Carolyn Offers Up
her Fifth Annual “Noble” Prize For Literature
lot can happen in five years. And a lot can not happen in five years.
given out more Noble (Not Nobel!) Prizes some years than others.
I've had authors who have utilized the honor (and yes, even small
awards are honors, just like small hugs!). And I've had some who
Noble hasn't grown as much as I once thought it would. Maybe that's
because some authors are frightened by the guidelines. Though short,
they can be off-putting. I look for books that show excellence in
use of the English language, present themes or premises that might
help even one reader recognize and curtail bigotry, or explore the
human condition in other important ways.
some authors seem to hesitate. Yes, most winners are books of poetry
or fiction. But, gosh, it doesn't cost anything to enter. Well,
okay. The cost of a book and the postage and the effort to write
a little note with a blurb telling me why it should be considered.
It's not a bribe, of course, but I also do a Ten Best List
for MyShelf and sometimes books that don't make the Noble
award are on that list because I don't duplicate. Go back to the
home page of MyShelf.com this month and click on the Ten Best. Each
of the MyShelf reviewers contributes a list. It's a great way to
find more good reading and you'll also be able to tell what kinds
of books reviewers like; that's valuable information if you're looking
to get reviews for your book.
I digress. I have big plans for the Noble but can't follow through
with them for free. Thus, I am looking for a grant. Now, here's
the rub. Most of the grants I find are for dance or graphic art
or . . . well, let's just say most are not for writing. The ones
I find for writing seem to be oriented toward local needs rather
than national. So, if anyone out there knows of a foundation that
is looking to encourage writers of hard-to-publish genres like poetry
and literary fiction, won't you let me know?
of you who follow this award know that I asked my daughter-in-law
to help me. Leigh Johnson is a good judge of literary
work, has a law degree from Stamford, and her input adds an extra
dimension to my picks for she tells me she chooses books not from
the bestseller lists but from reviews--even reviews in obscure journals.
This year my son, Trent Johnson, suggested one
of his own, The Zookeeper's Wife. I, of course, also glean
winners from the books you nominate, the books written by my UCLA
students and fellow instructors, books my editors assign me to review,
and even a few that I pick up in second-hand book stores. I try
to avoid books that have been hanging around bestseller lists (you
can access those without me) and those that have already won awards.
now you know what to look for, let's enjoy the 2007 winners of Carolyn’s
Noble Prize for Literature. That’s “Noble,” not
“Nobel.” Here they are.
Noble List for Reading in 2008
Ball for her Sleep Before Evening. Published
by Be Write Books. This book is about how addiction can strike
anyone, even families that love one another. The ISBN is 978-1904492962
Alexanians is the author of It's Spring. It Snows.
It is a book of poetry that touches on war, peace and how they
are affected by tolerance or its lack. Self-published in the
time-honored tradition of publishing chapbooks (even producing
them by hand). Click on the cover to purchase.
Bechdel for Fun Home: A Tragicomedy published
by Mariner Books. Leigh says, "It's a graphic novel as
poignant as any novel I've ever read." ISBN: 978-0618871711
Ackerman for The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story
is nonfiction about a family who hid Jews during the German
occupation. It explores genetics and biology of animals and
humans and the way these affect our thinking. Published by Thorndike
Press. ISBN: 978-1410403490
Ferris for Then We Came to the End, adds a
little fun about petty office politics to this list of well-written
books. Published by Little, Brown and Co. ISBN: 978-0316016384
Ovasapyan, also the publisher of her own chapbook, ForGone.
It is a book about love, both dreamy and lyrical. Click on the
cover to purchase.
Gompertz, author of To Life, To Love, a creative
assortment of poetry, prose and memoir published by iUniverse.
ISBN 059-53555595. Gompertz is a former publicist for NBC and
taught for UCLA for many years. He is the author of another
Noble award winner, The Messiah of Midtown Park.
Shriver for The Post Birthday World. It is
an experimental novel about both fidelity or infidelity, depending
on the story line you prefer. Published by HarperCollins.
Kreckel, for his The Rommel Mission, published
by Red Engine Press. This book makes clear the human side of
WWII, told clearly and straightforwardly. ISBN 978-0978515898.
Faulkner and Pat McGrath Avery for The Sunchon Tunnel
Massacre. This book gives voice to those who survived
this Korean War atrocity, and those who didn't. Published by
Red Engine Press.
Perry for Right to Recover: Winning the Political and
Religious Wars Over Stem Cell Research in America published
by Nightengale Press is a rare nonfiction selection because
it addresses a subject that can--if implemented--alleviate human
suffering. ISBN: 978-1933449418
Brundage for Swallowing Watermelons, a small
book of poetry about being young, single, a mother and biracial.
Published by Ishmael Reed. ISBN; 142-5714633
F. Nienstedt for Evil Business. This book reads
like a paranormal book but explores philosophies that make it
work at a deeper level. Published by iUniverse. ISBN: 978-0595420568.
Meeks for Who Lives, a play that explores
ethics, kidney disease and life. Published by White Whisker
Books. ISBN: 978-1847283757. Christopher teaches writing at
UCLA Extension Writers' Program. Christopher is a two-time
Noble award-winner. His first was for The Middle-Aged
Man and the Sea.
Each month in this box, Carolyn lists
a writing or promotion tidbit that will help authors and a
tip to help readers find a treasure among long-neglected books
or a sapphire among the newly-published.
Tidbit: Carolyn's blog, www.sharingwithwriters.blogspot.com,
includes everything writer-related from rants on Oprah to
the quirky things some libraries are doing these days. You
can sighn up to receive each blog entry directly into your
e-mail box. Scroll down. Find it in the left column.
Tip: Carolyn has a new blog for readers to find books
they may not find in their newspaper's book sections or the
nation's review journals. Visit it at www.TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com.
You might even look for some of Carolyn's old MyShelf.com
reviews there—with permission from MyShelf editor and
guru Brenda Weeaks, of course.
MyShelf.Com. All Rights Reserved.