Book Awards: October 2008 Archives

Chicagoans among National Book Award nominees

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lazarus creatures blood

Chicago is well represented in this year's National Book Awards, with three of city's authors making the list of finalists: Aleksandar Hemon in the fiction category and Reginald Gibbons and Patricia Smith in the poetry category.

Hemon, who adopted Chicago as his home in 1992, when the fighting in his homeland of Bosnia stranded him here, is nominated for his novel The Lazarus Project (Riverhead, $24.95). (Read review)

Hemon's competition includes: Rachel Kushner for Telex From Cuba (Scribner); Peter Matthiessen for Shadow Country (Modern Library); Marilynne Robinson for Home (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), and Salvatore Scibona for The End (Graywolf)

Gibbons, a professor of English and classics at Northwestern in Evanston, is nominated for his latest poetry collection, Creatures of a Day (Louisiana State University Press, $16.95). And Smith, a Chicago native and four-time National Poetry Slam champion who now makes her home in New York, is nominated for Blood Dazzler (Coffee House Press, $16). (Read review of Blood Dazzler)

The rest of the competition in the poetry category includes: Frank Bidart for Watching the Spring Festival (Farrar, Straus & Giroux); Mark Doty for Fire to Fire (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), and Richard Howard for Without Saying (Turtle Point).

Nonfiction nominees:
Drew Gilpin Faust for This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War (Knopf)
Annette Gordon-Reed for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (Norton)
Jane Mayer for The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals (Doubleday)
Jim Sheeler for Final Salute: A Story of Unfinished Lives (Penguin)
Joan Wickersham for The Suicide Index: Putting My Father's Death in Order (Harcourt)

Young People's Literature nominees:
Laurie Halse Anderson for Chains (Simon & Schuster)
Kathi Appelt for The Underneath (Atheneum)
Rudy Blundell for What I Saw and How I Lied (Scholastic)
E. Lockhart for The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (Hyperion)
Tim Tharp for The Spectacular Now (Knopf)

The winners will be announced Nov. 19 in New York.

'White Tiger' wins Man Booker prize

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Aravind Adiga was considered the longshot to win the prestigious Man Booker prize, according to an Associated Press report this morning, but the Indian author impressed the judges panel and won the 50,000-pound (about $88,0000) prize for his debut novel, The White Tiger.

Aravind Adiga
Aravind Adiga

The White Tiger is the story of a man's dreams of escaping his poor village life, by any means necessary, to attain success in the big city.

The 34-year-old Adiga was the youngest of the finalists, who included: Sebastian Barry for The Secret Scripture; Amitav Ghosh for Sea of Poppies; Steve Toltz for A Fraction of the Whole; Linda Grant for The Clothes on Their Backs, and Philip Hensher for The Northern Clemency.

Larry Doyle wins Thurber Prize

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Buffalo Grove native Larry Doyle, who was featured on this blog a couple of months ago when he became a finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor, has won the prize for his 2007 novel I Love You, Beth Cooper.


Larry Doyle
Larry Doyle


"Had Larry been cool, he could have never written I Love You, Beth Cooper, a hilarious yet painfully accurate account of high school in all its pimply glory," said Firoozeh Dumas, one of the judges for this year's prize.

Doyle lives in Baltimore with his wife and three children but it was his experiences at Buffalo Grove High School that inspired the novel that won him the prize.

The two runners-up this year were Patricia Marx (Him Her Him Again The End of Him) and Simon Rich (Ant Farm). Past winners include David Sedaris, Christopher Buckley, Jon Stewart and Alan Zweibel.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Book Awards category from October 2008.

Book Awards: September 2008 is the previous archive.

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