartoonists (just how you participate isn’t always clear, but I think attending a past Angouleme qualifies you.) Traditionally the prize has been given to Franco-Belgian cartoonists—all strong but many of them better known for being popular with their peers than for making a mark on world cartooning. In 2013 a younger, more international group of cartoonists wanted to give the prize to Akira Toriyama, but Willem, a Dutch cartoonists who makes his home in Paris, was selected, with Toriyama being given a special prize.

In 2014, Otomo was once again a finalist, along with Alan Moore and Bill Watterson, who weren’t very likely to actually make the trip to pick up the prize and attend the festival, as if the Gran prix winner’s duty. In the event, Watterson won out and he’s represented at the festival by a gorgeous art exhibit.

This time, the influence of manga has finally been recognized officially and a new day is dawning for the world culture of comics.

2015012914411 Katsuhiro Otomo wins Grand Prix at Angoulême

Otomo is of course one of the world’s greatest living cartoonists and animators, whose visionary work has influenced countless creators around the globe. Akira, a darkly futuristic tale of bikers racing across a neon Tokyo, helped create the entrée look of cyperpunk and video games. He’s world class and highly deserving of the win.

Also, if I’m not mistaken, the prize is usually given out on Sunday night…so not sure why the news was released on the first day of the festival. Maybe it was just leaked. Hope here’s his acceptance speech:

1 Comments on Katsuhiro Otomo wins Grand Prix at Angoulême, last added: 1/31/2015
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5. 2015 Power Political Book Award Winners

Revolt on the Right by Matthew Goodwin and Robert Ford won the Paddy Power Political Book Awards this year. The two were awarded with a £10,000 prize.

The award recognizes “the very best in political writing and publishing.” The awards include ten categories chosen by a panel of political celebrity judges and the prizes were donated by Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC.

Alan Johnson’s memoir Please, Mister PostmanLuke Harding’s The Snowden Files; and Simon Danczuk Smile for the Camera were also in the running for the top award at the event. Follow the jump to see the complete list of winners.

2015 Power Political Book Award Winners

Political Book of the Year: Revolt on the Right: Explaining Support for the Radical Right in Britain by Robert Ford & Matthew Goodwin (Routledge)

Polemic of the Year: An Inconvenient Genocide: Who Now Remembers the Armenians? by Geoffrey Robertson QC (Biteback Publishing)

International Affairs Book of the Year:Women of the World: The Rise of the Female Diplomat by Helen McCarthy (Bloomsbury Publishing)

Political History Book of the Year: Modernity Britain: Book Two: A Shake of the Dice 1959–62 by David Kynaston (Bloomsbury Publishing)

Political Biography of the Year: Roy Jenkins by John Campbell (Jonathan Cape)

World War One Book of the Year: The World’s War by David Olusoga (Head of Zeus)

Political Humour and Satire Book of the Year: The Coalition Book by Martin Rowson (SelfMadeHero)

Debut Political Book of the Year: City of Lies: Love, Sex, Death and the Search for Truth in Tehran by Ramita Navai (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

Political Fiction Book of the Year: Acts of Omission by Terry Stiastny (John Murray)

Practical Politics Book of the Year: The ‘Too Difficult’ Box by Charles Clarke (Biteback Publishing)

 

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6. Don Hertzfeldt’s ‘World of Tomorrow’ Wins Sundance Short Film Grand Jury Prize

Don Hertzfeldt's 'World of Tomorrow' has won the top short film at the Sundance Film Festival.

0 Comments on Don Hertzfeldt’s ‘World of Tomorrow’ Wins Sundance Short Film Grand Jury Prize as of 1/28/2015 6:59:00 AM
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7. 2015 Sami Rohr Prize Finalists Revealed

The Jewish Book Council has revealed the finalists for the 2015 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. The winner will take home a $100,000 prize.

The prize is given to contemporary writers that examine “Jewish life today and throughout the ages.” The prize alternates between fiction and non-fiction every year. This year, the prize is dedicated to fiction writing.

The finalists include: Panic in a Suitcase: A Novel by Yelena Akhtiorskaya; The UnAmericans: Stories by Molly Antopol; The Lion Seeker: A Novel by Kenneth Bonert; A Replacement Life: A Novel by Boris Fishman; and The Best Place on Earth: Stories by Ayelet Tsabari.

 

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8. Marge and Bill Woggon selected for the Eisner Hall of Fame, 13 on the ballot

Marjorie “Marge” Henderson Buehl, the magazine cartoonist who created Little Lulu, and Bill Woggon, creator of Katy Keane, an early example of crowd sourced comics, have been selected for the Will Eisner Comic Awards Hall of Fame by this year’s judges. An additional 13 names will be on the ballot for the awards: Lynda Barry, John Byrne, Chris Claremont, Howard Cruse, Kim Deitch, Matt Groening, Denis Kitchen, Frank Miller, Francoise Mouly, Paul S. Newman, Lily Renée Peters Phillips, Bob Powell, and Frank Robbins. Four will be selected for the Hall and announced at the ceremony at Comic-Con.

