The Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor has been named the winner of the first Berggruen Prize, which is to be awarded annually for “a thinker whose ideas are of broad significance for shaping human self-understanding and the advancement of humanity.”
The prize, which carries a cash award of $1 million, will be given in a ceremony in New York City on Dec. 1. It is sponsored by the Berggruen Institute, a research organization based in Los Angeles and dedicated to improving governance and mutual understanding across different cultures, with particular emphasis on intellectual exchange between the West and Asia.
Mr. Taylor, 84, is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading philosophers, and a thinker whose ideas have been influential in the humanities, social sciences and public affairs. His many books include “Sources of the Self,” an exploration of how different ideas of selfhood helped define Western civilization, and “A Secular Age,” a study of the coexistence of religious and nonreligious people in an era dominated by secular ideas.
He was chosen for the prize by an independent nine-member jury, headed by the philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah. The jury cited Mr. Taylor’s support for “political unity that respects cultural diversity,” and the influence of his work in “demonstrating that Western civilization is not simply unitary, but like all civilizations the product of diverse influences.”
Mr. Taylor’s previous honors include the 2015 John W. Kluge Prize for the Achievement in the Study of Humanity (shared with Jürgen Habermas), the 2007 Templeton Prize for achievement in the advancement in spiritual matters and the 2008 Kyoto Prize, regarded as Japan’s highest private honor. Both the Templeton and Kluge prizes also carry cash awards of more than $1 million.
The six Booker finalists were drawn from an earlier longlist, and the winner will be announced on Oct. 25. In 2014, the prize, which had previously been limited to writers from Britain, Ireland, the Commonwealth and Zimbabwe, changed its rules to include submissions from any author whose work was published in Britain and was first written in English. This year’s six finalists:
“The Sellout” by Paul Beatty
Beatty’s bold satire about race in America was one of the Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2015. In the Book Review, Kevin Young wrote about the novel in the context of the history of black satire. He said Beatty takes “delight in tearing down the sacred, not so much airing dirty laundry as soiling it in front of you.” Dwight Garner wrote that the first third of the book “reads like the most concussive monologues and interviews of Chris Rock, Richard Pryor and Dave Chappelle wrapped in a satirical yet surprisingly delicate literary and historical sensibility.”
“Hot Milk” by Deborah Levy
Levy’s novel is about a young woman named Sofia who has traveled to Spain with her mother, Rose, in search of a cure for Rose’s possibly psychosomatic ailments. In The Times, Sarah Lyall called the book “gorgeous,” and wrote: “It’s a pleasure to be inside Sofia’s insightful, questioning mind.” In the Book Review, Leah Hager Cohen expressed mixed feelings: “As a series of images, the book exerts a seductive, arcane power, rather like a deck of tarot cards, every page seething with lavish, cryptic innuendo. Yet, as a narrative it is wanting.”
“His Bloody Project” by Graeme Macrae Burnet
Burnet’s novel about a triple murder in 19th-century Scotland will be published in the U.S. on Oct. 18. It starts with a confession, so it’s not a whodunit but a whydunit. “My primary interest is in the psychology of the character,” Burnet recently told The Wall Street Journal, “rather than the mystery of what’s happened.”
“Eileen” by Ottessa Moshfegh
One of the most widely praised debuts by an American writer this year, Moshfegh’s novel is about a young woman working at a juvenile detention center in New England in the 1960s. On the cover of the Book Review, Lily King praised Moshfegh’s sentences as “playful, shocking, wise, morbid, witty, searingly sharp,” and said that as a character Eileen is “as vivid and human as they come.”
“All That Man Is” by David Szalay
Szalay’s novel is composed of nine narratives with different male protagonists. In the Book Review, Garth Greenwell praised the novel, while questioning its label: “The publisher calls ‘All That Man Is’ a novel, but there’s very little explicitly interlinking its separate narratives. The stories cohere instead through their single project: an investigation of European manhood.”
“Do Not Say We Have Nothing” by Madeleine Thien
Thien’s latest novel, which will be published in the U.S. on Oct. 11, traces the effects of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, from Mao’s rise to the Tiananmen Square protests. It follows three musician friends through the country’s changes.
The contenders for the 2016 National Book Award for fiction include novels about American slavery, mental illness, terrorism, post-Civil War America, and a book about a couple on the cusp of marriage that also features a charismatic squirrel.
The 10 nominees were announced on Thursday.
Colson Whitehead’s best-selling novel “The Underground Railroad,” which was selected for Oprah Winfrey’s book club, centers on a slave named Cora who escapes a Georgia plantation and flees north via the underground railroad — a literal subterranean railroad. In Karan Mahajan’s novel “The Association of Small Bombs,” a community in New Delhi struggles to recover from a terrorist attack. Adam Haslett’s “Imagine Me Gone” explores the effects of mental illness on generations of a family. Jacqueline Woodson, who won the 2014 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, is nominated this year for “Another Brooklyn,” a coming-of-age story set in 1970s Brooklyn, which is her first adult novel in 20 years. Other nominees include Paulette Jiles, Chris Bachelder, Brad Watson, the debut novelist Garth Greenwell and Elizabeth McKenzie, whose novel “The Portable Veblen” features a neurotic soon-to-be married couple and a friendly squirrel, who becomes a sort of sidekick to the novel’s heroine.
Books about war, racism and slavery also dominated the list of nonfiction nominees, which included two books about slavery, by Manisha Sinha and Andrés Reséndez, who wrote about American Indian enslavement, and a history of racism in the United States, by Ibram X. Kendi. Viet Thanh Nguyen, who won the Pulitzer Prize last year for his novel “The Sympathizer,” was nominated for what he has described as a nonfiction companion to that book, titled “Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War.” Heather Ann Thompson’s “Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy,” which has been widely praised by critics as an indispensable work about police brutality, racism and mass incarceration, is also among the finalists.
In the Young People’s Literature category, the nominated works address challenging subjects like domestic violence, sexuality, race and class, and how children cope during wartime. The nominees include Kwame Alexander’s “Booked,” Kate DiCamillo’s novel “Raymie Nightingale,” Grace Lin’s “When the Sea Turned to Silver,” and Sara Pennypacker’s “Pax.”
The nominees for poetry included Kevin Young, Monica Youn, Jane Mead, the Pulitzer Prize winner and former poet laureate Rita Dove, and Solmaz Sharif, who recently published her first poetry collection.
这两天看了爱丽丝·门罗的几个短篇小说：Child’s Play, Dimension, The View from the Castle Rock, Silence。再次体会了下这位诺奖获得者的文学魅力。The View 用一种独特的视角讲述了一段历史；另外的三个短篇都是对人性不同方面的深度探寻。门罗的叙述总是那么平稳淡定，没有刻意的渲染，却总能给人以震撼……接下来，还要再选读三四个她的短篇