We followed the National Book Awards fairly closely this year, posting both the finalists and the winners. Making the finalists cut is an enviable achievement for any author and often inspires publishers to emboss it on the latest printing of the trade paperback edition of that writer’s work.
Jayne Ann Philips was on that short list this year, and soon enough we might expect to see that noted on copies of her latest novel, Lark and Termite. (The edition pictured to the right, so embossed, will be available on Jan. 12.) It is another accolade in a career that includes the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction, awarded by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, for her first collection of stories, Black Tickets: Stories, a National Book Critics Circle Award nomination for her first novel, Machine Dreams, a Guggenheim Fellowship and two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships.
If you’re not familiar with Lark and Termite, it is set in 1959 and explores the world and relationships of 17 year-old Lark and her mute brother Termite. One of our favorite authors, Junot Díaz, described it as “an astounding feat of the imagination” and declared it “the best novel I’ve read this year“. Seems a sound endorsement to us.
Ms. Phillips will be discussing her work and signing copies at the Decatur Library Auditorium next Monday night starting at 7:15.