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26. American Academy of Arts and Letters Names Atwood & Calasso as Members

Authors Margaret Atwood and Roberto Calasso have been elected as foreign honorary members of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The authors were named along with three composers. The recipients were chosen by vote of the 250 members of the Academy.

In addition, William H. Gass‘ novel “Middle C” was honored with the William Dean Howells Medal for the best novel published in the last five years. Louise Gluck was given the Gold Medal for Poetry.

These honors will be given out at a ceremony in May, after which an exhibition featuring art, architecture, books, and manuscripts will be on display from May 21 to June 14.

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27. Marcia Brown

by Janet A. Loranger

Thirty-seven years ago, Marcia Brown published her first picture book for children: The Little Carousel.* On June 28, 1983, she received her third Caldecott Medal for Shadow. Those years from 1946 to 1983 have encompassed one of the most distinguished careers in American children’s books. That her latest book has received such a signal honor and that she is the first illustrator to be awarded the medal three times are evidences of the undiminished vitality and richness of her contribution to the field. It is an uncommon achievement.

The nourishment of such a gift and such an achievement comes from many sources. Marcia grew up in several small towns in upstate New York, one of three daughters in a minister’s family. Everyone in the household loved music and reading, and her father also passed along to her, especially, his joy in using his hands. From childhood Marcia was allowed to use his tools and learned to respect and care for them. And from her own workbench and tools, in later years, have come the wood blocks and linoleum cuts that illustrate such handsome books as Once a Mouse… (1961), How, Hippo! (1969), All Butterflies (1974), and Backbone of the King (1966). Marcia feels that the most important legacy her parents gave her was a deep pleasure in using her eyes — for seeing, rather than merely for looking. Her keen delight in the details of nature and her acute observation of them are evident in all her books — most dramatically, perhaps, in the beautiful photographic nature books Walk with Your Eyes, Listen to a Shape, and Touch Will Tell (all Watts, 1979).

As a college student, Marcia was interested in botany, biology, art, and literature. During summer vacations she worked in Woodstock, New York, at a resort hotel and studied painting with Judson Smith, whose criticism and inspiration have remained an important influence in her life and art. After graduation she taught high school English, directed dramatic productions for a few years, and worked in summer stock. Some years later, she became a puppeteer in New York City and also taught puppetry for the extra-mural department of the University of the West Indies.

When Marcia moved to New York City, her interest in children’s book illustration drew her to work in the Central Children’s Room of The New York Public Library, where she gained invaluable experience in storytelling and an exposure to the library’s large international and historical collections. Here, too, she received encouragement from such outstanding children’s librarians as Anne Carroll Moore, Helen A. Masten, and Maria Cimino.

Marcia’s particular interest in folklore and fairy tales is apparent to anyone familiar with her books. Marcia believes strongly that the classic tales give children images and insights that will stay with them all their lives. To each of these stories she has brought her own special vision, her integrity, and a vitality that speaks powerfully and directly to children.

A very important influence in her life and in her books has been the stimulus of travel — that mind- and eye-stretching jolt out of the usual. Marcia has traveled widely in Europe, Great Britain, Russia, East Africa, the Middle East, and the Far East, including China. If she has a “home away from home,” it is Italy, the country with which she has felt most profoundly in tune. She lived in Italy, off and on, for four years, spending much of her time painting. Felice (1958) and Tamarindo! (1960) are books that grew out of her love for that country and her friendships with Italians. Marcia still writes to friends there, in Italian, and is able to converse with them in the language when she calls them on special occasions. France, too, has a special place in her life, and she spent over a year there; while living in Paris, she studied the flute with a member of the Paris Conservatory Orchestra. On a speaking trip to Hawaii she was so overwhelmed by the incredible beauty of the islands that she returned to spend many months and to do the research that was the basis for one of her most powerful books, Backbone of the King, a retelling of a great Hawaiian hero legend.

In the late 1960s Marcia gave up her long-time residence in New York City and moved to a small town in southeastern Connecticut. For the first time she was able to design and build a studio to fit her needs. It is a large room with a balcony at one end, a high ceiling with two skylights, and areas for doing painting, woodcuts, drawing, photography, sewing, and flute playing. The house is surrounded by hemlocks, and the woods nearby are filled with possums, raccoons, deer, squirrels, and birds. Not far from her property is the small river that provided the inspiration and the evocative winter photographs for her only filmstrip, The Crystal Cavern, published by Lyceum Productions in 1974. The plants, trees, wildflowers, and animals — and the changing seasons — are a constant source of stimulus and delight. Her greatest problem is finding time for all the interests she wants to pursue at home and also for going to New York to attend operas, ballets, concerts, and museums — and for traveling.

Most days, Marcia gets up early and spends some time reading while she has her breakfast. Just now, she is interested in the recently published book about a journey through the byways of America, Blue Highways, by William Least Heat Moon (Atlantic-Little). She finds many of the conversations the author had with residents of small, out-of-the-way villages the stuff of living folklore. Later, she might go to her studio and practice Chinese brush painting, a technique which first interested her in 1977 and which she began to study seriously, with a teacher, two years ago. Her paintings of lotuses, bamboo, plum blossoms, birds, and dramatic landscapes fill the walls of her living room and studio. She has begun to exhibit, along with other artists practicing the technique, and has sold several paintings.

If she has a sewing project, as she often does, Marcia will spend time on the studio balcony, where she has set up a sewing area. And each day, she faithfully practices her flute. She feels very fortunate to be studying with John Solum, a much-esteemed concert flutist, who lives in a nearby town. When she sews or paints, or works on illustrations, there is always music — as necessary to her as food. Her love of music and the dance and her deep understanding of them perhaps account, in part, for the grace, rhythm, and strength of her writing and illustration. Most certainly they are profound influences. Because her work requires solitude and long stretches of concentration, she often does not see as much of her friends as she would like to, but she accepts this fact as a price that must be paid.

