April 9, 2018
Hogarth author Anthony Marra has won the Simpson Family Literary Prize, which honors mid-career authors who have earned a distinguished reputation with a $50,000 cash award to encourage and support forthcoming work. Now in its second year, the Simpson Prize is administered by the University of California, Berkeley English Department and the Lafayette Library and Learning Center Foundation. As the prize winner, Marra will give a public reading, make a limited number of Bay Area public appearances, and be in brief residence at the Lafayette Library and UC Berkeley.
Author Joyce Carol Oates, who is on the project committee, and presented the prize, said: “Anthony Marra is a warmly inspired storyteller and a brilliant stylist. He is at once a chronicler of savage history and of the most tenderly intimate of emotions. Both his highly acclaimed works of fiction — A CONSTELLATION OF VITAL PHENOMENA
and THE TSAR OF LOVE AND TECHNO
— astonish with their capacity for illuminating the secrets of the human heart and will endure as unique contributions to American literature of the early 21st century.”
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Anthony Marra, credit Smeeta Mahanti[/caption]
Marra responded: "I am deeply honored and grateful to receive the 2nd annual Simpson Family Literary Prize. I will use the time this opportunity affords to finish my current project, a historical novel about the community of European refugees and exiles in 1940s Hollywood.
“This is my first work set in America, and though mid-century Los Angeles (‘Sunny Siberia,’ as exiles called it) is new terrain, this novel is preoccupied with the same concerns as my previous books: political coercion, historical amnesia, and falsified realities. At a time when these themes dominate American political life, this novel and the questions it raises feel all the more urgent to me. I look forward to discussing this and more in engagements with the Berkeley English Department and the Lafayette Library and Learning Center.
“My current novel, like THE TSAR OF LOVE AND TECHNO and A CONSTELLATION OF VITAL PHENOMENA, is structured as a tapestry of interwoven narratives and voices. It’s an architecture I’m drawn to because it suggests that storytelling is communal. And so it gives me tremendous pride to think that the little thread of my life has been woven into the larger story of the Simpson Family Literary Project.”
April 3, 2018
The annual spring gala benefit dinner for Poets & Writers—America’s largest nonprofit service organization dedicated to fostering the professional development of poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers—is always an enjoyably memorable occasion to celebrate one of its core missions: “to help create an environment in which literature can be appreciated by the widest possible public.” This objective was thrillingly achieved at this year’s event, held in Manhattan on March 28, at which Riverhead Books Vice President and Editorial Director Rebecca Saletan and Knopf authors Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Richard Russo were honored for their exceptional contributions to the writing and publishing community.
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The 2018 Editor’s Award winner Rebecca Saletan (front left) with several of the authors she has edited.[/caption]
Rebecca Saletan is the recipient of “The Editor’s Award” for 2018 from the group, which recognizes “a book editor who has made an outstanding contribution to the publication of poetry or literary prose over a sustained period of time.” It was presented to her by Masha Gessen
, whose THE FUTURE IS HISTORY
won the 2017 National Book Award for Nonfiction. Before offering eloquent tributes from authors also edited by the nominee, many of whom were in attendance, Ms. Gessen said:
“Becky has been my editor for the last 14 years and six books. She has given my books names and shape. She has made me feel that it was safe to take writing risks. That’s what an editor does: she enables the writer to dare by showing that she will not let them make a fool of themselves. She is both the safety net and the tightrope walk that is writing (or that writing can be).”
Ms. Saletan then spoke reflectively and movingly about being an editor. One highlight of many:
“When I think about the writers and books I have worked with, it’s the dialogue about shape that I most remember. A draft of a story in which a kind of sonic boom goes off. The beginning demands an answering boom on the end. Rather than trying to launch six complicated characters at the outset, how about introducing them one by one, like a juggler putting balls in the air? Perhaps not surprisingly, all my career I have been drawn to writing and writers who are structurally innovative and do not fit into easy categories—fiction/nonfiction, narrative essay, poets AND writers. I love that the very name of this organization allows for the reading that they are one and the same.”
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Richard Russo each received “The Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award,” which celebrates “authors who have given generously to other writers or to the broader literary community.” Ms. Adichie,
a fiction and nonfiction author whose acclaimed books include AMERICANAH
, effusively paid tribute to the Poets & Writers bi-monthly magazine—considered to be a bible in the writing community for its extensive presentation of available writer prizes and grants, and for its authoritative interviews—as the first magazine she ever subscribed to.
Mr. Russo, whose more than a dozen published works of fiction and nonfiction include EMPIRE FALLS
and NOBODY’S FOOL
, aptly expressed the spirit of the evening and singularity of its hosts, remarking:
“Even the most solitary writers accrue debts—to agents, editors, publicists…Literary debts, like so many others, can only be paid forward. Helping emerging writers find an audience is one important way of doing that, and it’s particularly important now, when there aren’t nearly as many opportunities for young writers as there were when I myself was emerging … I offer what help I can to emerging authors because doing so, frankly, is fun …”
March 30, 2018
Columbia Journalism School and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard announced the winners of the 2018 J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project Awards, including the Mark Lynton History Prize for Stephen Kotkin’s STALIN: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941, published by Penguin Press. Established in 1998, the Lukas Prize Project, marking its 20th anniversary year, honors the best in American nonfiction writing. The late Mark Lynton was an historian and senior executive at the firm Hunter Douglas in the Netherlands. Mr. Kotkin will receive his $10,000 prize at a the Lukas Prize Project Awards ceremony on May 10 at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University.
