Publishing News – November 2011

National Book Award Winning Authors (from left to right): Stephen Greenblatt, Thanhha Lai, Nikky Finney, and Jesmyn Ward. Photo Courtesy of the National Book Foundation.

November is National Novel Writing Month!

November 1st is the beginning of National Novel Writing Month, a 30-day challenge for writers. Participants aim to write 50,000 words of a novel in a month; anyone who finishes is declared a winner. The first NaNoWriMo, held in 1999, had only 21 participants, but the event has grown to over 200,000 would-be novelists from all over the globe. Writers are connected by the NaNoWriMo website, which allows them to track word count, read pep talks from published authors, and discuss their novels in the forums. Participants can even submit their novel’s synopsis to the 30 Covers in 30 Days project. Each day, one synopsis is chosen to be rendered into a cover by a professional graphic designer. Some of the novels that have emerged from NaNoWriMo have gone on to be published; Sara Gruen’s bestseller, Water for Elephants, began as a NaNoWriMo novel.

2011 National Book Award Winners

This past Wednesday, the National Book Foundation announced the winners of the National Book Awards. Awards were given out in four categories, each of which had a pool of five nominees. Thanhha Lai’s Inside Out & Back Again, a story of a 10-year-old girl fleeing with her family from the Vietnam War, won for Young People’s Literature. The Non-Fiction winner was The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, by Stephen Greenblatt. The Swerve focuses on the influence that one manuscript, Lucretius’s On the Nature of Things, had on the emergence of the Renaissance. Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones, which is set in the midst of Hurricane Katrina, won for Fiction. The final award for Poetry, went to Head Off & Split, by Nikky Finney.

U.S. World Book Night Campaign Launched

World Book Night, an event previously held this past spring in the U.K. and Ireland, is coming to the U.S. The purpose of this event is to spread the love of reading by distributing free books. Book Night ambassadors receive copies of a book they have chosen from a list of twenty-five titles (last year’s can be seen here). They then can give these copies to whomever they choose, the goal being to reach those who do not normally read. This year, one million books were given away, and that number is sure to grow. World Book Night will be held next year on a special date: April 23rd, the death date of Don Quixote author Miguel de Cervantes, and the birth and death date of Shakespeare.

Book Adaptations Coming the Big Screen

Thanksgiving brings a time that all film buffs can be thankful for – the beginning of Oscar season. With the nomination time fast approaching, studios are releasing their award-hopeful films for the Academy members’ consideration. As with past years, many of this season’s movies are based on acclaimed books.

On November 23rd, Hugo, an adaptation of the Caldecott-winning children’s novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, will hit theaters. An adaptation of John Le Carre’s spy novel, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, starring Gary Oldman and Colin Firth, will arrive a few weeks later, on December 9th.

December 21st marks the release of one of the year’s most anticipated films, The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo. Though Stieg Larsson’s trilogy has already been adapted into three Swedish films, the American version, starring Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig, is sure to be a box-office success. Also coming to theaters, on Christmas Day, is Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock.

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