Marcia Brown’s books have unquestionably stood the test of time. Nearly all of them are still in print — a certain proof of their enduring hold on generations of children. Never has Marcia been interested in passing fashions in children’s book illustration. She has worked in many media but not for the sake of variety; rather, she has always let the story and her feeling for it determine the medium and the style. Her particular vision and her uncompromising integrity have been rewarded in the past: two Caldecott Medals (for Cinderella in 1955 and for Once a Mouse… in 1962), six Caldecott Honor books, two nominations for the Hans Christian Andersen Award, the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion for Distinguished Service to Children’s Literature, and the Regina Medal. Now, after so many years of creating memorable children’s books, Marcia stands in a unique position — one abundantly deserved. It is gratifying that the children’s librarians of America, the dedicated people who bring children and books together, have honored her in so special a way.


 

*Except where another publisher is indicated, all books mentioned are published by Scribner.

From the August 1983 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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28. Alice Notley Has Won the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize

Alice Notley has been awarded the 2015 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, a lifetime achievement given to a living U.S. poet by The Poetry Foundation. The honor includes $100,000 in prize money.

The prize will be presented at a ceremony at the Poetry Foundation on Monday June 8. The Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism will also be presented at the ceremony. The winner of that award will be announced later this month.

Born in 1945, Notley began publishing books of poetry in the early 1970s. She is the author of more than 25 books of poetry, including: “165 Meeting House Lane,” “Phoebe Light,” “Incidentals in the Day World,” “For Frank O’Hara’s Birthday,” “Alice Ordered Me to Be Made: Poems,” and “How Spring Comes,” among many others.

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29. Reach Incorporated Wins Innovations in Reading Prize

The National Book Foundation has named Reach Incorporated as the winner of the Innovations in Reading Prize. The prize includes a $10,000 prize and is given to “an individual or organization that inspires readers and engages new audiences with literature.”

Reach was chosen for its ability to turn struggling teen readers into elementary school tutors. The program is meant to encourage reading among younger and older students. “We know that the older kids benefit from practicing reading at or just above their current grade level, and the younger students benefit from a one-on-one relationship,” stated Mark Hecker, founder of Reach Incorporated. “Most people see those as two challenges, but we see that as a single solution, so we pair those kids together and watch cool things happen.”

The African Poetry Book Fund, Call Me Ishmael, Lambda Literary and Motionpoems earned honorable mentions.

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30. Tu Books Announces Winner of New Visions Award Contest for Writers of Color

new visions award winnerNew York, NY— May 7, 2015— Tu Books, the middle grade and young adult imprint of respected multicultural children’s publisher LEE & LOW BOOKS, is thrilled to announce that author Axie Oh has won its second annual New Visions Award for her young adult science fiction novel, The Amaterasu Project.

The award honors a fantasy, science fiction, or mystery novel for young readers by an author of color who has not previously published a novel for that age group. It was established to encourage new talent and to offer authors of color a chance to break into a tough and predominantly white market.

The Amaterasu Project takes place in a futuristic Korea wracked by war and a run by a militarized government, where the greatest weapon—and perhaps the greatest hope—is a genetically modified girl. “The futuristic sci-fi setting is inspired by a combination of Japanese concept art and animated television series,” says Oh. “I hope my new book gives to readers what books have always given to me—a new world to explore and new characters to fall in love with.” Oh will receive a cash prize of $1,000 and a publication contract with Tu Books.

Last year, books by authors of color comprised less than six percent of the total number of books published for young readers, according to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The annual New Visions Award is a step toward the day when all young readers can see themselves in books.

Two books were chosen as New Visions Award Honors: Yamile Saied Mendez’s On These Magic Shores and Andrea Wang’s Eco-Agent Owen Chang. On These Magic Shores is a contemporary middle grade novel with a touch of magical realism about 12-year-old Minerva, who must step up to take care of her younger sisters when her mother, who is undocumented, goes missing. Eco-Agent Owen Chang is a humorous middle grade mystery about Owen Chang, a middle schooler who moonlights as a secret agent for an undercover environmental organization. Mendez and Wang will each receive a cash prize of $500.

While writing their manuscripts, both Wang and Méndez stressed the importance of seeking out books by and about people of color. “I naturally gravitate toward books by authors of color because they tell stories that mirror my experience as a person of color too,” says Méndez. Similarly, Wang says, “I’m all for reading books that are outside your comfort zone or told from an unfamiliar perspective. Personally, I would rather expand my reading horizons than restrict it.”

ABOUT: Tu Books, an imprint of LEE & LOW BOOKS, publishes diverse speculative fiction for young readers. It is the company’s mission to publish books that all young readers can identify with and enjoy. For more information, visit leeandlow.com/imprints/3.

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31. This One Summer wins Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize and some other award winners

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Graphic novels have a lot more prizes than they once did, including literary awards that help validate the medium. Awards season is well upon us, and I’ve been way behind in noting some of the most important.

§ This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki continued to barnstorm all the honors by winning the Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize, perhaps th emost prestigious stand-alone comics prize in the US. The jury cited the book thusly

“This One Summer,” says the jury, “is a beautifully drawn, keenly observed story. It is told with a fluid line and a sensitive eye to the emblematic moments that convey character, time, and place—the surf at night, the sound of flip-flops, a guarded sigh—all at the meandering pace of a summer’s vacation. The Tamakis astutely orchestrate the formal complexities of the graphic novel in the service of an evocative, immersive story. At first blush a coming of age story centered on two young girls, the book belongs equally to all its cast of characters, any of whom feel realized enough to have supported a narrative in their own right. Striking, relatable, and poignant, this graphic novel lingers with readers long after their eyes have left the pages.”

Richard McGuire’s Here was named an Honoree:

Of “Here” the jury says, “Making literal the idiom ‘if these walls could talk…’ McGuire’s ‘Here’ curates the long history of events transpiring in one location. Through the subtle transposition of objects and individuals in a room, the book teaches us that space is defined over time. … Evoking our longing for place, the book performs this cumulative effect for the reader, by layering people, experiences, and events in the context of a single environment.”

The Prize is presented by Penn State and is named after the author of what are now accepted to be early example of standalone graphic novels. (Ward donated his papers to the university.) This year’s jury consisted of Joel D. Priddy, Veronica Hicks, Brandon Hyde, Brent Book and Jonathan E. Abel. MOre information on the prize, the jury and past winners can be found here.

