Tag Archives: fiction

Margaret Atwood, Annie Proulx up for women’s fiction prize

Margaret Atwood, Annie Proulx and Mary Gaitskill are among North American contenders for the international Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Atwood’s Shakespeare-inspired Hag-Seed, Proulx’s historical saga Barkskins and Gaitskill’s horse-centric saga The Mare are among 16 finalists.

The prestigious prize is open to female English-language writers from around the world, and the longlist includes authors from Nigeria, South Africa, Canada, the United States, Britain and Ireland.

Contenders include Nigeria’s Ayobami Adebayo for Stay With Me, Britain’s Linda Grant for The Dark Circle and Britain’s Rose Tremain for The Gustav Sonata.

The contenders will be whittled down to a shortlist on April 3, and the winner of the 30,000-pound ($37,000) prize will be announced June 7.

The annual award is officially named the Baileys Women’s Prize after its sponsor.

On the web

Baileys Women’s Prize longlist.


False news, absurd reality present challenges for satirists

Between reality and the bubble of fantasy news stories, these are tough times for satirists.

The New Yorker magazine recently took steps to distinguish Andy Borowitz’s humor columns from politically motivated false stories circulating online. His editor said the New Yorker was getting email asking if there was a difference between the two.

So they changed the tagline for “The Borowitz Report” from “the news, reshuffled” to “not the news” on the magazine’s website.

When the stories are shared online, they are more clearly identified as satire, said Nicholas Thompson, editor of NewYorker.com.

Borowitz’s columns take the form of news stories, like one headlined, “Trump fires attorney general after copy of Constitution is found on her computer.”

Another recent headline: “Trump enraged as Mexican president meets with Meryl Streep instead.”

“We were worried that the world was going to blur what he does with what other people are doing,” Thompson said. “Other people had an economic scheme to manipulate American politics. What Andy does, in the great tradition of satire and humor, is poke fun at American politics. They’re very different things.”

Thompson admits: “It’s a weird problem to have.”

The changes have Borowitz’s blessing.

He came up with the “not the news” tag.

“It made more sense when people from another country would read one of my stories and not get the joke — that was kind of predictable,” Borowitz said. “But the fact that so many Americans have to go to Snopes.com to find out that Trump didn’t really hire El Chapo to be head of the DEA or something like that, that’s a reading comprehension problem.”

Satirists generally don’t like to have the word “satire” in flashing lights atop their work; subtlety helps the humor.

The humor site The Onion bills itself as “America’s Finest News Source.” A story like “Trump supporter has ‘backup scapegoats’ ready to go in case immigrant crackdown doesn’t solve problem” isn’t marked satire. People who visit the site should be familiar with The Onion’s reputation, but it’s unclear if any steps are taken to clarify the intent when a story is spread online. The Onion’s editor turned down a request for an interview.

As the line has blurred for some, a website, realorsatire.com, has emerged to do precisely what its name suggests: enable readers to input the name of a site and determine its origins.

It was created more than two years ago to help web users navigate through an explosion in “clickbait” sites, where enticing news nuggets — mostly about celebrities — are used to draw people in so they can see the ads, said Jack Shepler, president of the Indianapolis, Indiana-based Ayokay Creative, which built the site.

“We saw people finding these ridiculous stories and posting them as real,” he said.

The two weeks after the presidential election were the site’s most heavily trafficked time, when publicity about manufactured political stories was at its peak, he said.

Many manufactured news sites purposely resemble real news destinations, increasing confusion. Shepler said he’s been surprised at how often people post clearly false stories — even some of his relatives — and thinks it’s because the desire to justify their beliefs is so strong they’ll take virtually anything at face value.

One site, NewsMutiny, bills itself as “satire for the wise, news for the dumb.” One of its featured stories suggests a zoo is encouraging its patrons to harass gay penguins.

When questioned, some operators of sites that produce false news for political reasons have defended themselves by saying they’re producing satire, said Steve Bodow, an executive producer of “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central.

“I resent that as a citizen, but not as a satirist,” Bodow said.

More than the false news sites and competition, the New Yorker’s Borowitz said that his job is made more difficult by the increasing absurdity of reality.

“Once you’ve had a country that’s decided that a reality show host should have nuclear weapons, it’s kind of hard to come up with a satirical story that beats that,” he said.

