OK, so the National Book Award folks (the National Book Foundation) have short-listed the finalists. Here’s a link from my favorite GalleyCat to give you a free sampling of the titles. And of course, there’s controversy, I love controversy over a subject that very few people know about or ever give a second thought.
First, Laura Miller at Salon.com calls the entire list irrelevant. Go Laura! Here’s a good quote from the piece, “Although the judges for the NBAs change every year, the sense that the fiction jury is locked in a frustrating impasse with the press and the public is eternal.” And for the sports fans reading this blog, no we don’t mean the National Basketball Association. It seems to be the National Book Award folks aren’t interested in anything popular. So if it’s smart and literary and has a large group of reader fans then it looks like you can just forget the big prize.
Said very well by Ms. Miller, “If you categorically rule out books that a lot of people like, you shouldn’t be surprised when a lot of people don’t like the books you end up with.” Why is the literary community and the reading public so different? Don’t authors want to have readers? and does it say something negative about a book when a lot of people enjoy it.
Controversy, number two. If having a list of titles that people aren’t exactly cheering about isn’t bad enough, they announced the wrong young adult writer as a finalist! Graciously Lauren Myracle and her book Shine, took her name off the list after being mistaken for Franny Billingsley‘s Chime.
NBF is blaming it on a communication problem. Judges say Chime and it sounds like Shine. What? No doubt they handled it badly, first putting her on by mistake, then saying she can stay and then taking her off for good.
What do you think about this NBA debacle?
Sharing this email from Nimrod International Journal (Tulsa)
Greetings from Nimrod International Journal! This is a reminder that there’s still time to sign up for Nimrod’s Conference for Readers and Writers, this year on October 22nd at the University of Tulsa in Tulsa, Oklahoma. If you haven’t signed up already, we hope that you will!
This year’s workshop will feature sessions on fiction, poetry, YA fantasy, memoir, finding a literary agent, and starting a school literary journal, as well as panel discussions and readings. You can also sign up to have a one-on-one editing workshop with a member of the Nimrod board of editors. Key guests include National Book Award finalists and novelists Amy Bloom and Ron Hansen, celebrated poets Linda Pastan, Nikky Finney, and Cheryl Pallant, YA fantasy writer Patricia C. Wrede, memoirist, poet and fiction writer Jennifer Clement, and over thirty others.
The cost is $50.00, but scholarships are available. To register to receive a scholarship, please send in your completed registration form, 2-3 sample pages of your writing, a note requesting a scholarship, and $10 for lunch, which includes a reading by David Amy Bloom and Linda Pastan.
If you have any questions, or for registration forms, please contact nimrod at utulsa.edu. You can also visit our website for a printable registration form at www.utulsa.edu/nimrod
We also hope that you’ll join us for a special pre-workshop event on Tuesday, October 11th. In honor of Ron Hansen’s appearance at the conference, we’ll be showing The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford at Gilcrease museum at 6 p.m. A panel discussion on “The Timely Romance of the American West” will precede the screening. The entire event is free and open to the public.
I hope to see you in October!
Nimrod’s Managing Editor
I have always heard good things about this workshop, so you wannabe writers, and literary readers, get going and sign up. I go to writers panels and workshops, even though I’ll probably never write anything, just to hear authors discuss their craft. It’s great fun, you find out all kinds of information about those folks you read, and it leads to new folks to read. Nice way to dip your toes in the writing pool without leaving Oklahoma.
As we celebrate game day tomorrow, take a look around at the history of Oklahoma sports. First, make a quick stop at the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture’s entry on Sports. My favorite story about Oklahoma sports is our rejection of Steinbeck’s Okie portrayal in Grapes of Wrath resulting in the great OU football programs.
The Great Depression, along with the out-migration of many Oklahomans to California, an episode brought to national attention by John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath, created an image that many Oklahomans felt was undeserved. In 1945 the University of Oklahoma’s board of regents discussed the state’s morale and felt hiring a good football coach and enticing returning World War II soldiers could instill a sense of pride in the state.
Recent quote from CBS news:
Growing up Okie, I know my grandmother was none too pleased with Steinbeck or the name Okie for many years. She finally accepted Okie but never Mr. Steinbeck.
But it’s fall so we’re back to football, and so that Okie Reads remains impartial (but not in her real life) I need to highlight Pat Jones’ Tales from Oklahoma State football, written with Tulsa World sports editor, Jimmie Tramel. Who doesn’t love Barry Sanders?
And our sports legend that remains non-bedlam, would be Jim Thorpe. We’re very fortunate to have Kate Buford’s Native American Son: the Life and Sporting Legend of Jim Thorpe.
Hope these examples take you away from the television for a few minutes, lots of great books on Oklahoma sports greats, and the game (whichever game that would be).
Today, however, it’s Football, Football, Football.
Dian Curtis Regan’s latest childrens book is The Snow Blew Inn.
This is a great little story about the value of generosity and inclusion. It’s a cold winter night and folks are flocking to the Snow Blew Inn, so many folks that it becomes full, full, full. Little kittie Emma is waiting and watching for her cousin Abby to get there for a sleepover. Can she make room for one more guest? It’s a lesson for us all, and would be particularly nice for a Christmas gift for a young one. Either as a read-aloud or for 6-8 year olds to enjoy on their own.
Doug Cushman does a great job with the illustrations, cute, cute.
If you want to know about Dian’s other book, Cam’s Quest for the young adult crowd, check out this interview with B.J. Williams. And more interesting information about the author from Author Turf