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§ The Cartoonist Studio Prize, presented by Slate Magazine and the Center for Cartoon Studies, was also presented a while back. And the graphic novel winners Here by Richard McCguire. (Do you sense a pattern here?) The webcomic prize was won by Winston Rowntree for Watching. The prize comes with a $1000 cash award for each. This year’s jury consisted of Slate Book Review editor Dan Kois; CCS fellow Sophie Yanow; and guest judge, cartoonist Paul Karasik. You can see all the runners up in the above link.

(This result has been sitting in my links for a month; apologies and congratulations to the winners.)

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§ While This One Summer and Here have scooped up a bunch of prizes, you must be wondering about the third most honored graphic novel of 2014, Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant. Well, Chast won the Heinz Award, which is present to six “exceptional Americans, for their creativity and determination in finding solutions to critical issues.” Along with glory, the prize includes $250,000 in cash.

” ‘Floored’ does not begin to describe it,” Chast says of her reaction. “I don’t think I’ve fully absorbed it yet.”

 

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§ As you may have heard, the PEN American Center, a literary organization that promotes free speech, presented French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo with the PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award, and all hell broke loose. Many prominent authors protested the award on the grounds that Charlie Hebdo is offensive. You can read many of those comments here. Other authors, including Neil Gaiman, Art Spiegelman, Alison Bechdel and Salmon Rushdie filled the tables at the awards gala vacated by the protesters, and defended Charlie Hebdo as an equal opportunity satirist. You can read all about that here.

While no one in the kerfuffle seems to think that being offensive deserves death, the dissenters felt that giving Charlie Hebdo an award intensified “the anti-Islamic,
anti-Maghreb, anti-Arab sentiments already prevalent in the Western world.”

The pro-Charlie group felt that, as Gaiman put it, “The Charlie Hebdo cartoonists are getting an award for courage. They continued putting out their magazine after the offices were firebombed [in 2011], and the survivors have continued following the murders.”

There aren’t any easy answers here. Terrorists acts are committed to create terror and confusion and turn ordinary people on both sides into radicals. In this goal, at least, the Hebdo attacks were a rousing success.

In the above photo Charlie Hebdo Editor-in-Chief Gerard Biard accepts the award as Alain Mabanckou looks on. AP photo by Beowulf Sheehan

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32. 2015 Locus Awards Finalists Revealed

Locus Magazine has revealed the shortlist of nominees for the annual Locus Awards, which honors the best science fiction and fantasy writing.

“The Peripheral” by William Gibson, “Ancillary Sword” by Ann Leckie, “The Three-Body Problem” by Cixin Liu, “Lock In” by John Scalzi and “Annihilation/Authority/Acceptance” by Jeff VanderMeer made the short list for the best science fiction novel of the year.

The Goblin Emperor” by Katherine Addison, “Steles of the Sky” by Elizabeth Bear, “City of Stairs” by Robert Jackson Bennett, “The Magician’s Land” by Lev Grossman and “The Mirror Empire” by Kameron Hurley made the shortlist for the best fantasy novel of the year.

The winners will be revealed during the Locus Awards Weekend in Seattle WA, June 26-28, 2015. Follow this link to check out the nominees in other categories.

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33. oliver et les îles vagabondes: prix enfantaisie!

My co-author Philip Reeve and I were so excited to get a message from our International Rights Manager Stella Giatrakou, saying she'd heard from French publisher Seuil that Oliver and the Seawigs had won an award in Switzerland! It's the Prix Enfantaisie, organised by Payot bookshops and the Swiss Institute for Youth, and they've been doing it for 20 years; 3,000 children voted for Oliver et les îles vagabondes from a selection of five books.



We weren't able to go to the Geneva International Bookfair to accept the award because we had already agreed to go to the Stratford-upon-Avon lit fest. But I knew the perfect person in Geneva to collect the award! She's Marie-Pierre Preece, the amazing librarian at the International School of Geneva, that I visited in 2012. (All the kids call her 'MP'.) Here she is on the left, with the picture I drew for her library during my visit:



And MP asked Philip and me if we could make a video for the ceremony, which we did. (Note the excellent sound effect halfway through, that was Philip's doing.)




Yes, thank you, Payot, Seuil, our excellent French translator Raphaële Eschenbrenner, Stella at Oxford University Press, and MP! Here's MP collecting the award at the book fair, next to the winner in the other category, Max Ducos, for Le Mystère de la grande dune.



And MP signing our books! She wrote in an e-mail:

The second picture is me signing your book. The kids asked for a signature and I said, 'Well how, if the illustrator is not here?' and then one of them said, 'But you, Miss, can't you sign our books?' and I couldn't resist! But I signed 'de la part de', so all is honest and good.



Some of the kids spoke English and were able to understand the video, and MP translated for the rest. They also had some questions. So I rang up Philip on Skype this morning and we've answered them together. A big thanks to everyone who voted for our book!



Questions from Swiss readers:

* Did you use a computer to create the illustrations?

Partly, yes! I started out by using old-fashioned dip pen and ink, and scanned those black-and-white drawings into the computer. In Adobe Photoshop, I added the blue colour (which is gray in some of the paperback versions).



* Where did the idea of vagabond islands come from?

Sarah: Philip had the idea to write a sea story, and we originally thought it might be about a dog that washed up on a beach. But I was telling Philip about how I'd been to a meeting of the Children's Writers & Illustrators Group (part of the Society of Authors), and the acronym for that is 'CWIG'. I pronounced it 'Seawig', and joked that I'd love to draw a picture of islands with stuff piled up on their heads. (I'd just been drawing a lot of monster wigs for an exhibition.) Philip said, 'AHA! That's just what we need for this story!' and it all started from there.

* Why did you choose the sea and not another type of environment?

Sarah: Philip and I both grew up near the sea and love it. The sea is also the closest thing on earth that we have to an alien planet; scientists are still discovering strange alien creatures in its depths. So it's natural to think that any kind of creature could come out of it.


Little Sarah with her sister, Mary


* Where did you get the idea of the characters in the book?

Philip: We wanted a character who could go off and have adventures so we made his family explorers. Sarah really likes mermaids, so we decided we'd have him meet a mermaid. And the other characters just popped in when they felt like it.

* Why is the boy called Oliver? is there a link with somebody you know?

Philip: We were walking along the banks of the Thames while we talked about this story and we came to a place called Oliver's Wharf...

