Joy Williams and Brian Broome Win the 2021 Kirkus Prize | Book Pulse

Congratulations to Joy Williams, Harrow, and Brian Broome, Punch Me Up to the Gods for winning the 2021 Kirkus Prize for fiction and nonfiction. Also, kudos to the 2021 Barnes & Noble Book of the Year Finalists, Waterstones Book of the Year shortlist, and Warwick Prize for Women in Translation longlist. Interviews explore the thoughts of Glory Edim of On Girlhood: 15 Stories from the Well-Read Black Girl Library, Leticia Urieta of Eat the Mouth that Feeds You, David Copperfield of David Copperfield’s History of Magic, Cheluchi Onyamelukwe-Onuobia of The Son of the House, Alix Ohlin of We Want What We Want, Miriam Toews of Fight Night, and Drew Magary of The Night the Lights Went Out: A Memoir of Life After Brain Damage. Adaptation news for Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Chronology of Water and Stacey Abrams’s Never Tell.

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Awards News

The 2021 Kirkus Prize Winners are announced and include Joy Williams for Harrow (Knopf) and Brian Broome for Punch Me Up to the Gods (Houghton Harcourt; LJ starred review). Lit Hub has the scoop.

The 2021 Barnes & Noble Book of the Year Finalists are announced.

The 2021 Waterstones Book of the Year shortlist is announced.

The 2021 Warwick Prize for Women in Translation longlist is announced.

Page to Screen

October 29:

Antlers, based on the short story The Quiet Boy by Nick Antosca. Searchlight Pictures. Reviews | Trailer

My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission, based on the manga series by Kōhei Horikoshi. FUNimation. No reviews | Trailer

November 1:

Dalgliesh, based on the books by PD James. Acorn TV. No reviews | Trailer


The Washington Post reviews The Days of Afrekete by Asali Solomon (FSG): “In these poignant yet often bitingly funny chapters, Solomon affirms her descent from the African American foremothers who claimed the Black female experience as their literary turf in the second half of the 20th century.”

The NYT reviews A Dark Room in Glitter Ball City: Murder, Secrets, and Scandal in Old Louisville by David Dominé (Pegasus: S. & S.): "More than the sad details of Carroll’s murder, the book’s kaleidoscopic array of personalities are much more likely to stay with readers. Any one of them, after all, would almost certainly be the most interesting person you’d meet all week." Also, In the Shadow of the Empress: The Defiant Lives of Maria Theresa, Mother of Marie Antoinette, and Her Daughters by Nancy Goldstone (Little, Brown): "Goldstone, the author of books about Catherine de Medici and Mary, Queen of Scots, is drawn to female royals who defy “tradition and stereotype,” and on that count her new subjects have much to offer. Regrettably, her book does not." Plus, Burning Boy: The Life and Work of Stephen Crane by Paul Auster (Henry Holt: Macmillan): "“Burning Boy” is seldom dull — it’s often thrilling, in fact, to see a contemporary American writer engage so deeply with one of his forebears — but it can be exhausting."

The Washington Post reviews The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century by Amia Srinivasan (Macmillan): "In each of her collection’s six essays on sexual desire, politics and morality, she takes ideas that sound like good feminist goals and asks whether that’s what they actually are." Also, Perilous Medicine: The Struggle to Protect Health Care from the Violence of War by Leonard Rubenstein (Columbia University): "Rubenstein’s book is sad and necessary work. If only we take heed, we can make medicine less perilous and reaffirm our own humanity." Plus, The Power of Scenery: Frederick Law Olmsted and the Origin of National Parks by Dennie Drabelle (Bison: Longleaf): "Drabelle’s prose throughout is sure-footed, spirited and droll in its anachronisms." And, many more reviews posted today.

