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The New Academy Releases Its Four Finalists in 2018 Alternative Prize in Literature

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.”


Selected bibliography:
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. 


Selected bibliography:
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.


Selected bibliography:
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.”

Selected bibliography:
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!  



Suggested readings:




Featured Image Via shopforclipart.comAfriculturesHN Art – Hospodářské noviny, and The Georgia Straight

nobel prize in Lit

Sweden Launches Alternative Nobel Prize in Literature

Though the Swedish Academy has cancelled the 2018 Novel Prize in Literature, it does not mean the Prize in Literature should be postponed too. According to The Guardiana huge number of Swedish writers, actors, correspondents, librarians, and cultural influencers have co-launched a unit called “the New Academy” based on their strong belief that the “world’s greatest literature prize” should still be awarded.

A representative of the New Academy said: 

In a time when human values are increasingly being called into question…Literature becomes an even more important counterforce to stop the culture of silence and oppression.

The nominees can be anyone from anywhere on Earth as long as s/he has told the story of “humans in the world.” There is no requirement of nationality for the candidates but s/he should publish at least two books in ten years. So far, some of the perennial Nobel contenders are included: Cormac McCarthy, Margaret Atwood, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Amos Oz, and Haruki Murakami. But we also see some new fresh faces like Sofi Oksanen, Olga Tokarczuk, and Nnedi Okorafor

Different from the Swedish Academy, the membership for New Academy is temporary and the judging process will not be veiled. After the New Academy received the nominations, it will release the list to have the public vote for four writers. Then, the Academy will evaluate and choose the finalist. As the alternative institute for the Swedish Academy, the new one will be dismissed after the award ceremony in December.

Featured Image Via The Atlantic