CATching up

Man Booker Prize 2012

"Bring up the Bodies" by Hilary Mantell, who also won the Man Booker for "Wolf Hall" in 2009, the first of the trilogy on the life of Thomas Cromwell.  Might she win yet again with the part 3?

The Man Asia Literary Prize longlist contains two of this year's Man Booker shortlist, "Narcopolis" by Jeet Thayil and "Garden of Evening Mists" by Tan Twan Eng.  The winner will be announced in Hong
Kong in March 2013

Samuel Johnson Prize 2012 (non-fiction)

"Into the Silence" by Wade Davis, a Canadian anthropologist and ethnobotanist who is the Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society

Nobel Prize for Literature 2012

Mo Yan (a pseudonym for "don't speak, real name is Guan Moye)  left school at 12 and worked in the fields, finding literary success in 1987 with "Red Sorghum" which describes the horrors that unfold when Japan invades China in the 1930s. This is the first Nobel Prize for Literature awarded to a Chinese author since 1901.

Orange Prize 2012

"Song of Achilles" by Madeline Miller

Boeke Prize 2012

Awarded to "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn and "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry" by Rachel Joyce

Alan Paton Prize 2012

Fiction : "Lost Ground" by Michiel Heyns, who had shared this prize with Marlene van Niekerk in 2007 for the translation of Agaat

Non-fiction : "Stones Against the Mirror" by Hugh Lewin

Pulitzer Prize for Literature 2012 : no award was made for fiction

Literary Award Bad Sex Prize! (yes, believe it)

This has been given to Nancy Huston for her book "Infrared".  E L James wasn't even considered as the rules exclude any "pornographic or intentionally erotic literature".

J K Rowling was also excluded as her writing isn't nearly bad enough!

The awards ceremony is held at the rather posh Naval and Military Club in St James, London which is better known as 'The In and Out Club'....I'm saying nothing.

Some of the authors who died in 2012 :

Bryce Courtenay died two weeks after his latest book "Jack of Diamonds" hit the shelves.  He sold more than 20 million copies and was probably best known for his first book "Power of One". He only started writing in the late '80s after 30 years in advertising.  His son, Damon, who had contracted HIV through blood products in the late '80s, asked his father to write his story, which resulted in"April Fool's Day".

Maeve Binchy's last book "Week in Winter" has just been published posthumously. She has sold more than 40 million copies and had her books translated into 37 languages.  Two of her books were made into films, "Circle of Friends" (1995, Minnie Driver and Chris O'Donnell), and "Tara Road".

Stephen Covey  "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" sold more than 20 million copies and was rated as one of the most influential management books by such organisations as Forbes and Time who also labelled him as one of 25 most influential Americans in the mid '90s.

Ray Bradbury  Widely acknowledged as the master of science fiction, his name sits alongside those of Isaac Asimov and Arthur C Clarke.  He attributed his success as a writer to not attending college and simply devoured material by H G Wells, Jules Verne,Thomas Wolfe and Ernest Hemingway  He went as far as to write an essay entitled "How instead of being educated at college, I was graduated from Libraries".

Zig Ziglar wrote more than 30 books on living a balanced life and was best known as a motivational guru who promoted the 3 step process :
1. the "will" to change their lives
2) the "skill" to accomplish that change
3) "refill" ie keeping topped up with motivational material

Christopher Hitchens was a journalist and atheist intellectual, described as engaging and enraging.  In 2007 he wrote "God is not great, how religions poison everything".  He wrote biographies on Thomas Jefferson and George Orwell and contributed to many publications such as Vanity Fair and Harper's.
After the 9/11 terrorist attack his polarizing views were described as "the first ever metamorphosis from a butterfly back into a slug".

Gore Vidal was an intellectual, playwright and author of"Myra Breckenridge", "The Death of Billy the Kid" and "Lincoln".  He was a contemporary of Norman Mailer and Trueman Capote, the last of that generation of celebrity authors.  Rather than having power he challenged, he was outspoken, he offended anyone whenever he could.
He and Jacqueline Kennedy shared a stepfather, Hugh Auchincloss, but he fell out with Robert Kennedy after a few too many drinks at a White House Party in the '60s.  He said the happiest words in the English language were "I told you so".

Robert Hughes, an Australian art critic and author of "The Fatal Shore" about the life of convicts during the early days of settlement in Australia.

Nina Bawden, a children's author, is best known for "Carrie's War" which was about 2 siblings evacuated to Wales during WW2.  Her adult title "Circles of Deceit" was shortlisted for the Booker in 1987.

Christopher Davis one of the founders of Dorling Kindersley was in publishing for more than 40 years.  The quality of the DK brand is hard to match with its "Eyewitness" guides covering much of the world, and the illustrated reference guides on such subjects as fashion, crafts and history which are works of art.  If I were being castaway on a desert island, I would take the "History" book with me.

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