Infographic: Anatomy of a Prize Winner

Ah, the nuts and bolts of a prizewinning book. Who writes these victorious books? Are they men or women? Whose stories are being told? Who is reading them? And what books are the best of the bunch if you want a great read?

At Goodreads, we have long been interested in the subject of professional opinion versus user-generated opinion, so this year we thought it was high time to revisit the anatomy of a prizewinning book.

We learned that male authors win more often than female authors, and novels centered on a woman’s journey don’t win major literary prizes as often as stories about men or featuring multiple protagonists. Men tend to win more and write about men’s stories more. In fact, an in-depth analysis of book data on Goodreads found that only 18 percent of 95 prizewinning books from 2000 to 2017 featured a woman as the standalone main character.

Together with the analytics team, engineers, and designers, we looked at a random sample size of 40,000 active members on the site (20,000 men and 20,000 women) and examined 95 prizewinning books from 2000 to 2017. These books won the following prizes: PEN/Faulkner AwardsPulitzer PrizesNational Book AwardsThe Man Booker Prizes, and the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Awards.

The results support a very interesting 2015 study by author and researcher Nicola Griffith. It’s also been two years since Griffith’s post, so we looked to see if there were any new trends in the data.

In 2016 and 2017 the ten works included in our research mainly followed the same pattern as the one Griffith saw, with more male authors winning, and more books with a lead male protagonist winning. Even this week, the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fictionwas awarded to Andrew Sean Greer for Less: A Novel, which according to our site is an enjoyable read, but still a book by a man about a man. Interestingly, there was one book in the past two years that bucked the trend entirely, The Underground Railroad, which featured a female protagonist and was written by a male author (Colson Whitehead).

So, please enjoy this infographic! We’ll let you debate all the glorious questions that come forth. Why do stories about men get more conventional endorsement? Interesting counterpoint: The Pacific Standard points out that among best-selling authors, men and women are represented equally. What surprises you? What doesn’t?

Happy reading!
Elizabeth

P.S. For more fun reading data, check out our earlier infographic Sex and Reading!

 

By Elizabeth, April 19, 2018, first appearing on Goodreads Blog
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Attention Mystery Lovers!

Looking for your next great read? You’re in luck!

The Mystery Writers of America has announced the Winners of the 2018 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television, published or produced in 2017.

Bluebird, BluebirdBEST NOVEL

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke

BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR

She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL

The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

BEST FACT CRIME

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

BEST CRITICAL/BIOGRAPHICAL

Chester B. Himes: A Biography by Lawrence P. Jackson

BEST SHORT STORY

“Spring Break”New Haven Noir by John Crowley

BEST JUVENILE

Vanished! By James Ponti

BEST YOUNG ADULT

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

BEST TELEVISION EPISODE TELEPLAY

“Somebody to Love”Fargo, Teleplay by Noah Hawley

ROBERT L. FISH MEMORIAL AWARD (Best First Short Story)

“The Queen of Secrets”New Haven Noir by Lisa D. Gray

GRAND MASTER (Lifetime Achievement)

Jane Langton

William Link

Peter Lovesey

RAVEN AWARD (Outstanding achievement in Mystery outside the realm of creative writing)

Kristopher Zgorski, BOLO Books

The Raven Bookstore, Lawrence Kansas

ELLERY QUEEN AWARD (Writing Teams & People in Mystery Publishing)

Robert Pépin

THE SIMON & SCHUSTER MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD (Book Written in the Mary Higgins Clark Tradition)

The Widow’s House by Carol Goodman

2018 Pulitzer Prize Winners Announced

by APRIL 17, 2018, first appearing in Library Journal

On Monday, April 16, the 2018 Pulitzer Prize winners were announced before a hushed crowd in the recently renovated Joseph Pulitzer World Room at Columbia University’s Pulitzer Hall.  The announcement was made by Dana Canedy, administrator of the awards and herself someone to be celebrated. Formerly a senior editor at the New York Times, where she was part of a team that won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize in national reporting, Canedy was appointed in July 2017 as the first woman and first person of color to serve as awards administrator.

Altogether 14 journalism and seven letters, drama, and music awards were presented, the former covering topics ranging from sexual harassment to domestic terrorist Dylann Roof and the latter, said Canedy, signifying “the impact of arts and letters on American culture.”

The book prizes proved satisfying if not completely surprising.

With his fiction win for Less (Lee Boudreaux: Little, Brown), the story of a midlist novelist avoiding a former lover’s marriage by traveling to literary events worldwide, Andrew Sean Greer  finally lays claim to a major title, though he’s been an NYPL Young Lion and received best book honors for Less from the Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle. Prize rules specify that the fiction honor go to a book “preferably dealing with American life,” but Greer deals more broadly with issues of aging and self-worth. Ironically, his protagonist, Arthur Less, is best known for his early liaison with a Pulitzer Prize–winning author, suffering comparisons that make him feel less worthy—a problem Greer won’t have.

The biography award went to Caroline Fraser’s Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder, a National Book Critics Award winner and New York Times Best Book; the poetry award, to Frank Bidart’s Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016 (Farrar), a National Book Award winner; and the general nonfiction award, to James Forman Jr.’s Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America (Farrar), a New York Times Best Book and Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist.

Forman’s work, which examines how response by African Americans to trauma within their own communities inadvertently led to the contentious issue of mass incarceration, was also short-listed for the Inaugural Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice. Jack E. Davis’s The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea (Liveright: Norton), ranging from the Pleistocene era to the Deepwater Horizon disaster and beyond, also won the Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction.