* Where did the idea of Sea Monkeys come from?

Sarah: From comics! In the American Archie comics I read growing up, there was always an advert for Sea Monkeys, and I never believed that, for only a dollar, they would look like the ones in the picture. But I did wonder about them.



* Did you go around the world like Oliver's parents?

Philip: When I was little, my parents took me around England, Scotland and Wales in a campervan, a bit like Oliver's Explorermobile.



Sarah: I grew up in Seattle and did travel quite a bit with my parents, to places in the USA and to Scotland, England and France. Recently we all went to China together, and I made a travel comic about it that you can read here.



* Did other books inspire you?

Philip: Yes, but too many to name.

Sarah: In the beginning of creating our story, I thought a little bit about The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in the Narnia books, and the seagull in Watership Down, but by the time we'd finished creating our story, it was something completely different.

* How long did it take to write the book?

Philip: Including all the illustrations, about a year? We came up with the ideas together and I went away and wrote it, which took about a month.

* What books did you like as a kid?

Philip: Tolkien, Asterix, Tintin, Rosemary Sutcliffe.

Sarah: The Twenty-one Balloons by William Pené du Bois, In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak, collections of Calvin & Hobbes comics.

* What are your favourite books?

Philip & Sarah: We both love Geraldine McCaughrean's The White Darkness.

* Why did you become writers and illustrators?

Philip: Because there's nothing else I can do!

Sarah: I've always loved drawing and writing gives me the chance to decide what I'm going to draw.

* Since when have you been a writer?

Philip: Since I was five. But my first published book was in 2001, Mortal Engines.

Sarah: Me, too, since about five. I made a book called My Fish. (You can read it all here.)



* Did you go to a special school to become writers and illustrators?

Philip: I went to art college but mostly I learned to write by just writing.

Sarah: I studied Russian at university, with a focus on Russian language and literature. But then I lived in Moscow for two years and discovered amazing Russian art and got very inspired. Over the next six years, I illustrated quite a few books and then went to art college for two years to study illustration.



* How is it to live an author's life, how do you organise your days?

Philip: I don't organise my days, they just happen.

Sarah: Days can be so different! One day I might be working at my desk, then the next day I might be traveling to talk about my books in front of hundreds of people on stage.



* Do you have another job?

Philip: I do illustrate sometimes for other writers.

Sarah: Sometime publicising the books feels like a whole second job! I once wrote an article about how I have a fleet of clones helping me with all the work involved in being an illustrator.



* Will there be a follow up?

Sarah: Yes! The characters won't be the same - Philip and I wanted to come up with whole new worlds for each book - but they'll all be adventure stories. We've published one called Cakes in Space (or Astra et les gâteaux de l'espace in French, published by Seuil). You can learn how to draw some of the characters here on my website. And our next book is coming out in English, Pugs of the Frozen North, and hopefully in French, too!


Photo by Sarah Reeve

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34. 2015 Edgar Award Winners Revealed

theedgarsThe Mystery Writers of America have revealed the 2015 Edgar Award winners. According to the press release, the announcements were made at the organization’s 69th gala banquet.

This annual prize, named after beloved writer Edgar Allan Poe, was established in 1945 to honor the best authors within the mystery genre. Below, we’ve posted the full list of winners.

2015 Edgar Award Winners

Best Novel: Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

Best First Novel by an American Author: Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman

Best Paperback Original: The Secret History of Las Vegas by Chris Abani

Best Fact Crime: Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William Mann

Best Critical/Biographical: Poe-Land: The Hallowed Haunts of Edgar Allan Poe by J.W. Ocker

Best Short Story: “What Do You Do?” (from The Rogues Short Story Collection) by Gillian Flynn

Best Juvenile: Greenglass House by Kate Milford

Best Young Adult: The Art of Secrets by James Klise

Best Television Episode Teleplay: “Episode 1″ (from the Happy Valley teleplay) by Sally Wainwright

Simon & Schuster-Mary Higgins Clark Award: The Stranger You Know by Jane Casey

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35. Elephant Rock Books Seeks Submissions For YA Book Prize

Elephant Rock Books will kick off its second annual Helen Sheehan YA Book Prize.

The contest is open to YA authors with unpublished manuscripts. The prize includes $1000 and a contract with Elephant Rock Books. Judges include: Meghan Dietsche Goel; children’s and young adult book buyer at BookPeople in Austin,TX; Anne Rouyer, supervising young adult librarian at the Mulberry Street Branch of The New York Public Library; and Kelly Jensen, associate editor and community manager for Book Riot.

 

Here is more about what the judges are looking for from the site:

What we’re after: quality stories with heart, guts, and a clear voice. We’re especially interested in the quirky and the hopeful and the real. We are not particularly interested in genre fiction and prefer stand-alone novels, unless you’ve got the next Hunger Games. We seek writers who believe in the transformative power of a great story, so show us what you’ve got.

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36. Fun Home the musical gets 12 Tony Award nominations

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The Tony Awards nominations are out today, honoring the best on Broadway, and Fun Home tied for most nominations with 12 (An American in Paris also got 12.) The musical, based on the Alison Bechdel graphic novel, was nominated for Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book, Best Director, Best Actor in a Musical (Michael Cerveris), Best Actress in a Musical (Beth Malone), three in the Best Featured Actress category ( Judy Kuhn, Sydney Lucas and Emily Skeggs,) Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting Design and Best Orchestration.

I was lucky enough to see this last week, and its deserving of every honor it gets, a truly mesmerizing and heartbreaking night of theater. If I had to pick one performance to call out it would be 12 year old Sydney Lucas, who is simply astonishing as Small Allison. Alison Bechdel’s memoir about her family life, family secrets, coming out and dealing with the past has achieved a cultural significance that no graphic novel save Maus has ever come close to.

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Bechdel drew a brief but powerful coda to the Fun Home experience as a webcomic for Vulture.

And the NY Times profiles her and the strange experience of seeing your life turned into a musical::

“She is a curious human being, and she’s curious about herself most of all,” Ms. Malone said of Ms. Bechdel. “Even her look is all about telling the truth — no ornamentation, nothing pretty. She hates lies — lies and embellishments are what got her dad killed.”