At “The Daily Show,” Bodow and his fellow producer, Jen Flanz, have more material than they know what to do with. Trump is forcing writers and host Trevor Noah to find different ways of telling stories. There’s more to do beyond the common tactic of pointing out the hypocrisy of a politician’s contradictory statements, he said.

“It feels vital,” Bodow said. “We’re definitely energized.”

Politics and publishing: Authors respond to troubling Trump times

Pulitzer Prize winners Junot Diaz, Viet Thanh Nguyen and Jane Smiley are among 32 writers contributing to a book of letters responding to the election of President Donald Trump.

Vintage Books told The Associated Press on Radical Hope: Letters of Love and Dissent in Dangerous Times will be published May 2 as a paperback original.

“The anthology offers readers an antidote to despair: it is a salve, a balm, a compass, a rallying cry, a lyrical manifesto, a power source, a torch to light the way forward,” Vintage announced.

Edited by Carolina De Robertis, the book will be divided into three sections. “Roots” will explore the historical origins of this time. “Present” will feature letters addressed to contemporary communities. “Seeds” will look ahead to future generations. Other writers will include Karen Joy Fowler, Claire Messud and Lisa See.

Radical Hope continues a wave of releases from the publishing world since Trump’s stunning upset last November of Democrat Hillary Clinton.

What Do We Do Now: Standing Up for Your Values in Trump’s America is a January release from Melville House that features suggestions for action from Gloria Steinem, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and George Saunders.

Gene Stone’s The Trump Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Living Through What You Hoped Would Never Happen is another January publication, from Dey Street Books.

Piers Morgan, J.K. Rowling in Twitter fight over politics

British TV personality Piers Morgan and British author J.K. Rowling are in a Twitter war over U.S. politics.

He called her work “drivel” and she called him “amoral” after Morgan defended the U.S. government’s travel ban during an appearance on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher.

Morgan faced off with Australian comic Jim Jefferies on the episode during a discussion of the executive order. Morgan said it was “not a Muslim ban,” and Jefferies directed an expletive at him.

Rowling tweeted that it was “satisfying” to hear Jefferies say that.

A flurry of tweets between Rowling and Morgan followed.

‘Hamilton’ author Chernow has Grant bio coming in fall

Ron Chernow, the historian who helped inspire the musical Hamilton, has a biography of Ulysses S. Grant coming out in October.

Penguin Press is calling the book Grant and plans to release it Oct. 17.

Chernow’s previous book, Washington: A Life, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2011.

His 2004 work on Alexander Hamilton was the basis for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning Broadway smash, for which Chernow served as historical consultant.

Chernow’s new book will likely be the most high-profile effort yet to change the reputation of the country’s 18th president. As Penguin noted in its press release, Grant has been “caricatured as a chronic loser and inept businessman,” a drunk whose Civil War heroism was overshadowed by his legacy as a “credulous and hapless president whose tenure came to symbolize the worst excesses of the Gilded Age.”

Grant’s competence is even challenged on the White House web site, www.whitehouse.gov. His biographical essay, which has been on the site for years, contends that “When he was elected, the American people hoped for an end to turmoil. Grant provided neither vigor nor reform.”

But writers ranging from Ta-Nehisi Coates to the historian Jean Edward Smith have argued that Grant is an underrated and even heroic president. Their defense of him extends from the same issue that led early critics, many sympathetic to former confederates, to denounce him: His determination to enforce equal rights for blacks in the South after the Civil War. According to Penguin, Chernow will address Grant’s drinking and other flaws, but within a “grand synthesis of painstaking research and literary brilliance that makes sense of all sides of Grant’s life, explaining how this simple Midwesterner could at once be so ordinary and so extraordinary.”

Faking it: Jake Tapper writing debut novel

Jake Tapper is working on a book that you could call fake news: It’s his debut novel.

The CNN anchor and chief Washington correspondent has a thriller scheduled to come out in the summer of 2018.

The novel is called The Hellfire Club, set in Washington, D.C., in 1954.

The story centers on a young congressman from New York, his zoologist wife and the mysterious car accident that takes them to an “underworld of secret deals” and “secret societies.”

Tapper said in a statement that his book would feature such historical figures as President Dwight Eisenhower, Sen. Joe McCarthy and then-Vice President Richard Nixon. His previous books include the nonfiction works The Outpost and Down & Dirty.

Kelly Barnhill wins Newbery Medal for ‘The Girl Who Drank the Moon’

Before winning the most prestigious prize in children’s literature, Kelly Barnhill took a little detour.

