Four Winners ….

Italy’s Boccaccio International Prize for Fiction was awarded to Irish author Catherine Dunne for her novel Things We Know Now (M)
Published in November 2012 in Italy, ‘the things we know now’ went straight into the bestseller list.
Critics have praised its ‘utterly compelling story’, the ‘depth and range of psychological insight’ and the authenticity of the ‘orchestra of voices’ that tell the story of the central character, Daniel.

A golden child. A glittering future. And the darker truth that lies beneath.

When Patrick Grant meets Ella, he seizes the opportunity of a new life with her. He imagines the future with his beautiful second wife by his side: the years ahead filled with all that is bright and promising. When Ella gives birth to Daniel, Patrick’s happiness is complete. A son at last. Patrick adores Daniel: a golden child, talented, artistic, loving.

The Technologists (M) by Matthew Pearl has been selected as the winner in the fiction category of the 2013 Massachusetts Book Awards.

Boston, 1868. The Civil War may be over but a new war has begun, one between the past and the present, tradition and technology.The first graduating class at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is thrown into turmoil by bizarre phenomena that cause instruments to inexplicably spin out of control, challenging enterprising students to protect lives while combating Harvard rivals. Studded with suspense and soaked in the rich historical atmosphere for which its author is renowned, The Technologists is a dazzling journey into a dangerous world not so very far from our own, as the America we know today begins to shimmer into being.

Kamal Al-Solaylee is the winner of the 2013 Toronto Book Award for his memoir, Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes (M).

What the judges said:
Intolerable is a story of prejudice, dislocation, courage and extraordinary achievement. It is a moving portrayal of the inner turmoil and emotional complexities that Kamal Al-Solaylee experiences being gay and leaving his Arab family and culture behind to pursue a life free from religious and social stigmas. His arrival in Canada is marked by a nervous optimism but he finds his new life is “enriched by many other things; from public libraries, to public broadcasting to the many parks and free art galleries.” In Toronto he finds a sense of acceptance, community and place. Set against the backdrop of conflict in the Middle East, he vividly portrays the sense of loss and sadness he feels as a result of the difficult choices he has had to make. It is a captivating and sensitively written memoir that explores the dynamics of family relationships, and the political and cultural influences that shape one’s life
Stephen Reid won the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize for A Crowbar in the Buddhist Garden: writing from prison (M).

Each of the essays in this collection is a recognition of how Reid’s imprisonment has shaped his life. Some describe his fractured boyhood and the escalation in crimes that led to his imprisonment others detail the seductive rush and notoriety of the criminal life. There are the regrets too of how his choices have impacted the lives of his daughters, wife and family. But in each essay the refrain is “prison life”, whether it is measuring the integrity of the books in the prison library, the violence and primal intimidation inherent in all-male communities, or the torment and solace of solitary confinement.

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