Yesterday the winner of the 2014
Orange Bailey's Prize for Women's Fiction was announced, and it was a bit of a dark horse: debut author Eimear McBride's modernist masterpiece, A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing.
The Irish author, who is 38, snagged the prize despite a highly competitive shortlist that included Jhumpa Lahiri, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Donna Tartt, as well as the acclaimed debut Burial Rites.
Published in the Commonwealth last year, A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing is a challenging stream-of-consciouness narrative, told from the perspective of a young girl, that proved a tough sell: McBride spent most of a decade shopping it around before finding a home with Norwich's Galley Beggar Press. But its vital, visceral voice—one UK reviewer called the book "an instant classic"—proved impossible for the judges to ignore.
In her announcement, judge chair Helen Fraser called the book, “An amazing and ambitious first novel that impressed the judges with its inventiveness and energy. This is an extraordinary new voice—this novel will move and astonish the reader.”
A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing will be published in the U.S. in September by Coffee House Press. Will you read it?
The 2014 Edgar Allan Poe Award winners—honoring the very best in mystery fiction, nonfiction and television published or produced in 2013—have been announced! The Edgars are awarded annually by the Mystery Writers of America. A few highlights:
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger (Simon & Schuster)
BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR
Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews (Scribner)
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood (Penguin)
BEST FACT CRIME
The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War by Daniel Stashower (Minotaur)
One Came Home by Amy Timberlake (Knopf)
Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher (Little, Brown)
MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD
Cover of Snow by Jenny Milchman (Ballantine)
View the full list of nominees and winners here.
Did your favorites win?
“A great sorrow, and one that I am only beginning to understand: we don’t get to choose our own hearts. We can’t make ourselves want what’s good for us or what’s good for other people. We don’t get to choose the people we are.”
Find the list of winners in all categories here.
Love is in the air . . . love of romance books, that is. This week, the Romance Writers of America (RWA) announced the finalists for the 2014 RITA and Golden Heart Awards. A big congratulations goes to our very own romance columnist, Christie Ridgway, whose Beach House No. 9 is up for a Best Contemporary Romance RITA! Check out our interview with Christie about the book.
Other RITA finalists include veterans Jill Shalvis (nominated twice, for It Had to Be You and Rumor Has It), Nora Roberts (for Whiskey Beach), Elizabeth Hoyt (for Duke of Midnight), along with relative newcomers Sarah MacLean (for No Good Duke Goes Unpunished) and Bella Andre (for The Way You Look Tonight).
The Golden Heart Awards recognize excellence in novels or novellas that have not yet been published, with finalists in eight categories chosen from more than 1,000 manuscript entries each year.
Check out the complete list of finalists here. Winners will be announced at a black-tie gala at the RWA annual conference in San Antonio on July 26. Which books are you rooting for?
Listen up! The Audio Publishers Association has announced the nominees for the 2014 Audie Awards across 29 categories. Two of our own here at BookPage—Julia Steele, our associate publisher, and Sukey Howard, contributing editor who writes our Audio column—will be serving as judges this year, and we certainly don't envy their having to select just one winner from all of the nominees, which include:
Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (read by Will Patton)
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (read by George Guidall)
The Good House by Ann Leary (read by Mary Beth Hurth)
The Imposter Bride by Nancy Richler (read by Tavia Gilbert)
Jacob's Oath by Martin Fletcher (read by Ari Fliakos)
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (read by Neil Gaiman)
Amy Falls Down by Jincy Willett (read by Amy McFadden)
The Curiosity by Stephen P. Kiernan (read by Kate Udall, George Guidall, Jason Culp, Erik Bergmann)
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (read by David Pittu)
The Son by Philipp Meyer (read by Will Patton, Scott Shepherd, Kate Mulgrew, Clifton Collins Jr.)
The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín (read by Meryl Streep)
White Dog Fell From the Sky by Eleanor Morse (read by Carla Mercer-Meyer)
Beyond Belief by Jenna Miscavige Hill (read by Sandy Rustin)
David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell (read by Malcolm Gladwell)
The End of Nature by Bill McKibben (read by Jeff Woodman)
The Telling Room by Michael Paterniti (read by L.J. Gasner)
Thank You for Your Service by David Finkel (read by Arthur Bishop)
C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race by Geoff Williams (read by Robertson Dean)
Devil in the Grove by Gilbert King (read by Peter Francis James)
Frozen in Time by Mitchell Zuckoff (read by Mitchell Zuckoff)
The Hour of Peril by Daniel Stashower (read by Edoardo Ballerini)
Nero's Killing Machine by Stephen Dando-Collins (read by Robert Fass)
One Summer by Bill Bryson (read by Bill Bryson)
See the full list of nominees here. Winners will be announced at a gala in New York City on May 29. Which books will you be rooting for?
We always look forward to the Newbery, Caldecott and Printz Awards, and this morning was filled with delight (and some surprise!) over this year's recipients.
We're perhaps most ecstatic that Kate DiCamillo won the 2014 Newbery Medal for Flora & Ulysses, the adventurous, hilarious story of a cynical, comic-loving girl who befriends a most unusual squirrel. (We were looking forward to this one several months before it came out; watch us chat with DiCamillo about seal blubber, poetry and giant donuts here.)
Mad props to our teen literature expert, Jill Ratzan, for predicting the Printz winner! She shared her prediction for Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick, saying, "Midwinterblood makes its readers work hard to uncover its secrets. That makes it a top Printz contender in my book." Seven intertwined narratives, full of blood and magic, unfold in reverse chronological order on a mysterious, remote island.
We are also tickled that Brian Floca won the Caldecott Medal for Locomotive, a gorgeous picture book about the beginnings of the transcontinental railroad in the United States.
Here's a (partial) list of the 2014 Youth Media Award winners. Find the full list here, and click the links below to read coverage in BookPage.
2014 CALDECOTT MEDAL
Locomotive by Brian Floca (Atheneum)
CALDECOTT HONOR BOOKS:
2014 NEWBERY MEDAL
Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick)
NEWBERY HONOR BOOKS:
2014 PRINTZ AWARD
Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick (Roaring Brook)
PRINTZ HONOR BOOKS:
MARGARET A. EDWARDS AWARD (lifetime achievement in writing for young adults)
Markus Zusak (The Book Thief)
So, what do you think, readers? We're definitely thrilled by some, surprised by others.
For even more recommendations for fantastic children's and teen books, see our list of the Best Children's Books for 2013.
• Publishers Weekly asked 20 children's books editors to share some behind-the-scenes stories about their experiences editing some true classics, including The Napping House and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.
• On Buzzfeed, a whole slew of authors offer up advice on how they combat writer's block and how they got their first books published.
• As you've likely heard by now, James McBride's National Book Award win for The Good Lord Bird was a surprise to many. Vulture published this dishy history of the ups and downs of the award's 64-year history.
The wait is almost over, book lovers! Tomorrow is the 2013 National Book Awards gala, during which one winning book will be named in each of four categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people's literature.
This evening, the finalists—instead of merely twiddling their thumbs in nervous anticipation of tomorrow—will be reading from their nominated books at an event to be held at the New School in New York City. If the idea of all of those stellar authors in one room sends you into a swoon, fret not. You can watch the whole thing as it's streamed live online! The readings begin at 7:00 pm (EST) right here.
To catch up on everything NBA—including interviews with the finalists—click on the image below. Which books are you rooting for?
• 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.