Man Booker Prize shortlist includes American authors

On September 9th, the Man Booker Prize judge panel announced the 2014 shortlist for the literary prize. For the first time in the prize’s 46-year history, contestants include American authors. The judges released a statement on their decision to extend the prize to all English-language publications:

“This is the first list to reflect the diversity of the novel in English regardless of the author’s nationality, as the Man Booker Prize has opened up to any author writing originally in English and published in the UK. Previously, the prize was open to authors from the UK & Commonwealth, Republic of Ireland and Zimbabwe.” (The Man Booker Prize shortlist)

This year’s shortlist includes two American novelists, Joshua Ferris and Karen Joy Fowler, as well as an Australian author, Richard Flanagan. The prize shortlist is:

  • To Rise Again At a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris
  • The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
  • We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
  • J by Howard Jacobson
  • The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee
  • How to Be Both by Ali Smith

The winner, revealed on October 14, will receive £50,000 and worldwide exposure for their work. For more information on the Man Booker Prize and the contestants, see The Guardian’s shortlist coverage.

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February 7: Worlding Realisms

Worlding Realisms is a one-day symposium hosted by the Unit of Criticism and Interpretative Theory on realist fiction, photography, film, and television. The event will be held on Friday, February 7th at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center on the UIUC campus.

The keynote will be given by Jed Esty (Penn), and many prominent scholars will participate as panelists including Ulka Anjaria (Brandeis), Ayelet Ben Yishai (Haifa), Colleen Lye (Berkeley), Sean O’Sullivan (Ohio State), Miriam  Thaggert (Iowa) and Terri Weisman (Art History).  The event will culminate with a roundtable moderated by Eleanor Courtemanche with responses from Harriet Murav (Slavic), Safiya Noble (GSLIS), François Proulx (French), and Rob Rushing (Italian/Media & Cinema Studies).

In preparation for this event, the Unit for Criticism is hosting a 2-meeting seminar on January 27 and February 3.  Readings and more information about the seminar can be found at http://criticism.english.illinois.edu/2014%20Spring%20pages/Seminar_Spring2014.html.

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April Exhibits Up at the LitLang Library

For April, the Literatures and Languages Library has installed two new exhibits on display in the Periodicals area on the South end of the Main Library Reading Room.

Cyberpunk is the focus of the first exhibit. Cyberpunk, a postmodern brand of science fiction that flourished in the 1980s and 1990s, often focuses on detritus-strewn dystopian landscapes where corporate interests dominate, leaving rogue hackers and outsiders to find ways of infiltrating and upending these new, technologically oppressive establishments. The grungy underworld in which these fictions often take place are contrasted with the use of incredible technology in ways unanticipated by its creators, blurring the line between actual and virtual reality. These tropes are especially intriguing to think about today as the Internet increasingly influences the lives of humans. Elements of Cyberpunk continue to influence literature and media in the genre of science fiction and beyond.

Since April is when the Major League Baseball season begins each year, we focus on The Literature of Baseball for our second exhibit. Known as “America’s pastime” for over a century, the exhibit focuses on fictional and non-fictional renderings of the sport and how it has played an important part in the myth of America. Widely known texts such as Bernard Malamud’s 1953 novel The Natural and Roger Kahn’s non-fictional account of the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers, The Boys of Summer (1972), sit alongside a book about Toni Stone, the first female to play baseball in the Negro Leagues when she debuted with the San Francisco Sea Lions in 1949, and a lesser known Philip Roth book, with the tongue-in-cheek title The Great American Novel (1973), about a home-less team that must play all their games on the road.

Both exhibits will be on display until the end of the month.

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MEMORY/MEMOIR: Readings and Discussion

Come to the Humanities Lecture Hall at the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH) Building (located at 805 W. Pennsylvania Ave.) at 7:30 p.m. on February 27th for MEMORY/MEMOIR: Readings and Discussion. Members of U of I’s Creative Writing faculty will read from their work. Readers include LeAnne Howe and Audrey Petty. Afterward, Robert Ramirez will lead a discussion on the role of memory and memoir in the humanities. For more information about the event, visit this link.

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Finals and Winter Break Hours

Final exams have finally arrived, but never fear, the library is here to help!  The Literatures and Languages Library will continue to be open for its usual hours during Finals, December 14-20:

Monday-Thursday: 9am – 7pm
Friday: 9am – 5pm
Saturday and Sunday: 1 – 5pm

Our Winter Break hours are as follows:

Friday, December 21: 9am – 5pm

December 22-January 1:  CLOSED
(The Main Library will be open on Dec. 27, 28, and 31 from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.)

January 2-13: Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm

For detailed information on all libraries’ hours during Finals and Winter Break, visit http://www.library.illinois.edu/services/hours.php. Good luck with exams and happy holidays!

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Celebrate Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month. To celebrate, U. of I.’s Native American House is putting on events all month. Here is a link to their schedule.

Four of our faculty in the English Department have published work on Native American literature. Associate Professor Jodi A. Byrd‘s chapter “(Post)Colonial Plainsongs: Toward Native Literary Worldings” appears in the Four Arrows (Don Trent Jacobs) collection Unlearning the Language of Conquest (2006). Professor LeAnne Howe‘s chapter “Ohoyo Chishba Osh: Woman Who Stretches Way Back” appears in Greg O’Brien’s collection Pre-Removal Choctaw History (2008). Professor Robert Dale Parker has published several scholarly works on Native American literature, including The Invention of Native American Literature (2003) and the edited collections The Sound the Stars Make Rushing through the Sky: The Writings of Jane Johnston Schoolcraft (2007) and Changing in Not Vanishing: A Collection of Early American Indian Poetry to 1930 (2011). Professor Robert Warrior has penned Tribal Secrets: Recovering American Indian Intellectual Traditions (1994) and The People and the Word: Reading Native Nonfiction (2005) and co-authored Like an Hurricane: The Indian Movement from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee (1996, with Paul Chaat Smith).

The Literatures and Languages Library has numerous works by and about Native American authors. Our collection includes writings by such notable figures as N. Scott Momaday, Leslie Marmon Silko, Louise Erdrich, Sherman Alexie, Gerald Vizenor, and many others. We also have an extensive collection of critical texts and anthologies relating to Native American literature.

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Struggles in the publishing industry

News about the state of the publishing industry tends to be grim. Book sales are anemic. Profit margins are squeezed ever smaller by major retailers such as Amazon. Amidst unprecedented change and tensions, how can the publishing industry move forward effectively? Colin Robinson addresses this topic in his recent Guardian article, “Ten ways to save the publishing industry.” Though his suggestions are hardly novel, they are a great springboard for discussion about the future of publishing houses and platform building in digital publishing.

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Digital Humanities Symposium, October 4th

Digital Humanities Symposium

Library Scholarly Commons, 306 Library

October 4, 2012, 8:30 a.m. – noon

Please join us on October 4th for the Digital Humanities Symposium at the Scholarly Commons to learn more about digital humanities concepts, tools, and current research projects at UIUC!

This half-day morning symposium on October 4th will feature talks and break-out sessions by UIUC faculty pursuing digital humanities research, including Professors Ted Underwood, Dianne Harris, Donna Cox, and Mara Wade.  The symposium will cover topics such as:

– BiblioTech: digital humanities at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library

– Visualization tools in digital humanities

– Graduate education and digital humanities

– Emblematica Online: a NEH-funded collaborative project in digital humanities

– Text mining tools and research

– Omeka in research and teaching

– Library services and tools for data research and data curation

– Working with I-CHASS and finding funding for your research projects

– Images and digital scholarship

Participants may be limited due to space constraints. Coffee and breakfast refreshments will be provided. If you have questions, please contact Harriett Green at green19@illinois.edu or Sarah Christensen at schrstn@illinois.edu. We look forward to seeing you on October 4th!

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English Professor Dale M. Bauer Publishes Book on American Women’s Fiction

Dr. Dale M. Bauer, a Professor in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s English Department, is the editor of a new and substantial work, The Cambridge History of American Women’s Literature.  The collection, which was published in July, features an introduction by Bauer as well as 32 entries on a wide array of topics related to women’s literary production. It includes contributions by fellow English Department faculty members Jody A. Byrd, Kirstin R. Wilcox, Stephanie Foote, and Gordon Hutner. For more information, check out the official webpage for the book.

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