MLA Platinum Award Press Release

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Fireborne: Rosaria Munda's Influences
Fireborne, the first book in The Aurelian Cycle trilogy, features a society that is restructuring after a political revolution, in which a select few citizens become dragon-riding warriors that protect the nation. This is the debut novel for author Rosaria Munda, who first conceived of the idea while listening to an audiobook about the ...
Hamlet Summarized
It's not at all necessary to be familiar with Hamlet to appreciate The Dead Fathers Club, but for those who would like to freshen their memories, here is a quick outline:

Hamlet's father, King Hamlet of Denmark, is recently dead. Claudius, the dead king's brother, becomes King and quickly marries King Hamlet's widow, Gertrude. Young Hamlet...
Melmoth the Wanderer: Inspiration for Sarah Perry's Melmoth
Though the story encapsulated in Sarah Perry's Melmoth is entirely her own, it derives its name and legend from Irish playwright, Charles Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer. Published in 1820, Melmoth the Wanderer follows John Melmoth, a young student in Dublin, as he visits his dying uncle. Upon his arrival, he discovers an old ...
Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
In My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell, a much-older teacher begins his seduction of 15-year-old Vanessa Wye with poetry. One of the works he uses to draw her in is the 1962 Vladimir Nabokov novel Pale Fire. Specifically, a section of verse describes how a fictional poet, John Shade, met his wife on an outing to New Wye Falls. ...
The End of Eddy – A Publishing Phenomenon
Édouard Louis' The End of Eddy was originally published in French in 2014, when the author was just 21. Since then it has sold 300,000 copies in France and has been translated into more than 20 languages.

The French title gives an extra dimension to the story: En finir avec Eddy Bellegueule translates more literally to Finishing ...
The Mercy Seat: Historical Background
The Mercy Seat is inspired by true events. In the acknowledgements, the author, Elizabeth H. Winthrop, says that the character Willie Jones is based loosely on two men: Willie McGee and Willie Francis.

Willie McGee, a young black man, was arrested in 1945 in Laurel, Mississippi when a white woman accused him of breaking into her house ...
Uncle Tom's Cabin, Absinthe & Brooklyn
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe was the best-selling novel of the 19th century (and the second best-selling book of that century, following the Bible) and is credited with helping fuel the abolitionist cause in the 1850's. In the first year after it was published, 300,000 copies of the book were sold in the United States alone....
20 Years of Speak
Released in 1999, Speak was Laurie Halse Anderson's first novel and also her most controversial. Melinda Sordino, the protagonist, is raped the summer before her freshman year of high school at a house party. She calls the police but is unable to verbalize what happened, leaving the scene before they arrive. The police bust the house ...
50-Year Writing Career: A Look at Anne Tyler
In March 2013, Anne Tyler announced the title of her upcoming novel in an interview with the BBC. She also noted that she didn't want to finish another novel - not even this one. She described the book as a 'sprawling family saga,' which starts with the present generation and then moves back, one generation at a time. Fortunately, she ...
A Brief History of A Christmas Carol and its Adaptations
A Christmas Carol, the first and best known of Charles Dickens' five Christmas Books, was published on December 19th, 1843. On publication, it was considered a critical and commercial success and served to bolster Dickens' reputation among his peers and the public at a time of creative and financial uncertainty.

The book drew on the ...
A Comparison Between "The Yellow Wallpaper" and The Beautiful Bureaucrat
Because I was not familiar with Helen Phillips, I did a little research. One review of The Beautiful Bureaucrat pointed me to the Huffington Post's 18 Brilliant Books You Won't Want To Miss This Summer. The early review there said 'A little bit of Kafka, a little bit of 'The Yellow Wallpaper' – intriguing.' I didn't know 'The Yellow ...
A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late Famous General
Louise Penny often includes poetry in her books, and A Great Reckoning is no exception. Throughout the novel, A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late Famous General by Jonathan Swift is quoted.

His Grace! impossible! what dead!
Of old age too, and in his bed!
And could that mighty warrior fall?
And so inglorious, after all!
Well...

