- Pulitzer prize-winning poet C.K. Williams won this year’s $100,000 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize from Poetry magazine.
- The shortlist for Africa’s Caine prize has been announced. The Guardian reports that, “Doreen Baingana from Uganda is a contender for the second year running on a shortlist dominated by Nigeria.” All four of the continent’s past Nobel laureates — JM Coetzee, Wole Soyinka, Nadine Gordimer, and Naguib Mahfouz — are patrons of the prize, says the Guardian.
- Jonathan Coe’s B.S. Johnson biography, Like a Fiery Elephant, and Orhan Pamuk’s new book about Istanbul have made the longlist for the Samuel Johnson prize.
- The Da Vinci Code has won an award. Thank God somebody’s rescued that poor book from obscurity.
- James Marcus (author of the excellent Amazonia) begs to differ with the suggestion, made by Margo Hammond, that the book selected for the 1998 NBCC award was a compromise because judges couldn’t decide between the latest Roth and DeLillo:
To make my own preferences clear at the outset, I admire The Blue Flower more than DeLillo’s loose-and-baggy monster, and would certainly put it on par with the Roth (which alternates sublime passages with particle-board contrivance). But I’m not bitching because everybody doesn’t agree with me. What offended me was the suggestion that we threw some old bag the prize because we were rent asunder by Phil and Don.
Update: Hammond, it turns out, wasn’t even a judge that year.