Wednesday News: new Harper Lee novel, SFWA accepts self-pub & small press members, ALA Youth Media Awards, and double standards for female authors
On Tuesday, Ms. Lee’s publisher announced its plans to release that novel, recently rediscovered, which Ms. Lee completed in the mid-1950s, before she wrote “To Kill A Mockingbird.” The 304-page book, “Go Set a Watchman,” takes place 20 years later in the same fictional town, Maycomb, Ala., and unfolds as Jean Louise Finch, or Scout, the feisty child heroine of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” returns to visit her father. The novel, which is scheduled for release this July, tackles the racial tensions brewing in the South in the 1950s and delves into the complex relationship between father and daughter.
Although written first, “Go Set a Watchman” is a continuation of the same story, with overlapping themes and characters. But Ms. Lee abandoned the manuscript after her editor, who was captivated by the flashbacks to Scout’s childhood, told her to write a new book from the young heroine’s perspective and to set it during her childhood. –New York Times
Specific details will be posted at sfwa.org by the first of March, but the basic standards are $3,000 for novel, or a total of 10,000 words of short fiction paid at 6 cents a word for Active membership. A single story of at least 1,000 words paid at 6 cents a word will be required for Associate membership. Affiliate, Estate, and Institutional membership requirements remain unchanged.
Self-published and small-press works were already eligible for the Nebula and Norton Awards, SFWA’s member-voted genre award, and will remain so.
SFWA will open to applications from small press and independent publishing qualifying members on March 1, 2015. Further information will be available at that time here: http://www.sfwa.org/about/join-us/sfwa-membership-requirements/ –SFWA
Other winners announced on Monday include:
- Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (Coretta Scott King Author Book Award)
- Firebird by Misty Copeland and illustrated by Christopher Myers (Coretta Scott King Illustrator Book Award)
- Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales (Pura Belpré Illustrator Award)
- I Lived on Butterfly Hill by Marjorie Agosín and illustrated by Lee White (Pura Belpré Author Award)
- I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (Michael L. Printz Award)
- The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet (Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award) –NPR
As I read the piece, I recalled the controversy yesterday over the recent Book Riot post on Romance books for readers who “hate Romance,” because while that post seemed to make excuses for Romance, a previous post on SFF for readers unfamiliar with the genre was pretty much judgment free. Coincidence, considering that Romance is generally considered a female-dominated genre?
Interestingly, that’s a position entirely at odds with traditional ideas about women’s role. Catton’s critics imply that novelists, whether male or female, should be assessed solely on the basis of whether they make or cost money. The market, in that sense, offers a kind of equality: irrespective of your race or gender, all that matters is whether or not your particular product sells.
In return for a relatively small amount of funding, Catton generated a huge interest in New Zealand culture. Insofar as she politely promoted her home country, the taxpayer could be said to have achieved a profit.
Her crime was to step outside that framework, to suggest that literature (and culture and politics) has a value fundamentally incommensurate with the cash register. Once she did that, all bets were off – rather than an ambassador for national achievements, she became an enemy to be destroyed. –The Drum