Jesmyn Ward among finalists for National Book Awards

Jesmyn Ward
Updated 05 October 2017
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Jesmyn Ward among finalists for National Book Awards

NEW YORK: Jesmyn Ward, Masha Gessen and Frances Fitzgerald are among this year’s finalists for the National Book Awards.
On Wednesday, the National Book Foundation announced short lists of five each in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, young people’s literature and poetry. Winners will be announced at a Manhattan dinner ceremony on Nov. 15, when Annie Proulx and publisher Dick Robinson of Scholastic will receive honorary prizes.
Fifteen of the 20 nominees are women.
Ward was cited for her haunting, lyrical novel “Sing, Unburied, Sing,” her first work of fiction since winning the National Book Award for “Salvage the Bones.” The other fiction finalists include Elliot Ackerman’s “Dark at the Crossing,” Min Jin Lee’s “Pachinko” and a pair of debut works, Carmen Maria Machado’s “Her Body and Other Parties: Stories” and Lisa Ko’s “The Leavers.”
The nonfiction nominees mostly focused on democracy and racial justice. Gessen was nominated for “The Future is History,” a look into the rise of totalitarianism in her native Russia, and Fitzgerald for “The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America.” The other finalists were Erica Armstrong Dunbar’s “Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge,” David Grann’s “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI” and Nancy MacLean’s “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America.”
In poetry, the nominees were Frank Bidart’s “Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016,” Leslie Harrison’s “The Book of Endings,” Layli Long Soldier’s “WHEREAS,” Shane McCrae’s “In the Language of My Captor” and Danez Smith’s “Do not Call Us Dead: Poems.” The finalists in young people’s literature were Elana K. Arnold’s “What Girls Are Made Of,” Robin Benway’s “Far from the Tree,” Erika L. Sanchez’s “I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter,” Rita Williams-Garcia’s “Clayton Byrd Goes Underground” and Ibi Zoboi’s “American Street.”
Panels of five judges in each category made their selections from more than 1,500 works submitted overall by publishers. The book foundation released long lists of 10 last month, with Jennifer Egan’s novel “Manhattan Bridge,” Timothy B. Tyson’s nonfiction “The Blood of Emmett Till” and Angie Thomas’ young adult best-seller “The Hate U Give” among those bypassed for the short list.


Han Solo’s ‘Return of the Jedi’ blaster sells for $550,000

Updated 24 June 2018
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Han Solo’s ‘Return of the Jedi’ blaster sells for $550,000

  • The faux weapon, mainly made of wood, had been put on display in New York by Julien’s Auctions last month after more than 30 years tucked away in the belongings of James Schoppe, art director of “Return of the Jedi”
  • Martin Nolan, the auction house’s executive director, said Schoppe, an Oscar nominee for his work on the film, finally decided to part with Solo’s gun and about 40 other items from the movie, including an Ewok axe and plans for Jabba the Hutt’s ship

WASHINGTON: In the wildly popular “Star Wars” films, Han Solo once told a lightsaber-wielding Luke Skywalker: “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”
That was the case when one of the blaster pistol props used by Harrison Ford in “Return of the Jedi” (1983) went under the hammer, selling for $550,000 — topping the $450,000 previously fetched by Skywalker’s lightsaber from the first two films.
“SOLD for $550,000! An original Han Solo blaster used in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi!” Julien’s Auctions announced on Twitter Saturday.
The faux weapon, mainly made of wood, had been put on display in New York by Julien’s Auctions last month after more than 30 years tucked away in the belongings of James Schoppe, art director of “Return of the Jedi.”
Martin Nolan, the auction house’s executive director, said Schoppe, an Oscar nominee for his work on the film, finally decided to part with Solo’s gun and about 40 other items from the movie, including an Ewok axe and plans for Jabba the Hutt’s ship.
The Ewok axe went for $11,250, while another blaster prop from the film fetched $90,624, according to Julien’s Auctions.
But none of the props were a match for the space saga’s much-loved droid: last year, an R2-D2 used in the making of several “Star Wars” films sold for $2.76 million at auction in Los Angeles.