Barnhill, named this week as this year’s winner of the John Newbery Medal for her fantasy novel The Girl Who Drank the Moon, started writing children’s stories in her late 20s — after two kids and a yearslong hiatus from the craft she studied as an undergraduate.

“I was doing all the wacky stuff that early 20s people did,” Barnhill said in a telephone interview. “I worked for the National Park Service, I got trained as a volunteer firefighter, I went to Florida for a little while, I fell in love, I had my first baby when I was 25 and moved back to Minnesota, got my teaching license and was really not writing at all during that time.”

She said she wasn’t “drawn back to the page” until after she had her second baby girl and began making a dent in a stack of library books, starting with The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse by Louise Erdrich.

“That book unlocked something in me and I’ve been writing ever since,” she said.

Barnhill started with short stories, which eventually turned into children’s novels, including the coming-of-age tale The Girl Who Drank the Moon and her other critically acclaimed book The Witch’s Boy. Most of her stories start with a sticky conundrum or some sort of fundamental question, she said.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon started with Barnhill examining how narratives can be manipulated and true stories can be changed into falsehoods. The book is set in a town where the villagers sacrifice a newborn baby each year to a witch because they fear her. But the witch is secretly good and brings those babies to loving families in a town on the other side of the woods.

“This notion of rumor spreading and of getting the wrong idea about a person,” she said, “that’s like real stuff for these kids, that’s what their life is like right now.”

These days, the mother of three teaches in Minneapolis for COMPAS, a statewide nonprofit arts education organization. The Newbery award comes after her book was a New York Times bestseller; movie rights were sold in the fall to Fox Animation.

Barnhill said the most rewarding part of being a children’s author is discussing the book with kids.

“It’s particularly fun when I go someplace where the kids have already read the book. It’s amazing how deep of thinkers they are,” she said.

Minnesotan author Kate DiCamillo, who won the Newbery Medal winner for her book The Tale of Despereaux, said she was delighted by Barnhill’s win.

Asked what sets apart Barnhill’s work, DiCamillo said: “It’s that heart. And the imagination. And the courage to ask big questions.”

‘Little Deaths’ by Emma Flint is mesmerizing

Little Deaths, Emma Flint’s mesmerizing debut, works well as a look at misogyny, gossip, morals and the rush to judge others when a child goes missing.

The novel opens with Ruth Malone in prison, convicted of killing her two children, Frankie, almost 6 years old, and Cindy, age 4. Ruth was the immediate suspect — single mothers were an anomaly in 1965, especially those who work as a cocktail waitress.

Most neighbors in her working-class area of Queens, New York, shunned Ruth for defying convention by leaving her seemingly hard-working, faithful husband, Frank. The police, especially Sgt. Charlie Devlin, are even more dubious about Ruth when they find her trash overflowing with empty liquor bottles, a suitcase full of letters from men, many of them married, and provocative clothing strewn around her apartment. That she’s out drinking and dancing days after the deaths of her children further cements their disgust and their belief that she’s guilty.

After Ruth’s conviction, cub reporter Pete Wonicke begins to wonder if she was convicted because of her character, rather than real evidence.

Author Emma Flint captures the loneliness, struggles and ennui of the residents of working-class Queens in the mid-1960s, especially the women who, for the most part, are stay-at-home moms.

While Flint bases her novel on the real case of Alice Crimmins and her controversial conviction, she turns Little Deaths into a poignant look at a woman fighting for her emotional independence, who keeps her grief, heartbreak and frustrations deep inside her soul.


Natalie Portman explores the mysteries of Jackie Kennedy

Jacqueline Kennedy did not have a conventional speaking voice. It’s part New York, part prep school Mid-Atlantic, and it’s jarring to most modern ears. Natalie Portman remembers her first few days on the set of “Jackie,” going all in on that very specific accent and looking up to see her director Pablo Larrain’s wide-eyed bafflement.

“Pablo’s face was like ‘uhhhhh…’,” Portman said laughing.

They were filming a recreation of the television special “A Tour of the White House with Mrs. John F. Kennedy,” where CBS News correspondent Charles Collingwood followed the first lady around with cameras as they spoke about each room and her pricey restoration. Larrain stopped during one take and played footage of the actual tour just to check. He was amazed at how spot-on Portman’s interpretation actually was.

Still, “at the beginning it was shocking,” Larrain said.