Ms. Bechdel has no formal role in creating the musical, but checks in often, answers questions by email and offers the periodic note. She asked them to change one sentence, to make clear that her father, a fastidious home restorer and antiques collector, had used real William Morris wallpaper, and not an imitation.

 

 

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37. Why the ‘Adventure Time’ Peabody Award is Important for Animation

Is the Peabody Awards the only prestigious awards event that actually 'gets' animation?

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38. Triangle Award Winners Revealed

The 27th annual Triangle Awards, which celebrates the best lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender fiction, nonfiction, and poetry published in 2014, were revealed in New York last week.

“Mr. Loverman” by Bernardine Evaristo (Akashic Books) won The Ferro-Grumley Award for lesbian and gay fiction which honors the memory of authors Robert Ferro and Michael Grumley“For Today I Am a Boy” by Kim Fu (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) took The Publishing Triangle’s newest literary award, the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction.

“Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: 40 Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith” by Barbara Smith (SUNY Press) won the Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction. “Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity” by Robert Beachy (Alfred A. Knopf) won the Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction.

“The New Testament” by Jericho Brown (Copper Canyon Press) won The Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry. “Last Psalm at Sea Level” by Meg Day (Barrow Street Press) won the Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry.

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39. MAY UPDATE!

MAY is a busy month of appearances, theater, and a big exhibition.  I look forward to seeing you if you're in the area. EXHIBIT! The big news this month is the opening of SERIOUSLY SILLY: THE ART & WHIMSY OF MO WILLEMS at the HIGH MUSEUM in Atlanta, GA opening on MAY 23 and running through January of 2016.   The exhibit is based on the 2013 solo show at the Eric Carle Museum, with added

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40. Daytime Emmy Awards Hail King Julien

Animation projects created for Internet television dominated the 42nd annual Daytime Emmy Awards.

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41. Yiyun Li Wins The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award 2015

Short Story AwardYiyun Li has been named the winner of the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award 2015. For this accomplishment, Li will receive £30,000 in prize money which is “the world’s richest prize for a single short story.”

Li has become the first female winner in the award’s history. She beat out five other writers on the short list with her piece, “A Sheltered Woman.” The New Yorker published it back in March 2014.

Li gave a statement in the press release about the inspiration behind her story: “A couple years ago, while rummaging through old things, I found a notebook that I had bought at a garage sale in Iowa City when I first came to America—I had paid five cents for it. The notebook was in a good shape; though it remained unused. A character occurred to me: she paid a dime and asked if there was a second notebook so she did not have to have the change back. Such greed, the character said, laughing at herself. From that moment on I knew I had a story.’

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42. 2015 Laing Prize

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Each year, the University of Chicago Press,  awards the Gordon J. Laing Prize to “the faculty author, editor or translator of a book published in the previous three years that brings the Press the greatest distinction.” Originated in 1963, the Prize was named after a former general editor of the Press, whose commitment to extraordinary scholarship helped establish UCP as one of the country’s premier university presses. Conferred by a vote from the Board of University Publications and celebrated earlier this week, the 2015 Laing Prize was awarded to Mauricio Tenorio-Trillo, professor of history at the University of Chicago, and associate professor at the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas, Mexico City, for his book I Speak the City: Mexico City at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer’s presented the award at a ceremony earlier this week. From the Press’s official citation:

From art to city planning, from epidemiology to poetry, I Speak of the City challenges the conventional wisdom about Mexico City, investigating the city and the turn-of-the-century world to which it belonged. By engaging with the rise of modernism and the cultural experiences of such personalities as Hart Crane, Mina Loy and Diego Rivera, I Speak of the City will find an enthusiastic audience across the disciplines.

While accepting the award, Tenorio-Trillo noted his fear that the book would ever find a publisher:

His colleague, Prof. Emilio Kouri, told him to try the University of Chicago Press. “He said they do not normally publish Latin American history, but they publish what you do: history and thinking,” said Tenorio-Trillo. And so the manuscript was sent to Press Executive Editor Douglas Mitchell to review.

“My books in Spanish sometimes are catalogued as history, sometimes as essays, closer to literature. I was truly surprised to learn of this very prestigious prize. I do not know if my work has finally reached the maturity to deserve such a prize or if I have luckily arrived to the intellectual milieu where the idiosyncratic nature of my work is considered a true intellectual contribution. With or without prizes, it’s been a privilege to work here and to collaborate with the University of Chicago Press,” he added.

In addition to the Laing Prize, I Speak of the City was awarded the Spiro Kostof Book Award from the Society of Architectural Historians and the Bolton-Johnson Prize Honorable Mention Award from the American Historical Association.

To read more about the book, click here.

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43. 2015 Eisner Award Nominees Announced

Eisner LogoThe nominees for the 2015 Eisner Awards were just announced.

Below, we’ve posted the complete list of nominees. Named after comic book pioneer Will Eisner, the awards “highlight the wide range of material being published in comics and graphic novel form today.”

Those who are taking part in this year’s judging panel include bookseller Carr DeAngelo, librarian Richard Graham, writer Sean Howe, educator Susan Kirtley, Comic-Con International committee member Ron McFee, and writer Maggie Thompson. The winners will be revealed at a gala ceremony during this year’s Comic-Con International: San Diego.

Best Short Story

  • \"Beginning’s End\" by Rina Ayuyang
  • \"Corpse on the Imjin!\" by Peter Kuper, in Masterful Marks: Cartoonists Who Changed the World
  • \"Rule Number One\" by Lee Bermejo, in Batman Black and White #3
  • \"The Sound of One Hand Clapping\" by Max Landis & Jock, in Adventures of Superman #14
  • \"When the Darkness Presses\" by Emily Carroll

Best Single Issue (or One-Shot)

  • Astro City #16: \"Wish I May\" by Kurt Busiek & Brent Anderson
  • Beasts of Burden: Hunters and Gatherers by Evan Dorkin & Jill Thompson
  • Madman in Your Face 3D Special by Mike Allred
  • Marvel 75th Anniversary Celebration #1
  • The Multiversity: Pax Americana #1 by Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely

Best Continuing Series

  • Astro City by Kurt Busiek & Brent Anderson
  • Bandette by Paul Tobin & Colleen Coover
  • Hawkeye by Matt Fraction & David Aja
  • Saga by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
  • Southern Bastards by Jason Aaron & Jason Latour
  • The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, & Stefano Gaudiano

