The History of Literature #146 – Power Ranking the Nobel Prize for Literature

The Nobel Prize for Literature has a special place in the literary landscape. We revere the prize and its winners – and yet we often find ourselves puzzled by the choices. The list of fantastic writers who never won a Nobel Prize is as long and distinguished as the list of those who did.

In this episode, Jacke and Mike take a look at the Nobel Prizes by decade, attempting to determine which decade had the best (and worst) group of authors. Do we select your favorites? Overlook some hidden gems? Let us know!

For a list of Nobel Prize Winners for Literature by Decade, visit historyofliterature.com/nobel-prizes-by-decade/

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature. Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC.

History of Literature #115 – The Genius of Alice Munro

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She was born Alice Ann Laidlaw on July 10, 1931, in a small town called Wingham Ontario, the daughter of a mink farmer and a schoolteacher. Eighty years later, Alice Munro was the first Canadian to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Mike and Jacke look at Alice Munro and one of her greatest masterworks, the short story “The Bear Came Over the Mountain.”

Support the show at patreon.com/literature. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

The History of Literature #92 – The Books of Our Lives

 

“In the middle of life’s journey,” wrote Dante Alighieri, “I found myself in a selva oscura.” Host Jacke Wilson and frequent guest Mike Palindrome take stock of their own selva oscura in a particularly literary way: What books have they read? What books have been the most important to them? What do they expect to come next? It’s a celebration of reading – and friendship – on this episode of The History of Literature Podcast.

Authors discussed include: John D. Fitzgerald, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Thomas Mann, Rainer Maria Rilke, Elena Ferrante, Alice Munro, Lorrie Moore, Jay McInerney, Rene Descartes, James Boswell and Samuel Johnson, Graham Greene, Patrick O’Brian, Marcel Proust, Javier Marias, Haruki Murakami, Paul Celan, and Leo Tolstoy.

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Show Notes: 

Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com.

Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature.

You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC.

Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).

The History of Literature Episode 60 – Great Literary Endings

Everyone always talks about the greatest openings in the history of literature – I’m looking at you, Call me Ishmael – but what about endings? Aren’t those just as important? What are the different ways to end short stories and novels? Which endings work well and why? In this episode, Jacke and Mike take a look at great literary endings, with some assistance from David Lodge, Charles Baxter, Leo Tolstoy, James Joyce, Flannery O’Connor, Samuel Beckett, Iris Murdoch, Uncle Wiggily, The Third Man, Donald Barthelme, Alice Munro, Henry James, E.B. White, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mary Shelley, David Foster Wallace, O. Henry, Ian McEwan, Thomas Mann, and Joseph Conrad.

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Show Notes: 

We have a special episode coming up – listener feedback! Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). Continue reading

History of Literature Podcast Ep. 57 – Borges, Munro, Davis, Barthelme – All About Short Stories (And Long Ones Too)

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What makes a short story a short story? What can a short story do that a novel can’t? Can a story ever be TOO short? The President of the Literature Supporters Club stops by to discuss the length of fiction, with some help from Lydia Davis, Donald Barthelme, Edgar Allan Poe, Alice Munro, Italo Calvino, Jorge Luis Borges, Ernest Hemingway, Roberto Bolano, Georges Simenon, Alberto Moravia, Augusto Monterroso, Jonathan Franzen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Saul Bellow, and Franz Kafka.

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Show Notes: 

Brand new! Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature.

You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com.

Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).

“Spy Glass,” “Sweeter Vermouth” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

 

The History of Literature #49 – MFA Programs (The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly)

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For decades, the Master of Fine Arts degree has quietly dominated the American literary scene. There are now over 100 programs where professors and students go about the business of turning dreams into fiction through the alchemy – or as some would say, the meatgrinder – known as the writing workshop. It’s a phenomenon like no other in the history of literature. What goes on at these MFA programs? What good comes out of them? And what impact are they having on contemporary American literature? The President of the Literature Supporters Club joins Jacke for a discussion of MFA programs.

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Show Notes: 

You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com.

Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).

Writers Laughing: A Jacke Wilson Gallery

Peace on earth, good will to all…and a photo gallery of great writers caught in the act of laughing.  Happy holidays!

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Join us on the History of Literature podcast or at the Jacke Wilson blog for more literary delights.

All image credits available on jackewilson.com

 

Writers Laughing: The Top Ten!

What can I say about the Writers Laughing series? It’s hugely popular and it’s not hard to see why. We all love books, we all love authors, we all love seeing them in their unguarded moments. And laughter is a beautiful thing. I suppose I’ve posted about 30 or so of these. Time for a top ten!

Number 10 (tie): Gertrude Stein, Zora Neale Hurston, Carson McCullers

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Number 9: Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald

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Number 8: Seamus Heaney

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Number 7: Lorrie Moore

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Number 6: Alice Munro (with special guest Margaret Atwood)

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That’s it for now…bask in the happy mood and check back for the top 5!

Note: Commentary and image credits are at the original posts.

Writers Laughing: Alice Munro

Okay, sometimes these are a little hard to find. But there’s no shortage of photos of the amazing Alice Munro laughing (and a million of her smiling). I like this one for its spontaneity and joy…

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Author Elizabeth Hay is on the left. And here’s a bonus! Alice with a special guest…  Continue reading

Great Novella Tournament of Champions: Interim Update

Readers, rest assured! I’m busy working on the next installment of The Great Novella Tournament of Champions.

A sneak preview: two more heavyweights, a German vs. a Russian. You. Will. Not. Be. Disappointed.

And after that: Will the brilliant protege knock off the Old Master? We shall see.

In my Alice Munro Nobel afterglow (evidenced here and here), I considered adding a Munro novella (or long story) to the queue. Brilliant Reader Alison nominated “Something I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You,” which is no doubt as beautiful and devastating as the rest of Munro’s works. But who should I pair her with? Chekhov? William Trevor?

Suggestions are welcome!