Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Friday, November 16, 2012
Favorites Erdrich, Boo, Win National Book Awards
The National Book Awards were
presented Wednesday evening at Cipriani Wall Street. In keeping with the
awards' recognition of writers with a broad audience and larger reach,
favorites Louise Erdrich and Katherine Boo won in the fiction and nonfiction
Accepting the nonfiction award for Behind
The Beautiful Forevers, Boo said that if the prize were to mean anything,
"it is that small stories in so-called hidden places matter because they
implicate and complicate what we consider to be the larger story, which is the
story of people who do have political and economic powers." Erdrich began
her speech in her native Ojibwe, then switched back to English to dedicate her
award for The Round House to "the grace and endurance of native
A Harper spokesperson tells us they will be
going back to press for another 35,000 copies of Erdrich's novel, which will up
the number of copies in print to 100,000. Random House had already planned for
a 10,000 copy re-order on Boo's book but as a result of her win they "
just pushed the button on an additional 50k copies," the company told us.
The paperback publication date, originally slated for February 12, 2013,
"has been postponed with a new publication date to be determined." In
addition, a spokesperson for the University of Chicago Press, which published
poetry winner David Ferry's Bewilderment, tells us "we ran an additional
modest printing in preparation for this, and we've got the book set up on our
short-run facility so that we should be able to keep up with demand over the
next several weeks" in anticipation of printing another 5000-6000 copies.
The list of winners:
Louise Erdrich, The Round House (Harper)
Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers (Random House)
David Ferry, Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations (University of Chicago
Young People's Literature
William Alexander, GOBLIN SECRETS (Margaret K. McElderry Books)
Earlier in the evening NYT publisher and
chairman Arthur Sulzberger accepted the Literarian Award, praising the work of
the New York Times Book Review and the criticism in the paper's daily pages. He
concluded that in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, "many people were faced
with days without power. When our e-readers and phones ran out of power, we
turned to books, reading them by candlelight. Books will always remain, and
they will always be part of the conversation at the New York Times."
Elmore Leonard, in accepting his lifetime
achievement honor, regaled the audience with stories of juggling novel-writing
with his advertising agency work, being rejected "over 84 times" by
movie producers for an early crime novel, and why the George V. Higgins novel
THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE means a great deal. (Martin Amis, in his
introduction, also read out several Leonard passages to the audience's great
amusement.) Leonard finished his speech saying he was "energized" by
the award: "The only thing I’ve ever wanted to do in my life is tell
stories, and this award tells me I am still good at it."