American author A.M. Homes has won the 2013 Women’s Prize for Fiction with her sixth novel May We Be Forgiven (Granta).
2013 marks the eighteenth year of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, known from 1996 to 2012 as the Orange Prize for Fiction, which celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world.
At an awards ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London – hosted by Chair of the Women’s Prize for Fiction board, Kate Mosse – the 2013 Chair of Judges, Miranda Richardson, presented the author with the £30,000 prize and the ‘Bessie’, a limited edition bronze figurine. Both are anonymously endowed.
Miranda Richardson, Chair of Judges, said: “Our 2013 shortlist was exceptionally strong and our judges’ meeting was long and passionately argued, but in the end we agreed that May we be Forgiven is a dazzling, original, viscerally funny black comedy – a subversion of the American dream. This is a book we want to read again and give to our friends.”
Hot Key Books has acquired world rights in a YA psychological thriller by James Dawson, whose debut novel was published last year.
Editor-at-large Emma Matthewson bought Say Her Name and one other title from Jo Williamson at Antony Harwood.
Dawson’s Hollow Pike was published last year, and his first non-fiction book Being a Boy, a guide to puberty for boys, is publishing in September 2013 by Hot Key Books’ sister imprint Red Lemon Press.
Say Her Name will be published in May 2014.
Not my paper of choice, but Martin Chilton, Culture Editor for the Telegraph Online, writes some good pieces and his coverage yesterday of Malorie Blackman’s appointment as Children’s Laureate was a good example.
When we spoke at the Telegraph Hay Festival last week, she joked that she remembers when the cry “there’s a black person on the telly” would have had her family running down the stairs to check out this rare phenomenon. “There were so few black role models on TV. That’s why I loathe Gone With The Wind. In the 1970s TV shows black people were often just slaves or criminals.”
One exception was Nichelle Nichol, who played Lieutenant Uhura aboard the USS Enterprise in Star Trek. Blackman relates, with great respect, the story of how Nichol was treated badly and wanted to leave the series but was persuaded to stay so she could continue presenting a strong image of a black officer. The man who persuaded her was Martin Luther King. Blackman, incidentally, has remained a Star Trek fanatic (she has a replica uniform and raves about Benedict Cumberbatch in the new film).
As well as being extremely well-read – 15,000 books are crammed throughout her home – she has a popular touch and exudes a natural empathy with children and teenagers. This sense of knowing how difficult life can be for teenagers is also what makes her such an interesting choice for Laureate.
She has no time for the “demonisation” of young people and describes the lack of youth facilities and poor employment prospects for many teenagers as “scandalous”. Blackman will not be a quiet Laureate.
2013 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards for Excellence in Children’s Literature
These were announced at the end of last week. Apologies for missing them at the time. Here is video of the presentation, with Roger Sutton of the Horn Book and novelist Rebecca Stead.
PICTURE BOOK AWARD WINNER:
Building Our House written and illustrated by Jonathan Bean (Farrar Straus and Giroux, an imprint of Macmillan)
Drawing on childhood memories from his own family’s house construction, Bean creates an engaging story as well as a glimpse into a warm family setting. A little girl narrates, and her childlike voice provides an immediacy that removes any hint of nostalgia. She relates her contributions not as they are but as she perceives them in all their exaggerated glory; illustrations tell a different tale.
FICTION AWARD WINNER:
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (St. Martin’s Griffin, an imprint of Macmillan)
It’s the start of a new school year in 1986 Omaha when sophomores Eleanor and Park meet for the first time on the bus. They are an unusual pair: she’s the new girl in town, an ostracized, bullied “big girl” with bright red curly hair, freckles, and an odd wardrobe; he’s a skinny half-Korean townie who mostly wears black and tries to stay out of the spotlight. But as they sit together on the school bus every day, an intimacy gradually develops between them.
Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin written and illustrated by Robert Byrd (Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Group)
With a jacket showing Benjamin Franklin as a cross between a mad scientist and a superhero standing amid wild lightning bolts and surrounded by all manner of electrical devices, this book shimmers with excitement, begging to be read. Byrd divides Franklin’s life into seventeen often whimsically labeled double-page spreads, highlighting his scientific, literary, and political endeavors in a fresh new way.
A specially commissioned animation to celebrate the choice of Malorie Blackman as the new Children’s Laureate 2103-15
The 51-year-old author of the Noughts & Crosses teenage book series vowed to use her two-year tenure to “bang the drum” for diversity, saying it was vital for young people to learn about different cultures.
“Children will go with any story as long as its good but white adults sometimes think that if a black child’s on the cover it is perhaps not for them,” she said.
“Books teach children to see the world through the eyes of others and empathise with others. It’s about the story.”
Blackman, a London-born author whose parents came to Britain from Barbados, said there was a distinct lack of black and Asian children in picture books.
She said that when she was younger, she never once read a book that featured a black child, which left her feeling “totally invisible”.
Malorie Blackman, author of the bestselling Noughts and Crosses series, hopes her appointment as the first black Children’s Laureate will help encourage children from a diverse background to read more.
Ms Blackman, who replaces outgoing laureate Julia Donaldson, was presented with the medal and a £15,000 bursary cheque in King’s Place in London today. She told The Independent: “I feel really excited and just a tad daunted. I can’t wait to get cracking.”
The prolific author of child and teenage fiction will use the platform to call on infant and primary school teachers to spend at least 10 minutes every day on storytelling.
“I’d like to ensure every child of a primary school age has a library card. Where the parents haven’t got one for their child, the schools will step in and make sure they have one,” she added.
Author Malorie Blackman is announced as the new children’s laureate, taking over from Julia Donaldson for the next two years. Three competition winners ask her questions submitted to the Guardian’s children’s books site, including what she intends to do as laureate; how to encourage reading; how to avoid writers’ block; and her recipe for a brilliant book
Go to the link to watch the 8-minute video.
And, Hooray for Malorie!
The UK’s outgoing Children’s Laureate:
BRITAIN’S failure to value children’s literature may be an indication that Britons do not value their children, according to Julia Donaldson, the outgoing children’s laureate.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, Donaldson, whose best-known book The Gruffalo has sold millions of copies worldwide, said: “Children’s literature deserves the same respect as adult literature.
“I do feel very strongly in this country that not much store is set by children’s books by the media.
“Is it because we don’t value children? Yes, that does seem likely. In other countries it’s a very different story.”
Although children’s books account for nearly a quarter of all book sales in Britain, Donaldson, whose term of office ends on Tuesday, said less than a fiftieth of review space in printed newspapers was dedicated to them.