Tag: Literature

Maya Angelou To Receive Norman Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Writing

mailer prize

NEW YORK — Maya Angelou is receiving another honorary prize for writing.  The Norman Mailer Center and Writers Colony announced Thursday that Angelou will be given a lifetime achievement award at a benefit gala Oct. 17. Earlier this month, the National Book Foundation announced that the 85-year-old Angelou would be given an honorary National Book Award, her first major literary prize.

The Mailer Center will also give a distinguished writing prize to Junot Diaz and an award for the best emerging journalist to the late Michael Hastings. Hastings was killed in an auto accident in June at age 33. He’s best known for a Rolling Stone article that led to the resignation of the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

article via huffingtonpost.com

Walter Mosley and Countee Cullen to Be Inducted Into the NY State Writers Hall of Fame

Countee Cullen
Countee Cullen
Walter Mosley
Walter Mosley

On June 4, the New York State Writers Hall of Fame will induct eight outstanding authors – Walter Mosley, Countee Cullen, Maurice Sendak, Alice McDermott, Miguel Pinero, James Fenimore Cooper, Calvin Trillin and  Marilyn Hacker.   Mosley is best known for his Easy Rawlins novels Devil in a Blue Dress and Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned, while Cullen came to prominence as a poet during the Harlem Renaissance, publishing classics such as Color and Copper Sun.

Each honoree is inducted personally with a few words by a friend or representative, and the 2013 ceremony will be held at New York’s Princeton Club.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

Words and War: Toni Morrison at West Point

Students at West Point attending a reading by Toni Morrison on Friday. She read from her novel “Home,” which focuses on a Korean War veteran. (Kirsten Luce for The New York Times)

WEST POINT, N.Y. — As thousands of hungry West Point cadets streamed into the mess hall for their 20-minute lunch break here on Friday, they paused from the rush to the tables to give a rousing group cheer to a guest who has received hundreds of accolades, but perhaps none this thunderous.

“I can’t believe this — it’s like a movie,” said Toni Morrison, who sat at one of the 420 wooden tables in the flag-bedecked Washington Hall, a majestic Romanesque structure at the United States Military Academy.

Seated with members of the African-American Arts Forum at West Point, Ms. Morrison ate her Army-issue ravioli and prepared to read from her most recent novel, “Home,” to the freshman cadets, who studied the book in English class this semester.

The novel is the story of Frank Money, a black Georgia native and Korean War veteran struggling to reintegrate into civilian life in a segregated America, while struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Continue reading “Words and War: Toni Morrison at West Point”

R.I.P. Nigerian Novelist Chinua Achebe, Grandfather of African Literature

Chinua Achebe in 2008 at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., where he was a professor at the time.(Craig Ruttle/Associated Press)

LAGOS (Reuters) – Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe, widely seen as the grandfather of modern African literature, has died at the age of 82.  From the publication of his first novel, “Things Fall Apart”, over 50 years ago, Achebe shaped an understanding of Africa from an African perspective more than any other author.  As a novelist, poet, broadcaster and lecturer, Achebe was a yardstick against which generations of African writers have been judged. For children across Africa, his books have for decades been an eye-opening introduction to the power of literature.

Describing Achebe as a “colossus of African writing”, South African President Jacob Zuma expressed sadness at his death. Nelson Mandela, who read Achebe’s work in jail, has called him a writer “in whose company the prison walls fell down.”

Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”, published in 1958, told of his Igbo ethnic group’s fatal brush with British colonizers in the 1800s – the first time the story of European colonialism had been told from an African viewpoint to an international audience. The book was translated into 50 languages and has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide.

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Harlem Renaissance Novel By Claude McKay Is Found

Author Claude McKay in the 1920s.

A Columbia graduate student and his adviser have authenticated the student’s discovery of an unknown manuscript of a 1941 novel by Claude McKay, a leading Harlem Renaissance writer and author of the first novel by a black American to become a best seller.  The manuscript, “Amiable With Big Teeth: A Novel of the Love Affair Between the Communists and the Poor Black Sheep of Harlem,” was discovered in a previously untouched university archive and offers an unusual window on the ideas and events (like Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia) that animated Harlem on the cusp of World War II. The two scholars have received permission from the McKay estate to publish the novel, a satire set in 1936, with an introduction about how it was found and its provenance verified. Continue reading “Harlem Renaissance Novel By Claude McKay Is Found”