Online voting is now open for industry professionals (writer, artist, cartoonist, colorist, letterer, editors, publishers) as well as retailers, graphic novels librarians, and comics historian/educators. The deadline is March 31.

eisners2015 hof buell 1 Marge and Bill Woggon selected for the Eisner Hall of Fame, 13 on the ballot

Marjorie Henderson Buell (“Marge”) (1904–1993)
Marge started drawing Little Lulu for the Saturday Evening Post in 1935, creating a mischievous tot with a spark for ingenuity that we know to this day. Lulu was created as a foil to the existng character Henry. It was turned into a comic strip eventually and the comics by John Stanley and Irving Tripp. Although the Stanley Lulu stories are the best known today, Marge’s Lulu was very popular in its own right, with many licensing deals—including one as the mascot for Kleenex from 1952-1965–and an animated series. Marge was a cartoonist from the age of 16 and created other comic strips and illustrated many books.

Marjoriebuell Marge and Bill Woggon selected for the Eisner Hall of Fame, 13 on the ballot

eisners2015 hof woggon 1 Marge and Bill Woggon selected for the Eisner Hall of Fame, 13 on the ballot

Bill Woggon (1911–2003)
Bill Woggon created “Katy Keene, the Pinup Queen” for Archie Comics in 1945, a fashionable character far above the usual Riverdale shenanigans. readers were encouraged to send in their own designs for clothes and other series props, and Keene would use them in the strips, giving credit to readers. The strip was revived in the 80s with some newer artists but Woggon was still around to take an active hand. He also worked on Millie the Lovable Monster for Dell, and his elegant, streamlined style for perfect for the fashions that the strip spotlighted.
po Marge and Bill Woggon selected for the Eisner Hall of Fame, 13 on the ballot

2 Comments on Marge and Bill Woggon selected for the Eisner Hall of Fame, 13 on the ballot, last added: 1/24/2015
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9. 2015 Edgar Award Nominations Revealed

The Mystery Writers of America have revealed the nominees for this year’s Edgar Awards. The annual prize is named after beloved writer Edgar Allan Poe, awarded to the best authors in the mystery genre since 1945.

These awards recognize the following categories: novel, first novel, paperback original, fact crime, critical/biographical, short story, juvenile, young adult, play, and TV episode. We’ve got the entire list of nominees for you after the jump.

Best Novel

This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)

Wolf by Mo Hayder (Grove/Atlantic – Atlantic Monthly Press)

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King (Simon & Schuster – Scribner)

The Final Silence by Stuart Neville (Soho Press)

Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown)

Coptown by Karin Slaughter (Penguin Randomhouse – Delacorte Press)

Best First Novel by an American Author

Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman (W.W. Norton)

Invisible City by Julia Dahl (Minotaur Books)

The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens (Prometheus Books – Seventh Street Books)

Bad Country by C.B. McKenzie (Minotaur Books – A Thomas Dunne Book)

Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh (Crown Publishers)

Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver (Minotaur Books – A Thomas Dunne Book)

Best Paperback Original

The Secret History of Las Vegas by Chris Abani (Penguin Randomhouse – Penguin Books)

Stay With Me by Alison Gaylin (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)

The Barkeep by William Lashner (Amazon Publishing – Thomas and Mercer)

The Day She Died by Catriona McPherson (Llewellyn Worldwide – Midnight Ink)

The Gone Dead Train by Lisa Turner (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)

World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters (Quirk Books)

Best Fact Crime

Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime that Changed America by Kevin Cook (W.W. Norton)

The Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller’s Tragic Quest for Primitive Art by Carl Hoffman (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)

The Other Side: A Memoir by Lacy M. Johnson (Tin House Books)

Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William Mann (HarperCollins Publishers – Harper)

The Mad Sculptor: The Maniac, the Model, and the Murder that Shook the Nation by Harold Schechter (Amazon Publishing – New Harvest)

Best Critical/Biographical 

The Figure of the Detective: A Literary History and Analysis by Charles Brownson (McFarland & Company)

James Ellroy: A Companion to the Mystery Fiction by Jim Mancall (McFarland)

Kiss the Blood Off My Hands: Classic Film Noir by Robert Miklitsch (University of Illinois Press)

Judges & Justice & Lawyers & Law: Exploring the Legal Dimensions of Fiction and Film by Francis M. Nevins (Perfect Crime Books)

Poe-Land: The Hallowed Haunts of Edgar Allan Poe by J.W. Ocker (W.W. Norton – Countryman Press)

Best Short Story

“The Snow Angel” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Doug Allyn (Dell Magazines)

“200 Feet” – Strand Magazine by John Floyd (The Strand)

“What Do You Do?\" – Rogues by Gillian Flynn (Penguin Randomhouse Publishing – Bantam Books)

“Red Eye” – Faceoff by Dennis Lehane vs. Michael Connelly (Simon & Schuster)

“Teddy” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Brian Tobin (Dell Magazines)

Best Juvenile 

Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

Space Case by Stuart Gibbs (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

Greenglass House by Kate Milford (Clarion Books – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)

Nick and Tesla’s Super-Cyborg Gadget Glove by \"Science Bob\" Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith (Quirk Books)

Saving Kabul Corner by N.H. Senzai (Simon & Schuster – Paula Wiseman Books)

Eddie Red, Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile by Marcia Wells (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)