A Selection of Literary Prizes
Lucy Wood, the author of Weathering, won a Somerset Maugham Award, named after the famous author.

What does it take to get a literary prize named after you? Some amount of money and/or influence in the literary world, to be sure, but also a personal connection to the prize being offered and its specific criteria. Here are a few ...
A Soldier Dreams of White Lilies
Sadness is a White Bird's cryptic title is actually a direct quotation from Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish's 1967 poem, 'A Soldier Dreams of White Lilies,' which forms part of his collection The End of Night.

Did you feel sad? I asked.
Cutting me off, he said, Mahmoud, my friend,
sadness is a white bird that does not come near a ...

A Veteran Writer's Ode to His Favorite Watering Hole
There are two fairly common ways to memorialize someone: Raise a drink and propose a toast, or pick up a pen and write a tribute. But a handful of great writers have combined those two impulses and created memorable works that lionize their favorite drinking establishments. From Dickens' historic The George Inn in London to Hemingway's ...
Alexis de Tocqueville, author of Democracy in America
Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville was born in Paris on July 29, 1805. His parents, both of aristocratic background, narrowly avoided the guillotine during the aftermath of the French Revolution, and were exiled to England. They were later able to return to France during the reign of Napoleon. His father supported the Bourbon...
All About Jason Wallace
Here is a short story about perseverance: Out of Shadows was rejected by agents and editors one hundred times before Jason Wallace's current publishing house bought it. One hundred times. And it just won the very prestigious Costa Children's Book of the Year Award (formerly the Whitbread Award). Thank goodness Jason didn't give up trying....
An Interview with JP Gritton
I took some time to ask the author about his background, and the origins and themes of his unique and tightly-crafted debut novel, Wyoming.

Q: Could you tell me a little about yourself? Where are you from originally, where are you now, and how did you come to write this novel?

I was born in Boulder, Colorado, which was a funky,...
An Interview with Maxine Beneba Clarke
Maxine Beneba Clarke came to fiction through poetry, both written and spoken word. She was born in Australia to a Jamaican father and Guyanese mother. Her parents immigrated to the UK before settling in Australia. Her books include a memoir, The Hate Race; a children's book, The Patchwork Bike; and the poetry collections Carrying the ...
Ann Cleeves' Five Mystery Series
Ann Cleeves (b. 1954) is best known for her mystery novels set in rural Britain, which have sold over five million copies in the thirty-plus years she's been writing. Cleeves has penned four series before releasing The Long Call, the first entry in her new Two Rivers series:

George and Molly Palmer-Jones (8 books)
Published from 1986 ...
Ann Patchett
Ann Patchett has said that her book Commonwealth, more than any of her others, is autobiographical. It seems close given what we know about her life from various sources.

The bare bones information is that she was born on December 2, 1963 in Los Angeles to nurse-turned novelist Jeanne Ray and Los Angeles police officer Frank Patchett....
Arlie Russell Hochschild
Sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild's eleventh book, Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right, was a 2016 National Book Award finalist. She has also written several magazine and newspaper articles and essays, all focusing on how 20th Century changes in roles, relationships and responsibilities affect the...
Ayelet Waldman's Bad Mother
Several months before the release of Chabon's Manhood for Amateurs, his wife, writer Ayelet Waldman, published a memoir called Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace, which offers another look at the Chabon/Waldman family.

The book stems partly from Waldman's controversial essay ...
Baltimore's Literary History
'Baltimore is warm but pleasant...I belong here, where everything is civilized and gay and rotted and polite.'― F. Scott Fitzgerald

When one thinks of literature and American cities, Baltimore may not immediately come to mind. While 'Charm City' might not have the apparent prestige of San Francisco or New York, Baltimore's ...
Beirut 39 - An anthology of writing by thirty-nine Arabic writers under thirty-nine.
Beirut 39 derives its title from 'Beirut39', a group of thirty-nine writers of Arab heritage who were all born in or after 1970. The countries of origin represented in the anthology include Palestine, Saudia Arabia, Syria, Oman, Jordan, Sudan, Libya, Lebanon, and Egypt, among others.

