By Bookmarked and The Canadian Press - Thursday, January 24, 2013 - 0 Comments
The Croatian-born Novakovich lives in Montreal and teaches creative writing at Concordia University.
He joins American author Marilynne Robinson, Israel’s Aharon Appelfeld and China’s Yan Lianke on the list for the award, an offshoot of Britain’s better-known Man Booker novel-of-the-year prize.
The Man Booker International Prize is awarded for a lifetime’s work and is open to authors of all nationalities whose work is available in English.
Previous winners of the $95,000 award include Canada’s Alice Munro, Nigeria’s Chinua Achebe and Philip Roth of the United States.
This year’s winner will be announced in London on May 22.
The finalists announced on Jan. 24 at the Jaipur Literary Festival in India also include Lydia Davis of the United States, Pakistan’s Intizar Husain, France’s Marie NDiaye and Indian writer U.R. Ananthamurthy.
Russia’s Vladimir Sorokin and Swiss writer Peter Stamm round out the list.
— With files from The Associated Press
By Brian D. Johnson - Monday, November 12, 2012 at 8:20 AM - 0 Comments
Ang Lee recreates the story of a shipwreck, a boy and a tiger in three dimensions
In recent weeks, we’ve seen some Herculean efforts to bring “unfilmable” novels to the screen. It took three directors to wrangle Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell’s six-story opus, into a head-spinning Rubik’s cube of a movie spanning five centuries. Canadian director Deepa Mehta compressed six marriages, three generations and several wars—plus the birth of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh—into her sprawling adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. And now Oscar-winning filmmaker Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain) attempts a daredevil feat directing Life of Pi, an epic adventure based on the 2001 Booker Prize-winning bestseller by Saskatoon novelist Yann Martel.
It’s a movie on a more intimate scale, the story of a teenage boy who crosses two oceans in a lifeboat with a ferocious Bengal tiger. But Lee is messing with three classic elements that sensible movie-makers are advised to avoid: children, animals and water. As if that were not tricky enough, he’s done it in 3D.
The movie, opening Nov. 21, is remarkably close to Martel’s intricate novel, the story of a zoo owner’s son who escapes a sinking ship while emigrating to Canada from India with his family and a menagerie of beasts. But filming Life of Pi posed quite a different challenge than writing the novel. Martel just had to describe a tiger sharing a lifeboat with a boy, and expect the reader to suspend disbelief. Lee had to conjure the tiger onscreen with indisputable realism. Continue…
By Brian Bethune - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 9:00 AM - 1 Comment
The approval of literary juries isn’t all that links Patrick Dewitt and Esi Edugyan
Young, talented, recently jolted from obscurity to the media spotlight and seemingly joined at the hip: the Canadian literary odd couple of Patrick deWitt and Esi Edugyan are having quite the year. DeWitt and Edugyan, who have never met, are usually mentioned in that order because of the tendency of literary prizes to list nominees alphabetically, and award nominations—where the pair are both a remarkable four for four—are what have put them in the news. They have been shortlisted for all three major Canadian fiction honours, the $40,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize, the $25,000 Governor General’s Literary Award and the $25,000 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, as well as the Man Booker Prize. The most prestigious literary award in the English-language world, the Booker is also one of the richest: $80,000.
But the approval of literary juries is not all that links Edugyan and deWitt. Their books—whether about an African-German jazzman in occupied Paris (Edugyan’s Half-Blood Blues) or a fraternal pair of American killers on the hunt during the California Gold Rush (The Sisters Brothers by deWitt)—could scarcely be less Canadian in setting and characters: the most talked-about new Canadian novels in years are not CanLit as it once was and many still think it is. And their authors are almost as removed from the Canadian book world’s mainstream, something encapsulated in the startling fact that deWitt has never been in Toronto. Millions of other Canadians haven’t travelled to the centre of English-Canadian publishing either, of course, but it’s beyond likely that he’s the first of them to find himself on the Giller short list. DeWitt and Edugyan’s unusual twinship is set to last at least until Oct. 18, when one may be chosen as the Booker winner at the same London gala where the two Canadians will first meet. The Canadian prizes will announce their winners in November.
Regardless of distance—geographical, psychological or literary—deWitt and Edugyan are still writers as Canadian as they come. Born on Vancouver Island, deWitt, 36, switched homes frequently between British Columbia and California as his construction engineer father moved from project to project along the Pacific Coast; he now lives in Portland, Ore., with his American wife, Leslie, and their son Gustavo, 6. Edugyan, 33, the Calgary-born and raised daughter of Ghanian immigrants, lives in Victoria with her husband, poet Steven Price, and newborn daughter. Each wrote a first novel that critics admired, particularly in the U.S.—Edugyan’s The Second Life of Samuel Tyne was named by the New York Public Library as a Book to Remember in 2004, while Ablutions by deWitt was a 2009 New York Times Editors’ Choice book—but that created little stir among readers.
By macleans.ca - Friday, September 9, 2011 at 10:30 AM - 0 Comments
A Syrian official resigns in protest, the UN warns hundreds of thousands could die because of famine in Somalia
Taking a stand
After five months and more than 2,200 casualties, the Syrian regime continues its crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators. But at least one official is taking sides against President Bashar al-Assad. Adnan Bakkour, a provincial attorney general, resigned in protest last week via YouTube. The state-run news agency said Bakkour was kidnapped and forced to announce his defection, but that seems about as likely as the latest news on Moammar Gadhafi. A spokesman for the besieged Libyan strongman says he is “still strong and capable of turning the tables on NATO.” Meanwhile, there are reports that a convoy of regime loyalists was fleeing the country for Niger.
Another graceful exit
Olivia Chow has ruled out running for the leadership of the NDP. The amazing public outpouring of grief following Jack Layton’s death suggests she could have won a fair amount of support, and Chow surely was under some pressure to pick up the mantle left by her husband. But sentimentality isn’t what the party needs. It requires a leader who can build, in their own way, on what Layton accomplished. Chow wisely decided to focus her considerable skills on other work.
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, October 11, 2009 at 1:52 AM - 121 Comments
Yann Martel has compiled his letters to Stephen Harper in a book.
“I suspect we have with Harper – and maybe he’s not the first, but it’s the first time I’ve noticed – I think we have someone who in a sense is post-literate,” Martel, who won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2002 for “Life of Pi,” said in a recent interview.
“Of course he can read, of course he’s read books, of course he’s able to absorb a lot of information and he’s very intelligent.
“But I suspect in the making of the man, literary culture – so in other words, what novels, short stories, poems can bring to a person – that aspect hasn’t been very important so that’s what I mean by he’s post-literate.”