Bitch Media reviews Dreaming of You: A Novel in Verse by Melissa Lozada-Oliva (Astra House): “In Melissa Lozada-Oliva’s Dreaming of You, autofiction and confessional poetry collide to explore questions about the toxicity of fame, the demands of womanhood, and society’s definitions of victimhood.” reviews The Cabinet by Un-su Kim (Angry Robot: Penguin Random House): “The way that the plot of The Cabinet slowly coheres is one of its most impressive qualities. The encounters and observations that seem arbitrary at first eventually converge into a reality-bending narrative with detours into paranoia, satire, and body horror.”

Book Marks has "The Best Reviewed Books of October."

Briefly Noted

Glory Edim chats with Entertainment Weekly about “the magic of Octavia Butler and how [writing] On Girlhood: 15 Stories from the Well-Read Black Girl Library (Liveright: W. W. Norton) changed her life.” Electric Lit speaks to Leticia Urieta, Eat the Mouth that Feeds You (City Lights), about “Chicanas navigating the grotesque and the mundane.” David Copperfield discusses his newest book, David Copperfield’s History of Magic (S. & S.) with AARP, but “keeps plenty of secrets.”

USA Today reveals a "crush on [the] queen and how John Lennon 'gleefully' quit Beatles" in Paul McCartney's The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present (Liverlight: Norton).

CBC interviews Cheluchi Onyamelukwe-Onuobia, The Son of the House (Dundrun: Ingram), who gives “advice for aspiring writers.” Also, Alix Ohlin talks about the “years-long process of writing the stories” in her collection We Want What We Want (Knopf: Penguin Random House).

Matthew Perry will publish an autobiography with Flatiron Books, to come out in Fall 2022. People has the story. Also, a new book about Elizabeth Taylor, Forever Elizabeth: Iconic photographers on a legendary star (ACC Art Books) “shines a spotlight on some rarely seen moments.”

Lincoln Michel, The Body Scout (Orbit: Hachette), writes a piece for Lit Hub about how “baseball [is] the most literary of sports.”

Penguin Random House shares statistics on diversifying its workforce. Publishers Weekly has the report.

The New Yorker features a piece on “the enduring appeal of Dune as an adolescent power fantasy.”

Matt McClain, a photographer for The Washington Post, highlights his recording of “the trail of Edgar Allen Poe.”

Slate explores the “recent run of bestsellers [that promise] that plants are people too.”

CrimeReads shares “Fever Dream Novels: 7 Great Books That You’ll Read in a Mad, Disorienting Dash” and “The Best New Books Out in Paperback This Month.”

PopSugar provides 3 novels for curing a “book hangover after reading It Ends With Us,” “13 Sexy Horror Book You Need to Add to Your TBR Pile ASAP,” “12 Enticing New Romance Reads to Keep You Inside This November,” and “The 13 Best New Mystery and Thriller Books of November 2021.”

Electric Lit gives “8 Books by Chicano Writers.”

Book Riot lists “The Best LGBTQ Books That Aren’t YA” and “The Best Dark Fantasy Books [to] Enchant Your Life.” has “Eldritch Abominations for the SFF Soul: Five Works of Cosmic Horror.”

Gizmodo shares “48 New Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books to Keep You Cozy This November.”

CBC lists “13 great Canadian books to read this Halloween.”

AV Club provides “Books to read in November.”

NPR lists the “November Book-Ahead: What We’re Excited to Read Next Month.”

The NYT provides “16 New Books Coming in November,” “8 New Books We Recommend This Week,” and “The 10 Best Books of 2021.”

Authors on Air

NPR’s Book of the Day features Drew Magary and what he rediscovered about himself after writing The Night the Lights Went Out: A Memoir of Life After Brain Damage (Harmony).

Kristen Stewart will direct an adaptation of Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Chronology of Water (Hawthorne: Ingram). Variety has the news.

Miriam Toews, Fight Night (Bloomsbury), discusses “the rebellion of exuberance” on The Maris Review podcast.

Stacey Abrams’ Never Tell (St. Martin’s) will be adapted into a thriller for CBS. Salon has more. Deadline has the scoop.

Tananarive Due, author of The Between (HarperCollins), talks about "reinventing Black horror" on The Literary Life podcast.

Lit Hub shares "The Literary Film and TV You need to Stream in November."

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