These writers met for workshops, readings, and ...
Beowulf
Grendel's Guide to Love and War is a contemporary retelling of the epic poem Beowulf. In the author's note at the end of the novel, A.E. Kaplan says that when she first read Beowulf, she remembers feeling sorry for Grendel. 'The poor fellow is minding his own business, living in his lake with his mother, when Hrothgar and company show up ...
Bernardine Evaristo's Booker Prize Win
In October of 2019, Bernardine Evaristo took home the Booker Prize in a win that garnered special attention for multiple reasons. Specifically, Evaristo was the first Black woman to win the prize, and she didn't have the win all to herself; the judges split it between Evaristo for Girl, Woman, Other and Margaret Atwood for The Testaments....
Brando Skyhorse's Unusual Name
Brando Skyhorse, author of the memoir Take This Man, has been known by many names. A mistake in his first name meant that his birth certificate read 'Brandon Ulloa' (the last name was his real father's) — but his mother, Maria, had it officially changed three months later to 'Brando,' as she had always intended. Later he was known ...
Can Nonfiction Be Too Revealing?
On May 24, 2013, Tiffany Sedaris, sister of writer David Sedaris, died by suicide. Shortly after, David penned an essay for the New Yorker, entitled Now We are Five. In true Sedaris fashion, the essay doesn't focus entirely on Tiffany or the circumstances of her death, but instead looks at the situation through the lens of ...
Charles Dickens' Illustrators
Illustrations were crucial to Victorian novels – a fact that is difficult to absorb nowadays, when the only books for adults with drawings are graphic novels. Charles Dickens was known for showing obsessive interest in his novels' illustrations, always making sure that artists adhered closely to his written descriptions. All but...
Climate Fiction: A Glimpse into the Growing Genre
In Midnight at the Electric, it is the year 2065, and teenager Adri is part of a carefully selected group departing Earth forever to live on Mars. Although the story takes place less than 50 years from now, massive planetary destruction has already taken place. As Adri puts it early on, 'there's no Miami and hardly any Bangladesh and no ...
Conrad Wesselhoeft

BookBrowse's Tamara Smith Interviews Conrad Wesselhoeft, Author of Dirt Bikes, Drones and Other Ways to Fly

Conrad Wesselhoeft worked as a tugboat hand in Singapore and Peace Corps Volunteer in Polynesia before embarking on a career in journalism. He has served on the editorial staffs of five newspapers, including The New York Times. He ...

Cozy Mysteries
The mystery is one of the most popular genres of literature, and the 'cozy mystery,' a term coined in the late 20th century, holds steady as a favorite subset of crime fiction.

Cozy mysteries are marked by compelling, yet relatable characters. The 'detective' is an amateur, thrown into an unexpected, undesired situation. Most often ...
Death in Literature
Saramago's characterization of death departs from convention in several ways—not least in her insistence in remaining lower case: 'I am not Death, but death. Death is something of which you could never even conceive, and please note, mister grammarian, that I did not conclude that phrase with a preposition, you human beings ...
Early African American Authors
In Ginny Gall, the main character is an avid reader who aspires to be much like the black authors he admires. A few early African Americans writers are listed below.

Top, from left to right: James Weldon Johnson, Harriet Wilson, William Wells Brown
Bottom, from left to right: Jessie Fauset,W. E. B. Du Bois, Paul Laurence Dunbar


...

Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe was born Edgar Poe in 1809 to Elizabeth and David Poe, both actors. They died when he was three and he was taken in by John Allan, a tobacco merchant living in Virginia. He became estranged from his foster father in the mid to late 1820s and joined the US Army under the name Edgar Perry - he served for two years before...
Edna St. Vincent Millay
In Spinster, Kate Bolick leans on the examples of women who have come before her, as a source of solace and encouragement for her own life choice to remain single. She found herself looking to the examples of five 'awakeners,' all talented women whose creativity and professional success were independent of their marital status.

