Wednesday News: Beatty wins the Booker, cool comics cover model, Maria Bamford, and hilarious rejection checklist
Man Booker Prize: Paul Beatty becomes first US winner for The Sellout – I am of two minds about this: while I am thrilled that Paul Beatty’s book is being rewarded for its brilliance, it’s yet another big prize for a U.S. writer. Still, watching Beatty accept the award was very moving, and I love this description from Amanda Foreman, who chaired the panel of judges: “This is a book that nails the reader to the cross with cheerful abandon. . . . But while you are being nailed you are being tickled.” Apparently it took a mere four hours for the panel to reach a unanimous decision, and hopefully it will mean even more readers for the book.
The Sellout beat five other novels, including Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing, the bookies’ favourite, and Graeme Macrae Burnet’s Scottish crime thriller His Bloody Project. . . .
The shortlisted authors each receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book. The winner receives a further £50,000.
This is the second consecutive Man Booker Prize success for independent publisher Oneworld, following Marlon James’s win with A Brief History of Seven Killings in 2015. – BBC News
Groundbreaking Female Comic Book Store Owner Now Appears on a Marvel Cover – I know I covered Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse owner Ariell Johnson previously, and in the midst of what seems to be a resurgence of comic book stores across the U.S., it is particularly sweet to see a woman of color portrayed in a genre she adores. Johnson appears on an alternate cover of Invincible Iron Man #1, along with new Marvel superhero RiRi Williams (who is unfortunately not written by a black woman). Of course it’s part of the company’s publicity for the new Iron Man, but at least it’s not for yet another white, male superhero story. As Johnson says,
“To think I made it a decade-plus and I had never seen a black, woman superhero is crazy because little white boys have so many [with whom they identify]: ‘I want to be Iron Man!’ ‘I want to be Batman!’ ‘I want to be Superman.’ ‘I want to be Han Solo!’ When you are a person of color, you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel to find someone you can identify with. I always felt like I was watching other people’s adventures,” she explained. “Being introduced to Storm was a pivotal moment for me because had I not come across her, I might have grown out of my love for [comics].” – ABC News
Maria Bamford’s favorite self-help books – Okay, so before you roll your eyes, Maria Bamford is a brilliant comedian whose recent Netflix series, Lady Dynamite, is all about her return to Hollywood after a severe breakdown. Her comedy is wickedly ironic and yet charming, and she is very open about her life with mental illness (a friend who knows Bamford assures me that much of what is in her series is based on her real life). And with NaNoWriMo right around the corner, I thought these suggestions, from a comedy writer who loves a stigmatized genre of books might be useful (also, I want more people to watch her Netflix series):
“Unstuck: A Supportive and Practical Guide to Working Through Writer’s Block” by Jane Anne Staw (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2003)
This book is awesome. It’s step by step. I’ve thought about calling the writer myself, she just sounds so great. (She works with individuals to help get them unblocked.) One thing I do with books that people would probably hate, I cut things out of them that inspire me, so my copy of this book is all cut up. I put the pieces in my calendar or my journal. For example, “A Supportive and Practical Guide to Working Through Writer’s Block,” which is just the subtitle of the book, I cut that out because I felt that’s what I need. I have a couple of ladies who I check in with via email, updating them on what I’m writing every day — my two pages a day. This book encourages thinking small. “Making your writing world safer” is one of the topics. It was very helpful. I may have searched “Writers Block” on Amazon and this book came up. I apologize to small, independent bookstores in my neighborhood. – Los Angeles Times
How Movie Studios Rejected Scripts During the Silent-Film Era: A Cold, 17-Point Checklist Circa 1915 – I’m actually kind of stuck on the offensive Native American stereotype presiding over this checklist, along with the beautiful symmetry of this document being used for silent films, but I’m wondering how far off it is from today’s rejection letter.
Born during the era of silent movies, the Essanay Film Manufacturing Companyproduced a series of Charlie Chaplin films in 1915, most notably including The Tramp. The Essanay document above shows us one thing: It didn’t take long for the film industry to master the cold rejection letter. Filmmakers could pour their heart and soul into writing a script. And what did they get in return? A list of 17 possible reasons to reject a manuscript, with a deflating check mark next to a particular item. That’s it. No further explanation offered. – Open Culture