Breaking and Entering Wins The Grub Street National Book Prize
We are thrilled to announce that the winner of our new $5,000 National Book Prize for Fiction is Eileen Pollack
of Ann Arbor, MI, for her novel Breaking and Entering
, published by Four Way Books. We received a significant number of submissions for this exciting award, and were honored to have acclaimed novelist Margot Livesey as our head juror. As part of the prize, Eileen Pollack will give a public reading on the evening of May 5th, 2012, along with our non-fiction winner, Wendy Call. Both winning authors will present craft classes at the 2012 Muse and the Marketplace conference that same weekend at the Park Plaza hotel.
Of Breaking and Entering, Margot Livesey wrote: “Eileen Pollack has written a novel that happily succeeds in being both deeply entertaining and deeply serious. Set in the 1990s in a small town in Michigan, the novel follows the Shapiros, Louise and Richard, after they move from California to Potawatomie. Richard, a therapist, has retreated from life after the suicide of one of his favourite patients. In Potawatomie he takes a job at the prison and begins to spend time with other prison staff and their hunting and fishing neighbours. Meanwhile Louise, neglected by her husband and isolated from her old friends, takes a job as a school counselor and begins to make her own connections in their new community. With great empathy and intelligence, Pollack explores these two opposing hearts of darkness - how Liberals see Republicans, and how Republicans see Liberals - while at the same time charting the vicissitudes of the Shapiros' marriage. Her compelling plot and resonant characters make Breaking and Entering a hugely enjoyable novel; the moral complexity of her themes makes it an important and timely one.”
Grub Street also warmly congratulates three honorable mentions: Flea Circus: A Bestiary of Grief by Mandy Keifetz (New Issues), Separate Kingdoms by Valerie Laken (Harper Perennial) and Aftermath by Scott Nadelson (Hawthorne). All of these books are available to be borrowed from the Grub Street library.
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Space, in Chains Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award
On Saturday, January 21, at 6:30 p.m., the National Book Critics Circle announced the finalists for its book awards for publishing year 2011 at a gala event held at Artists Space in downtown Manhattan. A crowd hovering around 200 braved a few inches of city slush to hear former NBCC winners and finalists present the lists. Also announced: Robert Silvers, longtime editor of the New York Review of Books, won the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, and Kathryn Schulz won the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing.
Poetry finalists, all demonstrating a mastery of form while advancing their art, included Laura Kasischke (Space, in Chains, Copper Canyon Press) and Yusef Komunyakaa (The Chameleon Couch, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux), as well as relative newcomer Aracelis Girmay (Kingdom Animalia, BOA Editions). They were presented by 2010 finalist Kathleen Graber.
Winners of the National Book Critics Circle Awards will be announced at the awards ceremony on Thursday, March 8, at 6:00 p.m. at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium in New York. A complete list of finalists are featured below. For further queries, please contact Eric Banks at email@example.com or (917) 609-5297.
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Khaled Mattawa Wins the 2011 Saif Ghobash-Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation
The winner of the 2011 prize was announced on 16 January 2012, as Khaled Mattawa for his translation of Adonis: Selected Poems. For all information about the Judges' decisions, the winner, the runner-up and the commended translators, click here. The award will be presented at an evening of events at King’s Place, London, which include readings by the winning translators. The annual Sebald Lecture on the Art of Literary Translation, will be given by Sean O'Brien. Click here for full details .
The prize is an annual award of £3,000, made to the translator(s) of a published translation in English of a full-length imaginative and creative Arabic work of literary merit published in the thirty-five years prior to submission of the translation and first published in English translation in the year prior to the award.
Entries are judged by a panel of four distinguished authors, critics and literary experts, two of whom read and consider both the Arabic original and the English translation. The Judging panel for 2012 is now being selected, and will be announced in due course.
31 January 2012 is the final date for receiving entries for the 2012 prize, though there is flexibility. Judges have the right to call in elegible titles that have not already been entered.
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The inaugural prize was awarded on 9 October 2006. The prize aims to raise the profile of contemporary Arabic literature as well as honouring the important work of individual translators in bringing the work of established and emerging Arab writers to the attention of the wider world. It was established by Banipal, the magazine of modern Arab literature in English translation, and the Banipal Trust for Arab Literature.
The prize is administered by the Society of Authors in the United Kingdom and joins a number of prizes for translation from languages that include Dutch, French, German, Italian, Greek, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish, all administered by the Society and awarded annually at a joint ceremony hosted by the Society, the British Centre for Literary Translation and Arts Council England.
Eileen Pollack's Breaking and Entering Released
Read the New York Times Book Review by Jean Thompson
“An exploration of Tolstoy's dictum about unhappy families.... A rich and satisfying novel that explores in a significant way contemporary issues of family, religion and politics.”
“A compassionate, humorous new novel about the ambiguities of modern life. After his patient commits suicide, a shattered Richard Shapiro and his wife, Louise, both therapists, move from upscale, liberal Marin County, California, to a rural Michigan village in 1995. But so much for the great escape: Louise takes up with a magnetic married minister, and Richard befriends members of the local militia, which has ties to the Oklahoma City bomber. Set against the backdrop of a divided America, Breaking and Entering by Eileen Pollack is a novel laced with compassion, humor and wisdom about the ambiguities of modern life.”
—Lynn Schnurnberger, More Magazine
“Louise Shapiro is thoroughly beset in this thorny, lucid novel. Her bad luck begins in California, where her husband abandons his psychology practice and takes a job in a rural Michigan prison. Louise struggles to adjust to the heartland, which seems overpopulated with religious nuts and militia members. Her husband drifts away into a rebellious, gun-toting fugue, and the lover she takes becomes remote in his own way.... Her increasingly nuanced view of the sociopolitical divide is reflected in Pollack’s sensitive portrayals of both liberal Louise and her ilk, and their conservative counterparts. Weaving the personal with the political, Pollack... creates an encompassing haze of dissatisfaction and misdirected passion. Despite the unrelenting misfortune, though, the tone is more solemn than dark; there's a beautiful contemplativeness, and a believable sense of redemption in the end.”
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NPR Books Lists Laura Kasischke's "Look" as a Top 3 Poem of 2011
Laura Kasischke's prose poem "Look," from Space, in Chains, opens, "Look! I bear into this room a platter piled high with the rage my mother felt for my father!" The brooding agency of that anger reminds the speaker of a new creation story: "God punched a hole in the drywall on Earth and pulled out of that darkness another god. She — "
Here, for the first time, the poem gives way to white space, as if to ask wait — what did she do? The speaker has already moved past her own family and on to the billions of unknown worlds in the universe, but when it comes time to describe the mechanism behind the world she inhabits, those parental archetypes return. "She — " the poem continues, "just kept to herself. She just — / followed him around the house, and every time he turned a light on, she turned it off."
Through Kasischke's lens, family is enlarged to inescapable proportions, while the nature of being becomes small, the size of an ordinary house, occupied by the first characters in any given life: Mom and Dad.
-Tracy K. Smith
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