One of ...
Emily Brontë
In The Lost Child, Caryl Phillips takes up elements from the life of Emily Brontë and her masterpiece novel of 1847, Wuthering Heights. Brontë's life and works are often read in tandem. Perhaps because her life was so brief and her oeuvre so small, both the biography and the work are needed to get a grip on what she was thinking...
Emphasizing Stories by Indigenous Writers
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 5.2 million Native Americans currently live within the United States. But their stories are largely ignored by mainstream literature. In a world where literature is dominated by white male-driven narratives, it is even more important that we popularize and appreciate indigenous stories. I'd like to ...
Ethiopian Authors
Dinaw Mengestu was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1978. In 1980 he immigrated to the United States with his mother and sister, joining his father, who had fled the communist revolution in Ethiopia two years before. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and of Columbia University's MFA program in fiction. He has also reported ...
Fairy Tales and Fiction
I noted in my review of Joy Williams' Ninety-Nine Stories of God that it felt like a compilation of fairy tales. But then I began to wonder why I felt that way. On closer inspection, I perhaps learned why.

Warwick GobleFiction, of course, is not factual, even if the writer uses known facts in order to mirror reality. Writers make things up; they ...
Familial Co-Authors Writing Under One Pen Name
According to their website, 'Liv Constantine is the pen name of sisters Lynne Constantine and Valerie Constantine.' Hearing this piqued my curiosity regarding, not simply literary collaborations (there are tons of those), but writers who collaborate and then publish their fictional works under a single pseudonym--and in particular writers...
Famous Writers Who Have Plagiarized
The main character in John Boyne's novel A Ladder to the Sky plagiarizes others' work to gain his fame and fortune.

Many famous authors have been accused of 'borrowing' the writings of others and claiming it as their own work, sometimes even ending up in court. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and Dan Brown, creator of the ...
Five Notable Pakistani Authors
While Indian authors have been the darlings of the literary world for the past couple of decades, Pakistani novelists writing in English have remained in the shadows -- but no longer. Even as their country sinks into violence, a growing number of novelists are winning acclaim around the world. Here are five Pakistani authors ...
Frame Narration and Ekphrasis
Paul Auster frequently employs two particular literary techniques which, when combined, turn his novels into multi-layered stories with internal echoes and reverberations.

The first is a frame narrative, in which the main plot is a story, usually in the form of a manuscript, which is discovered and introduced by someone else. This ...
From Facebook Dabbler to Memoirist
Glennon Doyle Melton, author of Love Warrior, started her writing career in 2009. Badly needing a break one day, the stay-at-home mother of three turned to Facebook, where she noticed several of her friends were participating in a series of posts called '25 Things About Me.' She immediately began sharing incredibly honest and personal ...
Gerald and Sara Murphy & Fitzgerald's Tender Is the Night
Gerald and Sara Murphy are widely believed to be the inspiration for Dick and Nicole Diver, the central couple in F. Scott Fitzgerald's last novel, Tender Is the Night (1934), not just for their physical resemblance, but also for their habit of hosting lavish parties at Cap d'Antibes in the south of France. Indeed, Fitzgerald dedicated ...
Gertrude Stein (1874-1946)
A number of real historical figures play tangential roles in The Paris Hours, which is set in Paris in 1927. One of these is Gertrude Stein, a writer known for her poetry and the quasi-fictional memoir she penned about her life in Paris with her longtime partner, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933). But Stein may be even better ...
Gothic Literature and the Influence of Dracula
Dracula by Irish author Bram (Abraham) Stoker is widely considered to be a classic of Gothic horror literature. With the possible exception of Frankenstein, it is perhaps the most recognizable and influential of all such novels. Stoker's most famous work was not, however, at the vanguard in the development of the genre; at the time of its...
Gothic Romance and the Rise of the Lady Sleuth
Gothic novels typically have a few common elements: a haunted setting, an atmosphere of mystery and suspense, supernatural (or seemingly so) occurrences, a tortured hero, a heroine in distress and high emotions. The genre's origins are generally traced back to Horace Walpole's 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto, which features a medieval ...
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