2015: The Year in Literature
There’s no denying it. It’s been a busy year in the world of literature, and it isn’t even over yet. The United States alone published more than 300,000 new titles and re-editions this year. Worldwide, hundreds of thousands of other books hit the shelf for the first time. Some of these sold millions, while some might profoundly have touched but a single life. In a world filled with inexhaustible literary talent, it’s an effort to capture “the year in literature” in just a few hundred words. But here is an essential recap of some of the most talked about literary events that have occurred, so far, in 2015.
Harper Lee’s Second Novel
This year, one of the most-read novelists in the world surprised us with her second book—at the age of 89. Truth be told, her second novel was actually her first. Sixty-some years earlier, Harper Lee heeded much of her literary editor, Tay Hohoff’s advice, and revised her original manuscript multiple times until it became the iconic “To Kill a Mockingbird”. This year, Lee removed the unedited manuscript from a safe, and published it bearing the original title, “Go Set a Watchman.”
Other Notable Releases
“Purity”, by Jonathan Franzen. The Guardian called it “piercingly brilliant”, Gawker named it “an irrelevant piece of shit”; for better or for worse, Jonathan Franzen’s, “Purity” had people talking.
Kazuo Ishiguro’s “The Buried Giant” was met with mixed reviews, but made it to bestseller lists nonetheless. It is the Booker Prize winning author’s first full-fledged fantasy novel.
With a spate of highly prestigious awards to her credit, Toni Morrison is one of the most significant writers of our time. Her book, “God Help the Child” was one of the most anticipated novels of the year.
Debut Novelists to Remember
Granddaughter of British espionage author, John le Carre, Jessica Cornwell released an ambitious debut, The Serpent Papers. Set to be a trilogy, the book has already been optioned as a film.
Editor of Firstpost, Roy’s debut novel “Don’t Let Him Know” released in the beginning of the year, and left many people wondering if it were possible for a better debut novel to arrive in 2015.
The only debut novel shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, “The Fishermen” by Chigozie Obioma tells the story of a predicted murder among a Nigerian family.
Death of Yasar Kemal
Recipient of 38 awards, candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature, and author of twenty novels and many other works, Yasar Kemal was one of the most renowned writers Turkey has ever seen. He was also an important voice in the matter of Kurdish separatism. After writing an article criticising racism against Kurds he was granted a suspended 20-month jail sentence. Kemal was 92 at the time of his death.
“Family Life” wins Folio Prize 2015
Previously selected by New York Times as one of the Top Ten Books of the Year (2014), “Family Life” by author Akhil Sharma gains international celebration once again. Sharma was also a participant in Tata LitLive 2014.
New Zealand Bans Book
For the first time in 22 years, New Zealand banned a book for offensive language and sexual imagery. The ban of young adult book “Into the River”, written by award-winning New Zealand author Ted Dawe, has sparked a heated debate on censorship and freedom of speech.
The Future of Publishing
One of the most interesting occurrences in the literary world this year might not have to do with a specific writer or literary genius, but with the publishing industry. In the first decade of the 21st century, experts proclaimed that by 2015 print publishing would be nearly obsolete. Kindles and ebooks would take over. According to The New York Times, digital books are nowhere close to wiping out the printed book—in fact they’re the ones losing popularity.
It may be convenient to download a book—especially 900+ pages of 1Q84—but there’s one thing all avid readers know: there’s nothing like thumbing through the pages of the real thing.
Come celebrate your love of literature with us at the 6th edition of TATA Literature Live! More details about Mumbai’s biggest internation lit fest can be found right here: bit.ly/TATALitLive2015
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