Best Young Adult

The Doubt Factory by Paolo Bacigalupi (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano (Penguin Young Readers Group – Kathy Dawson Books)

Fake ID by Lamar Giles (HarperCollins Children’s Books – Amistad)

The Art of Secrets by James Klise (Algonquin Young Readers)

The Prince of Venice Beach by Blake Nelson (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

Best Television Episode Teleplay 

\"The Empty Hearse\" – Sherlock, Teleplay by Mark Gatiss (Hartswood Films/Masterpiece)

\"Unfinished Business\" – Blue Bloods, Teleplay by Siobhan Byrne O’Connor (CBS)

\"Episode 1\" – Happy Valley, Teleplay by Sally Wainwright (Netflix)

\"Dream Baby Dream\" – The Killing, Teleplay by Sean Whitesell (Netflix)

\"Episode 6\" – The Game, Teleplay by Toby Whithouse (BBC America)

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10. GLAAD Media Award nominees honor five including Lumberjanes

lumberjanes4 GLAAD Media Award nominees honor five including Lumberjanes
The annual GLAAD media awards, recognizing ” fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and the issues that affect their lives” in the media came out yesterday, and five comics were nominated.

Hawkeye, written by Matt Fraction
Marvel Comics

Lumberjanes, written by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis
BOOM! Studios

Memetic, written by James Tynion IV
BOOM! Studios

Rat Queens, written by Kurtis J. Wiebe
Image Comics

Saga, written by Brian K. Vaughan
Image Comics

 

As I note every year when I announce these nominees, GLAAD tends to focus on mainstream comics, so none of the great indies addressing these issues made the ist, But you know, this is still a great list. Congrats to the nominees!

5 Comments on GLAAD Media Award nominees honor five including Lumberjanes, last added: 1/23/2015
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11. Junot Díaz Book Named Greatest Novel of The 21st Century

oscar waoBBC Culture conducted a critics’ poll to select the “21st Century’s 12 greatest novels.” Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao captured the top spot.

The participating critics reviewed 156 books for this venture. Most of them named Díaz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book as their number one pick.

The other eleven titles that made it include Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, White Teeth by Zadie Smith, Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieAtonement by Ian McEwanBilly Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben FountainA Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer EganThe Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon, The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen, Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, and The Known World by Edward P. Jones. Did one of your favorites make it onto the list? (via The Guardian)

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12. National Book Critics Circle’s 2014 Awards Finalists

The National Book Critics Circle announced the finalists for their 2014 book awards. The winners will be announced on March 12, 2015 at the New School in New York City. Follow this link for the complete listings in Autobiography, Biography, Criticism, and Poetry.

For the first time in the award’s history a single book was nominated in two categories: Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric is a nominee in both Poetry and Criticism. Toni Morrison will receive the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award. Phil Klay’s short story collection Redeployment has been awarded the John Leonard Prize.

The fiction finalists are: An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih AlameddineA Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James; Lily King’s EuphoriaOn Such a Full Sea by Chang-rae Lee; and Lila by Marilynne Robinson.

The non-fiction finalists were: David Brion Davis‘ The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation; The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle over a Forbidden Book by Peter Finn and Petra CouveeThe Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth KolbertThomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, translated from the French by Arthur Goldhammer; and Hector Tobar‘s Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle that Set Them Free.

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13. 2015 Sydney Taylor Book Awards

The winners of the 2015 Sydney Taylor Book Awards are:

My Grandfather’s Coat by Jim Aylesworth; illus. by Barbara McClintock (younger); *wipes away a happy tear*

Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust by Loïc Dauvillier; illus. by Marc Lizano; color by Greg Salsedo (older)

Storm by Donna Jo Napoli (teen)

In each category two Honor Books were named, along with a handful of Notables. Find the complete list here, on the Association of Jewish Libraries blog.

This was my first year on the committee (of a four-year term), and what a great experience. Thoughtful discussion, vigorous debate… and lots of fun. Thanks again to Horn Book Magazine editorial assistant Shoshana Flax for her invaluable help with our Buzzfeed quiz: Which All-of-a-Kind Family Sibling Are You? (Haven’t taken it yet? By all means do, then tell us who you are. I’m Ella!)

aylesworth_my grandfather's coatDauvillier_Hiddennapoli_storm

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14. NBA Launches Innovations in Reading Prize

The National Book Foundation has opened submissions for the Innovations in Reading Prize, an award given to  individuals or organizations that “create and sustain a lifelong love of reading.”
From startups to after school programs, the judges will consider a wide variety of entrants. Applicants must share a 500-word essay on why they deserve the prize along with two letters of reference. The winner will be awarded a $10,000 prize. Applications are free and admissions will be accepted until the end of February.

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15. Guardians of the Galaxy gets Best Adapted Screenplay nod from WGA

gotg Guardians of the Galaxy gets Best Adapted Screenplay nod from WGAWell, this is a shock. The script by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman for Guardians of the Galaxy has been nominated for the very prestigious Writer’s Guid of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Superhero movies very rarely get award nominations outside of tech categories. so this is quite a kudo for a movie that the much oversued descriptibe “much-loved” definitely applies.

The WGA awards are seen as an Oscar preview although they are honored in their own right.

