On the Books Mar. 16: Orange Prize longlist announced, James Frey weirdness, and more
The 2011 Orange Prize longlist has been announced: Almost half of the 20 listed authors for fiction are nominated for their debut works, including the envy-inducingly young Téa Obreht for The Tiger’s Wife, and also includes veterans like last week’s National Book Critics Circle Award winner Jennifer Egan. (Side note: I love a good longlist and seeing it whittled to a shortlist, and The Guardian’s Robert McCrum raises interesting questions about the “reductive or seductive” power of book lists–who gets left out?).
James Frey is doing publishing his own way. The announcement of his book about a Bronx-based Messianic pot smoker who sleeps with prostitutes was unusual enough, but now Frey seems to be coming down with a Messiah complex of his own. The original manuscript of his book will be printed on canvas and displayed by the Gagosian gallery, which is also publishing the book on a limited 10,000-copy run. If that’s not enough, 1,000 Frey fans (are there that many?) will be able to buy a signed collectors’ edition for a hefty $150.
In more awards news, author Deborah Eisenberg won the PEN/Faulkner Award for The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg, beating out Jennifer Egan. It’s kind of great that book awards are so less predictable than film awards.
Professors give the iPad a thumbs down as a classroom companion.