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Tag: George Saunders (1-3 of 3)

On the Books: Keith Richards wrote a children's book and Anne Rice's Lestat lives!

Keith Richards is publishing a children’s picture book, called Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar. Richards’ grandfather was in a jazz big band and was a childhood role model of the rocker’s. “I have just become a grandfather for the fifth time, so I know what I’m talking about,” says Richards in a press release. “The bond, the special bond, between kids and grandparents is unique and should be treasured. This is a story of one of those magical moments. May I be as great a grandfather as Gus was to me.” His daughter Theodora Richards will do the illustrations in pen and ink. The book will be released in hardcover and ebook on September 9, 2014, with the hardcover edition including an exclusive audio CD featuring bonus book content.

City Room’s Big City Book Club had a funny little Q&A with Gary Shteyngart on Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City. Shteyngart reminisces on the good old days when Manhattan was “a genuine mix of pathology and creativity.” Now the craziest thing that might happen to you is “a Citi Bike might run over your foot on the way to the Equinox and then you’ll tweet about it pretty hard.” True. [New York Times]

That Amtrak writers residency is now a real thing. They’re accepting application on their website and 24 “winners” will receive round-trip tickets to a mystery location that Amtrak chooses based on availability. So get ready for a romantic ride to Bakersfield, CA.

George Saunders is going to have to install a second mantle in his house to hold all his trophies. He has now won his second award in as many weeks. First it was the Story Prize and now it’s the inaugural Folio Prize from the UK, which comes with a $67,000 reward. Slow clap for the Tenth of December. [New York Times]

LESTAT LIVES! Anne Rice is publishing a new Lestat novel, Prince Lestat, which will be out in October (go figure.) The book will be a sequel to her Vampire Chronicles and the start of a new series. [Guardian]

I had to read all the Vampire Chronicles over again and I had to kind of … I don’t want to be irritating or pretentious talking about a character as if he’s a real human being, but I really had to wrestle Lestat to the ground, and beat him up, and say ‘look, you’ve got to talk to me, I’ve got to know what you’ve been doing’. Because I can’t really write novels about that character unless he wants to come through, and it really is like he’s a living breathing being somewhere, and suddenly he did, he came through, and he started to talk and I was taking the dictation, and everything went splendidly well and it was very exciting.

On The Books: George Saunders wins Story Prize for 'Tenth of December'

This has been a good awards week for Texans. First Matthew McConaughey snagged the Best Actor Oscar and now Amarillo-native George Saunders has won the $20,000 Story Prize for his short-story collection Tenth of December. “George Saunders offers a vision and version of our world that takes into account the serious menace all around us without denying the absurd pleasures that punctuate life,” the judges said in a statement. The collection has been widely praised since its release in January of last year. The New York Times declared Tenth of December “the best book you’ll read this year.” Saunders was even listed as one of Time’s 100 most influential people in 2013.  When he’s not writing, Saunders teaches creative writing at Syracuse University. You can read the title story on The New Yorker website here.

The year’s PEN/Faulker finalists for best fiction writing in 2013 are Daniel Alarcón for At Night We Walk in Circles; Percival Everett for Percival Everett by Virgil Russell; Karen Joy Fowler for We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves; Joan Silber for Fools; and Valerie Trueblood for Search Party: Stories of Rescue. The West Coast must have really brought the heat to fiction writing this year: of the five nominees, three are from California and one is from Seattle. The winner of the $15,000 prize will be announced on April 2nd and the awards ceremony will be held at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC on May 10th.

The double Booker Prize-winner Hilary Mantel told The Telegraph that the stage adaptations of her bestselling novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies will get a run in London with the Royal Shakespearean Company. In the interview she also shared her thoughts on dumbing down your work for readers with a short attention span. “There’s no compromise in my books,” she says. “I always assume my readers are highly intelligent and will give a good quality of attention to books. I don’t talk down or patronise or condescend. If you get the reader to come with you, they will reward you. Speak in your own voice, write as well as you can. Don’t tailor your work to a perceived market. A reader quickly detects condescension.” [Telegraph]

Someone over at NPR put Hemingway’s first paragraph of The Sun Also Rises through the Hemingway App. The conclusion of the experiment was that even Hemingway can’t write as well as Hemingway. [NPR]

Animal Lovers Trigger Warning. Researchers over at the University of Pennsylvania discovered 16th century watercolor illustrations of rockets strapped to cats and doves. Come again? It’s as crazy as it sounds. The book is written by artillery master Franz Helm of Cologne and it’s “filled with strange and terrible imagery, from bombs packed with shrapnel to missile-like explosive devices studded with spikes.” His idea with the cats was that a soldier should “capture a cat from enemy territory, attach a bomb to its back, light the fuse, then hope it runs back home and starts a raging fire.” Helm is like a real life version of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Fetchez la vache.

Jhumpa Lahiri, Thomas Pynchon named National Book Awards finalists

There are quite a few famous names among the National Book Award finalists, which were announced this morning. Among the fiction contenders are Pulitzer Prize-winner Jhumpa Lahiri for her novel The Lowland and the famously press-shy Thomas Pynchon for Bleeding Edge. Even the least known novelist, Rachel Kushner, has been a finalist before. See below for the entire shortlist in all four categories: READ FULL STORY

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