It was also, he notes, different from how Jackie Kennedy sounded in other circumstances. She had a public voice and a private voice, which Portman was able to study through Kennedy’s recorded interviews with Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

The film “Jackie,” out in limited release, explores the nuances of these public and private sides of the enigmatic figure in the immediate aftermath of the assassination of her husband in 1963 as she plans the funeral, exits her home, comforts her children and tends to her husband’s legacy.

It’s what compelled screenwriter Noah Oppenheim to make her the subject of his first script.

“Most often she is perceived through the lens of being this style icon, this beautiful woman at her husband’s side. People are fascinated by their marriage and his infidelities. But I didn’t feel like she had ever gotten enough credit for understanding intuitively the power of television, the power of imagery and iconography and her role in defining how we remember her husband’s presidency,” Oppenheim said.

It was she, a week after the assassination, in an interview with Theodore H. White for LIFE magazine, who first uttered the word Camelot in reference to their time in power.

“I always assumed that the Kennedy administration had been referred to as Camelot from the beginning, that they were this young, handsome couple and American royalty,” Oppenheim said. “The fact that she came up with Camelot is incredible. That one reference accomplishes more than any list of policy accomplishments ever could have in terms of cementing in people’s minds who Jack Kennedy was.”

The film, however, isn’t out to provide answers. It relishes in Jackie being this inscrutable figure, showing the subtle differences in her interactions with the people around her, including a priest (John Hurt), the journalist (Billy Crudup), her longtime friend Nancy Tuckerman (Greta Gerwig) and Bobby Kennedy (Peter Sarsgaard).

“(Oppenheim) told her story through these different relationships and the different roles she played around the people in her life at different times. I think that’s really powerful … Consistency or arc is really a narrative fiction. Human beings are not like that,” said Portman, who is earning some of the best reviews of her career for her performance.

Larrain wouldn’t do the film without Portman. The script had been around since 2010 before getting the attention of Darren Aronofsky, who was set to direct his then-fiance Rachel Weisz in the role. After exiting, Aronofsky stayed on to produce and was the one who made the somewhat unconventional ask of Larrain, a Chilean filmmaker, to consider it.

When Portman met with Larrain, she said it was akin to “being dared” to do the film.

“He was like, ‘we’re going to do this together or we’ll both walk away,’” she said. “I was like ‘all right, this is good. Let’s take each other’s hands and jump.’”

The tone, thanks to studied editing of Sebastian Sepulveda and a striking score by Mica Levi, can sometimes seem more like a psychological thriller than a conventional character study. Larrain delights in the beauty of bringing an audience to “that indeterminate place.”

Portman, on the other hand, knows she’s at the disposal of her directors and often isn’t aware of the exact tone until she sees the finished product.

“When we were making ‘Black Swan,’ I thought I was making a completely different movie from the one I saw. I thought we were making something almost like a documentary and then I saw it and I was like ‘What? What is this!?’ I literally had no idea,” she said. “I thought it was like a realistic portrait of a psychological breakdown of a person and it was not at all. You can totally misunderstand tone, but still it can work.”

The film, heavy with historical and emotional significance, did allow for some levity, though, compliments of that White House Tour.

“We enjoyed that so much,” Larrain said. “It was just talking about furniture and chairs. And she would even make the same mistakes Jackie did.”

Portman: “We laughed a lot. Pablo kept being like ‘be more excited about the chair!’ She’s REALLY excited about the chair.”

Larrain: “But it was necessary because it shows a kind of splendor. I think when you are portraying such a tragic and critical moment, you need to have splendor to really understand that.”

Dublin’s murder squad hunts for a killer in ‘The Trespasser’

Though Detective Antoinette Conway always dreamed of working in the murder squad, now that she’s made it to the Dublin Castle grounds where Ireland’s best detectives track down killers, she wants out.

Her co-workers harass her, and the majority of cases that make it to her desk involve domestic disputes, not the psychopathic serial killers she’d imagined hunting. When her boss assigns Antoinette and her partner a new case complete with a smarmy third detective to act as a baby sitter, Antoinette considers this her last stint on the squad before trading in her badge for a job at a security agency.

When they arrive at the scene, Antoinette stares into the face of the murder victim, Aislinn Murray, and recognizes her, though she can’t place the memory. The scene of the crime, complete with a candlelit table set for two and dinner in the oven, points to yet another date gone bad.