The judges’ citation reads as follows: “A stunning achievement, Stephen Kotkin’s STALIN reveals with precision and clarity the period in which the impatient dictator developed into a monster who used his authoritarian rule and coercive power to manipulate social divisions, invent enemies, and forge despotism in mass bloodshed. Through his prodigious research and command of an immense body of new documents, Kotkin comprehensively documents Josef Stalin’s rule and his remaking of the USSR into an empire, and he gets inside the mind of a tyrant whose murderous obsessions led him to execute nearly a million people. This second volume of Kotkin’s (planned) trilogy deepens understanding of the turbulent, tragic period by juxtaposing Stalin’s extension of influence in the Soviet Union with Adolf Hitler’s rise in Germany, culminating in the most disastrous conflagration in modern history. In a landmark work of historical scholarship, Kotkin has written a captivating biography of a despot that chronicles the evolution of Stalin as a human being, political operator, and growing archfiend in this horrific era of modern history.”
View the complete list of 2018 Lukas Prize Project Awards winners and finalists here
March 29, 2018
The American Booksellers Association has announced the finalists for the 2018 Indies Choice Awards, the E.B. White Read-Aloud Awards, as well as nominees for the Indie Champion Award and Picture Book Fall of Fame honors — and Penguin Random House adult and children’s titles across our divisions are prominently represented. Through “Indies Choice,” independent booksellers from ABA member stores get to select their favorite titles published last year, and vote for them through May 2 via online balloting. Winners will be announced on May 9, and will be celebrated along with the honor book recipients, at the ABA Celebration of Bookselling and Author Awards Lunch on Wednesday, May 30, at BookExpo 2018 at the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan.
Here are our finalists
Book of the Year – Adult Fiction
by Mohsin Hamid (Riverhead Books)
LINCOLN IN THE BARDO
by George Saunders (Random House)
LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE
by Celeste Ng (Penguin Press)
Book of the Year – Adult Nonfiction
HALLELUJAH ANYWAY: Rediscovering Mercy by Anne Lamott
KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
by David Grann (Doubleday)
SILENCE: In the Age of Noise
by Erling Kagge, Becky L. Crook (Trans.) (Pantheon)
SPINELESS: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone
by Juli Berwald (Riverhead Books)
THE STRANGER IN THE WOODS: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit
by Michael Finkel (Knopf)
Book of the Year – Young Adult
by Nic Stone (Crown Books for Young Readers)
TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN
by John Green (Dutton Books for Young Readers)
E.B. White Read-Aloud Award – Picture Book
COME WITH ME
by Holly M. McGhee, Pascal Lemaître (G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers)
DRAGONS LOVE TACOS 2: The Sequel
by Adam Rubin, Daniel Salmieri (Illus.) (Dial Books)
E.B. White Read-Aloud Award – Middle Reader
THE EPIC FAIL OF ARTURO ZAMORA
by Pablo Cartaya (Viking Books for Young Readers)
THE FIRST RULE OF PUNK
by Celia C. Pérez (Viking Books for Young Readers)
THE STARS BENEATH OUR FEET
by David Barclay Moore (Knopf Books for Young
Audiobook of the Year
AMERICAN WAR: A Novel
by Omar El Akkad, Read by Dion Graham (Random House Audio)
KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
by David Grann, Read by Will Patton, Ann Marie Lee, and Danny Campbell (Random House Audio)
LINCOLN IN THE BARDO
by George Saunders, Read by Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, George Saunders, and a Full Cast (Random House Audio)
Indie Champion Award
Picture Book Hall of Fame
I HAVE A DREAM
by Martin Luther King, Kadir Nelson (Illus.) (Schwartz & Wade)
OTIS AND THE TORNADO
by Loren Long (Philomel Books)
by Faith Ringgold (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
WHY MOSQUITOES BUZZ IN PEOPLE’S EARS
by Verna Aardema, Leo and Diane Dillon (Illus.) (Dial Books for Young Readers)
Congratulations to all of our finalists, their publishers, and our sales teams upon receiving this wonderful recognition from our valued retail partners.
to view a complete list of finalists.
March 29, 2018
Penguin Random House author Jacqueline Woodson was named the 2018 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award Laureate, the world’s largest award for children’s and young adult literature. The prize amounts to 5 million Swedish krona (approximately $613,000). Woodson is the author of more than thirty books, including novels, poetry and picture books. One of her most lauded titles is the National Book Award- winning memoir in verse BROWN GIRL DREAMING (Nancy Paulsen Books).
The award announcement from Sweden was made on March 27 at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Domestic and international outlets such as New York Daily News
, Publishers Weekly
, Los Angeles Times
, Shelf Awareness
, and the BBC
have shared the good news. Woodson will be interviewed this Friday by Gayle King for the CBS This Morning
The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award will be presented by H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden in a ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall on May 28.
The citation of the jury reads: “Jacqueline Woodson introduces us to resilient young people fighting to find a place where their lives can take root. In language as light as air, she tells stories of resounding richness and depth. Jacqueline Woodson captures a unique poetic note in a daily reality divided between sorrow and hope.”
Woodson frequently writes about teens making the transition from childhood to adult life. Masterful characterization and a deep understanding of the adolescent psyche are hallmarks of her work. Her books are written in the first person, usually from a female point of view. Racism, segregation, economic injustice, social exclusion, prejudice and sexual identity are all recurring themes. In January, she was named National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature in the United States.
“It’s important to hold up mirrors for kids to see their experience is legitimate. Too often those mirrors aren’t there for them,” says Woodson.