Other nominations in the category include American Sniper, Gone Girl, The Imitaion Game and Wild. In the Best SCreenplay category the nominatiosn were Boyhood, Foxcatcher, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Nightcrawler and Whiplash.

The screenplay was not without a bit of controversy as Perlman’s contributions—an early draft in DIsney’s screenwriting program—were mostly overshadowed by Gunn, who, to be fair, has his stamp all ver the movie.

1 Comments on Guardians of the Galaxy gets Best Adapted Screenplay nod from WGA, last added: 1/8/2015
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16. Cybils Awards 2014 Finalists!

The 2014 Cybils Awards finalists have been announced! The Cybils Awards, now in our 9th year, recognize the best children's and YA books of the year as defined by our primary criteria: kid appeal and literary merit. We are an adjudicated award, and our judges are all bloggers specializing in children's and YA literature. Our lists are a great resource for anyone looking for the best children's and YA books. Here is the full finalist announcement.

I serve as a judge in the YA Speculative Fiction category, where I'm also Category Chair. I'm excited to share our seven excellent finalists!

by Leah Cypess
Greenwillow Books
Nominated by: Charlotte
From the moment Ileni stepped into a cave of assassins to teach magic and discover who killed her two predecessors, I was hooked. In DEATH SWORN, Ileni goes deep into a culture that values absolute obedience and killing for the greater good. Ileni herself is the novel's greatest assassin, a heroine who overcomes her fears and doubts, managing to hide that she's weak and easy prey. The intense tension between Ileni and her assassin protector Soren adds a touch of romance to the action, with a refreshing lack of anything resembling a love triangle. The theme of questioning authority and dogma will resonate with teens, as will Ileni's growing engagement with the world around her as she discovers that you can forge a new path for yourself after your dreams falter.
Allie Jones, In Bed With Books

by A.S. King
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Nominated by: Angie Manfredi
You don't need a dose of hallucinogenic bat to enjoy this trippy tale. A.S. King's capable writing weaves together three worlds: the past, where a young mother's suicide left her husband and daughter reeling, the present, in which the last days of high school close the door on that daughter's childhood, and the future, which is a nightmare existence in a patriarchal dystopia. Today, eighteen-year-old Glory O'Brien's smallest choices and revelations will affect all three worlds. They will clarify her past, determine her present and maybe - just maybe - change the future for everyone.

by John Corey Whaley
Atheneum
Nominated by: Mary McKenna Siddals
Travis Coates is a boy out of time. His body was dying of cancer, which led him to cryogenically preserve himself hoping for a cure. But 5 years later, a radical new procedure allows the doctors to place his perfectly good head onto another boy's body. Now he is literally out of time: he is woken up feeling like only a day has passed when in reality, the world has moved 5 years into the future without him. His friends have graduated, his girlfriend is engaged to another man, his best friend is content to stay in the closet and yet Travis is still stuck in high school. As Travis tries to keep his head on straight, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll cringe. Pun totally intended. Noggin by John Corey Whaley takes the typical questions of the teenage years – who am I? where do I fit in? – and kicks them up a notch with a brilliant speculative concept that combines biting humor with the perfect amount of angst and sorrow.

by Alexandra Duncan
Greenwillow Books
Nominated by: Kristen
Salvage is the epic journey of a girl severed from her community and exiled from the only life she’s ever known. The struggle to survive becomes a journey for self-actualization, as Ava loses everything and must find within herself the strength to start over and find her own way, not once, but over and over again. Rich details immerse the reader in each setting and culture, from a patriarchal, fundamentalist society in space, to a floating city in the Great Pacific Garbage Gyre, to a futuristic Mumbai. A dark skinned heroine leads a cast of characters diverse in race, culture, and class.
Sheila Ruth, Wands and Worlds

by Matt De La Peña
Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers
Nominated by: Jen Robinson
What starts as a way for Shy to earn money to help his family back in a small town close to the San Diego/Mexico border turns out to be a horrific ride when the dreaded 'Big One' hits the West Coast. Added to the mix is a deadly disease that has killed not only Shy's grandmother, but others. The Living has a gripping plot featuring a Mexican-American protagonist and a cast of diverse characters. It starkly portrays racism and classism among the rich cruise patrons, and the greed that drives some in power to commit questionable acts. Sure to appeal to reluctant readers with its multi-layered characters and action-packed scenes, this novel nails the horror of being caught in a disaster and portrays the courage and strength that can come when people are faced with terrible odds.
Kim Baccellia, Si, se puede

by Marie Rutkoski
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
The Winner’s Curse is a world-building lover’s dream, with a rich setting and two distinct cultures free of stereotypes. Despite the unequal power dynamic between the two leads - Kestrel as a daughter of the conqueror and Arin as one of the conquered and enslaved - they find themselves drawn to each other, playing a game of emotional chess to get what they need even as the attraction builds. Rutkoski deals sensitively with class issues and the realities of slavery, allowing the romance to develop but ensuring her characters remain true to themselves and their own motivations. The action-packed second half, the moral ambiguity of the characters’ actions, and the intense romance make The Winner’s Curse highly appealing and a story readers will continue to think about long after the last page is turned.
Kimberly Francisco, STACKED

by Karen Healey
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Nominated by: Bibliovore
While We Run opens with Abdi Taalib singing a rendition of Here Comes the Sun - a hopeful, romantic song that directly contradicts his nightmare existence as a government prisoner and puppet. Soon he and Tegan (star of 2013's When We Wake) are on the run, not sure who to trust or what the right next step is. Abdi’s privileged, Somali upbringing may come in handy as they maneuver between the rebels and the installed regime. His ability to manipulate people could be just what they need. But no matter what they decide, lives will be lost.

