Eclectic Closet Litblog, Book Reviews & Knitting Designs

A litblog dedicated to book reviews/recommendations, as well as literary and publishing news. Now enhanced with knitting designs.

Nam Le wins 2008 Dylan Thomas Prize


Nam Le has won this year’s £60,000 Dylan Thomas Prize. It recognizes the best young writer in the English-speaking world with the goal of ensuring that the inspirational nature of Dylan’s writing lives on.

I reviewed Nam Le’s The Boat in August and as I said then,

The strongest story in my opinion is “Tehran Calling.” In a few short pages, Le produces many fully realized characters that all have incredibly distinct voices. The sense of menace experienced by Sarah during her visit to Tehran leaks from the page and affects the reader’s mood and pace of reading. I became jumpy while reading and the feeling of unease remained even when I returned to the story a second reading. The characters are sympathetic yet repulsive at the same time, a difficult feat for any writer and astonishing in one as young as Le.

2007 Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction – Short List Announced


Another in the “better late than never camp”…

From the Press Release:
The Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction, the UK’s only annual book award for fiction written by a woman, announced the 2007 shortlist on April 17.

* Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
* Arlington Park by Rachel Cusk
* The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
* A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Xiaolu Guo
* The Observations by Jane Harris
* Digging to America by Anne Tyler

This year’s shortlist honours both new and well-established writers and reflects the international reach of the prize with authors from Nigeria, China, India and America represented. Two of the authors have previously been shortlisted for the Orange Prize. They are Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2004) and Anne Tyler (1996).

– via Reading Matters

2007 Man Booker International Prize – Judges List Announced


I’m late to the party on this announcement; however, better late than never!

From the press release:
15 authors have made it on to the Judges’ List of Contenders for the second Man Booker International Prize. The writers come from 10 countries and four are writers in translation.

The Judges’ List was announced by the chair of judges, Professor Elaine Showalter, at a press conference held at Massey College, Toronto today (Thursday 12 April).

The 15 authors on the list are:
Chinua Achebe
Margaret Atwood
John Banville
Peter Carey
Don DeLillo
Carlos Fuentes
Doris Lessing
Ian McEwan
Harry Mulisch
Alice Munro
Michael Ondaatje
Amos Oz
Philip Roth
Salman Rushdie
Michel Tournier

The judging panel for the 2007 Man Booker International Prize is: Professor Elaine Showalter, academic and author; Nadine Gordimer, writer and novelist; and writer and academic, Colm Tóibin.

The Man Booker International Prize was announced in June 2004 and recognises one writer for his or her achievement in fiction. Worth £60,000 to the winner, the prize is awarded once every two years to a living author who has published fiction either originally in English or whose work is generally available in translation in the English language.

Ismail Kadaré was winner of the inaugural Man Booker International Prize in 2005. He received the award at a ceremony held at the National Museums of Scotland in Edinburgh. His work went on to gain well-deserved recognition around the world.

The prize is sponsored by Man Group plc, which also sponsors The Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

The Man Booker International Prize differs from the annual Man Booker Prize for Fiction in that it highlights one writer’s continued creativity, development and overall contribution to fiction on the world stage. Both prizes strive to recognise and reward the finest fiction.

– also via Reading Matters

2007 Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction Longlist Announced


The longlist for the 2007 Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction has been announced, with 20 books on the list. (None of which I’ve read, although I have two in my possession.)

* Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

* Poppy Shakespeare by Clare Allan

* Arlington Park by Rachel Cusk

* The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai

* Peripheral Vision by Patricia Ferguson

* Over by Margaret Forster

* The Dissident by Nell Freudenberger

* When to Walk by Rebecca Gowers

* A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Xiaolu Guo

* The Observations by Jane Harris

* Carry Me Down by MJ Hyland

* The Girls by Lori Lansens

* Alligator by Lisa Moore

* What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn

* The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney

* Careless by Deborah Robertson

* Afterwards by Rachel Seiffert

* Ten Days in the Hills by Jane Smiley

* Digging to America by Anne Tyler

* The Housekeeper by Melanie Wallace

The shortlist will be announced on April 17 and the winner named on June 6.

“This year’s longlist honours both new and well-established writers, featuring eight first novels alongside Margaret Forster who is longlisted for her 23rd novel and Anne Tyler who is listed for her 16th novel. Three authors appearing on this year’s list have previously been shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, whilst a further three authors have also been longlisted.

There are nine British authors on the list, four Americans, two Australians and two Canadians. The other three are from China, India and Nigeria.”

So many good books that I haven’t read.

(courtesy of Reading Matters)

And the winner of the Giller Prize is…


Toronto-based author Vincent Lam has won the Giller Prize, Canada’s richest and most prestigious literary award, for his book of linked short stories, Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures.

The $40,000 Giller Prize was handed out at a gala hosted by Justin Trudeau in Toronto Tuesday evening.

Vincent Lam, author of Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, says he wanted to be a writer but went into medicine so he would have some life experience. Lam, 32, who is an emergency room physician as well as a writer, said he was “astonished” by the win.

“Luck is not what it seems and most of it falls into the category of divine blessing or people who have been kind to you,” he said in an acceptance speech that honoured his publisher and writer Margaret Atwood.

Atwood has been a mentor and advocate for Lam and introduced his book during the ceremony.

Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures is about medical students and young doctors, a world Lam was immersed in when he started writing the book, a year after finishing his residency.

Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures is his first book of fiction. His debut novel is due out in 2007.

2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize – Shortlist Announced


The Scotiabank Giller Prize awards $40,000 annually to the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English and $2,500 to each of the finalists. The Scotiabank Giller Prize is named in honour of the late literary journalist Doris Giller and was founded in 1994 by her husband Toronto businessman Jack Rabinovitch.

