I love awards. In the ’90s I loved them so much that I read the winners of the Booker Prize, PEN/Faulkner Award, and Nobel Prize Award, and the finalists and winners of the National Book Award.
I still follow them with interest.
Recent prize winners:
1. Lydia Davis, an American short story writer, won the Man Booker International Prize. It is always exciting when an American writer wins an international prize, because the Nobel Prize committee has neglected Americans so long (especially Philip Roth). I haven’t read Davis’s fiction, but I loved her translation of Madame Bovary.
2. Benjamin Alire Saenz won the PEN/Faulkner Award for his collection of short stories, Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club.
3. Howard Jacobson won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for this novel Zoo Time, a satire of the publishing industry, one of my favorite books in 2012. Jacobson inveighs against book groups, three-for-twos, blogs, tweeting, and the death of reading.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
Ah, the literary world. They hate failure and despise success. They have contempt for authors whose books go unread and sheer hatred for authors whose books are read too much. Try to please the literary world and you will spend your life in a state of rage and bitterness. But Hollywood is simple, almost pure–if total venality is a form of purity. There nothing at all matters but making money.
I don’t know Hollywood, but it sounds real.