Best Limited Series

  • Daredevil: Road Warrior by Mark Waid & Peter Krause
  • Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland by Eric Shanower & Gabriel Rodriguez
  • The Multiversity by Grant Morrison et al.
  • The Private Eye by Brian K. Vaughan & Marcos Martin
  • The Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman & J. H. Williams III

Best New Series

  • The Fade Out by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips
  • Lumberjanes by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson, & Brooke A. Allen
  • Ms. Marvel, by G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona
  • Rocket Raccoon by Skottie Young
  • The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie

Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 7)

  • BirdCatDog by Lee Nordling & Meritxell Bosch
  • A Cat Named Tim And Other Stories by John Martz
  • Hello Kitty, Hello 40: A Celebration in 40 Stories edited by Traci N. Todd & Elizabeth Kawasaki
  • Mermin, Book 3: Deep Dives by Joey Weiser
  • The Zoo Box by Ariel Cohn & Aron Nels Steinke

Best Publication for Kids (ages 8-12)

  • Batman Li’l Gotham, vol. 2 by Derek Fridolfs & Dustin Nguyen
  • El Deafo by Cece Bell
  • I Was the Cat by Paul Tobin & Benjamin Dewey
  • Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland by Eric Shanower & Gabriel Rodriguez
  • Tiny Titans: Return to the Treehouse by Art Baltazar & Franco

Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17)

  • Doomboy by Tony Sandoval
  • The Dumbest Idea Ever by Jimmy Gownley
  • Lumberjanes by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson, & Brooke A. Allen
  • Meteor Men by Jeff Parker & Sandy Jarrell
  • The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang & Sonny Liew
  • The Wrenchies by Farel Dalrymple

Best Humor Publication

  • The Complete Cul de Sac by Richard Thompson
  • Dog Butts and Love. And Stuff Like That. And Cats. by Jim Benton
  • Groo vs. Conan by Sergio Aragonés, Mark Evanier, & Tom Yeates
  • Rocket Raccoon by Skottie Young
  • Superior Foes of Spider-Man by Nick Spencer & Steve Lieber

Best Digital/Web Comic

  • Bandette by Paul Tobin & Colleen Coover
  • Failing Sky by Dax Tran-Caffee
  • The Last Mechanical Monster by Brian Fies
  • Nimona by Noelle Stephenson
  • The Private Eye by Brian Vaughan & Marcos Martin

Best Anthology

  • In the Dark: A Horror Anthology edited by Rachel Deering
  • Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream edited by Josh O’Neill, Andrew Carl, & Chris Stevens
  • Massive: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It edited by Anne Ishii, Chip Kidd, & Graham Kolbeins
  • Masterful Marks: Cartoonists Who Changed the World edited by Monte Beauchamp
  • To End All Wars: The Graphic Anthology of The First World War edited by Jonathan Clode & John Stuart Clark

Best Reality-Based Work

  • Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast
  • Dragon’s Breath and Other True Stories, by MariNaomi
  • El Deafo by Cece Bell
  • Hip Hop Family Tree, vol. 2 by Ed Piskor
  • Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood by Nathan Hale
  • To End All Wars: The Graphic Anthology of The First World War edited by Jonathan Clode & John Stuart Clark

Best Graphic Album—New

  • The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins
  • Here by Richard McGuire
  • Kill My Mother by Jules Feiffer
  • The Motherless Oven by Rob Davis
  • Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley
  • This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki

Best Graphic Album—Reprint

  • Dave Dorman’s Wasted Lands Omnibus
  • How to Be Happy by Eleanor Davis
  • Jim by Jim Woodring
  • Sock Monkey Treasury by Tony Millionaire
  • Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Best Archival Collection/Project—Strips (at least 20 years old)

  • Winsor McCay’s Complete Little Nemo edited by Alexander Braun
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Tarzan: The Sunday Comics, 1933–1935 by Hal Foster and edited by Brendan Wright
  • Moomin: The Deluxe Anniversary Edition by Tove Jansson and edited by Tom Devlin
  • Pogo, vol. 3: Evidence to the Contrary by Walt Kelly and edited by Carolyn Kelly & Eric Reynolds
  • Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse, vols. 5-6 by Floyd Gottfredson and edited by David Gerstein & Gary Groth

Best Archival Collection/Project—Comic Books (at least 20 Years Old)

  • The Complete ZAP Comix Box Set edited by Gary Groth with Mike Catron
  • Steranko Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Artist’s Edition edited by Scott Dunbier
  • Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: Trail of the Unicorn by Carl Barks and edited by Gary Groth
  • Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck: The Son of the Son by Don Rosa and edited by David Gerstein
  • Walt Kelly’s Pogo: The Complete Dell Comics, vols. 1–2 edited by Daniel Herman
  • Witzend, by Wallace Wood et al., edited by Gary Groth with Mike Catron

Best U.S. Edition of International Material

  • Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoët
  • Blacksad: Amarillo by Juan Díaz Canales & Juanjo Guarnido
  • Corto Maltese: Under the Sign of Capricorn by Hugo Pratt
  • Jaybird by Lauri & Jaakko Ahonen
  • The Leaning Girl by Benoît Peeters & François Schuiten

Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia

  • All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, Ryosuke Takeuchi, Takeshi Obata & yoshitoshi ABe
  • In Clothes Called Fat by Moyoco Anno
  • Master Keaton, vol. 1 by Naoki Urasawa, Hokusei Katsushika, & Takashi Nagasaki
  • One-Punch Man by One & Yusuke Murata
  • Showa 1939–1943 and Showa 1944–1953: A History of Japan by Shigeru Mizuki
  • Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki by Mamoru Hosada & Yu

Best Writer

  • Jason Aaron, Original Sin, Thor, Men of Wrath, Southern Bastards
  • Kelly Sue DeConnick, Captain Marvel, Pretty Deadly
  • Grant Morrison, The Multiversity, Annihilator
  • Brian K. Vaughan, Saga, Private Eye
  • G. Willow Wilson, Ms. Marvel
  • Gene Luen Yang, Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Shadow Hero

