News

2013: the year ahead in books

From a full programme of film and stage adaptations to a new James Bond novel, unpublished works by Rs Thomas and Wg Sebald and a new prize for women writers, 2013 is set to be a real page-turner

January

10th The Oscar nominations are announced unusually early this year. Keep an eye out for a bumper crop of literary adaptations, including David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, Yann Martel's Life of Pi, the David Nicholls-scripted Great Expectations, as well as Les Miserables, Anna Karenina and The Hobbit.

18th A new stage adaptation of Henry James's The Turn of the Screw at the Almeida theatre in London. In the year of the centenary of Benjamin Britten's birth, his musical version will also feature around the country in both concert and stage performances.

24th The finalists for the fifth Man Booker International prize will be announced at the Jaipur festival.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

2011 Whiting Writers’ Award Winners Announced

Krysta Ficca Fiction writer Daniel Orozco

The 2011 Whiting Writers’ Awards are being presented tonight to 10 recipients by the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation. The writers — four in fiction, four in poetry, one in nonfiction, and one in plays — will each receive $50,000 in recognition of their early-career talent and promise.

The recipients were proposed by anonymous nominators and then selected by an anonymous committee. A ceremony announcing the winners will take place this evening at the Times Center in New York, with
See full article at Speakeasy/Wall Street Journal »

National Book Award Finalists Announced

National Book Award Finalists Announced
Getty Poet Yusef Komunyakaa

The 20 finalists for the 2011 National Book Awards were announced Wednesday. The National Book Foundation later added one more finalist to the Young People’s Literature category. The finalists are:

Fiction: Andrew Krivak (“The Sojourn”), Tea Obreht (“The Tiger’s Wife”), Julie Otsuka (“The Buddha in the Attic”), Edith Pearlman (“Binocular Vision: New & Selected Stories”), Jesmyn Ward (“Salvage the Bones”).

Nonfiction: Deborah Baker (“The Convert: A Tale of Exile and Extremism”), Mary Gabriel (“Love and Capital: Karl
See full article at Speakeasy/Wall Street Journal »

Books of the year

Jonathan Franzen's family epic, a new collection from Seamus Heaney, Philip Larkin's love letters, a memoir centred on tiny Japanese sculptures ... which books most excited our writers this year?

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

In Red Dust Road (Picador) Jackie Kay writes lucidly and honestly about being the adopted black daughter of white parents, about searching for her white birth mother and Nigerian birth father, and about the many layers of identity. She has a rare ability to portray sentiment with absolutely no sentimentality. Isabel Wilkerson's The Warmth of Other Suns (Random House) is a fresh and wonderful history of African-American migration. Chang-rae Lee's The Surrendered (Little, Brown) is a grave, beautiful novel about people who experienced the Korean war and the war's legacy. And David Remnick's The Bridge (Picador) is a thorough and well-written biography of Barack Obama. The many Americans who believe invented biographical details about Obama would do well to read it.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Books: Review: Yiyun Li: Gold Boy, Emerald Girl

Yiyun Li’s writing is oddly soothing. Her sentences convey a sense of relaxation, of slowly slipping into a place where living life matters more than simply letting everything slip by, where watching other people is more interesting than doing anything yourself. This is what keeps her new story collection, Gold Boy, Emerald Girl, from falling into a pit of predictability, but it also makes the book feel oddly somnambulant. Some of the stories vividly express what it’s like to live on the edges of society, always watching other people who seem to live in more interesting worlds. Some ...
See full article at The AV Club »

MacArthur Genius Grant to Simon, McKellan Fights for Brit Acting Stature

MacArthur Genius Grant to Simon, McKellan Fights for Brit Acting Stature
  • The MacArthur Foundation's annual list of scientists, scholars, musicians and artists to receive $500,000 "genius" grants includes David SimonDavid Simon
[/link], the co-creator/writer/producer behind The Wire, Treme, Homicide: Life on the Streets [pictured with The Wire star Dominic West]. The Foundation says Simon's latest work on Treme explores "the constraints that poverty, corruption and broken social systems place on the lives of a compelling cast of characters, each vividly realized with complicated motives, frailties, and strengths." Among the other ten women twelve men who received the grant is jazz pianist Jason Moran, theater director David Cromer, marble sculptor Elizabeth Turk and fiction writer Yiyun Li. You can meet all the Fellows here, where each of the recipients are featured in their own video interview. Simon talks ...
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

The Wire creator David Simon wins 'genius' grant

Writer and producer of gritty Us dramas joins quantum astrophysicist and stone carver on list of $500,000 winners

Author, screenwriter and producer David Simon, best-known as the creator of The Wire ("the best show ever", according to the Guardian), has been officially recognised as a genius after landing a $500,000 (£320,000) MacArthur "genius" grant.

The no-strings-attached MacArthur fellowships, widely known as "genius" grants, are intended to allow their recipients "unprecedented freedom and opportunity to reflect, create, and explore" over the next five years. Simon is one of three writers to be named a MacArthur fellow this year, alongside novelist Yiyun Li and historian Annette

Gordon-Reed. The MacArthur Foundation chose 23 fellows in total, ranging from a quantum astrophysicist to a population geneticist, type designer, stone carver, jazz pianist and indigenous language preservationist.

"To be told you've won a MacArthur fellowship is very flattering and gratifying personally," said Simon, a former journalist and author of
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

'Wire's' David Simon receives MacArthur Award

'Wire's' David Simon receives MacArthur Award
(Reuters) - The creator of the acclaimed TV series "The Wire," a stone carver, and a scientist working to rescue threatened bees were among 23 recipients of $500,000 "genius" grants awarded by a U.S. charity on Tuesday.

Chicago's John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced its annual list of some two dozen scientists, scholars, artists and musicians surprised with the no-strings-attached stipends to be paid over five years.

"I was absolutely flabbergasted. I was bowled over," said stone carver Nicholas Benson, 46, a third-generation stone carver and calligrapher from Newport, Rhode Island.

Benson, who makes his living carving gravestones and other commissions, including the Martin Luther King monument on the Mall in Washington, D.C., said the windfall will free him up to pursue dreams of making art.

"I don't have a lot of time to work on my own projects. I think I'm going to do that," he said, adding
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

The New Yorker Unveils List of 20 Best Fiction Writers Under 40

The New Yorker, Vanity Fair’s chief athletics rival, has published its much-anticipated list of the 20 best fiction writers under 40. The names of the canon inductees will be published in next week’s fiction double issue. The list has also been published in a New York Times piece, which is available right this moment. The chosen ones: “Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 32; Chris Adrian, 39; Daniel Alarcon, 33; David Bezmozgis, 37; Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, 38; Joshua Ferris, 35; Jonathan Safran Foer, 33; Nell Freudenberger, 35; Rivka Galchen, 34; Nicole Krauss, 35; Yiyun Li, 37; Dinaw Mengestu, 31; Philipp Meyer, 36; C. E. Morgan, 33; Tea Obreht, 24; Z Z Packer, 37; Karen Russell, 28; Salvatore Scibona, 35; Gary Shteyngart, 37; and Wells Tower, 37.” This is the most exciting thing to happen in the young-ish literary community since The Paris Review started a blog!
See full article at Vanity Fair »

DVD Round Up, May 27, 2009: ‘Eden Log,’ ‘El Dorado,’ ‘Yonkers Joe’

Chicago – Welcome back to the Round-Up, a safety net to catch the DVD titles that fell off the mainstream tightrope. The titles this week have virtually nothing in common other than coming in two waves from two studios - a pair of classics from Paramount’s Centennial Collection and a trio of indie films from the great Magnolia Pictures.

All five titles were released on May 19th, 2009.

“Centennial Collection #8: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Photo credit: Paramount Synopsis: “”This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” Behind the camera? John Ford, a director whose name is synonymous with “Westerns.” Gathered in front of it? An ideal cast – James Stewart, John Wayne, Vera Miles and Lee Marvin. Now presented on two discs, with all-new special features, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance rides into town as classic entry in the Paramount Centennial Collection.
See full article at HollywoodChicago.com »

[DVD Review] A Thousand Years of Good Prayers/The Princess of Nebraska

Director Wayne Wang, best known for his adaptation of Amy Tan’s celebrated novel The Joy Luck Club, has kept himself at the forefront of Asian-oriented filmmakers even while making a variety of crowd-pleasing commercial films (Maid in Manhattan, Last Holiday). This collection of two of his latest films, both low-budget works shot on HD, is a great way to get acquainted with a unique filmmaker of considerable skill. Although the films vary in quality of both filmmaking and performance, there is no denying both pose interesting questions about Chinese or general Asian identity and their place in and outside of China.

The stronger of the two films, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, is a meticulous study of character. In the film, an aging Mr. Shi travels to America to visit his daughter Yilan, recently estranged form her husband. Mr. Shi is played by Henry O, until now relegated
See full article at JustPressPlay »

[DVD Review] A Thousand Years of Good Prayers/Princess of Nebraska

Director Wayne Wang, best known for his adaptation of Amy Tan’s celebrated novel The Joy Luck Club, has kept himself at the forefront of Asian-oriented filmmakers even while making a variety of crowd-pleasing commercial films (Maid in Manhattan, Last Holiday). This collection of two of his latest films, both low-budget works shot on HD, is a great way to get acquainted with a unique filmmaker of considerable skill. Although the films vary in quality of both filmmaking and performance, there is no denying both pose interesting questions about Chinese or general Asian identity and their place in and outside of China.

The stronger of the two films, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, is a meticulous study of character. In the film, an aging Mr. Shi travels to America to visit his daughter Yilan, recently estranged form her husband. Mr. Shi is played by Henry O, until now relegated
See full article at JustPressPlay »

Interview: Wayne Wang on "A Thousand Years of Good Prayers"

  • IFC
By Aaron Hillis

Since the '90s, Hong Kong-born filmmaker Wayne Wang has directed large-scale Hollywood productions like "The Joy Luck Club" and "Maid in Manhattan," though his richest films have really been his smaller projects, like "Smoke" and its companion work, "Blue in the Face." Going back to the earliest days of his career, Wang was at his most personal and independent with films like 1982's "Chan is Missing" and 1985's "Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart," and it's these stories of the immigrant experience that Wang felt obliged to return to, having moved to America as a teenager.

Winner of four awards at the San Sebastián Film Festival, including best film, Wang's distinctly modest delight "A Thousand Years of Good Prayers" is the first of his two films adapted by author Yiyun Li from her own collection of Chinese-American-themed stories. (The second is "The Princess of Nebraska,
See full article at IFC »

Opening This Week: Ed Harris goes Western, Keira Knightley goes corseted (again)

  • IFC
By Neil Pedley

Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen put their signature on an oater, but they're not the only ones to head west this week . an all-star cast led by Charlize Theron charge into Seattle, Wayne Wang follows the travels of a Chinese scientist visiting his daughter in Spokane, Neil Labute tries vilifying the L.A.P.D. and Ricky Gervais heads across the pond to bring his schtick to an American comedy.

