Welcome to the Words After War Weekly Round-Up: First Prize Edition. In this space we share seven links relevant to our mission of improving the veteran-civilian dialogue through high-quality literary programming.
For the most part, being a writer is a pretty thankless job filled with long, solitary spells of slippery inspiration and storm clouds of self-doubt. But sometimes, if you grind it out for a very long time (or if you’re a genius), you’ll see some recognition. In the literary world, this recognition usually takes the form of one of a few well-known awards. Because most of these books don’t move huge numbers or make a mass cultural impression, these prize committees hold great power. And sometimes they mess up! There was no Pulitzer for fiction last year. The three-person panel made their recommendations (The Pale King, Train Dreams and Swamplandia!) and then…nothing. Now, some would say those were three odd, imperfect choices: an unfinished novel published posthumously, a novella that first appeared in The Paris Review some years earlier and a charming yet flawed first novel. But most agree that any winner would’ve been better than none at all. Plenty of prize-winning books have dropped in esteem over the years. No reason to spin thumbs.
Here we go with the links:
1. An interview with Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson, via Mental Floss.
2. Writers reflect on Alice Munro’s Nobel Prize in The New Yorker.
3. Feeling old and/or unaccomplished? The winner of this year’s Man Booker Prize is 28.
4. Here are the finalists for the National Book Award, including Navy veteran Thomas Pynchon. Who do you like? (BONUS LINK: Michael Chabon on Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge).
5. Read Words After War instructor Matt Gallagher on William Swenson’s Medal of Honor in The Daily Beast.
6. Maurice Decaul talks war poetry and jazz with MacArthur Fellow Vijay Iyer on NPR.
7. Former Navy EOD John Ismay explains chemical weapons.
Will you be in NYC on 11/2? Come to our first public event, featuring some of our favorite writers! Information and tickets HERE. Can’t attend but interested in getting involved? Make a tax-deductible donation HERE.
Have a great weekend.