This is a good week for us literary freaks, what with Doris Lessing winning the Nobel Prize for Literature today, which you can read about in my previous post here, and the National Book Award Nominations being announced yesterday.
So, let’s just cut straight to the chase here–Denis Johnson was nominated for Tree of Smoke. Have I mentioned that the man is a god yet? Well, he is. Tree of Smoke is the definitive Vietnam novel that you didn’t know you were waiting for. I’ve got the heavy tome waiting for me to read by the side of my bed. I’ve read the first few pages of it, and the way the man writes is pretty amazing.
Plus, I think he lives in Idaho and that automatically qualifies him for coolness. No, the state is not only home to white supremacists.
And now, for my National Book Award brush with greatness moment. When I was working on my MFA, I got Brad Watson as my mentor. He is the author of The Heaven of Mercury and the story collection Last Days of the Dog Men. It is customary at brief residency MFA programs to have a meeting with your mentor to discuss what you will be working on for the semester.
Well, moments, and I do mean moments, before I had my meeting with Brad, he got a phone call telling him that he had been nominated for the National Book Award.
Now is that a brush with fame moment or what?
Not sure what Brad is doing now, but I’m hoping he comes out with another novel soon.