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Tag: Hugo Awards (1-3 of 3)

On The Books: Aboriginal author Doris Pilkington Garimara dies at 76

Doris Pilkington Garimara, the Aboriginal novelist who wrote Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence, has passed away at 76 years old in Perth, Australia. Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence, her most well known book, was published in 1996 and tells the heart-wrenching story of her own mother’s life. As a young aboriginal in the 1930’s she was torn from her family and sent to a government “re-education camp,” but she broke free and spent nine weeks braving the Outback to return to her home. In 2002, the book was adapted into a film called Rabbit Proof Fence starring Kenneth Branagh. The success of Doris’ story helped draw attention to the aboriginal cause, and she used her fame to further promote reparations between natives and white Australians. The New York Times says that Doris was a member of the Reconciliation Committee and a principal promoter of National Sorry Day, an annual event started in 1998 to commemorate the government’s mistreatment of Aborigines.  [New York Times]

If you’re a vocabulary stickler, a strict constructionist for wordsmithing or just into useless apps, then you should be pleased to hear about this new app for Google Chrome that replaces all appearances of “literally” on webpages with the more proper usage of “figuratively.” So the next time one of your friends posts a status update like, “I’m literally perishing from the heat,” you’ll read “I’m figuratively perishing from the heat.” The caveat is that it will replace even proper usages of literally. So when I say that “I could literally kill someone for a coffee,” then you’ll think I’m kidding. It’s Monday – don’t cross me. [Slate]

Over at The Guardian, Elizabeth Edmondson is also getting into a huff over definitions. She’s taking aim at “literary fiction,” which she thinks is a crock. She argues that “Lit Fic” is just a fancy way of marketing books that posterity has decided are exemplary, while the original authors were just trying to entertain folks like the rest of us hacks. Agreed. [Guardian]

Ann Brashares, author of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, has a new book coming out and it’s less “traveling pants” and more “traveling time and blood plagues.” Her publisher probably told her that dystopian blood plagues are very now. [NPR]

Fans have browbeat the Hugo Award judging committee into shortlisting The Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan’s 15 book, 4.5 million word epic series that a some Sci-Fi academics (What?) have slated as being “a long-winded Lord of the Rings.” Ouch. [Guardian]

 

On The Books: Orson Welles reading Walt Whitman's 'Song of Myself' will root you to your chair

Walt Whitman’s poetry flares up a lot in Americana. Breaking Bad‘s meth kingpin Walter White had an inscribed copy of Leaves of Grass (which sold at an auction for $65,500). In the show, the book was the catalyst for his undoing. Bill Clinton infamously presented Monica Lewinsky with a copy of Leaves of Grass. (Lesson: never gift Leaves of Grass. It’s the Hades pomegranate of modern times.) Apple’s recent iPad commercial makes striking (and shameless) use of Robin Williams’ speech from Dead Poets Society in which he quotes Whitman’s “Oh Me! Oh Life!” Today Open Culture featured an interesting article about this phenomenon, but the real treat is the download of Orson Welles’ BBC recording of “Song of Myself.” Welles’ resonant voice and expressive reading is absolutely riveting. He gives the poem the gravity that Whitman intended. It makes you miss old time radio readings. [Open Culture]

If you feel like gobbling up more radio after Orson Welles, head over to N+1. The associate editor Richard Beck and author Sheila Heti discuss political and literary topics like friendship, feminism and the child-care sex-abuse hysteria of the 1980s. You know, casual Thursday thoughts. [N+1]

Lotte Fields was a regular visitor to the New York Public Library until the day she died at 89-years-old. She loved to read and she donated the occasional small sum to the institution. So imagine the everyone’s surprise when it was discovered on Wednesday that she bequeathed the 119-year-old library $6 million in her will. That sounds like something written by E.L. Konigsburg. [New York Times]

The Hugo Awards periodically recognize books that were written 50-75 years prior to the current award ceremony. This year the Hugo committee asked members to pick a science fiction book written in 1938 for an honorary Retro-Hugo award. Notables include: Out of the Silent Planet, by C.S. Lewis; the Doc Savage novels; and The Sword in the Stone, by T.H. White. [Guardian]

Another sweet poetry story, Afaa Michael Weaver just won the $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award for his poetry collection The Government of Nature. Chief Judge Chase Twichell said of Weaver, “His father was a sharecropper. After serving for two years in the Army, he toiled for 15 years in factories, writing poems all the while. When he learned that he’d won a National Endowment Fellowship, he quit his job and attended Brown University on a full scholarship. He essentially invented himself from whole cloth as a poet. It’s truly remarkable.” So second lesson today: it’s never too late to seize your dream job. [NPR]

On The Books: 'Literary Death Match' is a real thing and it's exactly what it sounds like - sort of

Literary-Death-Match.jpg

A new competition is trying to drum up pop cultural fervor for contemporary authors and it has the splashy title of Literary Death Match. You really shouldn’t need anymore info than that to buy tickets. But I’ll give you details anyway. Their poster says: “4 authors, 3 judges, 2 finalists, 1 epic finale (and a bunch of really attractive lit-nerds).” I mean, done and done. Their website elaborates further, Literary Death Match “marries the literary and performative aspects of Def Poetry Jam, rapier-witted quips of American Idol’s judging (without any meanness), and the ridiculousness and hilarity of Double Dare.” So throw in Legends of the Hidden Temple obstacles and I promise to watch this and nothing else for the rest of the year. [NPR] READ FULL STORY

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