The winner will be announced on November 7, 2006.

2006 Shortlist
* DeNiro’s Game by Rawi Hage (House of Anansi Press)

* Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam (Doubleday Canada)

* The Perfect Circle by Pascale Quiviger (Cormorant Books)

* The Immaculate Conception by Gaétan Soucy (House of Anansi Press)

* Home Schooling by Carol Windley (Cormorant Books)

It is interesting to note that Rawi Hage has been nominated for both the Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award this year.


2006 Governor General’s Awards for Fiction


From the Press Release:
Ottawa, October 16, 2006 — The Canada Council for the Arts announced today the names of the finalists for the 2006 Governor General’s Literary Awards, in English and in French, in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, children’s literature (text and illustration) and translation.

A total of 68 books have been nominated for this year’s awards; 36 of the shortlisted writers, translators and illustrators are finalists for the first time.

The Canada Council for the Arts funds, administers and promotes the Governor General’s Literary Awards, worth $15,000 each. The publisher of each winning book will receive $3,000 to support promotional activities. Non-winning finalists will each receive $1,000 in recognition of their selection as finalists, bringing the total value of the awards to more than $300,000.

The winners will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 10 a.m. at simultaneous news conferences in Toronto and Montreal.

Nominees for Fiction (English)

The Law of Dreams by Peter Behrens

The Fearsome Particles by Trevor Cole

Gargoyles by Bill Gaston

The Dodecahedron, or A Frame for Frames by Paul Glennon

DeNiro’s Game by Rawi Hage

I’ve only read one of this year’s nominees – The Dodecahedron – (an all-time low for me!) but it was fantastic. I reviewed this at the beginning of July and highly recommend it. Overall, it looks like a fantastic group of nominees – more titles to add to my must-read list.


Kiran Desai wins 2006 Man Booker Prize


From the press release:
Youngest ever woman wins Man Booker Prize at age of 35

Kiran Desai was tonight (Tuesday 10th October) named the winner of the £50,000 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for The Inheritance of Loss, published by Hamish Hamilton.

The Indian-born writer has a strong family tie with the prize as her mother Anita Desai has been shortlisted three times since 1980 but has never won. This year, however, her daughter, Kiran, has won the acclaimed literary prize.

Author of the 1998 universally praised Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard, Desai is the first woman to win the Man Booker since 2000 when Margaret Atwood scooped the prize with The Blind Assassin. Her winning book, The Inheritance of Loss, is a radiant, funny and moving family saga and has been described by reviewers as ‘the best, sweetest, most delightful novel’.

The Man Booker Prize Shortlist Announced


It’s prize season and announcements are coming fast. Yesterday the Man Booker Prize Shortlist was announced. The six shortlisted books were chosen from a longlist of 19 and are:

Kiran Desai – The Inheritance of Loss (Hamish Hamilton)

Kate Grenville – The Secret River (Canongate)

M.J. Hyland – Carry Me Down (Canongate)

Hisham Matar – In the Country of Men (Viking)

Edward St Aubyn – Mother’s Milk (Picador)

Sarah Waters – The Night Watch (Virago)

From the press release:

Hermione Lee, Chair of Judges, comments:
“Each of these novels has what we as judges were most looking for, a distinctive original voice, an audacious imagination that takes readers to undiscovered countries of the mind, a strong power of story-telling and a historical truthfulness. Each of these novels creates a world you inhabit without question or distrust while you are reading, and a mood, an atmosphere, which lasts long after the reading is over.”

The winner will be announced on Tuesday 10th October at an awards ceremony at the Guildhall, London.

This isn’t the shortlist I would have picked however, all sound like fascinating reads. I’m still planning to read a few of the longlist titles, and The Secret River by Kate Grenville, prior to the announcement of the winner (Testament of Gideon Mack by James Robertson; Get a Life by Nadine Gordimer; and Theft by Peter Carey).

What title are you most disappointed to find was left off the shortlist?

The Scotiabank Giller Prize Longlist


The Giller Prize is dedicated to celebrating the best in Canadian fiction each year, and to enhancing marketing efforts in bringing these books to the attention of all Canadians. The award recognized excellence in Canadian fiction – long format or short stories – and endowed a cash prize annually of $25,000.00, the largest purse for literature in the country.

The 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist was announced on Monday, September 11:

* The Friends of Meager Fortune by David Adams Richards (Doubleday Canada)
* Pleased to Meet You by Caroline Adderson (Thomas Allen Publishers)
* The Garneau Block by Todd Babiak (McClelland & Stewart)
* Governor of the Northern Province by Randy Boyagoda (Penguin Canada)
* jPod by Douglas Coupland (Random House Canada)
* The Famished Lover by Alan Cumyn (Goose Lane Editions)
* DeNiro’s Game by Rawi Hage (House of Anansi Press)
* Inside by Kenneth J Harvey (Random House Canada)
* The Custodian of Paradise by Wayne Johnston (Knopf Canada)
* Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam (Doubleday Canada)
* Stolen by Annette Lapointe (Anvil Press)
* The Perfect Circle by Pascale Quiviger (Cormorant Books)
* The Immaculate Conception by Gaétan Soucy (House of Anansi Press)
* The Hour of Bad Decisions by Russell Wangersky (Coteau Books)
* Home Schooling by Carol Windley (Cormorant Books)

The shortlist for this year’s Scotiabank Giller Prize will be announced at a news conference on Tuesday, October 3 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto. The finalists will be honoured and a winner announced at a gala black tie dinner and awards ceremony to be held on November 7th.

The launch of The Giller Prize twelve years ago coincided with a growing recognition of Canadian authors and literature both at home and abroad. With such acclaimed writers as Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje and Mordecai Richler winning honours and accolades around the world, the popularity of Canadian literature has continued to flourish.


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