Healey completely integrates a diverse set of characters into a world so real it seems like the reader is also barreling towards that future. The intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, and religion are natural and the characters well-rounded and complete. Diversity isn't a plot device, it's part of each character's individual story. While We Run shows throws us into a world that has computers that look and act like paper, night vision contact lenses, legalized drugs, and the worldwide ability to use human waste as manure. But is it a better future?"
Kathy M Burnette, The Brain Lair

Here are the finalists for Elementary & Middle-Grade Speculative Fiction, from the committee chaired by the awesome Charlotte of Charlotte's Library:

by N. D. Wilson
Random House Books for Young Readers
Nominated by: Sarah Potvin
In the swampy mucks of Florida where sugar cane grows and football is king, Charlie’s family has moved to begin a new chapter in their lives. Pairing up with his cousin, “Cotton”, Charlie begins to learn about his new town, but soon Charlie and Cotton find that their carefree days playing football and running through the burning cane fields are coming to an end. There is something not quite alive--but not quite dead either--wreaking havoc in the flats. Old rivalries are tearing the town apart. The little jealousies, bitter musings, and grudges people have cradled in their hearts are taking over their whole souls. The monsters, bent on destruction, are using this for their own ends. Charlie soon finds himself in the role of reluctant hero tasked with bringing an end to the source of the monsters’ power. In Boys of Blur, N.D. Wilson tells a sweeping tale of family, friendship, community, and heroism with a diverse cast of characters and plenty of action.

by Kate Milford
Clarion Books
Nominated by: Tara
Milo Pine has grown up in Greenglass House, the beautiful old smugglers's inn his parents run. Everything in his life follows the same pattern from year to year, and that's just the way he likes it. But one snowy day at the beginning of winter vacation, a visitor unexpectedly arrives, and then another one, and another, setting into motion a chain of events that will change Milo's world forever.

Part puzzle, part mystery, Greenglass House is an enchanting and thoughtful story. Milo's conflicted feelings about his identity and the idea of growing up will resonate with reader. His growing friendship with Meddy and their adventures playing his father's forgotten RPG provide an emotional backbone to this strongly written story about finding out that you are more than you ever thought you could be.
Maureen Eichner, By Singing Light

by Lynne Rae Perkins
Greenwillow Books
Nominated by: Lwad
When Jed the squirrel is captured by a hawk, he manages to escape, but he is lost and far from home. Fortunately for him, Jed has good friends, TsTs and Chai, who are willing to put themselves at risk to come to his rescue. Then, the three friends discover a greater threat to their squirrel community than hawks and other predators. Can they return home in time to sound the warning, and can they persuade the busy, nut-gathering squirrel clan that their lives are in danger?

Nuts to You is a squirrel-y story. The squirrels talk to each other–--in squirrel. One of them has learned some English, and he tells the story to the author who writes it down for us. The moral is, “Save the trees,” for the sake of the squirrels and for humans, too. All of that–--the talking squirrels, the environmental message, the author inside the story—works together for a tale of friendship and adventure that is a cut above your usual talking animal story. At times poignant and at other times hilarious, Nuts to You will keep kids reading and laughing and perhaps looking for their own squirrel friend with whom to share a conversation and a peanut butter sandwich
Sherry Early, Semicolon

by Merrie Haskell
Katherine Tegen Books
Sand has lived all his thirteen years in view of the cursed castle surrounded by a thick hedge of poisoned thorns. But that doesn't prepare him for the morning when he wakes up inside the castle, among the ashes on the hearth. Everything in the castle is broken, including loaves of bread, items of clothing, and the giant anvil in the smithy. Everything is broken except the body of the princess whom Sand finds in the castle crypt. How to break this curse isn't obvious, and Sand is not a prince. In fact, he's never wanted to be anything but a blacksmith, and as he starts repairing the items in the castle, he discovers a gift for mending -- and healing. But waking the cursed princess is only the beginning. Trapped together inside the castle by the poisonous hedge of thorns, blacksmith's boy and princess must learn to work together to uncover the secrets of the past and break the curse.

The Castle Behind Thorns is a tale of enchantment, friendship, and forgiveness, a story of overcoming obstacles, mending what's broken, and finding one's place in the world. It will appeal to those who love fairy tales but appreciate stories where it can take much more than a simple kiss to break a spell.
Sondy Eklund, Sonderbooks

by Jason Fry
HarperCollins
Nominated by: Stephanie Whelan
Pirates! In Space! Twelve-year-old Tycho Hashoon and his twin sister Yana are actually privateers on their family’s ship, the Shadow Comet, licensed by the Jovian Union of the inhabited moons of Jupiter. Their older brother is, like Tycho and Yana, training to be captain of the ship someday. When Tycho earns a chance to lead a boarding party, disaster strikes. The Hashoons have to give up their hard-won prize and risk losing their letter of marque. Tycho and Yana’s efforts to uncover the truth take them from the Ceres Admiralty Court to seedy port hangouts and uninhabited regions of space.

