What’s New in the Book World?
The big news is the announcement of the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize. This year’s shortlist has generated more excitement than usual, due its diversity. For starters, all of the authors are of different nationalities, which is a first. Four of the nominees are women, demonstrating the growing respect for women’s contribution to literature. There is an ordained Buddhist monk, and a member of President Barack Obama’s committee on arts and the humanities.
- NoViolet Bulawayo, Zimbabwean, for her novel We Need New Names
- Jhumpa Lahiri, Indian-American, for her novel The Lowland
- Ruth Ozeki, Canadian, for her novel A Tale for the Time Being
- Eleanor Catton, New Zealander, for her novel The Luminaries
- Colm Toibin, Irish, for his novel The Testament of Mary
- Jim Grace, British, for his novel Harvest
According to the Huffington Post, Catton is the favourite to win, followed by Toibin.
Bulawayo is on another list of great authors: the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35, which shines the spotlight on emerging talent. It seems that 2013 is a good year for women, as all five authors on the list are women – another first.
5 Under 35
- NoViolet Bulawayo for We Need New Names
- Molly Antopol for The UnAmericans
- Amanda Coplin for The Orchardist
- Daisy Hildyard for Hunters in the Snow
- Merritt Tierce for Love Me Back
Online writers might want to pay attention InboundWriter’s new programme which scans the web to gauge the demand for a particular topic. It looks at things like number of views and traffic sources, for example, whether the views came from organic search or social media. It can even judge quality, if InboundWriter is to be believed.
Amazon’s Matchbook programme could also prove to be a great boon to self-published writers, although big publishing houses are wary of its potential financial impact. Matchbook allows publishers to give customers seriously discounted ebook versions to customers who buy certain books in print. There are different discount levels, going all the way down to free. According to Huffington Post’s Christiana Miller, it could give indie authors a financial lift, but it big publishing houses won’t see quite the same returns. That’s not to say that they will lose money, far from it; but their profits won’t be as big as they would probably like. However, anything that encourages reading has to be a good thing, right?
One of the most anticipated books of the year has to be Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep, the sort-of sequel to The Shining. Anything that Stephen King does gets major attention (and criticism), so it will be interesting to see how his follow up to one of his most iconic stories is received.
Keep your eyes open for Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland and NoViolet Bulawayo for We Need New Names, and, possibly Helen Fielding’s third (final?) foray into Bridget Jones territory with Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy.
Written by Sandy Cosser
Image credit: Yukiko Only, CC BY SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons