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  • Lots of details about the Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards 2009 (which will be televised on ITV3 on Tuesday, 27th October at 9pm.) from the Bookseller:

    US crime writer Harlan Coben was named this week as ITV3 viewers' favourite crime genre author, beating Dick Francis, Alexander McCall Smith, Nicci French and Martina Cole after an online poll which lasted six weeks. But it was Lynda La Plante who stole the show with her views on celebrity authors.

    The award was announced at the Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards 2009, held [yesterday] at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. La Plante expressed her views on celebrity authors while on stage collecting her trophy to commemorate joining the 'Hall of Fame'. La Plante told publishers they needed to "cut through the dross" and put their "millions of pounds" into authors other than those enjoying "15 minutes of fame". This comes after the Daily Mail published an article this week in which authors including P D James dismissed the trend of celebrity authors. It named Martine McCutcheon who was also at the awards. Her debut novel The Mistress is due to be published by Macmillan in November.

    The best crime novel of the year went to William Brodrick who won the CWA Gold Dagger 2009, sponsored by BooksDirect, for A Whispered Name. The year's best thriller was The Last Child by John Hart, which won the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger 2009, sponsored by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd. Johan Theorin's Echoes From The Dead won the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger 2009, sponsored by Louise Penny and Michael Whitehead, as a first book by a previously unpublished writer, awarded in memory of CWA founder John Creasey.

    Colin Dexter, Lynda La Plante, Ian Rankin and Val McDermid collected trophies to commemorate their inaguration into the Hall of Fame.

    HBO's The Wire picked up two gongs, as best drama and its star Dominic West as the best actor. Juliet Stevenson won the best actress dagger.

  • | .

    Today is National Poetry Day and its theme is "Heroes and Heroines"...

    And talking of poetic heroes, last night Don Paterson won the 2009 Forward poetry prize. And his fellow Faber poet, Emma Jones, picked up the £5,000 Felix Dennis Prize Best First Collection for her "elliptical and visionary" debut The Striped World.

    Sixteen years after he debuted on the poetry scene with the acclaimed collection Nil Nil, Don Paterson has triumphed over one of the strongest poetry shortlists in years to take the Forward prize for best collection with Rain, a work which judges said showed the Scottish poet's "total mastery of his art".

    Paterson, 45, beat a line-up of acclaimed poets including Peter Porter, Sharon Olds and Glyn Maxwell to win the £10,000 award for Rain, a continuation of his personal and philosophical exploration of the world around him (more...)

  • Yesterday, Hilary Mantel won the biggest British literary prize of the season -- the 2009 Man Booker -- with her historical novel Wolf Hall:

    'Lock Cromwell in a deep dungeon in the morning,' says Thomas More, 'and when you come back that night he'll be sitting on a plush cushion eating larks' tongues, and all the gaolers will owe him money.' England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey's clerk, and later his successor. Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. Ruthless in pursuit of his own interests, he is as ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages.

    From one of our finest living writers, Wolf Hall is that very rare thing: a truly great English novel, one that explores the intersection of individual psychology and wider politics. With a vast array of characters, and richly overflowing with incident, it peels back history to show us Tudor England as a half-made society, moulding itself with great passion and suffering and courage.

  • Wolf Hall wins the Booker

    Tue, 06 Oct 2009 16:02

    Hilary Mantel has won the 2009 Man Booker Prize with her novel Wolf Hall:

    'Lock Cromwell in a deep dungeon in the morning,' says Thomas More, 'and when you come back that night he'll be sitting on a plush cushion eating larks' tongues, and all the gaolers will owe him money.' England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey's clerk, and later his successor. Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. Ruthless in pursuit of his own interests, he is as ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages.

    From one of our finest living writers, Wolf Hall is that very rare thing: a truly great English novel, one that explores the intersection of individual psychology and wider politics. With a vast array of characters, and richly overflowing with incident, it peels back history to show us Tudor England as a half-made society, moulding itself with great passion and suffering and courage.

  • This year is the 60th Anniversary of the National Book Awards. (And how great are those black and white author images -- Pynchon especially!)

    The following six Finalists for The Best of the National Book Awards Fiction were selected by 140 writers from across the country and represent a wonderful cross-section of some of the finest writing of the latter half of the 20th century.

     

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