Music and drama were the big surprises, with gasps meeting the announcement of the music award. The winner is rapper Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN., the first time a classical or jazz composer hasn’t won. Martyna Majok’s Cost of Living, a play about physical disability that opened Off Broadway at the Manhattan Theater Club in June 2017, won the drama award. Majok, a Polish immigrant who saw her first play after winning some money playing pool, won against some formidable competition, with Obie Award winner and previous Pulitzer finalist Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s Everybody and previous Pulitzer winner Tracy Letts’s The Minutes this year’s drama finalists.

Canedy proved to be a congenial host, especially during the Q&A session, when she responded to urgent questions from a group of female high school students from the News Literacy Project by assuring them that news reporting and news reporters will be more diverse in the future. In general, she emphasized that whatever changes come in reporting and in the awards process (e.g., rules were changed this year so that coverage needn’t be from a local publication), the main point is that “the work speaks for itself.” For more on the winners, see 2018 Pulitzer Prizes.

Bar Americans From Man Booker Prize, Fed-Up British Authors Urge

George Saunders, who won the 2017 Man Booker Prize for “Lincoln in the Bardo,” was the second consecutive American to receive the award. The eligibility rules were changed in 2014. Credit: Chris Jackson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

LONDON — The Man Booker Prize is Britain’s most prestigious literary award. But for the past two years, American writers have dominated the competition — and authors from Britain and the Commonwealth countries are none too pleased.

The crescendo of frustration may have reached a peak. A group that counts the literary heavyweights Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan and Zadie Smith among its members has fired a shot across the bow, demanding that the Man Booker Foundation reverse a 2014 decision making any novel written in English and published in Britain eligible for the prize.

Leading authors and critics from the group, the Rathbones Folio Academy, bashed the Booker’s policy anew this week, arguing that changing the rules had taken away the distinctiveness of the prize, which was previously limited to writers from Britain, Ireland, Zimbabwe and the Commonwealth.

They also criticized the way in which the Man Booker, begun in 1969, had highlighted less well known and prominent literature.

“The Man Booker used to provide a point of focus each year for British and Commonwealth fiction, a sense that this had some identity-in-difference, and that British and Commonwealth novels were in some sense ‘talking to one another’ — as distinct from any conversation going on in U.S. fiction,” Tessa Hadley, a British author and member of the Folio Academy, said by email. “Now, it’s as though we’re perceived, and perceive ourselves, as only a subset of U.S. fiction, lost in its margins and eventually, this dilution of the community of writers plays out in the writing,” she added.

Read the rest of the article here…

Award-Winning Storyteller, Charlotte Blake Alston

Telling Stories at the Moline Public Library

charlotte blake alston storyteller

Announcing the Winners of the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards

by Cybil, December 04, 2017, first appearing on Goodreads Blog
More than 3.8 million votes have been cast and counted in the 9th annual Goodreads Choice Awards honoring the year’s best books decided by you, the readers!

Now it’s time to celebrate some fantastic reading across 20 categories, representing 400 books between the winners and the finalists. And, of course, it’s time for some very talented authors to celebrate their wins!

We asked the winners of the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards to share photos of themselves reacting to their victories. For Science Fiction winner Andy Weir, who is on a book tour, that meant making due with a bathroom-mirror selfie and a handwritten note. Colleen Hoover (who is celebrating her third consecutive win in the Romance category) received the good news while she was home sick, but—always a trooper—she rallied for the readers. And, well, some of these just made us laugh!

Be sure to explore all of the winning and nominated books!

Best Fiction: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Best Horror: Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King

Best Young Adult Fiction and Best Debut Goodreads AuthorThe Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Best Science Fiction: Artemis by Andy Weir

Best Science & Technology: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Best Historical Fiction: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Best Romance: Without Merit by Colleen Hoover

Best Mystery & Thriller: Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Best Graphic Novel & Comic: Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen

Best Poetry: The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Best History & Biography: The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore

Best Humor: Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between) by Lauren Graham

Best Memoir & Autobiography: What Happened by Hillary Clinton

Best Food & Cookbook: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Come and Get It! by Ree Drummond

Best Nonfiction: How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life by Lilly Singh

Best Middle Grade & Children’s: The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan

World Fantasy Awards Announced

by Chris SchluepNovember 07, 2017, first appearing on Omnivoracious

The winners of the 2017 World Fantasy Awards have been announced. The ceremony was held earlier this month in San Antonio, Texas at the World Fantasy Convention. The Lifetime Achievement Awards, presented annually to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding service to the fantasy field, went to Terry Brooks and Marina Warner.

Below is a list of the winners from selected categories. You can see all of the winners listed on Locus.

Best Novel

  • The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North
  • Borderline by Mishell Baker
  • Roadsouls by Betsy James
  • The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin
  • Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

Best Long Fiction

  • The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson
  • The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
  • Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
  • A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson

Best Short Fiction

  • Das Steingeschöpf” by G.V. Anderson
  • Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies” by Brooke Bolander
  • Seasons of Glass and Iron” by Amal El-Mohtar
  • Little Widow” by Maria Dahvana Headley
  • The Fall Shall Further the Flight in Me” by Rachael K. Jones

Best Anthology

  • Dreaming in the Dark edited by Jack Dann
  • Clockwork Phoenix 5 edited by Mike Allen
  • Children of Lovecraft edited by Ellen Datlow
  • The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016 edited by Karen Joy Fowler & John Joseph Adams
  • The Starlit Wood edited by Dominik Parisien & Navah Wolfe

Best Collection

  • A Natural History of Hell by Jeffrey Ford
  • Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie
  • On the Eyeball Floor and Other Stories by Tina Connolly
  • Vacui Magia by L.S. Johnson
  • The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu