“People think contentment is a gentle, warm thing, like bathwater, that needs only occasional replenishing to keep it from turning slowly tepid. In my experience, contentment often requires more ruthless and more immediate defending.”
From “Bump,” in Manywhere: stories by Morgan Thomas
The bright green lightning bolt and colorful birds on the face of Manywhere jumped out at me from the New Books shelf in the Literatures and Languages Reading Room, though they didn’t provide much of an indication of the book’s contents.
Manywhere: stories is a collection of nine pieces of short fiction following queer and genderqueer characters in the American South throughout various stages of history. Author Morgan Thomas displays an impressive range of styles and voices, offering explorations of characters in first- and third-person narrative and through newspaper extracts, letters, and emails. As each character navigates their own past and present, they touch on relationships with parents, partners, and places they’ve left behind. They address illness, pregnancy, and versions of care. They seek places for themselves in history and sacrifice partnerships to secure them. And they consider the bodies they were born into, and what that means for who they are becoming.
Through compelling and emotionally intelligent prose, the stories in Manywhere ask the reader consider the relationships they sustain with their own bodies, with their parents, and with their pasts.
You can find Manywhere: stories on the New Books Shelf at the Literatures and Languages Library. The catalog record is linked here.
Calling all undergraduate students to participate in an Arts and Humanities Libraries Ekphrastic Challenge!
What is an ekphrastic challenge?
In ancient Greece “ekphrasis” meant describing something with vivid detail. More recently, ekphrastic poetry has come to be known as poetry written about works of art. It usually includes an exploration of how the speaker is impacted by their experience with the work.
For this challenge, we’re expanding the definition to include poetry, prose, or visual artwork based on a work of literature, music, poetry, or art from any one of the Arts and Humanities division libraries. These include the Literatures and Languages Library, the Music and Performing Arts Library, the Ricker Library of Architecture and Art, and the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library. Your piece of writing or art should clearly show your engagement with the work. This guide from Masterclass suggests the following steps to create an ekphrastic poem. These are a good starting point as you create your work!
Choose a piece of art
Write down what you see.
Pick a form.
Write from a specific point of view.
Prose submissions of short fiction, flash fiction, or creative nonfiction may be up to 2,000 words. Poetry may be up to 200 lines in any poetic form. Written works should be in 12-point Times New Roman and submitted as Word documents attached to your email. Please number all pages.
Visual art should be scanned and sent as an email attachment. JPEG or PNG file formats are preferred. If you are unable to scan your work, please take a clear photo and attach the photo to your email.
Please do not include any identifying information on your work.
How to submit:
Once you’ve created your work, submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions must be received by December 15th, 2022. Please follow the formatting instructions above and include your name, program, your work, and a catalog link to the work that inspired you in your email. Refer to this guide for how to locate the permalink in the catalog.
Judges from the Arts and Humanities Libraries and the Editorial Board of Montage Arts Journal will decide on one winner from each category to be published in Montage. Runners-up will receive gift cards to The Literary in Champaign.
As the days get shorter and the autumnal chill slowly sets in on campus, it’s the perfect time to curl up with a book from the Literatures and Languages Library. Can’t decide on one? Luckily, fall is peak season for some national and international book awards. Two major prizes recently announced their shortlists, or the finalists in the running for the top place. The Booker Prize shortlist was announced in Mid-September and the finalists for the National Book Award were just announced on October 4th. And you can find many of the shortlisted titles at the Literatures and Languages Library!
The Booker Prize has been active since 1969 and is awarded annually to a work of fiction which the judges believe will be relevant well into the future. While the book must be written in English and published in the UK or Ireland, the authors may have any nationality and origin. This prize is announced in multiple rounds, with the longlist announced in the summer and shortlist announced in the fall. This year, the winner will be announced on October 17th.
In addition to the notoriety that comes with winning a major prize in literature, each author of a shortlisted work receives £2,500 and the author of the winning work is awarded £50,000.
The Booker Prize Shortlist consists of six works of fiction. This year’s list includes both the shortest work ever nominated as well as the oldest author to be considered for the prize. They are:
The National Book Awards have been around since 1950, when they were established to celebrate the best writing in the United States. There are currently five categories, which include Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young People’s Literature. For each category, ten books are selected for the longlist. This list is narrowed down to five Finalists, from which a winner is chosen. This year, the winners, who each receive $10,000 and a bronze sculpture, will be announced on November 16th.
To be eligible for the Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, or Young People’s Literature Awards, the author must either be a U.S. citizen or have been approved by a petition process and their book must have been published by a U.S. publisher located in the United States. The Translated Literature Award does not require either the author or translator to hold U.S. citizenship and the original work does not need to be newly published, but the translated work must be in English and must have been published within the eligibility year.