Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Fisticuffs and Literary Prizes

Ed Champion does it again in this funny spoof of Swedish Academy member Knut Ahnlund’s diatribe against Elfriede Jelinek, last year’s winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. I suspect his complaints have been getting so much press because people agree with his assessment of Jelinek’s minimalist literature as pornography. The Nobel Prize for Literature will be announced (supposedly, there is no firm timeline) on Thursday, Oct. 13.

Perhaps it’s a good thing when controversy roils literary prizes. It extends their news cycles. In another round of author bashing, booksellers and critics in Britain are complaining that John Banville’s The Sea, won the UK’s highest literary prize, the Booker. Now, I have never read any of Banville’s work, but the main objection seems to be that it is somewhat inaccessible and cold. Regardless of the complaints, Brits respond to literary prizes. Sales of The Sea soared after it got the Booker.

The nominees for the National Book Award will be announced this afternoon. Last year, the nominees for those awards were eviscerated because they were all female authors with novels regarded as “slight” compared to “big.” Lily Tuck won in 2004 for The News From Paraguay.

San Francisco’s Lawrence Ferhlinghetti will be honored by the NBA on November 16 with the First Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community.

Another thank you to Ed for pointing out these glorious pictures from SFist of San Francisco’s newest independent bookstore, the third branch of Cody’s, which just opened on Market Street. I haven’t made it there yet, but am definitely looking forward to it.

No comments: