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Here are the 10 best lines from Vulture’s profile of “book-fluencer” Zibby Owens.

Literary Hub

September 17, 2019, 3:31pm

First, can we all agree that it should be “lit-fluencer”? Moving on:

1. “Gertrude Stein had time to read books. But do moms?”

2. “Owens’s dinner will be in a decidedly lower key: a gingham tablecloth, uniformed servers passing out pigs in blankets, Zibby’s kids popping in occasionally to whisper hello to novelists sipping rosé by the gently lapping pool.”

3. “Perhaps not coincidentally, the main building of the NYPL bears the name of her father, billionaire (and Trump whisperer) Stephen A. Schwarzman.”

4. “Zibby can move product.”

5. “At Harvard, she met the ineptly named Andrew Right”

6. “For years, she has been trying to write a memoir called 40 Love that chronicles her second marriage but has been stymied by a divorce agreement that forbids her from discussing her first.”

7. “Kyle [Owens’ husband] had a friend who knew Andre Agassi, and lo, episode two featured an international celebrity very belatedly promoting his 2009 autobiography, Open. ‘After that, it got easier and easier.’”

8. “There isn’t yet an overarching vision, except for the memoir — and the notion of joining the ranks of the authors she admires and promotes.”

9. “Moms is operating at a loss, but Owens says making money was never the point.”

10. “All her dad did was give the New York Public Library $100 million.”

[h/t Vulture]

Booker Prize organizers clarify that despite that tweet, they haven’t yet chosen a winner yet.

Jessie Gaynor

September 17, 2019, 1:42pm

According to The Guardian, Margaret Atwood has not been chosen as the winner of this year’s Booker Prize—in fact, no one has. Yesterday, writer Matthew Sperling tweeted (then deleted) a photo from an unnamed bookstore, of two of the Booker Prize-shortlisted novels—Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments and Lucy Ellman’s Ducks, Newburyport—bearing stickers that announced the former as the prize’s winner and the latter simply as a nominee.

“Don’t think you were supposed to use those stickers yet, lads…” Sperling wrote, and (a small section of) Twitter was (very briefly) all abuzz with what they assumed was the news. (Personal aside: it’s really shitty to gleefully predict that people will be fired over things that are clearly honest mistakes rather than acts of malice. Please don’t do that.)

The Booker committee issued a statement saying that the winner “will not be decided until the judges meet on 14 October 2019.” The explanation for the error seems pretty straightforward: the Booker Prize Foundation sent out packs of stickers for both the shortlist and the eventual winners, and someone used the wrong stickers. There you have it: a classic sticky situation no I am not sorry.

[h/t The Guardian]

Here come the sex cult books!

Jonny Diamond

September 17, 2019, 11:26am

People like sex (I’ve been told) and people like (to read about) cults. Which is why two impending sex cult tell-alls could yield seven-figure publishing deals.

The cult in question, Nxivm—which I refuse to even attempt to pronounce—came to national attention a a little over a year ago when Smallville star Allison Mack (pictured above) was accused of recruiting young women to join cult leader Keith Raniere’s Albany-based “self-help group” (the two were charged sex trafficking, forced labor, extortion, and more).

One of the women recruited was India Oxenberg (daughter of actress Catherine, who’s already written about the experience), who’s memoir is being shopped by Foundry Literary + Media. Another account of the cult is being written by the mother of Raniere’s child, an as-yet unnamed woman who escaped to Florida following threats from Nxivm, and who is represented by Eileen Cope at Mark Creative Management.

Here is the Translated Literature Longlist for the 2019 National Book Awards.

Literary Hub

September 17, 2019, 10:45am

Day two of the National Book Foundation’s longlist announcements; today, the Translated Literature Longlist, a category that was added just last year. Publishers submitted a total of 145 books. The judges (Keith Gessen, Elisabeth Jaquette, Katie Kitamura, Idra Novey, and Shuchi Saraswat) chose the following ten titles which were originally written in ten different languages: Arabic, Danish, Finnish, French, Hungarian, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Here’s the 2019 Longlist for the National Book Award for Translated Literature:

Naja Marie Aidt, tr. Denise Newman, When Death Takes Something from You Give it BackNaja Marie Aidt, When Death Takes Something from You Give It Back: Carl’s Book
Translated by Denise Newman
Coffee House Press

Read an excerpt here.

