I am one American writer who was disappointed when the Booker Prize decided to include works originally published in the U.S.A. I understand that this was a preemptive move to ensure that the Booker Prize, besides paying the most money of any major English-language prize, would hold onto its preeminence. In my humble opinion, the prize always would have been preeminent due to the fact that the ceremony itself is televised and that a large percentage of the population in the UK actually watches the winner being announced. This could never happen in the U.S. There isn’t enough interest in such things, and even if there were, a televised literary ceremony would probably be preempted by some sporting event that would certainly draw down any potential audience. Don’t get me wrong, Europeans watch sports as much as or more than we do; however, educated Europeans seem to have more time to devote to cultural awards or to the celebration of culture, itself. In France, for example, a literary television show called Apostrophe was hugely popular until it went off the air, and any American published in French and whose French was good enough to be on the show, saw book sales spike in Oprah-like fashion. Ask Paul Auster. [Read more…]
Delphinium Books Blog
Ernest Hemingway won the Nobel Prize in 1954. Unfortunately, he was unable to attend the award ceremony because he was recuperating from injuries sustained as a result of an airplane accident. This, in and of itself, is Hemingwayesque, and the irony was certainly not lost on the U.S. Ambassador who read the acceptance speech that the prize-winning author prepared.
What follows is the most oft quoted part of the acceptance speech.
Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer’s loneliness but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day. [Read more…]
Guest blog by Richard Rashke, author of Escape from Sobibor and Useful Enemies.
IN MEMORIAM Esther Terner Raab By Richard Rashke
I met Esther Raab for the first time in 1981 during an International Liberators Conference sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Medal-chested soldiers from fourteen countries had gathered in Washington, D.C., my hometown, for the special two-day remembrance. But I didn’t attend the conference to learn how they had liberated Nazi camps across Europe and what horrors they had seen. [Read more…]
Bottoming Out Memoirs
I am not done weighing in about memoirs. While hiking on a neighbor’s land, it came to me that to create emotional resonance in a reader is a lot harder for a fiction-writer. Why?
In my spare time, when I am not reading manuscripts, I am reading a wonderful memoir called H is for Hawk by the English writer Helen Macdonald. The book distinguishes itself from most memoirs of grief because it focuses on an activity — falconry — and relies on this fascinating pastime to give the reader a profound understanding of the author’s loss of her beloved father. [Read more…]
I am rooting for the female novelists. If most of the die-hard novel readers are women, then surely women writers should always be occupying the top tier of the fiction best seller lists. They should be able to wrestle the #1 and #2 spots away from the likes of John Grisham and James Patterson. [Read more…]