As long as you’re book-lovers or Bookstr fans, you may have already known that, unfortunately, the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature has been cancelled due to the explosion of sexual assault scandals in the Swedish Academy. But the celebration of humanities never stops. As an alternative and temporary for Prize in Literature, the New Academy just announced the shortlist of four authors for the 2018 New Academy Prize in Literature: Neil Gaiman, Maryse Condé, Haruki Murakami, and Kim Thúy.
Books of the final four | Image Via stadsbibblanstockholm
Feeling shame about the scandal in a used-to-be distinguished and respectful Swedish Academy, Alexandra Pascalidou, a Swedish columnist, gathered the efforts from more than a hundred Swedish art and literature works. This included authors, librarians, correspondents, artists, and professors, which all give birth to Den Nya Akademien (New Academy), a non-profit organization, both politically and financially independent.
Different from the traditional way of evaluating prize nominees behind a secret veil like the Swedish Academy did, the New Academy opens the power of selection to the public. After the voting process is conducted by thousands of global book fans, the final four are released and sent to the evaluation committee. The juries include the chairman Ann Pålssonsenior, a senior editor; Lisbeth Larsson, the Professor of Literature at University of Gothenburg; Gunilla Sandin, the Head of Library; and Peter Stenson, Editor and Independent Publisher.
The final decision will be made on October 12th with the award ceremony on December 9. After the ceremony, both the New Academy and jury committee will dismiss themselves automatically. In what follows, let’s read more about our final four:
Neil Gaiman: a superstar in the fantasy community
Image Via recode.net
Born in 1960 in England and living in the U.S. now, Gailman is best known for his fantasy writing, such as Stardust (1999) and American Gods (2001). His young adult novel The Graveyard Book received the U.S. Newbery Medal Award in 2009. After hearing the news of his nomination, Gailman tweeted: “Winning would not make me any happier than being on that list makes me. So I don’t think of it as being up against opponents, just as being in glorious and honoured company.”
The Sandman: Book of Dreams, Coraline, The Graveyard Book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Maryse Condé: a change-maker of the colonial world
Image Via Repeating Islands
Born in 1937 in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe and living in Guadeloupe and France now, this outstanding Caribbean author is so talented. Conde explores “how colonialism has changed the world and how those affected take back their heritage,” according the New Academy. Known for her critical probing into (post)colonial worlds, Dr. Condé had taught Francophone literature in Columbia University, New York.
Desirada, Segu, Crossing the Mangrove, Who Slashed Celanire’s Throat?
Haruki Murakami: a mastery frontrunner of magic realism
Image Via Financial Tribune
Born in 1949 in Kyoto, Murakami now lives in Tokyo and is known for his dancing and magical words in both Japanese and global literary platforms. As a translator and author, Murakami is distinguished in “fus[ing] pop culture with a fierce magic realism.” While being translated into many languages, his work explores the existentialism of modern human conditions, such as urban loneliness, joyful but painful sex, lost-and-found identity, and familial complexities. For many Murakami fans, his being nominated must be a piece of great news because Murakami is also mentioned as a marathon Nobel Prize-candidate.
Norwegian Wood, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Kafka on the Shore, IQ84
Kim Thúy: a painter of Vietnamese exile and identity
Image Via Le Devoir
Born in 1968 in Saigon, Vietnam, Kim Thúy left her native country with her family as refugees, spending one year in Malaysian asylum and growing up in Canada. In 2009, her autobiographical first work, Ru, brought her into the global literary world and received Governor General’s Award in 2010. Her stories, according to New Academy, “paint the colors of Vietnam and the scents and flavors too, as well as the perils of exile and search for identity.”
Ru, Man, Vi
Image Via the New Academy
Having a better understanding of these amazing authors gives me heartwarming and exciting feelings in my heart. They’re keeping the sparkles of the humanities gleaming in the darkness of unpleasant and abusive sexism. As the New Academy states:
In a time when human values are increasingly being called into question, literature becomes the counterforce of oppression and a code of silence. It is now more important than ever that the world’s greatest literary prize should be awarded.
No matter if it is a fantasy that unfolds the hope in another universe, a historical fiction that criticizes the violence of archaic monarchy, a magical realist novel that duplicates the complex of sun and shadow, or a memoir-oriented fiction that archives the tear and blood of exile, these four authors have done it all. They (re)present the world(s) that we lived, are living, and are heading toward. Much appreciation to them for writing of the democracy, openness, and respect we all desire. Congratulations for being the final four!
- Sweden Launches Alternative Nobel Prize in Literature
- Neil Gailman and Haruki Murakami up for alternative Nobel literature prize
- The New Academy official website and the final four