Eliane Brum, The Collector of Leftover Souls: Field Notes on Brazil’s Everyday InsurrectionsEliane Brum, The Collector of Leftover Souls: Field Notes on Brazil’s Everyday Insurrections
Translated by Diane Grosklaus Whitty
Graywolf Press

Read an excerpt here.

Nona Fernández, Space InvadersNona Fernández, Space Invaders
Translated by Natasha Wimmer
Graywolf Press

Vigdis Hjorth, Will and TestamentVigdis Hjorth, Will and Testament
Translated by Charlotte Barslund
Verso Fiction / Verso Books

Khaled Khalifa, Death is Hard WorkKhaled Khalifa, Death is Hard Work
Translated by Leri Price
Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Macmillan Publishers

Read an excerpt here. 

László Krasznahorkai, Baron Wenckheim’s HomecomingLászló Krasznahorkai, Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming
Translated by Ottilie Mulzet
New Directions

Scholastique Mukasonga, The Barefoot WomanScholastique Mukasonga, The Barefoot Woman
Translated by Jordan Stump
Archipelago Books

Read an excerpt here.

memory policeYoko Ogawa, The Memory Police
Translated by Stephen Snyder
Pantheon Books / Penguin Random House

Read an excerpt here.

Pajtim Statovci, CrossingPajtim Statovci, Crossing
Translated by David Hackston
Pantheon Books / Penguin Random House

Read an excerpt here.

drive your plowOlga Tokarczuk, Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead
Translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones
Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House

Read an excerpt here.

Here are the finalists for this year’s $50,000 Kirkus Prize.

Emily Temple

September 17, 2019, 10:21am

Today, Kirkus announced the eighteen finalists for its 2019 Kirkus Prize. One winner in each category (fiction, nonfiction, and young readers’ literature) will be announced in a ceremony on Thursday, October 24 and awarded $50,000.

“We have another stellar lineup of finalists for the Kirkus Prize this year,” said Kirkus Reviews editor-in-chief Tom Beer in a press release. “Our fiction finalists tackle history and current events with timeless style and insight. The nonfiction finalists represent a broad cross-section of the work being done today, from criticism and current-events reportage to history and memoir. Finally, the books for young readers showcase the extraordinary picture books, middle-grade books, and YA books that introduce young people to the issues of our time.”

Full list of finalists below.


Carolina De Robertis, Cantoras (Knopf)
Laila Lalami, The Other Americans (Pantheon)
Valeria Luiselli, Lost Children Archive (Knopf)
Yuko Tsushima, tr. Geraldine Harcourt, Territory of Light (FSG)
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous (Penguin Press)
Colson Whitehead, The Nickel Boys (Doubleday)

The judges for the 2019 Kirkus Prize in Fiction are: bestselling author Min Jin Lee; editor, writer, and critic David L. Ulin; and Michelle Malonzo, buyer and bookseller at Changing Hands Bookstore in Arizona.


Hanif Abdurraqib, Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest (Univ. of Texas)
Naja Marie Aidt, tr. Denise Newman, When Death Takes Something from You Give It Back: Carl’s Book (Coffee House)
Saeed Jones, How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir (Simon & Schuster)
Patrick Radden Keefe, Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland (Doubleday)
Dina Nayeri, The Ungrateful Refugee: What Immigrants Never Tell You (Catapult)
Rachel Louise Snyder, No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us (Bloomsbury)

The judges for the 2019 Kirkus Prize in Nonfiction are: Kirkus Prize–winning and Pulitzer Prize–winning Jack E. Davis; critic Richard Z. Santos; and bookseller at Miami’s Books & Books, Aaron John Curtis.


Picture Books:

Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, The Undefeated (Versify/HMH)
Juan Felipe Herrera, illustrated by Lauren Castillo, Imagine (Candlewick)

Middle Grade:

Jerry Craft, New Kid (HarperCollins)
Alicia D. Williams, Genesis Begins Again (Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum)

Young Adult:

Angie Thomas, On The Come Up (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins)
Juan Pablo Villalobos, tr. Rosalind Harvey, The Other Side: Stories of Central American Teen Refugees Who Dream of Crossing the Border (FSG)

The judges for the 2019 Kirkus Prize in Young Readers’ Literature are: award-winning author Mitali Perkins; Kirkus critic Hanna Lee; and Professor of Library Science at North Carolina Central University, Pauletta Brown Bracy.