On the Books: Eleanor Catton wins top Canadian prize; Italy launches reality show for writers

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Image Credit: David Levenson/Getty Images

For today’s book news: Eleanor Catton continues to dominate, Michael Crichton’s non-dino-related work gets a cover makeover, and Italian television producers answer the question, “Can you force a writer to produce a magnum opus in front of a live audience?” with a resounding “Yes.” Read on for more top headlines:

Eleanor Catton continues to rack up awards, winning Canada’s top book prize, the Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction, for The Luminaries, which earlier won the U.K.’s Man Booker Prize. [CBC News]

Italy has launched a new reality show for writers called Masterpiece, in which authors must compete to win a book deal by participating in timed writing challenges. [The New York Times]

Michael Crichton’s John Lange novels are being reissued. The Jurassic Park writer’s early works were originally published between 1966 and 1972, and with the series’ reprinting, have received a pulpy makeover with its cover art. [USA Today]

Writer William T. Vollmann, the National Book Award winner known for giving his all to pursue stories (he once survived a land mine explosion in Bosnia and almost died while exploring the North Pole) has revealed he’s a cross-dresser with a female alter ego named Dolores. Vollmann has collected photographs and paintings of himself as Dolores in a new book, The Book of Dolores, and spoke to The New York Times about her origin story. [The New York Times]

Indie bookstores will features authors “guest-bookselling” — helping you choose among the stacks instead of doing guest reads or book signings — on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 30. IndieBound has a map of participating locations. [IndieBound]

Book Country, Penguin’s online writing community and self-publishing platform, has debuted a page on Kickstarter to help crowdfund projects. [Publishers Weekly]

Gallery of the day: 12 vintage advertisements starring famous authors. Seriously — check out Robert Ludlum gripping a glass of Guinness with the tagline, “Robert Ludlum has a deep dark secret.” [Flavorwire]

And for your must-reads: The Atlantic has an excerpt from comedian Rob Delaney’s new book. [The Atlantic]

Here’s a profile of Latin American novelist Daniel Alarcón, who straddles the line between American and Peruvian culture, writing form a dual vantage point. “I think I’m an American writer writing about Latin America, and I’m a Latin American writer who happens to write in English,” he said. [The New York Times]

Over at The New Yorker, Ben Tarnoff explores the life of Mark Twain and the “monster” of his memoir, Autobiography of Mark Twain, which included three volumes and about 200 pages of endnotes, an introduction, and more. [The New Yorker]

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