• The 2013 National Book Awards finalists were announced this week, narrowing each category down from 10 to 5 contenders. The winners will be revealed on November 20. In the meantime, you can familiarize yourself with the books in the running by downloading free excerpts here.
• With Halloween right around the corner, we can't get enough of Flavorwire's amazing collection of photos of famous authors dressed up in costumes.
• Speaking of Halloween, if you like creepy stories, Byliner is offering up an exclusive new tale called "Devotion" by Maile Meloy. (Those who aren't Byliner subscribers can download the book for $1.99.)
• Bloomsbury is launching a new popular science imprint, Sigma, which will feature books on subjects such as evolutionary biology, astronomy, robotics, bioengineering and climatology. Inaugural titles publishing in October 2014 will include Sex on Earth by Jules Howard and The World's Smallest Mammoth by Victoria Herridge.
• What's the most famous book set in your state?
Catton's novel was something of a dark horse winner, given the shortlist, which included the latest works from Jim Crace (the presumed frontrunner), Jhumpa Lahiri, NoViolet Bulawayo, Ruth Ozeki and Colm Tóibín. At more than 800 pages, it's also something of a doorstop! As one judge remarked, "Those of us who didn't read it on e-readers enjoyed a full upper-body work-out."
During her acceptance speech, Catton, who at 28 is also the youngest author ever to win the prize, admitted that the book "was, from the start, a publisher’s nightmare" and thanked her publishers for taking a chance on the novel.
BookPage was among the many to take note of this talented author when her debut, The Rehearsal, was released in 2010. The Luminaries is a very different, but equally compelling, novel—a meaty historical set in the 1860s New Zealand gold fields. Carefully constructed, and with pitch-perfect Victorian narration, it's a remarkable achievement for a writer of any age. We can't wait to see what Catton does next.
• Finally, check out this nifty collection of original artwork used on iconic book covers over on the Publishers Weekly blog.
Congratulations to Canadian writer Alice Munro, who nabbed the Nobel Prize for Literature from rumored competitors Bob Dylan, Haruki Murakami, Milan Kundera and Joyce Carol Oates.
Munro, 82, has already received many literary prizes for her realistic portrayals of the everyday lives of Canadian women. When awarding her the prize, the Nobel committee remarked on her “finely tuned storytelling, which is characterized by clarity and psychological realism. Some critics consider her a Canadian Chekhov.”
Over the years, our reviewers have called Munro "an expert when it comes to laying bare human motives and emotions," and an author who "can deftly zero in on a character's essence with a single, telling attribute."
Are you an Alice Munro fan? Find all our reviews of her books here.
The shortlists for all categories will be announced on October 16, with the winners revealed at a gala on November 20. What do you think of the list? Which do you think might be the big winner? Are there any books you feel should have been nominated? Chime in below.
The National Book Foundation continues their rollout of this year's contenders for the National Book Award with the longlist of books in the nonfiction category:
• Finding Florida: The True Story of the Sunshine State by T.D. Allman
• Facing the Wave: A Journey in the Wake of the Tsunami by Gretel Ehrlich
• The Wolf and the Watchman: A Father, a Son, and the CIA by Scott C. Johnson
• Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields by Wendy Lower
• The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer
• The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832 by Alan Taylor
• Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington by Terry Teachout
• Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright
Which book are you rooting for?
Back in July, we shared the 13 books that made the longlist for the Man Booker Prize 2013. This morning, the suspense thickened as that list was whittled down to a shortlist of only six:
We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (U.S. release: October 15)
Harvest by Jim Crace
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (U.S. release: September 24)
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín
We don't envy the judges tasked with selecting a winner out of this crop of stellar books! The winner will be announced on October 15. Which book are you rooting for?
The longlist of 13 books up for the 2013 Man Booker Prize—awarded annually to an author from the British Commonwealth or Ireland—has just been announced. Seven different countries are represented on the diverse list, which features debut authors (NoViolet Bulawayo, Eve Harris and Donal Ryan) right alongside those who have long- and well-established careers, including two previously shortlisted authors, Jim Crace and Colm Tóibín. Here's the list:
Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw (read our author interview)
We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo (read our review)
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (U.S. release October 15)
Harvest by Jim Crace (read our review)
The Marrying of Chani Kaufman by Eve Harris (U.S. release September 19)
The Kills by Richard House
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (U.S. release September 24)
Unexploded by Alison MacLeod (U.S. release September 5)
TransAtlantic by Colum McCann (read our review)
Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson (U.S. release August 15)
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (read our author interview)
The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan (U.S. release March 4, 2014)
The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín
The final decision will be announced on October 15, 2013. Which author do you think will be the 2013 winner? With a several of the titles still to be released, which ones are you looking forward to reading?
Though they may have been a bit overshadowed in the U.S. by yesterday's Pulitzer announcement, this week has also brought two important literary news items from the UK.
First, the shortlist for the prize formerly known as the Orange Prize and now known simply as the Women's Prize for Fiction. It's an incredible list—Hilary Mantel seems to be up against her toughest competition yet. Will she sweep all three of the U.K.'s major awards?
Speaking of Zadie Smith, she also figures in the second item of literary news from the U.K: She's one of the 2013 "20 under 40" list from Granta magazine. Created every 10 years, the list honors the most promising 20 British writers under the age of 40. It's Smith's second time on the list, which for the first time contains a majority of female authors—12/20. It's also the most international list yet.
Click on the author's name to see their author page on BookPage.com.
The winners of the 2013 Pulitzer Prizes for excellence in journalism and the arts were announced today. The top prize in fiction went to The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson, which was one of our Top Books of 2012. Read our interview with Johnson about the book here, as well as a behind-the-scenes blog post about the interview.
The other winners include:
GENERAL NONFICTION—Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America by Gilbert King
HISTORY—Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam by Fredrik Logevall
BIOGRAPHY—The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss
DRAMA—Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar
POETRY—Stag's Leap by Sharon Olds
MUSIC—Partita for 8 Voices by Caroline Shaw
What do you think of the winners? Are there any that you're inspired to read now that they've won?