Poet Simon Armitage

The finalists for the 33rd annual Los Angeles Book Prize were announced last week, and the winners will be awarded on Thursday. In addition to selecting winners in the usual categories, Kevin Starr and Margaret Atwood will be presented with special achievement awards.

In the spirit of Sebald, poet Simon Armitage will attempt to walk all 260 miles of England’s coast this summer with nothing but poems to trade for food and shelter.

Javier Marias’s “introduction to professional writing was facilitated by an uncle who was a maker of soft porn and horror films. During the six weeks the 17-year-old Marķas stayed at his uncle's Parisian apartment he not only watched 85 films but also broke the back of a debut novel, Los dominios del lobo (The Dominions of the Wolf) that was published in 1971 when he was only 20.” In anticipation of the translation of his twelfth novel, The Infatuations, into English, the Guardian profiles the Spanish novelist.

Books by and about Pope Benedict XVI are flying off shelves—and publishers, unprepared for the sales bump, are scrambling to print more.