Best Writer/Artist

  • Sergio Aragonés, Sergio Aragonés Funnies, Groo vs. Conan
  • Charles Burns, Sugar Skull
  • Stephen Collins, The Giant Beard That Was Evil
  • Richard McGuire, Here
  • Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo: Senso, Usagi Yojimbo Color Special: The Artist
  • Raina Telgemeier, Sisters

Best Penciller/Inker

  • Adrian Alphona, Ms. Marvel
  • Mike Allred, Silver Surfer, Madman in Your Face 3D Special
  • Frank Quitely, Multiversity
  • François Schuiten, The Leaning Girl
  • Fiona Staples, Saga
  • Babs Tarr, Batgirl

Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art)

  • Lauri & Jaakko Ahonen, Jaybird
  • Colleen Coover, Bandette
  • Mike Del Mundo, Elektra
  • Juanjo Guarnido, Blacksad: Amarillo
  • J. H. Williams III, The Sandman: Overture

Best Cover Artist

  • Darwyn Cooke, DC Comics Darwyn Cooke Month Variant Covers
  • Mike Del Mundo, Elektra, X-Men: Legacy, A+X, Dexter, Dexter Down Under
  • Francesco Francavilla, Afterlife with Archie, Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight, The Twilight Zone, Django/Zorro, X-Files
  • Jamie McKelvie/Matthew Wilson, The Wicked + The Divine, Ms. Marvel
  • Phil Noto, Black Widow
  • Alex Ross, Astro City, Batman 66: The Lost Episode, Batman 66 Meets Green Hornet

Best Coloring

  • Laura Allred, Silver Surfer, Madman in Your Face 3D Special
  • Nelson Daniel, Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland, Judge Dredd, Wild Blue Yonder
  • Lovern Kindzierski, The Graveyard Book, vols. 1-2
  • Matthew Petz, The Leg
  • Dave Stewart, Hellboy in Hell, BPRD, Abe Sapien, Baltimore, Lobster Johnson, Witchfinder, Shaolin Cowboy, Aliens: Fire and Stone, DHP
  • Matthew Wilson, Adventures of Superman, The Wicked + The Divine, Daredevil, Thor

Best Lettering

  • Joe Caramagna, Ms. Marvel, Daredevil
  • Todd Klein, Fables, The Sandman: Overture, The Unwritten; Nemo: The Roses of Berlin
  • Max, Vapor
  • Jack Morelli, Afterlife with Archie, Archie, Betty and Veronica, etc.
  • Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo: Senso, Usagi Yojimbo Color Special: The Artist

Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism

  • Alter Ego edited by Roy Thomas
  • Comic Book Creator edited by Jon B. Cooke
  • Comic Book Resources edited by Jonah Weiland
  • Comics Alliance edited by Andy Khouri, Caleb Goellner, Andrew Wheeler, & Joe Hughes
  • tcj.com edited by Dan Nadel & Timothy Hodler

Best Comics-Related Book

  • Comics Through Time: A History of Icons, Idols, and Ideas (4 vols.) edited by M. Keith Booker
  • Creeping Death from Neptune: The Life and Comics of Basil Wolverton by Greg Sadowski
  • Genius Animated: The Cartoon Art of Alex Toth, vol. 3 by Dean Mullaney & Bruce Canwell
  • What Fools These Mortals Be: The Story of Puck by Michael Alexander Kahn & Richard Samuel West
  • 75 Years of Marvel Comics: From the Golden Age to the Silver Screen by Roy Thomas & Josh Baker

Best Scholarly/Academic Work

  • American Comics, Literary Theory, and Religion: The Superhero Afterlife by A. David Lewis
  • Considering Watchmen: Poetics, Property, Politics by Andrew Hoberek
  • Funnybooks: The Improbable Glories of the Best American Comic Books by Michael Barrier
  • Graphic Details: Jewish Women’s Confessional Comics in Essays and Interviews edited by Sarah Lightman
  • The Origins of Comics: From William Hogarth to Winsor McCay by Thierry Smolderen, tr. by Bart Beaty & Nick Nguyen
  • Wide Awake in Slumberland: Fantasy, Mass Culture, and Modernism in the Art of Winsor McCay by Katherine Roeder

Best Publication Design

  • Batman: Kelley Jones Gallery Edition designed by Josh Beatman/Brainchild Studios
  • The Complete ZAP Comix Box Set designed by Tony Ong
  • Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream designed by Jim Rugg
  • Street View designed by Pascal Rabate
  • Winsor McCay’s Complete Little Nemo designed by Anna Tina Kessler

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44. Winners Announced For The Los Angeles Times 35th Annual Book Prize

la times book prize logoThe Los Angeles Times hosted its 35th Annual Book Prizes ceremony over the weekend.

Book critic David L. Ulin hosted the event at at the University of Southern California’s Bovard Auditorium. Some of the presenters throughout the evening included Hope LarsonAisha Saeed, and Matt Pearce.

World’s End author T.C. Boyle received the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement and Reading Rainbow star LeVar Burton took The Innovator’s Award. We’ve got the entire list of winners after the jump.

The 2015 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Winners

  • Biography: Napoleon: A Life by Andrew Roberts (Viking)
  • Current Interest: The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League by Jeff Hobbs (Scribner)
  • Fiction: The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt (Simon & Schuster)
  • The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction: Faces in the Crowd by Valeria Luiselli (Coffee House Press)
  • Graphic Novel/Comics: The Love Bunglers by Jaime Hernandez (Fantagraphics Books)
  • History: The Deluge: The Great War, America and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916-1931 by Adam Tooze (Viking)
  • Mystery/Thriller: Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman (W.W. Norton & Company)
  • Poetry: Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine (Graywolf Press)
  • Science & Technology: The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert (Henry Holt & Co.)
  • Young Adult Literature: The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming (Schwartz & Wade/Random House Children’s Books)

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45. All the Light We Cannot See Wins 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

pulitzerprizeThe 2015 Pulitzer Prize winners were revealed at a ceremony in New York today.

“All the Light We Cannot See” (Scribner) by Anthony Doerr has won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.  “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History” (Henry Holt) by Elizabeth Kolbert won the prize for General Nonfiction.

“Between Riverside and Crazy” by Stephen Adly Guirgis took the award for Drama. “Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People” (Hill and Wang) by Elizabeth A. Fenn won the Pulitzer for History.