This should be a slam dunk. But from here, the case proves a wild animal nobody can read, sometimes bounding in a predictable direction, other times leaping down a path that catches everyone off guard. On top of this, Antoinette notices a strange man frequenting the road outside her house.

Author Tana French incessantly pushes the plot of The Trespasser forward with absorbing dialogue and shifty villains. When the investigation hits walls, relationships grow and morph, making the work as much about internal conflicts as external. Antoinette narrates with a rich, raw voice. Her sarcasm combined with a wry, hard-edged view on life may weary readers, but keep reading, because as in all of the author’s work, meaning lurks beneath every quip and glance.

French not only spins a twisty cop tale, she also encases it in meticulous prose, creating a read that is as elegant as it is dark.

Rich season of fiction expected this fall

For the weightiest novel this fall, or most any season, Alan Moore has the grandest ambition.

“The intention was to somehow combine four or five different books or impulses for books into one coherent whole,” the author known for the graphic novels Watchmen and V for Vendetta says of Jerusalem, a 1,266 page words-only union of science and fantasy that references everyone from Albert Einstein to Oliver Cromwell.

Moore worked a decade on his all-encompassing tale, set in his native Northampton, England.

“This is the book in which I have written most directly about the things that are most central to my life, these being my family and the place that I emerged from. By making the narrative so personal and specific I hoped to conjure a kind of universality, an evocation of the families and places that we all come from at some point in our ancestry, irrespective of who or where we are, but the fact remains that the materials of ‘Jerusalem’ come from a source very close to me.”


Big books

Fall is the time for “big books,” whatever the page length, and some of the top fiction authors from around the world have new works coming, including: Ian McEwan, Zadie Smith, Margaret Atwood, T. Coraghessan Boyle, Rabih Alameddine, Emma Donoghue, Jonathan Safran Foer and Michael Chabon.

Ann Patchett, owner of Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee, looks forward to selling Jacqueline Woodson’s autobiographical novel Another Brooklyn and Colson Whitehead’s celebrated, Oprah Winfrey-endorsed historical novel about slavery, The Underground Railroad.

Ann Patchett, the author, will be promoting her novel Commonwealth, although she’ll keep it low-key at Parnassus Books.

“I’ll sign them, put them in a linen bag, send them off with a picture of my dog Sparky. Sparky is the ‘value added’ element,” she says.

Another author-book store owner, Jeff Kinney, has completed Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down, the 11th installment in his multimillion selling series. He will tour worldwide on behalf of Double Down, but at Kinney’s An Unlikely Story, in Plainville, Massachusetts, the message is “try not to overdo it on the Wimpy Kid front.”

“We have two small roller units with my books, and that’s about it. I don’t think someone coming off the street would know I own the bookstore if they hadn’t heard beforehand,” Kinney said.

Whitehead’s novel is among several notable accounts of black life, past and present.

Wesley Lowery’s They Can’t Kill Us All is The Washington Post reporter’s book on the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Fire This Time, edited by Jesmyn Ward, includes essays and poems on race by Isabel Wilkerson, Kevin Young and 16 others.

Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures, which has been adapted for a feature film, documents the historic contributions made by black women mathematicians to the country’s space program.

Douglas R. Egerton’s Thunder at the Gates tells of the black Civil War soldiers made famous in the movie Glory, which he calls a “powerful, beautifully acted” production that “manages to get absolutely everything wrong.”

Egerton says fiction and nonfiction on slavery and the Civil War have become more prominent in recent years.

“When I was younger, novels that wrestled with slavery were few and often published by obscure presses,” he says. “That appears to be no longer true. Perhaps also the sesquicentennial of the war and the dawn of Reconstruction has led … to a rebirth of scholarship about black history. One of the depressing things about going to conferences now is to wander through the book exhibit and realize how many new books there are that I need to read!”

Two books that could contain tough words for presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are scheduled for Nov. 15, the week after Election Day: Bernie Sanders’ Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In is expected to include his thoughts on his surprisingly competitive primary battle with Clinton, while Megyn Kelly’s Settle for More will likely recount her feud with Trump and her thoughts on ousted Fox News chairman Roger Ailes.

In music, Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run could be the hottest rock memoir since Keith Richards’ Life was released in 2010.

The Band’s Robbie Robertson offers Testimony this fall, while My Life with Earth, Wind & Fire is a posthumous release from Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White, featuring an introduction by Steve Harvey and foreword by producer David Foster.

