Book Bites: News and Views for October 9

It’s book award season! Love ’em or hate ’em, national and international book awards do bring lots of attention to a great number of authors. This year’s crop of nominees and winners seems pretty diverse, and should help you build a nice big TBR pile for your winter holiday.

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Belarusian writer Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize in Literature for what the Nobel committee called “her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time.” Alexievich is a journalist, writing stories of modern Russia’s painful legacy. She was awarded the prize for her body of work, which is exclusively non-fiction, a rarity in the prize’s history.

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The Scotiabank Giller finalists have been whittled down to a short list, announced this week. The five finalists are:

Fifteen Dogs — Andre Alexis

Arvida — Samuel Archibald

Outline — Rachel Cusk

Daydreams of Angels — Heather O’Neill

Martin John — Ankana Schofield

The winner will be awarded in a live televised ceremony on November 10.

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The finalists for the Governor General’s Literary Awards have also been announced, with 35 books listed in seven categories, including Fiction, Non-Fiction, Drama, Children’s Literature — Text, Children’s Literature — Illustrated, Poetry, and Translation. The awards will be handed out on October 28.

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Henning Mankell, the Swedish crime writer best known for his Wallander detective series, has died. Mankell’s work was known around the world, though he also dedicated time to humanitarian work and activism, as noted in the Globe and Mail’s obituary of the writer. Mankell is also credited for having paved the way for other European crime writers, including Steig Larsson and Jo Nesbø. Mankell was 67 years old.

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Potterheads are sure to delight in the first illustrated version of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, released this week. The special edition features the artwork of Jim Kay, and it does look pretty spectacular.

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    Karen Green

    Karen Green is a freelance writer and big city ex-pat now living in rural Ontario. She writes for numerous print and online publications, and considers her library card to be one of her most valuable possessions.

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