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George R.R. Martin Discusses His Inspiration for Game of Thrones

ABC News interviewed George R.R. Martin, author of the Fire and Ice series, which was made into the HBO hit series Game of Thrones. Martin talks about growing up very poor in a housing project in New Jersey. He says that they were so poor they never went anywhere, but he had a great view over the water of Staten Island. At night he would see the lights and imagine a magical world. This became King's Landing, home of the Iron Throne.

Martin said he new a lot of little punks who were just like King Joffrey when he grew up. He was very shy in school and had a terrible time being bullied. When asked what character he would choose to be in the story he said Jon Snow because he is a classic hero. But his favorite character is Tyrion Lannister, who is played by Peter Dinklage on the show. Martin also revealed that he will appear in a cameo role sometime in the future, as his only cameo was left on the cutting room floor when casting changes were made to the pilot. Take a look:

Posted on April 19, 2014

Gabriel Garcia Marquez Has Died at the Age of 87

CNN reports that Nobel Prize winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez has died at the age of 87. The author died in a hospital in Mexico City, where he was being treated for pneumonia and dehydration. Colombia's ambassador to Mexico, José Gabriel Ortiz, confirmed the death to CNN this afternoon.

The Columbian born literary icon was best known for his novels One Hundred Years of Solitude, which has sold more than 20 million copies, and Love in the Time of Cholera. He is credited for popularizing, the genre of magical realism. Garcia Marquez was a strong defender of Fidel Castro and was generally not allowed to visit the United States until President Bill Clinton granted him a travel visa after reading One Hundred Years of Solitude.

The Nobel Committee granted the author the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982, "for his novels and short stories, in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent's life and conflicts."

Posted on April 17, 2014

Boston Getting Life Size Bronze Sculpture of Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Alan Poe bronze statue in Boston by Stefanie Rocknak

The city of Boston is getting an amazing, life-size bronze statue of Edgar Allan Poe this fall. The Edgar Allan Poe Foundation of Boston has raised funds and secured all the permissions needed for the commission of artwork to commemorate Poe's work. WBUR reports that sculptor Stefanie Rocknak has won the commission, beating out 265 other applicants. Her sculpture is titled "Poe Returning to Boston" is being created now at New England Sculpture Services in Chelsea.

Here is her description of the work:
I propose to cast a life-size figure of Poe in bronze. Just off the train, the figure would be walking south towards his place of birth, where his mother and father once lived. Poe, with a trunk full of ideas -- and worldwide success -- is finally coming home. His expression is complex. He is determined and his stride is decisive. His face reflects a mixture of pain, anger and sadness, and from some angles, a subtle sense of hope. As he walks towards Carver Street, he openly dismisses what is behind him with his left hand; the Frogpondians to the north. Boston is not claiming Poe, Poe is claiming Boston. To punctuate this, he leaves a literal paper trail behind him. He has not only left his mark on the world, he has left it on the city of his birth. His ideas are jumping off the page and cascading out of his trunk; a heart lies just behind him, and an oversized Raven explodes to the south. The Raven, which has become symbolic of Poe's brooding creative spirit, visually reflects Poe; his coat mimics the raven's wing, and, like a bird, Poe is slightly pigeon-toed. They are one, heading up-wind towards their final resting place."

My Modern Met reports that the sculpture is life-sized at around 5’ 8” tall. The sculpture will be unveiled on October 5, 2014, which is two days before the 165th anniversary of Poe's death. The sculpture will be installed at the corner of Boylston Street and Charles Street South which is two blocks north of where Poe was born in 1809.

Stephen King and his wife Tabitha have donated to the project, which has a budget of $200,000. It's a fantastic piece of artwork which will be an asset to the city of Boston. This is the clay sculpture that is being forged in bronze.

Back view of Edgar Alan Poe bronze statue in Boston by Stefanie Rocknak

Photos: Stefanie Rocknak

Posted on April 16, 2014

James Patterson Wins Chicago Tribune Young Adult Literary Award

Internationally bestselling author James Patterson has won The Chicago Tribune 2014 Young Adult Literary Award. The Chicago Tribune announced that Patterson will receive the award in recognition of his efforts to encourage, inspire and motivate children to read. The annual award acknowledges the power of literacy in the lives of young adults specifically.

Gerould Kern, senior vice president and editor of the Chicago Tribune said in a statement, “The Tribune carries on a great literary tradition, and we believe that the written word can transform lives. In celebration of that cause, we recognize James Patterson for his extraordinary efforts to reach a wide range of young readers, many of whom have not had the opportunity to savor a book. We applaud James Patterson for his determination to connect with readers and convince them of the rewards of books."

Patterson is the author of the Alex Cross detective series, as well as many young adult series such as Maximum Ride, Witch & Wizard and Daniel X. His books have sold more than 300 million copies worldwide. The author has numerous initiatives to encourage children to read and to love books, such as the James Patterson Pageturner Awards program, website ReadKiddoRead.com, and the College Book Bucks scholarship program. He also regularly donates hundreds of thousands of books to schools.

The award will be presented at the Chicago Tribune's 2014 Printers Row Lit Fest, which takes place June 7 – 8, The Lit Fest is just one part of the Tribune's Printers Row literary program, which has events year round. This year's festival will be the 30th anniversary of the event, which is the largest free outdoor literary event in the Midwest. You can find more information about the festival here.

Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest 30 Years logo

Image: Chicago Tribune

Posted on April 15, 2014

Donna Tartt Wins Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Goldfinch

Donna Tartt photographThe Pulitzer Prizes have been announced, Donna Tartt has won the Fiction prize for her coming of age novel, The Goldfinch which is published by Little, Brown. The Fiction Jury consisted of Art Winslow, former literary and executive editor, The Nation and past president, National Book Critics Circle (Chair), Ron Charles, deputy editor, The Washington Post Book World and Sabina Murray, writer and professor, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The award, which is given for "distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life," carries a prize of $10,000. The jury described the book as, "a beautifully written coming-of-age novel with exquisitely drawn characters that follows a grieving boy’s entanglement with a small famous painting that has eluded destruction, a book that stimulates the mind and touches the heart." The other finalists were The Son by Philipp Meyer (Ecco), and The Woman Who Lost Her Soul by Bob Shacochis (Atlantic Monthly Press).

The other prize winners in the Letters, Drama and Music category are:
  • Drama - "The Flick" by Annie Baker
  • History - The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832 by Alan Taylor (W.W. Norton)
  • Biography - Margaret Fuller: A New American Life by Megan Marshall (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • Poetry - 3 Sections by Vijay Seshadri (Graywolf Press)
  • General Nonfiction - Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation by Dan Fagin (Bantam Books)
  • Music - "Become Ocean" by John Luther Adams (Taiga Press/Theodore Front Musical Literature)
You can see all the winners here.

Photo: Beowulf Sheehan

Posted on April 14, 2014

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