Author News and Book Reports

John Grisham receives first-ever National Book Festival Creative Achievement Award
With over 60 million copies in print worldwide in 29 langauges, John Grisham seemed overdue for some kind of award, and he finally received an impressive one--the first-ever Creative Achievement Award presented by the U.S. Librarian Of Congress since 1987, Dr. James Hadley Billington, to open the 2009 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.. In a wide-ranging interview with Washington Post book critic Jonathan Yardley following the award ceremony, Grisham recalled his boyhood in the Deep South captured in his autobiographical novel A Painted House and described the racial tensions in Mississippi as James Meredith made his historic enrollment at Ole Miss that triggered race riots and killings and how those events changed his views and shaped his career as a criminal defense lawyer, reflected in his courtroom drama, Street Lawyer. Yardley and Grisham then plunged into a literary discussion of Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Eudora Welty and Grisham's exploration of themes involving innocence and justice in his more recent work before Grisham introduced his new book of short stories (which happen to be somewhat long, as Grisham pointed out), Ford County (Doubleday; November, 2009). Acknowledging that his first novel, Time To Kill, was a disappointment, Grisham described reading Ken Follett, Jeffrey Archer, Robert Ludlum, and authors on the New York Times bestseller lists before finding commercial success with his second legal thriller, The Firm and developing his trademark editing, research, and writing craft. Turning to issues he champions, Grisham talked about his and his wife's Hurricane Katrina relief aid efforts and tackled the injustices of homelessness and other social issues before ending the interview with a description of his motivation for writing his first book of non-fiction, The Innocent Man and the challenges of researching the case. Grisham then took questions from the audience about his book dedications; whether he would ever get on his soap box again and write more non-fiction; and the significance of Christian themes in his work. Grisham wrapped the book event with questions on the inspiration for 'Skipping Christmas and his research in Bologna, Italy, for The Broker.

Book and Author Headlines

John Hodgman and Larry Wilmore get the truth out about fake news and book blurbs: Two of today's top TV cutups, 'Daily Show' fake news correspondents John Hodgman and Larry Wilmore take the stage at the Miami Book Fair International 2009 to air dirty laundry, razz each other over book blurbs, and talk about their careers in comedy.

David Small and Byron Pitts unscramble their hardscrabble youths with A.J. Jacobs: Award-winng children's book author David Small and Byron Pitts, Chief National Correspondent and Conributing Correspondent for 60 Minutes at CBS News, join diarist A.J. Jacobs in unscrambling how their hardscrabble childhoods contributed to their success.

Clarence 'Big Man' Clemons toots his horn: The Big Man himself showcases his book, his sax, his life among the legends at BookExpo America 2009.

Nobel Laureates lead large flock of authors in annual migration to Miami, Nov 8-15: Several hundred world-class and emerging authors will flock to the 2009 Miami Book Fair International where they will read to and talk with many thousands of book lovers of all ages, Nov. 8-15.

Gail Collins traces the triumphs and defeats 'when everything changed': New York Times political op-ed columnist Gail Collins describes the evolution of an essay she wrote that grew into two volumes covering 450 years of women's history in America.

Bob Schieffer mixes poems and politics, from Nixon to Obama, and comments on his commentaries: CBS News anchor Bob Schieffer appears at the 2008 National Book Festival a few weeks before the 2008 election to promote his book 'Bob Schieffer's America' and offer commentary on the social and political landscape.

Jeannette Walls leaves 'The Glass Castle' riding her new bestseller, 'Half Broke Horse': Former USA Today celeb reporter, gossip columnist, and bestselling author of 'The Glass Castle' Jeannette Walls offers the back story for her 'true-life novel' about her gunslinging grandmother, Lily Casey Smith.

Roy Blount Jr. takes on linguistics with baby talk and homemade 'alphabet juice': Humorist Roy Blount Jr. disputes conventional linguistics with baby talk, onomatopoeia, and with a little homemade 'alphabet juice.'

Pete Dexter provides the abc's of 'Spooner': The award-winning, bestselling author of 'Paris Trout' and 'Deadwood' synopsizes his new novel 'Spooner'--alphabetically.

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