of the Nobel Secret
I have seen so many of my writing friends come and go
so when an article on the Noble Prize for Literature popped
into my e-mail box this—one of the very last sentences
in the report—stood out. It said:
literature prize is given out for an entire lifetime of
writing rather than a single work.”
came after a list of recent literary Nobel winners. The
last American to win was Toni Morrison in 1993. So, I’m
asking myself if it’s possible that American writers
are behind the curve because we don’t stick with
it. Because we expect instant success and/or fame and
when we don’t get it with a first book our writing
gets forgotten? Sort of a lack in our national character?
is it something just as insidious. That many writers with
talent get discouraged because of our publishing industry’s
tendency toward what I call book bigotry. That is judging
(and accepting—or not) a book based on the press
it is printed on. Before it’s even read, It’s
that hierarchy some tend to assign to publishers and after
that to print over e-books and on and on. In other words,
we’re letting publishers filter (and censor!) our
I’d like to see an American win again—and
soon—doesn’t keep me from being thrilled for
Frenchman Patrick Modiano, whose novels explore topics
like memory, identity and guilt. And I’ll read some
of his work.
that brings me to another issue. I’d like to see
more women in that lineup! We still have so many things
to talk about, things that affect the world and our children
to come and therefore the world. Men can certainly address
those issues, but their insights are likely to be very
something to think about. Keep writing. Keep developing
your craft. Push yourself beyond the genre that is comfortable
for you. Keep learning more about your craft. Hope is
one thing but we need some heft behind the hope. And readers,
keep supporting new writers who exhibit promise.
more about Nobel’s great
here are a couple more books for your consideration.
Noble List of Suggestions for 2015 Reading:
These are numbered for ease of reading
but are in no particular order.
Detour Trail by Joy V. Smith: (Melange Books) ©2013:
A story of how a community of disparate souls survive
blizzards . . .and prejudice. (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Copy in desk file.
2. Here is an old book that make
it clear how hard we must work and fight to make
life better. It you read it, it’s worth a
reread. I had many on my cruise around the cape
of Africa interested in it again. It is The
Covenant by James A. Michener, now available
in the new and used feature at Amazon. And no, Michener
was never lauded for it as he should have been.
I annotated my copy as I reread it because there
is so much to learn from it. ( Random House ©1980).
a new one set in pre World War II Paris that explores
gender prejudices and many others. It is Francine
Prose’s new Lovers at the Chameleon
It’s also a
book that can be examined for technique.
Tips and Tidbits
(Each month in this box, Carolyn
lists a Tidbit that will help authors write or promote
better. She will also include a Tip to help readers
find a treasure among long-neglected books or a
sapphire among the newly-published.)
multi award-winning The
Frugal Editor is now in its second
edition—as an e-book (the print edition
is coming a bit later.) It’s been reformatted,
updated and expanded.
Tip for Readers' Tip:
Do you want to begin the new year
with a book that inspired me to write fiction
and poetry? It is Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.
No matter what you plan to do in 2015, this
is bound to keep you on track for supporting
the qualities that make us human.
nominate a book that fits within the parameters listed
in this year's Noble Back to Literature column. Explain
in 25 word or less why your nomination is a work of literary
merit and sent directly to me.
Nominations must be signed with your real name, e-mail
address and a URL if you have one. Email
Winners feel free to capture a
banner for your website!
Howard-Johnson is a multi award-winning novelist, poet
and author of the HowToDoItFrugally series of
how-to books. She occasionally teaches classes for the
renowned UCLA Extension Writers' Program.
Website - My
Review Blog - Email