News: June 2009 Archives

Another Obama-related book deal

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Another Obama relative has a book deal.

A memoir by George Obama, the president's half brother and a resident of Huruma, Kenya, will be published by Simon & Schuster in January 2010. George Obama, 27, shares the same father with his famous, older half sibling, although George and Barack Obama -- 20 years apart in age -- did not grow up together and did not meet as children.

George is the youngest of the senior Obama's seven children and was born six months before his father died.

Little is known about George Obama. The book, tentatively titled Homeland and to be written with author-journalist Damien Lewis, will tell of George Obama's fall into crime and poverty as a teenager and his eventual embrace of community organizing -- a passion shared by the president -- and of advocacy for the poor, an identification so strong that he chooses to live among them.

"Even had George Obama not been our President's half brother, his story is moving and inspirational," said David Rosenthal, Simon & Schuster publisher and executive vice president. "It is an object lesson in survival, selflessness and courage."

Financial terms were not disclosed, but an official with knowledge of the negotiations said the deal was worth six figures. The official, who was not authorized to discuss the contract, spoke on condition of anonymity.

Other Obama relatives are working on books, including a half sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng; and the brother of first lady Michelle Obama, Craig Robinson. Duke University Press is releasing the doctoral dissertation of the president's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, who died in 1995.

Barack Obama has written a pair of million-selling books, The Audacity of Hope and Dreams from My Father, in which he describes George Obama as "a handsome, roundheaded boy with a wary gaze."

AP

'Slumdog' cash-in

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"Slumdog" kids
Rubina Ali (center) is flanked by her "Slumdog
Millionaire" co-stars Ayush Mahesh Khedekar
(left) and Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail.

(Mike Clarke/Getty Images)


OK, I know those "Slumdog" kids have been through a lot, but a book deal? Really?

Transworld Publishers is planning on publishing the life story of 9-year-old Rubina Ali -- one of the child stars of the Oscar-winning film "Slumdog Millionaire." The book will tell the story of her life in the shantytown where she grew up. (One might argue that she's not exactly "grown up" yet, but hey, who am I to know what's going to sell?)

Slumgirl Dreaming: My Journey to the Stars is scheduled to be released in Britain in mid-July. A Transworld rep says some of the royalties will go to the French medical aid organization Medecins du Monde.

I'm not opposed to telling a 9-year-old's story, but I hope the editors allow her own voice to come through so that kids her own age can read it and relate to it.

Book Room gets nod

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New City put out its annual Lit 50 list this week, and this year's list focuses on folks behind the scenes of Chicago's literary scene. (Check out #7)

Teen panel picks its own Orange Prize winner

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blonde roots

Bernardine Evaristo's novel Blonde Roots did not make the short list for this year's Orange Prize, but The Guardian reports today that a panel of teenagers has selected it as an alternative winner.

Six teens, age 16-19 chose their own short list from the 20 titles on the long list, and then selected their own winner. Other titles on the teens' short list included: Girl in a Blue Dress by Gaynor Arnold; The Lost Dog by Michelle de Kretser; Mercy by Toni Morrison; The Russian Dreambook of Colour and Flight by Gina Oscher, and The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews.

The Orange Prize is one of the UK's most presigious literary prizes, awarded to the best full-length novel by a female author of any nationality. The prize is 30,000 pounds (about $50,000). The prize will be awarded tonight.

Read the Sun-Times' review of Blonde Roots, which reimagines the slave trade when a white European girl is kidnapped and forced into slavery by her "Aphrikan" masters.