PEN Award Winners and a Recommendation from Stephen King | Book Pulse

PEN America Awards

The PEN Awards were announced last night. Whereas by Layli Long Soldier (Graywolf Press: LJ starred review) won the night’s richest prize, the $75,000 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, considered the “book of the year” award. Ursula K. Le Guin’s No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters by Ursula K. Le Guin (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) won the The PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang (Lenny: Random House) won the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction. The full list of winners is online.

In other award news, Patricia Smith’s Incendiary Art (TriQuarterly/Northwestern Univ.) wins the 2018 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Donika Kelly’s Bestiary (Graywolf Press) wins the 2018 Kate Tufts Discovery Award.

The short list for the Jhalak Prize is out.

Briefly Noted

The NYT reviews What Are We Doing Here?: Essays by Marilynne Robinson (FSG), writing “it’s high-minded to the hilt, and rigorous, too. I was wheezing at the end of every chapter. I was also moved, exasperated, put to sleep more than once and undone by it. It’s a dense, eccentric book of profound and generous gifts.” Of Zadie Smith’s Feel Free: Essays (Penguin) the paper says “It is exquisitely pleasurable to observe Smith thinking on the page.” Maureen Corrigan reviews on Fresh Air as well, saying “Smith is particularly sharp on topics of art and identity.” Focused on Queens, NY, the NYT also offers a small spotlight on 111 Places in Queens That You Must Not Miss by Joe DiStefano, a travel series that highlights culinary locales as well as sites.

The paper also ushers in a new columnist for “Otherworldly,” Amal El-Mohtar, winner of the Nebula, Locus, and Hugo awards. Her most recent work is the story “A Tale of Ash in Seven Birds” in The Djinn Falls in Love & Other Stories, (Solaris: S. & S.). She takes over from N.K. Jemisin.

Ron Charles reviews Madness Is Better Than Defeat by Ned Beauman (Knopf) for The Washington Post (with a video review too), calling it “weirdly delightful … equal parts Indiana Jones and Gilligan’s Island — shaken, not stirred.”

NPR reviews Decarcerating America: From Mass Punishment to Public Health edited by Ernest Drucker (The New Press), deeming it “a welcome addition to a growing field.”

Stephen King recommends The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor (Crown: Random House) and sales leap. King writes on Facebook:

Want to read something good? You won't find it on the front bestseller table at your bookstore, but it's new, and will be there. THE CHALK MAN, by C.J. Tudor. If you like my stuff, you'll like this.

Posted by Stephen King on Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Laura Lippman, Sunburn (William Morrow: Harper; LJ starred review) gets an interview and picks a GIF.

Vulture interviews David Mamet, Chicago (Custom House: Harper).

BitchMedia interviews Brittney Cooper, Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower (St. Martin’s: Macmillan).

Mallory Ortberg (The Merry Spinster) interviews Jasmine GuilloryThe Wedding Date (Berkley: Penguin) for

Entertainment Weekly offers “15 books you need to read after seeing Black Panther,” as Deadline Hollywood reports, the movie is now “the second-biggest 4-day opener of all-time at the domestic [box office] … after Force Awakens.”

A week after Valentine’s Day, The Guardian offers a list of the “Top 10 books about cheating.”

Stepping out very early, POPSUGAR lists “The Best Books of 2018 – So Far.”

The NYT has a feature on the Harry Potter Broadway adaptation, and why J.K. Rowling is worried.

MAD magazine is starting again. The first new issue will come out in April.

From The Guardian: Arnaud Nourry, chief executive of Hachette Livre, says that “The ebook is a stupid product … There is no creativity, no enhancement, no real digital experience … We, as publishers, have not done a great job going digital … we have one or two successes among a hundred failures. I’m talking about the entire industry. We’ve not done very well.”

A facsimile of Mary Shelley’s manuscript of Frankenstein is being published. It includes her revisions and Percy Shelley’s corrections. It will cost $242 in a deluxe edition limited to 1,000 copies. The NYT and The Guardian have the story (The Guardian with the best image).

Milo Yiannopoulos drops his lawsuit against Simon & Schuster.

The preacher Billy Graham has died, age 99. The most recent book on Graham is the forthcoming updated edition of A Prophet with Honor: The Billy Graham Story by William C. Martin (Zondervan: Harper). Graham’s last book is Where I Am: Heaven, Eternity, and Our Life Beyond (Thomas Nelson).

Authors on Air:

PBS NewsHour interviews Tayari JonesAn American Marriage (Algonquin; LJ starred review).

NPR’s Fresh Air interviews Tara Westover, Educated: A Memoir (Random).

CBS This Morning interviews Michio Kaku, The Future of Humanity: Terraforming Mars, Interstellar Travel, Immortality, and Our Destiny Beyond Earth (Doubleday: Random House). He also spoke on NPR’s 1A, both appearances are boosting sales.

Netflix nabs White Fang, an animated adaptation of the Jack London novel.

Amazon announces its adaptation of The Dangerous Book for Boys will begin streaming on Friday, March 30.

Dancing Bear by James Crumley (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard: Random House) may be headed to the small screen.

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Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt is LJ's reader's advisory columnist. She writes The Reader's Shelf, RA Crossroads, Book Pulse, and Wyatt's World columns. She is currently revising The Readers' Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction, 3d ed. (ALA Editions, 2018). Contact her at

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