The Hashoon family itself is as appealing as the space-faring premise. They are both loving and competitive, with an extended family all living, joking and squabbling together on board ship. Part space opera, part legal thriller, with a whole lot of very relatable family relationships, Jupiter Pirates: Hunt for the Hydra is an exciting yarn that will hook kids with the adventure while leaving them with deeper thoughts on topics from siblings to slavery.
Katy Kramp, alibrarymama

by Paul Durham
HarperCollins
Nominated by: Ruth Compton
Welcome to the village Drowning. For centuries, the residents of Drowning have been warned not to venture into the dark, murky bogs that surround the village. After all, the bogs are home to the evil and terrifying Bog Nobblins – or so the legend goes. Rye O'Chanter has always believed Bog Nobblins were a thing of legend. No one has seen one and there has been no indication they even exist. That all changes when she has a horrific encounter with a single Bog Nobblin that forces Rye to realize the thing people fear most is real.

Now, Rye is tasked with convincing others the Bog Nobblin is a threat and the village needs help from a mysterious group of criminals known as the Luck Uglies. Luck Uglies, the first book in a trilogy, is a fantasy novel that has it all – magic, friendship, adventure, mysterious creatures, and secrets that need to be uncovered.
Cindy Hannikman, Fantasy Book Critic

by Charis Cotter
Tundra
Nominated by: Reno
Rose sees ghosts and thinks she herself might be one, for no one seems to see or care about her. Polly desperately wants to see ghosts, or at least find respite from her busy, family-filled house. What neither expected was for the angry ghost of a third girl to interfere in the friendship they have made with each other through their shared attic wall.

Part mystery, part ghost story, this gripping and sometimes deeply poignant book will delight readers who love character-driven stories of friendship and family. Full of twists, both ghostly and otherwise, this is an utterly absorbing and beautifully written story.
Charlotte Taylor, Charlotte's Library

I'd like to give a shoutout to my fellow judges, an amazing group of smart, hard working, passionate and dedicated book bloggers. It was a pure pleasure discussing books with you! Anyone looking for children's or YA book recommendations would do well to follow these blogs:
Now a second panel of judges in each category will choose one winner per category. Winners will be announced on February 14, so stay tuned!


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17. They're Here, They're Here!

Check out the 2014 Cybils finalists! What do you think?

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18. Help Support Scholarships & Grants for Library Staff

As of this morning, YALSA is $205 away from reaching our end-of-the year fundraising goal of $1,000. If we hit our goal, a donor has agreed to match it with a $1,000 donation of their own! Please consider making a donation to Friends of YALSA, which supports $16,000 worth of grants, scholarships and awards each year for library staff. Donations can be made online, and details are here: http://www.ala.org/yalsa/givetoyalsa/give. Donations can also be made via text message. Simply, text ALA TEENALA to this number: 41518 to make a $10 donation to YALSA. Thank you for your support and have a wonderful new year!

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19. Gillian Flynn Nabs Golden Globe Nomination

Gillian FlynnGone Girl novelist Gillian Flynn has earned a Golden Globe nomination in the “Best Screenplay” category. Flynn (pictured, via) worked as a professional journalist for fifteen years; this project marked her debut as a screenwriter.

The film adaptation also nabbed three other nominationsRosamund Pike for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture (Drama), David Fincher for Best Director, and Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for Best Original Score. The awards ceremony will take place on January 11, 2015. (via Vanity Fair)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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20. Merriam-Webster Names ‘Culture’ Word of the Year

Merriam-Webster Cloud

Merriam-Webster have chosen “culture” as the Word of the Year for the United States.

The other nine words that appear on this “top 10″ list include nostalgia, insidious, legacy, feminism, je ne sais quoi, innovation, surreptitious, autonomy, and morbidity. The team posted a word cloud image featuring all ten words on Twitter (embedded above). The web edition of this dictionary has listed several definitions for “culture”:

  • The act of developing the intellectual and moral faculties especially by education.
  • Expert care and training.
  • Enlightenment and excellence of taste acquired by intellectual and aesthetic training.
  • The integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations.
  • The act or process of cultivating living material.

Here’s more from Merriam-Webster.com: “Culture is a big word at back-to-school time each year, but this year lookups extended beyond the academic calendar. The term conveys a kind of academic attention to systematic behavior and allows us to identify and isolate an idea, issue, or group: we speak of a ‘culture of transparency’ or ‘consumer culture.’ Culture can be either very broad (as in ‘celebrity culture’ or ‘winning culture’) or very specific (as in ‘test-prep culture’ or ‘marching band culture’).”

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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21. Little kids take on the world: Nino Wrestles the World & Lucha Libre toys (ages 4-8)

The little kids I know have BIG imaginations. Playing with action figures and dolls is still one of kids' favorite activities. One of my favorite books from last year taps into this imagination perfectly: Niño Wrestles the World. Pair this with a set of Lucha Libre wrestling figures, and you'll create lots of playtime fun.
Dressed up in his lucha libre mask, little Niño uses his active imagination to battle some mighty foes. Whether he’s defeating the Guanajuato mummy or exploding the giant Olmec Head, this is one confident little kid.

