Thursday, October 12, 2006

Author Years=Like Dog Years, But Better

This week England awarded The Man Booker Prize. It’s the Brits equivalent of the PEN/Faulkner award (I think, don’t hold me to that though.) But the point is, it’s a pretty prestigious, writerly award, and the headlines this year were focused on “the youngest winner in the prize’s history.”

How young?


To me, as a would-be novelist (who lives in a college town where anyone over 23 can easily be considered “old” given the town’s primarily 18-22 demographic and all) this is great news. It helps remind me that while literary heroes of mine like David Foster Wallace (Broom of the System published in his mid-20s, along with his first short-story collection) and wunderkinds like Jonathan Safron Foer have great books published before they were my age, they are in a very, very small minority.

The Chuck Palahnuik’s of the world, who publish first in their 30s, happen far more often than the still-in-college-but-hey, have a book deal Bret Easton Ellis’s.

And it’s a nice counterbalance to the fact that earlier this week I saw yet another book getting published by a former Red and Black staffer. So maybe I should put that bit of previous work experience on my cover letter to potential literary agents once I finish a book (and it’s going to happen…who knows, if the contest goes well, maybe I’ll get two wrapped up before baseball season.)

And if anyone’s curious, the NNWM contest doesn’t want you to come in with an already started novel—but you can start on research, outlines, etc. Just don’t actually start writing until 11/1/06. So, to perhaps pique some curiosity about what will be driving me bats in a few weeks, here’s some of what I’ve been looking up: vampires, and their folkloric and mythological cousins dating back to Sumer, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and anything else related to the mental state of paranoid conspiracy buffs, defamer and other LA celebrity gossip blogs, the history of early Hollywood, especially around the advent of the Hays Code, and Autumn Reeser’s imdb filmography.

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