My friend Carolyn Howard-Johnson has worked to benefit authors for more than a decade now. Authors of every kind including literary authors and poets.
She says, “The Nobel Prize committee has come under criticism over the last decade but I can’t argue with them on their choices for literature. Over the last few years they have recognized authors not only for their literary expertise but also for, as Tim Rutten, a Los Angeles Times staff writer says “an author’s particular relevance to the moral moment in which the world finds itself.
“Because the world constantly “finds itself” mired in prejudice, one would have to assume that the books that are awarded the coveted Nobel would be about intolerance of one kind or another. Last year V.S. Naipul won for his condemnation of sectarianism. Gao Xingjian writes about man’s struggle for individualism in a milieu dominated by governments, politics and other social structures. Gunter Grass writes about the “disavowed and forgotten.” These are simplified descriptions, of course, but the struggle of human kind to live free, joyous lives is a subject worthy of prizes.”
She writes a “Back to Literature” column for an online review site (MyShelf) and awards a “Noble (Not Nobel) Prize” of her own to give emerging authors a chance being known.
Carolyn learned her marketing smarts as a publicist and journalist but mostly she brings her experience promoting her own novel and poetry to these how-to books. One of them is her little Christmas chapbook Blooming Red Blooming Red: Christmas Poetry for the Rational, and her multi award-winning novel This Is the Place This Is the Place available used for only about $1.
Here are some of her and my favorite Nobel Prize Winners:
1. Nobel Prize-Winner Toni Morrison Beloved—I cannot think of one of her books in which you will not find shades of discrimination, nor one that is not exquisitely written. 2. First Time Novelist Leora G. Krygier—First the Raven explores the prejudices one people nurture against their own kind. 3. Harper Lee for To Kill a Mockingbird—A story of a small southern community’s bigotry and one family’s courageous struggle against it. 4. Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man—A classic. The title says it all. 5. Tamin Ansary’s East of Kabul is available in book or e-book form. —A memoir that shows how living a divided life may feel isolatory. 6. Kristie Leigh Maguire’s Emails from the Edge: The Life of an Expatriate Wife—This subsidy-published book reminds us of how it might feel to be viewed only as “a foreigner.” 7. Nora Okja Keller’s Fox Girl—a story set in Korea about alienation 8. Gail Jenner’s Across the Sweet Grass Hills —A story of bigotry in Montana in the 1800s. 9. Fatelessness’s — This is this year’s Nobel Prize winner. It is beautifully translated into English. 10. Reuben Ainsztein’s In Lands Not My Own: A Wartime Journey —Published posthumously and only recently, this is a story that was very nearly lost to the world 11. Wayne Karlin’s The Wished For Country –explores how difficult it is to be a community set apart from those around it. 12. Joanne Harris for Five Quarters of the Orange—A story set in France during the German occupation about an insular community’s cruelty to its own.