“The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe” (Random House) by David I. Kertzer won the Biography award. “Digest” (Four Way Books) by Gregory Pardlo won the Poetry award.

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46. The Love Bunglers by Jaime Hernandez wins LA Times Book Prize

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The LA Times Book Prizes were awarded over the weekend and the graphic novel prize went to The Love Bunglers by Jaime Hernandez. This is fitting since the story, although denied a ton of traditional comics awards, is actually a timeless masterpiece. And as the Times put it, Hernandez is “one of Southern California’s signature artists,” with his work exploring so many aspects of SoCal life, from Latino culture to punk culture. Bravo.

The nominees were :

• Roz Chast, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? A Memoir,Bloomsbury
*** • Jaime Hernandez, The Love Bunglers, Fantagraphics
• Mana Neyestani, An Iranian Metamorphosis, Uncivilized Books
• Olivier Schrauwen, Arsène Schrauwen, Fantagraphics
• Mariko Tamaki (Author), Jillian Tamaki (Illustrator), This One Summer, First Second
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47. Adam Zyglis wins Pulitzer Prize for Cartooning

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The Pulitzers, awarded for excellence in journalism, were announced yesterday, and the winner for cartooning was Adam Zyglis of The Buffalo News. Finalists were Kevin “Kal” Kallaugher of the Baltimore Sun and Tom Tomorrow (Dan Perkins), of Daily Kos. (On her FB page Columbia U librarian Karen Green revealed she was one of the judges for the category.) You can see some more of Zyglis’s work here.

As usual, WaPo’s Michael Cavna was on the scene for the first interview:

“Hearing I’d won was surreal,” Zyglis tells The Post’s Comic Riffs this afternoon, shortly after receiving the news. “I was working in a corner of the newsroom, and suddenly, people started shouting and coming up and hugging me.”


Perhaps Zyglis, who’s in his 30s, pretty youthful for a Pulitzer winner, should not have been so surprised. In recent years he won the Berryman Award, was a finalist for a Reuben, was named the 2015 recipient of the Grambs Aronson Award for Cartooning With a Conscience and was a runner–up for the National Headliner Award. Given all that it would be more surreal if he HADN’T won.

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48. 2015 Young Lions Fiction Award Finalists: Free Samples

nypl logoThe New York Public Library has revealed the finalists for the 2015 Young Lions Fiction Award. We’ve created another literary mixtape linking to free samples of all the nominated novels.

Here’s more from the press release: “The Young Lions Fiction Award is given annually to an American writer age 35 or younger for either a novel or collection of short stories.  Each year, five young fiction writers are selected as finalists by a reading committee of Young Lions members, writers, editors, and librarians.”

The winner will be announced during a ceremony which will be held at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on April 27th. This year’s panel of judges include The Twelve Tribes of Hattie novelist Ayana Mathis, New Yorker staff writer Rebecca Mead, and Once the Shore: Stories author Paul Yoon.

15th Annual Young Lions Fiction Award Finalists

The UnAmericans by Molly Antopol

Silence Once Begun by Jesse Ball

Nobody is Ever Missing by Catherine Lacey

What Ends by Andrew Ladd

10:04 by Ben Lerner

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49. Alan Shapiro: Pulitzer Prize finalist

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Hearty congratulations to Alan Shapiro, whose collection of poems Reel to Reel was recently shortlisted for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in poetry. Shapiro, who teaches at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has published twelve volumes of poetry, and has previously been nominated for both the National Book Award and the Griffin Prize. The Pulitzer Prize citation commended Reel to Reel‘s “finely crafted poems with a composure that cannot conceal the troubled terrain they traverse.” The book, written with Shapiro’s recognizably graceful, abstracting, and subtle minimalism, was one of two finalists, along with Arthur Sze’s Compass Rose; Gregory Pardlo’s Digest won the award.

From the jacket copy for Reel to Reel:

Reel to Reel, Alan Shapiro’s twelfth collection of poetry, moves outward from the intimate spaces of family and romantic life to embrace not only the human realm of politics and culture but also the natural world, and even the outer spaces of the cosmos itself. In language richly nuanced yet accessible, these poems inhabit and explore fundamental questions of existence, such as time, mortality, consciousness, and matter. How did we get here? Why is there something rather than nothing? How do we live fully and lovingly as conscious creatures in an unconscious universe with no ultimate purpose or destination beyond returning to the abyss that spawned us? Shapiro brings his humor, imaginative intensity, characteristic syntactical energy, and generous heart to bear on these ultimate mysteries. In ways few poets have done, he writes from a premodern, primal sense of wonder about our postmodern world.

“Family Bed,” on the book’s poems:

My sister first and then my brother woke
Inside the house they dreamed, and so the dream
House, which, in my dream, was the house in which
I found them now, was vanishing as they woke,
Was swallowing itself the way the picture did
Inside the switched off television screen.
It was the nightmare picture of them sleeping
As if alive beside me in the last
Room left to us, the nightmare of the picture
Suddenly collapsing on the screen
Into the tick and crackle of the shriveling
Abyss they were being sucked away into
By having wakened, while I, alone now,
Clung to the screen of sleeping in the not
Yet undreamt bedroom they no longer dreamed.

To read more about Reel to Reel, or to view more of the author’s books published by the University of Chicago Press, click here.

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50. Emily Bitto Wins The Stella Prize

Author Emily Bitto has won the 2015 Stella Prize for her debut novel “The Strays.” The prize includes a $50,000 purse.

The prize is open to works of both fiction and nonfiction by Australian women. The award was announced at a in ceremony in Melbourne on Tuesday.

“Emily Bitto’s debut novel The Strays is about families, art, isolation, class, childhood, friendship, and the power of the past. It’s both moving and sophisticated; both well researched and original; both intellectually engaging and emotionally gripping …,” stated Kerryn Goldsworthy, chair of the 2015 Stella Prize judging panel.

“As a debut novelist, I cannot even begin to quantify the benefits this award will bring. I am incredibly grateful to the Stella board, the judging panel, and the generous donors who have contributed the prize money,” stated Bitto of her win. “In its three years of existence, the Stella Prize has had a huge impact on the Australian literary landscape and has initiated a vital dialogue about gender within the public domain.”

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