2019 Booker Dozen

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“Each book has an individual, singular voice…some are very interior, some are very extravagant,” says Xiaolu Guo, one of the judges for the 2019 Booker Prize, about the thirteen titles nominated for the longlist of the prize. The “Booker Dozen” includes The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite, Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli, An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma, and Lanny by Max Porter. 

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The Kitchen

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The Kitchen is a film adaptation of the DC Comics graphic novel of the same name written by Ollie Masters and illustrated by Ming Doyle. Directed by Andrea Berloff and starring Tiffany Haddish, Melissa McCarthy, and Elisabeth Moss, the film set in the 1970s follows three women in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen who take over organized crime operations after their husbands are sent to prison.

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The Need

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“The ‘need’ is many things in the book...a child’s need for milk and then also the mother’s need for the child to relieve her of the milk and the mother’s need for her children, that love going two directions.” On BRIC TV’s 112BK, Helen Phillips talks about her second novel, The Need (Simon & Schuster, 2019), different reactions to the book, her own experiences as a mother, and some of the inspiration for its themes. For more Phillips, read her answers to Ten Questions about her novel.

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The Nickel Boys

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“You pick the right tool for the job, and sometimes fantasy is a way to open up a story and convey a universal truth, and sometimes realism.” Colson Whitehead speaks with PBS NewsHour’s Jeffrey Brown about his writing process and the true story that inspired his latest novel, The Nickel Boys, which was published this week by Doubleday.

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A Particular Kind of Black Man

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“The protagonist of my novel is forced to construct a persona because the persona that he inherits from his father and from society doesn’t match who he actually is.” Nigerian American author Tope Folarin, winner of the 2013 Caine Prize for African Writing, talks about the theme of identity construction in his debut novel, A Particular Kind of Black Man (Simon & Schuster, 2019).

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Costalegre

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This book trailer by filmmaker Diego Ongaro introduces Courtney Maum’s third novel, Costalegre (Tin House Books, 2019), which tells the story of an American heiress and art collector, her neglected teenage daughter, and the elite group of artists who escape into the Mexican jungle on the eve of World War II. For more from Maum, read her installment of Ten Questions.

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Esmé Weijun Wang on Taking Compliments

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“We can be unrelentingly hard to ourselves, and under such circumstances, it’s a shame to not let the world’s light stick to us when we have the chance.” Esmé Weijun Wang, author of The Collected Schizophrenias (Graywolf Press, 2019), speaks about the importance of prioritizing compliments over criticism in this PBS NewsHour video.

The Starless Sea

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The Starless Sea (Doubleday, 2019), the follow-up to Erin Morgenstern’s debut novel, The Night Circus, follows a graduate student who discovers a library book that inexplicably tells a story from his own past leading him to a mysterious underground world filled with ancient books, lost cities, pirates, painters, and lovers.

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