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Arts and Entertainment

October Means Lots of Literature Prizes

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It's time for the LAIST prize roundup in the book world. John Banville, in a surprise turn, has won the Booker Prize for his novel, The Sea, beating out favorite Julian Barnes, Kazuo Ishiguro, Zadie Smith, Sebastian Barry, and Ali Smith. Apparently the voting was as close as it's ever been. There's a great 3-part interview with Banville at the litblog The Elegant Variation.

The Nobel Prize for Literature has not yet been announced - it may happen just in time for Yom Kippur. Here's an article on dissent in Sweden. One member of the academy stepped down because of last year's selection of playwright Elfriede Jelinkek. We are big Jelinek fans, and are sure she'd find it complimentary to be so provocative.

The silly, silly Quills, the criticized bestseller-awards that were supposed to drum up audience support for literature, only succeeded in making a lot of bookbloggers amused. But J.K. Rowling, Jon Stewart, Sue Monk Kidd, David McCullough, and Stephen King won, among others.

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The finalists for the National Book Award have been announced, in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people's literature. They include E.L. Doctorow, Joan Didion, William T. Vollman, and a poetry standoff between W.S. Merwin and John Ashbery.

Lastly, the Poetry Foundation's 2nd-annual Pegasus Awards go to Landis Everson (for an American poet over 50 who hasn't yet published), William Logan (criticism) and the inimitable Tony Hoagland for comic writing. Hoagland's most recent book, What Narcissism Means To Me, is great for converting the poetically reluctant.