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E.L. Doctorow's Accepts the 2013 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters
E.L. Doctorow was awarded the 2013 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters
at the National Book Awards on November 20, 2013. The ceremony and benefit dinner was held
at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. Here, Doctorow accepts his award. He gives a speech
about the internet which he refers to "ubiquitous and loomingly present in everything we do."
Doctorow discusses how the Internet pervades all of our lives.
He discusses the virtual world and notes that
"Like all worlds, the virtual comes with its heaven and its hell."
He discussed how language has been changed forever by the web.
"Text is now a verb. More radically, a search engine is
not an engine. A platform is not a platform. A bookmark is not a bookmark. An eBook
is not a book. A cookie is not a chocolate cookie. A cloud may be in the sky, but
it is not there to produce weather. Language has been stolen or metamorphosized.
We in this room have to appreciate metaphor. When was the last time in hearing the word
mouse that you thought of a small rodent or heard the word web and thought of a spider?Ē
Doctorow also warned about a report from Pen America about how authors are
censoring what they say and write due to fears of surveillance and how important
free speech is. Take a look:
Oxford Dictionaries Names Selfie the Word of the Year
The Oxford Dictionaries have declared
that the word "selfie" is the Word of the Year. The word selfie first appeared online in 2002 in an online ABC forum posting by a drunk Australian who said: "Um, drunk at a mates 21st, I tripped ofer [sic] and landed lip first (with front teeth coming a very close second) on a set of steps. I had a hole about 1cm long right through my bottom lip. And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie."
The word selfie has morphed into other words connotating different types of self portraits including the helfie (a picture one's hair), the welfie, the workout selfie much beloved by Miranda Kerr and the drelfie, which indicates
a drunken selfie. Book lovers love a good bookshelfie which is a photo of the books currently on their bookshelf.
Spike Lee Discusses His Legacy and How He'd Like to Be Remembered
Oprah Winfrey interviewed filmmaker, director and screenwriter Spike Lee about his life, his work and how he wants to be remembered. Spike's first film was Do the Right Thing, which he wrote, directed, produced and starred in. In this clip from the upcoming interview on OWN tomorrow, Spike says that one of his sons hasn't even seen the film yet. He also reveals what he wants his legacy to be after he's gone. He says he wants to be remembered as a storyteller. Take a look:
George Washington Finally Gets His Own Presidential Library at Mount Vernon
Most modern presidents have their own library. But until yesterday, America's first president, George Washington, did not have one. His home at Mount Vernon is preserved and is a popular tourist attraction, but the one thing Washington really wanted -- his own library to house his collection of books and papers -- he didn't have. Well, thanks to private fundraising efforts, The National Library for the Study of George Washington opened yesterday at the Mount Vernon estate. In this clip, founding director Douglas Bradburn discusses the project. The Library is run by the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, which also runs Mount Vernon. Bradburn is quite excited about opening the doors to the library to scholars who must make an appointment to see the rare books and manuscript stores there. Take a look:
Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet Philip Levine has won the Wallace Stevens Award. The lifetime achievement prize is awarded by the American Academy of Poets. It carries a a $100,000 cash prize.
Levine was the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2011 to 2013. He was born in Detroit, Michigan and sets some of his work in the city. Levine's bio on poets.org says he used to write poetry during off hours from the night shift at the Chevrolet Gear and Axle factory.
Levine was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1995 for his collection, The Simple Truth. Some of his other collections include News of the World, Sweet Will, What Work Is and Breath.
Oxford Dictionaries Online Add Words Twerk, Babymoon and Selfie to its Lexicon
The Oxford Dictionaries Online (ODO) has added quite a few new words to its database. Some of the new words include babymoon, buzzworthy, digital detox, guac, omnishambles, phablet,
selfie, squee and twerk. Miley Cyrus brought twerking into the mainstream last week with her raunchy performance that the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. It's sort of the opposite of another new term, dad dancing.
The Oxford Dictionaries explained the usage of some of the new words in a
blog post: "If you are someone who always leaves prepping for a party to the last minute, you'll be relieved to know that you can now click and collect, so you can avoid a mad trolley dash to grab some cake pops or blondies before your guests arrive. And donít forget some pear cider to wash down all those tasty treats.
"Even if your party turns into an omnishambles, full of people in double denim doing dad dancing, try not to worry. You'll soon feel better after a bit of me time: a few minutes in the child's pose, a chilled michelada, and a Nordic noir will have you feeling as right as rain."
Sinead Morrissey is Belfast's first Poet Laureate. BBC Newsreports that she was appointed by Lord Mayor of Belfast, Mairtin O'Muilleoir. She will participate in public events and community outreach programs. She will produce a series of poems about Belfast.
Dr. Morrissey said in a statement, "Belfast is a city with an extraordinary literary tradition, especially in relation to poetry. I am therefore hugely honoured to be appointed Belfast's first Poet Laureate, and I am excited to celebrate and explore further both the city and poetry in the year ahead."
Dr. Morrissey has written five poetry collections. Her latest collection, Parallax, arrives in October.
Neil Gaiman Takes Over the Book Section of The Guardian for a Day
Last month, The Guardian decided to make Neil Gaiman the Book Editor for a day. He was given a computer and absolute power over the book content of the newspaper. So what did he do during his reign? He began a collaborative short story which got lots of interesting contributions, he oversaw the journalists' assignments, he was interviewed about about writing fiction and had to crank out some articles. It was a good day. Take a look:
Bestselling Indian Author Vikram Seth Blows Book Deadline, Asked to Return 1 Million Pound Advance
The Telegraphreports that bestselling Indian author and poet Vikram Seth is in hot water with his publishers. Seth has been asked to return his 1 million pound advance because he's missed the deadline to turn in the manuscript for his next novel, which is a sequel to his 1993 novel, A Suitable Boy.