Brian Wilson and fellow Beach Boys founder (and first cousin) Mike Love continue their long-running and occasionally litigious family competition as Wilson releases I Am Brian Wilson and Love has Good Vibrations.

Often cast as the business-minded Beach Boy, at odds with the visionary Wilson, Love provides detailed accounts of how he wrote the lyrics to many of the Beach Boys’ best-known songs.

“The problem is you have hundreds of thousands of words about us, not always by people who were actually there,” Love says. “I wanted to show how I was actually working on the songs with my cousin, writing the lyrics while he was creating those incredible chord processions and harmonies.”

Other musical memoirs are coming from Tom Jones, songwriter Carol Bayer Sager and the Sex Pistols’ Steve Jones.

Beatle fans with some extra cash might consider A Hard Day’s Night: A Private Archive, a $125 volume of photographs, documents and memorabilia about the 1964 film that stunned critics and delighted fans. Annotation is provided by one of the world’s foremost Beatle experts, Mark Lewisohn.

“It isn’t only the end-product that’s extraordinary, it’s the background story, too. It always comes down to the people, to the four guys themselves,” Lewisohn told the AP.

“Why was A Hard Day’s Night their first film when it could have been their third or fourth? They’d had movie offers for six months before this one and turned them all down, because The Beatles were always innately clear on what not to do as well as what to do. They were prepared to risk never appearing in a film at all than say yes to something ‘soft,’ which in their vocabulary meant ‘stupid.’”

Beyond briefing papers: Obama’s summer reading list

The White House released President Barack Obama’s summer reading list this month, as the first family vacationed in Martha’s Vineyard.

It’s a mix of prize-winning novels and the memoir of a surfer who spent much of his childhood in Hawaii, something the president can appreciate.

The five books are:

  • Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan.
  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.
  • H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald.
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.
  • Seveneves by Neal Stephenson.

A closer look at the selections

Finnegan’s book won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for biography or autobiography by an American author. It’s a book about his obsession with surfing and where it has taken him in the world. A New York Times book review said: “There isn’t a line the most mischievous critic could single out for ridicule.”


The Underground Railroad tells the story of Cora, a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia and her bid for freedom. Oprah’s Book Club recently named Whitehead’s book its newest selection.


H is for Hawk won the Samuel Johnson Prize in 2014 and the Costa Book of the Year award. The book tells the author’s story of the year she spent training a hawk after her father’s death.


NPR in a book review last year described The Girl on the Train as perfectly paced, from its arresting beginning to its twist ending; it’s not an easy book to put down.”


Seveneves is a science fiction thriller that tells the story of efforts to preserve human society in the wake of apocalyptic events on Earth.


The White House traditionally releases Obama’s reading list as the first family vacations in Martha’s Vineyard.


Elie Wiesel’s literary legacy

For more than a half-century, Elie Wiesel voiced his passionate beliefs to world leaders, celebrities and general audiences in the name of victims of violence and oppression.

Wiesel, who died on July 2, wrote more than 40 books of fiction and non-fiction, but his most influential by far was Night, a classic ranked with Anne Frank’s diary as standard reading about the Holocaust.

Here’s a look at some of his published works and distinctions:


> 1960: His first book Night, was first published in the U.S. in 1960. It has been translated into 30 languages and has sold millions of copies.

> 1961: Dawn, a novel.

> 1970: A Beggar in Jerusalem, a novel that won a French literary award

> 1980: The Testament a novel.

> 1995: All Rivers Run to the Sea, the first of his two-volume memoirs.

> 1999: And the Sea is Never Full, the second of his two-volume memoirs.


> 1978: President Jimmy Carter appointed him to head the President’s Commission on the Holocaust and plan an American memorial museum to Holocaust victims.

> 1985: President Ronald Reagan presented him with U.S. Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of his “humanitarian efforts and outstanding contributions to world literature and human rights.”

> 1986: In awarding him the Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee called him as “a messenger to mankind” and “one of the most important spiritual leaders and guides in an age when violence, repression and racism continue to characterise the world.”

> 1992: President George H.W. Bush presented him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, saying Wiesel survived the Holocaust and “still today keeps watch against the forces of hatred.”

> 2001: Wiesel is granted the rank of grand croix in the French Legion of Honor, France’s premier award.

> 2013: Israel President Shimon Peres awarded him the Presidential Medal of Distinction, the country’s highest civil medal, for his “ongoing work in preserving the memory of the Holocaust.”