Book Chat is a monthly feature when I chat about anything book related:
publishing news, books I’m excited about and more.
Read more Book Chat posts here.
Women’s History Month: In Books
In honor of Women’s History Month, the Big Read Blog created an excellent list of who they consider to be literature’s top 15 female powerhouse characters. On that list of notable characters are favorites of mine, including Scout from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Offred from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Ántonia from Willa Cather’s My Ántonia and Anne Shirley from Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables.
From strong female characters who have stood the test of time to strong female writers, BookPage shared “11 female authors to keep an eye on this spring and summer.” I’m really looking forward to Therese Anne Fowler’s Zelda Fitzgerald historical fiction novel Z, but there are many other notable women to look for on their list.
Book Awards Season
PEN/Faulkner Award Finalists
According to the website, “the PEN/Faulkner Foundation brings together American writers and readers in a wide variety of programs to promote a love of literature.” The recently announced finalists are Amelia Gray for Threats, Laird Hunt for Kind One, T. Geronimo Johnson for Hold it ‘Til it Hurts, Thomas Mallon for Watergate and Benjamin Alire Sáenz.
The announcement is big news in Minnesota because local nonprofit publisher Coffee House Press published Hunt’s and Johnson’s books. To have just one book on the list would be big for a nonprofit press, but two is phenomenal.
Yale Announced the winners of the new Windham Campbell Prizes
The new Windham Campbell prize winners were announced at Yale recently and nine authors have struck gold. The prize, which awards $150,000 to its winners, was awarded toJames Salter, Zoë Wicomb, Tom McCarthy, Jonny Steinberg, Adina Hoffman, Jeremy Scahill, Naomi Wallace, Stephen Adly Guirgis, and Tarell Alvin McCraney. Donald Windham and Sandy Campbell established the fun in the hopes that financial independence will allow the writers to do greater things. (Windham Campbell Prize)
National Book Critics Circle Winners Announced
Fiction Ben Fountain for Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Nonfiction Andrew Solomon for Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity
Biography Robert A. Caro for The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson
Autobiography Leanne Shapton for Swimming Studies
Poetry D. A. Powell for Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys
Criticism Marina Warner for Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights
Update: The earlier version of this piece stated that Alire Sáenz’s book was published by Coffee House Press. That is incorrect. T. Geronimo Johnson’s book was published by Coffee House Press.