Defying Ladbroke's predictions of a Murakami victory, Chinese novelist Mo Yan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday. Mo (a pen name that means "don't speak") is the author of six novels that have been translated into English, as well as multiple short story collections. In grantating the prize to Mo, the Swedish Academy described him as a writer "who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history, and the contemporary.” Artist Ai Weiwei, however, did not agree: “Giving the award to a writer like this is an insult to humanity and to literature. It’s shameful for the committee to have made this selection which does not live up to the previous quality of literature in the award.”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti has turned down a 50,000 euro prize from the Hungarian PEN chapter after learning that the Janus Pannonius International Poetry Prize was partially funded by the Hungarian government. In a letter to the Hungarian PEN club, Ferlinghetti explainined his decision, stating, "Since the policies of this right-wing regime tend toward authoritarian rule and the consequent curtailing of freedom of expression and civil liberties, I find it impossible for me to accept the Prize in the United States. Thus I must refuse the Prize in its present terms."
Robert Caro, Anthony Shadid, Katherine Boo, and Anne Applebaum are the nonfiction nominees for the National Book Award, while Junot Diaz, Ben Fountain, Louise Erdich, Kevin Powers, and Dave Eggers are up for the fiction prize. A full list of the nominees are available here.
Is the Daily Beast becoming a landing site for disgraced journalists, wonders the Observer? Over the past several months, the Newsweek affiliate has published the likes of Jayson Blair, Jonah Lehrer, and, most recently, Mike Daisey, who was publicly outed for falsifying a “This American Life” story about working conditions in Chinese Apple factories. On the one-year anniversary of Steve Jobs’s death, Daisey wrote a memorial on the Daily Beast for the Apple founder.
Forty-six years after the musical adaptation famously flopped on Broadway, a new adaptation of Truman Capote’s novel Breakfast at Tiffany’s will hit the stage again this spring.
Authors, with the exception of E.L. James and erotic novelist Sylvia Day, awoke to an unpleasant surprise on Wednesday: the introduction of Amazon Author Rank. The feature ranks the top one hundred most popular authors in different literary genres based on their Amazon sales. The rankings change every hour, but as Carolyn Kellogg points out at the Los Angeles Times, there may be some glitches in the system. “Wednesday morning, Dr. Seuss appeared to be ranked 56th and 64th simultaneously. Neil Gaiman also held two simultaneous spots, 84th and 88th.”
A never-before-seen epic poem by J.R.R. Tolkien about the last days of King Arthur will be published next year by HarperCollins. "Though its title had been known from Humphrey Carpenter's Biography and JRR Tolkien's own letters, we never supposed that [“The Fall of Arthur”] would see the light of day," said acquiring editor Chris Smith.
Listen to Wallace Shawn reading Denis Johnson’s incredible story “Car-crash while Hitchhiking.”