Lucha libre, the popular masked Mexican wrestling sport, will appeal to kids familiar with it or just learning about it for the first time. Morales brings humor, dynamic energy and vivid artwork to this terrific picture book. She mixes in Spanish words seamlessly, providing great access for Spanish speaking families. But all of my students have loved this.

I love this video with Morales reading the story with flair. It gives you a great sense of how fun and dramatic it is.

Pair this with a set of plush lucha libre action figures and I can see little kids having a great time channeling their dreams of world-domination. To be honest, I have not ordered these but they look like so much fun. Let me know what you think!
CMLL Lucha Libre Plush Doll 7 inches
Yuyi Morales has put together a great Pinterest page for Niño Wrestles the World, full of other fun things to share. Over at her site, Morales has printable coloring sheets for kids to make their own luchador mask.

The review copies came from our school library. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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22. Blaire Briody Wins 2014 Richard J. Margolis Award

Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 12.12.20 PMWriter Blaire Briody has won the 2014 Richard J. Margolis Award, an honor bestowed on a promising nonfiction writer “whose work combines warmth, humor, wisdom, and concern with social justice.”

As a freelance journalist, Briody has written for The New York Times, Popular Science and Fast Company.Her first book The New Wild West will tell the story of how a quiet town in North Dakota was transformed by an oil boom. The book is due out from Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press in 2016.

“I enjoy exploring broader social issues through the stories of individuals and immersing myself in their environment,” Briody stated. “With The New Wild West, I hope to give a voice to the people living in North Dakota’s oil boom region and provide the reader with a deep understanding of what fracking, oil and our relationship to the land means for all of us. The Richard J. Margolis Award will be paramount in helping me complete my book, and I’m incredibly humbled and grateful to receive such a prestigious honor.”

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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23. JANUARY UPDATE!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Thanks for making 2014 such a great year at Knuffle Manor.  2015 promises to have lots of exciting events, theater performances, books, and more.  Here's a taste of what's scheduled this year as of now. Productions of ELEPHANT & PIGGIE'S WE ARE IN A PLAY! in Nashville, TN; Syracuse, NY; Orlando, FL; and Washington, DC plus a production of Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical

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24. Broken Frontier Awards 2014 winners: women, Image dominate

Vertigo Bodies 1 Broken Frontier Awards 2014 winners: women, Image dominate
The comics news website Broken Frontier has announced the winners of its annual awards, as chosen by readers and industry professionals. Image Comics was a winner, as you might expect, but female creators won in 5 of the 13 categories, suggesting that the arrival of talented and noteworthy women in comics is a thing that is here and now and not some hoped for future event. The winners are as follows:

1. Best Writer – Mainstream: G. Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel)
2. Best Writer – Independent/Creator-owned: Darryl Cunningham (Supercrash: How To Hijack The Global Economy, Uncle Bob Adventures Vol. 2)
3. Best Artist – Mainstream: Declan Shalvey (Moon Knight)
4. Best Artist – Independent/Creator-owned: Farel Dalrymple (The Wrenchies)
5. Best Colorist: Elizabeth Breitweiser (Fatale, The Fade Out, Outcast, Velvet)
6. Breakout Talent: Tula Lotay (Bodies, Supreme: Blue Rose)
7. Best New Series: Southern Bastards (Jason Aaron & Jason Latour, Image)
8. Best Ongoing Series: Lazarus (Greg Rucka & Michael Lark, Image)
9. Best Limited Series: Bodies (Si Spencer, Tula Lotay, Phil Winslade, Meghan Hetrick & Dean Ormston, DC/Vertigo)
10. Best One-Shot: Over Under Sideways Down (Karrie Fransman, Red Cross)
11. Best Original Graphic Novel: This One Summer (Jillian Tamaki & Mariko Tamaki, First Second)
12. Best Book on Comics: Comics Unmasked (Paul Gravett & John Harris Dunning, British Library)
13. Best Publisher: Image Comics

BEST WRITER — MAINSTREAM

* Jason Aaron (Men Of Wrath, Original Sin, Thor)
* Warren Ellis (Moon Knight)
* Grant Morrison (The Multiversity)
* Scott Snyder (Batman, Superman, The Wake)
* G. Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel)

*****

BEST WRITER — INDEPENDENT/CREATOR-OWNED

* Darryl Cunningham (Supercrash: How To Hijack The Global Economy,Uncle Bob Adventures Vol. 2)
* Ray Fawkes (Intersect, The People Inside)
* Kieron Gillen (The Wicked + The Divine, Uber)
* Liz Prince (Tomboy)
* James Tynion IV (The Woods, Memetic)

*****

BEST ARTIST — MAINSTREAM

* Michael Allred (Silver Surfer)
* Russell Dauterman (Cyclops, Thor)
* Robbi Rodriguez (FBP, Edge of Spider-Verse)
* Declan Shalvey (Moon Knight)
* Andrea Sorrentino (Green Arrow)