David Godwin, Seth's agent, tried to play down the news telling the
Mumbai Mirror that his client is negotiating a new deadline with his publisher and that the deal is not off just yet. He said,
"Vikram has been known to take his time with his books. Our aim is to settle this new date with Hamish [Hamilton]."
Hamish Hamilton, the publisher of the book, is now owned by the conglomerate Penguin Random House. Penguin refused to comment on the case saying that it happened before the merger and it has nothing to do with cost-cutting measures. That's kind of an odd statement because no one had connected Seth's troubles with cost-cutting. Penguin Random House told The Telegraph, "Penguin never comments on individual contract negotiations with out authors...It should be noted that these discussions precede the Penguin Random House merger, and are not at all connected to the merger or erroneous suggestions of cost cutting."
The next novel (if it ever gets published) is to be called A Suitable Girl. It will pick up where the first novel left off. In the first novel, which weighed in at 1300 pages, the heroine Lata searched for a husband in post-independence India. The sequel is supposed to put Lata in modern day India.
The Marlowe Papers by Ros Barber is the winner of the annual Desmond Elliott Prize. The annual prize honors the best is debut fiction. Barber's novel is written entirely in verse.
The Chair of judges, Joanne Harris MBE, said in a statement, "Barber's novel stood out from the shortlist because it is a unique historical conspiracy story that engages all the senses. It is as enticing as a top-flight thriller, with the welcome addition of gorgeous, evocative language as visual and concise as a screenplay. The Marlowe Papers is technically accomplished and hugely impressive in both style and scope, enhanced by being written in verse, it is certainly an ambitious undertaking for a new novelist - I cannot wait to read Barber's next book."
You can find out more about the Desmond Elliott Prize here.
Richard Ford and Timothy Egan Win 2013 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Adult Fiction and Nonfiction
Richard Ford and Timothy Egan are the 2013 winners of the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction. Richard Ford won the fiction award for his novel, Canada, which is published by HarperCollins' Ecco imprint. Timothy Egan won the nonfiction medal for his book, Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis. The book is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
In 2012 the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction were created to recognize the best adult nonfiction and fiction published in the U.S. in the previous year. There is one winner for fiction and one winner for nonfiction. The awards are cosponsored by Booklist and the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) of ALA. The awards are funded through a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York.
This year's winners were announced at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. Both Egan and Ford each collected a $5,000 check. The finalists each received
$1,500. The fiction finalists were Junot Diaz's This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz and The Round House by Louise Erdrich. Nonfiction finalists were The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death and Jill Lepore Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen.
The members of the 2013 selection committee were: Nancy Pearl, Chair; Brad Hooper, editor, Adult Books, Booklist, Chicago; Danise Hoover, associate librarian, Public Services, Hunter College Library, New York; A. Issac Pulver, director, Saratoga Springs (NY) Public Library; Nonny Schlotzhauer, librarian, Collection Development/Social Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA; Donna Seaman, senior editor, Adult Books, Booklist, Chicago; and Rebecca Vnuk, editor, Reference and Collection Management, Booklist, Chicago.
Outgoing President of Lycoming College Finds Document Signed by Lincoln
James Douthat, the president to Lycoming College, is retiring after twenty four years on the job. He was clearing out his office when he discovered a a framed document stuck at the back of the office closet. The document was a long-missing document that no one in the college knew still existed. Douthat
found a framed certificate signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 that named the college's founder a Civil War chaplain.
Douthat explained, "When I took it down, of course I recognized Lincoln's signature immediately. I assume it was in the top of the closet 24 years ago.
I had never seen it." The document is also signed by Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. Similar documents have sold for $11,000 and more, but the college is hanging on to its piece of history. The AP reports:
George R.R. Martin Explains Why He Likes His Readers to Be Afraid
Bestselling fantasy author George R.R. Martin was a guest on Conan O'Brien's show to talk about the shocking last episode of HBO's Game of Thrones which featured the infamous Red Wedding scene. Conan asked George why he keeps killing off everyone's favorite characters. George replied,
"You write the kind of stuff you like to read. I like unexpected things....
I want my readers and viewers to be afraid when the characters are in danger."
He doesn't like it when the hero is in danger and you know he will be fine because he's the hero.
George said he went to the season 3 premiere at Graumann's Chinese Theater
and he was talking with three actors from the show that he had not met before.
He suddenly realized that they were all dead. He said one knew because he
read the books and knew what was coming, but clearly the other two did not.
At the HBO party, one actress begged him not to kill her off, because she loves to do the show.
Unfortunately, her character is slated to die. .
George says it's much easier to kill off characters on the page. When it's real actors
you like and you're putting them out of work, it makes him feel guilty.
He did note that if they all just read the books, they would know whether they
would live or die. Although that's not really true, because the
series isn't finished yet. George also told Conan who he would kill off on his show if it was a book. Take a look:
The Poetry Foundation has announced that Don Share will be the next editor of Poetry magazine. He will be the 12th editor in the magazine's 101-year history. He will begin his tenure on July 1, 2013. Share replaces outgoing editor Christian Wiman.
Share has held editorial posts at magazines including the Partisan Review, Harvard Review, and Literary Imagination. He was the curator of poetry at Harvard University for seven years. Share has also published ten books. His most recent books are Wishbone (Black Sparrow) and Bunting's Persia (Flood Editions).
Poetry Foundation president John Barr said in a statement, "Don Share's deep experience as editor, critic, poet, and scholar, as well as his fellowship with the entire poetry community, make him the perfect choice to lead Poetry into its second century."