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Book News: Fantasy Novelist Graham Joyce Dies

Graham Joyce wrote <em>The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit</em>, plus many other novels, including <em>Smoking Poppy, Facts of Life, The Tooth Fairy, Indigo</em> and <em>Spirited Away</em>.
Charlie James
/
Doubleday Publicity
Graham Joyce wrote The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit, plus many other novels, including Smoking Poppy, Facts of Life, The Tooth Fairy, Indigo and Spirited Away.

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

  • Graham Joyce, the author of dark, uncanny fantasy novels, has died, according to his publisher. He was 59. Although his novels often dealt with the fantastical, they also had a strong element of the psychological thriller: Joyce told an interviewer in 2000 that he was "less interested in ghosts than in people who see ghosts." Joyce had cancer, which he wrote about on his blog. In one , he wrote about the "shocking clarity of cancer," concluding, "[W]hy can't our job here on earth be simply to inspire each other?" He was the author of, most recently, The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit, plus many other novels, including Smoking Poppy, Facts of Life, The Tooth Fairy, Indigo and Spirited Away.
  • The National Book Foundation will give legendary science fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin its lifetime achievement award – the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. "For more than forty years, Le Guin has defied conventions of narrative, language, character, and genre, as well as transcended the boundaries between fantasy and realism, to forge new paths for literary fiction," the foundation wrote in a press release. She will receive the medal at this year's National Book Awards in November.
  • "[W]ithout readers what are we? Half-writers whose sentences are never completed by the stranger's eyes." — Essayist Richard Rodriguez is interviewed by David Michael in The Paris Review.
  • Louise Erdrich, whose novel The Round Housewon the National Book Award in 2012, will be awarded the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction. The $25,000 prize "goes to a living American author whose scale of achievement in fiction, over a sustained career, places him or her in the highest rank of American literature."
  • Judge Judy is giving away her new book, What Would Judy Say?: Be the Hero of Your Own Story, for free on her website. (The title, however, doesn't have the same je ne sais quoi as 1996's Don't Pee on My Leg and Tell Me It's Raining.)
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    Annalisa Quinn is a contributing writer, reporter, and literary critic for NPR. She created NPR's Book News column and covers literature and culture for NPR.
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