*****

BEST ARTIST — INDEPENDENT/CREATOR-OWNED

* Box Brown (Andre The Giant)
* Wes Craig (Deadly Class)
* INJ Culbard (Brass Sun, Celeste, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath)
* Farel Dalrymple (The Wrenchies)
* Rob Davis (The Motherless Oven)

*****


BEST COLORIST

* Jordie Bellaire (Magneto, Moon Knight,The Massive, Tooth & Claw)
* Elizabeth Breitweiser (Fatale, The Fade Out, Outcast, Velvet)
* Matt Hollingsworth (Hawkeye, The Wake, Wytches)
* Lee Loughridge (All-New X-Factor,Captain Marvel, Bodies, Deadly Class)
* Matthew Wilson (Secret Avengers, The Wicked + The Divine)

*****

BREAKOUT TALENT

* Michael Cho (Shoplifter)
* Jamie Coe (Art Schooled)
* Leila del Duca (Shutter)
* EdieOP (Dangerfun, Maleficium)
* Tula Lotay (Bodies, Supreme: Blue Rose)

*****

BEST NEW SERIES

* Deadly Class (Rick Remender & Wes Craig, Image)
* Ms. Marvel (G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona & Jake Wyatt, Marvel)
* Princess Ugg (Ted Naifeh, Oni)
* Southern Bastards (Jason Aaron & Jason Latour, Image)
* The Wicked + The Divine (Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie, Image)

*****

BEST ONGOING SERIES

* Lazarus (Greg Rucka & Michael Lark, Image)
* Moon Knight (Warren Ellis & Declan Shalvey/Brian Wood & Greg Smallwood, Marvel)
* Saga (Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples, Image)
* Stray Bullets (David Lapham, Image)
* The Bunker (Joshua Hale Fialkov & Joe Infurnari, Oni)

*****


BEST LIMITED SERIES: BODIES

* Bodies (Si Spencer, Tula Lotay, Phil Winslade, Meghan Hetrick & Dean Ormston, DC/Vertigo)
* Brass Sun (Ian Edginton & INJ Culbard, 2000 AD)
* Ordinary (Rob Williams & D’Israeli, Titan Comics)
* POP! (Curt Pires & Jason Copland, Dark Horse)
* The White Suits (Frank J. Barbiere & Toby Cypress, Dark Horse)

*****

BEST ONE-SHOT

* Genesis (Nathan Edmondson & Alison Sampson, Image)
* Moose Kid Comics (Jamie Smart et al, self-published)
* Over Under Sideways Down (Karrie Fransman, Red Cross)
* The Lizard Laughed (Noah Van Sciver, Oily)
* Wicked Chicken Queen (Sam Alden, Retrofit)

*****

BEST ORIGINAL GRAPHIC NOVEL

* Beautiful Darkness (Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoët, Drawn & Quarterly)
* Gast (Carol Swain, Fantagraphics)
* HOAX: Psychosis Blues (Ravi Thornton, Mark Stafford, Bryan Talbot et al, Ziggy’s Wish)
* Sugar Skull (Charles Burns, Pantheon)
* This One Summer (Jillian Tamaki & Mariko Tamaki, First Second)

*****

BEST BOOK ON COMICS

* American Comics, Literary Theory, and Religion: The Superhero Afterlife (A. David Lewis, Palgrave Macmillan)
* Comics Unmasked (Paul Gravett & John Harris Dunning, British Library)
* Graphic Details: Jewish Women’s Confessional Comics in Essays and Interviews (edited by Sarah Lightman, McFarland)
* Hellboy: The First 20 Years (Mike Mignola, Dark Horse)
* Masterful Marks: Cartoonists Who Changed the World (Monte Beauchamp et al, Simon & Schuster)

*****

BEST PUBLISHER

* Avery Hill Publishing
* BOOM! Studios/Archaia
* First Second
* Image Comics
* SelfMadeHero

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25. Cybils Wrap-Up and Statistics

Well, round 1 is done. We've picked a shortlist, we've sent in our blurbs, and now all the round 1 panelists wait to hear the announcement, simultaneously grinning over our secret knowledge and anxious to hear from the other categories.

With all that, I thought I'd type up a few thoughts and numbers. Because I like numbers.

Books nominated in YASF - 205
Books I read before the nomination period - 21
Books I finished during the nomination period - 34
Books I didn’t finish during the nomination period - 41
Books I didn’t read but am keeping on my TBR list - 43

See, this is why we have more than one person on the judging panels.

One of the adventures of the Cybils is reading books I would otherwise never pick up. Maybe the premise didn't appeal to me. Maybe I'd overlooked them. Maybe I wasn't a fan of the author's other work so had planned on giving them a miss. For the Cybils, I read them, and stretched myself. Some of them were stellar. Some . . . were not. That's okay. I'll talk a little bit more about the stellar ones after the announcement. 

Thanks to Sheila Ruth and all my fellow Round 1 judges for the past three months. It's hard, hard work but it's also a lot of fun with people as opinionated as you guys to debate the books with. For me, talking about the books is just as much fun as reading them. In some cases, more.

Check out Cybils.com on January 1 and see the fruits of our labor. And thanks. The Cybils are a community effort, and everything that you do to support it, like nominating books, cheering us on, talking up the shortlists, and even retweeting each other, makes these prizes what they are.

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