The winner of the £10,000 Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje prize for 2013 has been awarded to Philip Hensher for his novel titled Scenes from Early Life published in 2012. The Ondaatje prize was established ten years ago by Christopher Ondaatje, brother of the novelist Michael, for literature that suggests a very real sense of place. Philip Hensher’s novel is set in East Pakistan during the war of Independence and tells of the defiant lives of a Bengali family – it is the combination of memoir, history and fiction, beautifully written and realised.
The judges for the 2013 Women’s Prize for Fiction (previously known as the Orange prize), have announced this year’s short listed finalists. The six authors chosen include Hilary Mantel for her Man Booker Prize winning novel Bring up the Bodies.
Also included is Zadie Smith for her novel NW that has recently been awarded the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize, for a book of any genre that brings to mind, the sense and spirit of a place. Zadie Smith was also named as one of Granta Magazine’s 20 most promising British novelists. The only two American writers included on the short list are A. M. Homes and Barbara Kingsolver. The winner will be announced on 5th June 2013.
The shortlist for the €100,000 International I. M. P. A. C. Dublin award has been announced. Selected by the judging panel, that includes the novelists, Patrick McCabe and Shamsie Kamila, from nominations chosen by over 170 libraries from around the world; this year’s shortlist of ten novels includes five in translation. Heading the short list is Haruki Murakami’s epic novel 1Q84. Also included is Irish writer Kevin Barry’s debut novel City of Bohane.
The winner will be announced on 6th June 2013 in Dublin and if it is a translated novel the translator will receive €25,000 from the total prize money.
The well known fiction and screenplay writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala has died in New York aged 85 years. Born in Cologne to Polish Jewish parents, the family moved to Britain in 1939, where she received her education. In 1951 she married an Indian Parsi architect, and spent the next 64 years living in Delhi. Her first novel, To Whom She Will was published in 1955. Eleven more novels and eight collections of short stories would follow, all much acclaimed and most set in India. Her novel titled Heat and Dust, published in 1975, was the Booker Prize winner for that year. The same year she moved to New York, and began working with film makers Merchant and Ivory, as a screen writer, producing 23 screenplays, winning two Oscars for A Room with a View in 1985 and Howards End in 1992. Her last published fiction was My Nine Lives in 2004, although she completed two screenplays after with the last in 2008.
Chinua Achebe has died aged 82 in Boston. Born in 1930 in Nigeria he studied literature and medicine. After graduating he worked for the Nigeria Broadcasting Company, eventually becoming the Director. His first novel titled, Things Fall Apart was published in 1958 and has since sold 8 million copies and has been translated in 50 different languages. He went to America in 1966 and taught at the University of Massachusetts and the University of Connecticut, ending his teaching career as Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University. From his first novel he went on to have 4 other novels published, 8 collections of short stories, 6 collections of poetry, 8 works of non-fiction that include essays and political commentary, and 4 books for children. In 2007 he was awarded The Man Booker International Prize.
The much enjoyed writer Barbara Anderson has died aged 86. She began writing in her later life after a career of teaching. Her first book of short stories titled, I think We Should Go into the Jungle was published in 1993. This was followed by seven novels, and two collections of short stories, that included, All the Nice Girls, published in 1995 and Long Hot Summer, published in 1999. Her autobiography, titled Getting There: an autobiography was published in 2008.
The well-know and much admired horror writer James Herbert has died aged 69 years.
Born in London in 1943 he began writing at the age of 28. His first book, a disaster novel titled The Rats was published in 1974 and his writing was continual, producing a novel nearly every year, with a total of 23 novels along with a number of short stories. Over 54 million copies of his novels were sold world wide and were translated into 34 languages. James Herbert also designed his own book covers. Five of his novels were adapted into film, with The Rats also being made into a computer game. His last novel, Ash was published in 2012.
Women’s Prize for Fiction has been announced. From 140 nominations 20 have been selected by the judges for the long-list. The novels selected include, The Forrests by Emily Perkins, Bring up the Bodies by Mann Booker Prize winner, Hilary Mantel, and Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behaviour. The long-list includes six debut novels and one written entirely in verse, The Marlowe Papers by Ros Barber.
This prize was previously know as the Orange Prize, but with the withdrawal of Orange company sponsorship, will be know for this year only as The Women’s Prize for Fiction being funded by several companies and individuals.
The Short-list will be announced on 16th April 2013 and the winner will be awarded the £30, 000 prize on 5th June 2013.
Hilary Mantel’s second novel about Thomas Cromwell, titled Bring up the Bodies has won the 2012 Costa Book of the Year. This is the first time an author has won both the Man Booker Prize and the Costa Book award in the same year. Bring up the Bodies was originally the winner of the Novel category and was unanimously voted by the judging panel as overall winner of the prize. The other categories were First Novel, Poetry, Children’s Book and Biography.
Hilary Mantel is now working on the final novel in the Thomas Cromwell trilogy. The first novel, Wolf Hall along with the second, Bring up the Bodies, are being adapted for television and stage.
Recently the shortlist for the biennial 2013 International Man Booker Prize was announced. A list of 10 internationally acclaimed authors, that includes Marilynne Robinson and Aharon Appelfeld, from which the winner will be judged and receive the £60,000 prize, and the translator, if the work was not published in English, will receive £15,000. The authors are from Switzerland, India, Canada, Israel, Pakistan, Russia, America, China and France. The winner will be announced in London on 22nd May 2013.