Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pulitzers and Oranges

I'm guessing most of you have heard by now that the Pulitzers were announced yesterday. The list interests me for two reasons. One, two prize-winners wrote for Seattle-based journals (Michael J. Berens and Ken Armstrong of The Seattle Times, and Seattle Times, and Eli Sanders of The Stranger). Two, the board declined to choose a winner for Fiction.

When I first heard about the fiction award, or lack of it, I assumed the jury had deadlocked. Apparently that's not the case. (Read more about it here, from the BBC--whose report is a model of clarity.) I imagine lit world will be humming with speculation for a while. For the record: I have no clue what the issue/s might be.

Then this morning the Orange Prize jury announced its shortlist:

  • Esi Edugyan, Half Blood Blues (Serpent’s Tail) Canadian, 2nd Novel
  • Anne Enright, The Forgotten Waltz (Jonathan Cape) Irish, 5th Novel
  • Georgina Harding, Painter of Silence (Bloomsbury) British, 3rd Novel
  • Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles (Bloomsbury) American, 1st Novel
  • Cynthia Ozick, Foreign Bodies (Atlantic Books) American, 7th Novel
  • Ann Patchett, State of Wonder (Bloomsbury) American, 6th Novel
Bloomsbury did well--and North America. For a discussion of the books, see The Guardian.)

I don't know Georgina Harding, so I'm happy I have another author to add to my Try List. Sadly, most authors never make it from Try to Buy. I've started two of the short-listed novels and put them both down, unimpressed by the writing. But, hey, it's good to keep trying.

How about you? How many of these books have you read? Do they excite you? If these don't excite you, what have you read lately that does?

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