Columnist Awards the Noble (Not Nobel) Prize for Fourth Year
Columnist and Author
Takes on the Nobel Prize Committee
Praised or maligned, the Nobel Prize for Literature is always news. It selects the best from the world and therefore misses much of value. Carolyn Howard-Johnson, “Back to Literature” columnist for MyShelf.com, closes the gap (only slightly) with her an annual “Noble Prize for Literature.”
Over the last years the Nobel committee has recognized authors for their literary expertise but there has also been a trend toward awarding the prize for, as Los Angeles Times Staff Writer Tim Rutten says, “an author’s particular relevance to the moral moment in which the world finds itself.”
Howard-Johnson’s prize therefore concentrates on books that address these same issues. For her Noble Prize (as opposed to the NOBEL prize), Howard-Johnson considers books written in English (which narrows the field of prospects considerably) because writers who write in English have been rather neglected over the years and because that is the language in which she is, ahem, reads well enough..
Howard-Johnson’s lists have included well-known authors who explore discrimination in their writing like Toni Morrison and Ralph Ellison but she tries to concentrate on authors who have not been posted to bestseller lists or won major awards. Some past winners are LA's Leora G. Krygier and Randall Sylvis.
The winners for 2004 just announced in January's issue of Myshelf are: Los Angeles writers and UCLA instructors Christopher Meeks, Suzanne Lummis and Caroline Leavitt. Others are Kauzo Ishiguro, Leora Skolkin-Smith, Sean Wisley, and Jeannette Walls.
Howard Johnson is no stranger to literary prizes. Her first, "This is the Place, " won the Reviewers’ Choice Award after it was published in 2001 and went on to win 7 other awards. A chapter from the book was a finalist in the Masters’ Literary Award and another was selected for inclusion in The Copperfield Review. Her book of creative nonfiction, “Harkening,” has won three awards, her "Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't" was USA Book News' Best Professional Book of 2004 and her new book of poetry, "Tracings," was just named "Top 10 Reads for 2004" by The Compulsive Reader. She is also an instructor for UCLA Extension's renowned Writers' Program.
Learn more about Howard-Johnson at http://CarolynHowardJohnson.com.
Her "Back to Literature" column may be found at http://myshelf.com/backtoliterature/column.htm .
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