"All of Us"

In this documentary, filmmaker Emily Abt follows Dr. Mehret Mandefro, a young, Ethiopian-born, Harvard-educated physician working in the South Bronx, and her efforts to both treat and bring awareness to the plight of African-American women affected by the HIV virus. Through her research with two of her patients and their own candid stories and circumstances, Dr. Mandefro highlights some of the key factors that have led to a steep increase in the number of
See full article at IFC »

Wang on YouTube

  • JoBlo
Director Wayne Wang is getting with the Web 2.0 times and will be releasing his upcoming film The Princess Of Nebraska fully on YouTube on October 17th. Based on the the short story by Yiyun Li, the film centers on a pregnant Chinese girl's life in the U.S and covers the larger theme of family and Chinese identity in the modern world, which he's been exploring for the last six films. As for why he's doing this, Wang had this to say: "'The Princess of Nebraska' is about a young woman from...
See full article at JoBlo »

'Princess of Nebraska' goes YouTube route

Wayne Wang's new film "The Princess of Nebraska," from Magnolia Pictures, will make its world premiere on YouTube on Oct. 17. It will be released for free on the recently launched YouTube Screening Room, a channel dedicated to premium film content.

Magnolia is releasing another new film of Wang's, "A Thousand Years of Good Prayers," theatrically on Sept. 19. But it opted to release his companion film, "Nebraska," online as part of a larger distribution plan for the two films.

"Nebraska" and "Prayers" are both adapted from a collection of short stories by Yiyun Li. They mark the seventh and eighth of Wang's Asian-themed films that explore the bonds of family and Chinese identity in the modern world.

"The Princess of Nebraska" is about a young woman from China who tries to locate her identity through different kinds of new media," Wang said. "The piece was shot with this kind of
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

'Prayers' Answered for Magnolia

  • A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, winner of 4 awards at the San Sebastian Film Fest, has been picked up by Magnolia PicturesMagnolia Pictures
[/link]. Directed by Wayne Wang, the film is a return to his indie roots following a succession of sappy commercial fair including the Queen Latifa starrer Last Holiday and J-Lo’s Maid in Manhattan. The film stars noted character actor Henry Q (The Last Emperor) as a Chinese father who travels to Spokane, Washington to visit his estranged daughter (Faye Yu) and help her following a messy divorce. In the process, he meets an Iranian woman with whom he connects with despite their language barrier... even moreso than he can with his own child. Author Yiyun Li adapted her own Hemingway Award-winning collection of short stories of the same name. Prayers picks right back up with Wang’s interest in exploring strained interpersonal relationships, primarily that between parents and children,
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

A Thousand Years of Good Prayers

A Thousand Years of Good Prayers
Toronto International Film Festival

TORONTO -- One of two new small-scale films from Wayne Wang (both based on stories by Yiyun Li), A Thousand Years of Good Prayers is modest but moving, a finely observed portrait of a father/daughter relationship that will resonate deeply for many viewers. The scale may limit its pull in the art house arena somewhat, but Chinese-Americans and viewers from other immigrant communities will appreciate its themes.

The story of a man who doesn't know his daughter at all, Prayers showcases an affecting performance by Henry O as Mr. Shi, who has just arrived in Spokane from China to see daughter Yilan for the first time in 12 years. The two greet each other stiffly when he emerges from the airport gates, and Yilan clearly has little idea what to do with him; heading out to work on his first day in town, she suggests that he should "take it easy" and might want to walk to the park.

Shi has higher hopes than that, taking constant notes in order to improve his English and shopping for what he needs to cook in Yilan's underequipped kitchen. For the next few nights, they will see each other only at dinner, where he makes much more food than the two can eat.

Though Shi is eager to make up for lost time (he innocently snoops around her apartment during the day, looking for insight), his daughter spends less and less time at home. Shi (whose wife died of cancer) makes friends at the park with an Iranian woman, and we come to get the point that, if rejecting one's parents is common in many cultures, it's doubly so for immigrants hoping to assimilate in a new environment. Shi and Madam, as he calls her, have amusingly piecemeal conversations in which three languages are spoken but only one understood.

Until the film's end, when some causes of family tension are finally brought to the surface, this is about all that happens. Wang's empathy for Mr. Shi, and O's dignified persistence in what appears to be a doomed effort to connect, draw us in and keep us from becoming bored. (An 83-minute running time helps in that respect.)

At one point, Yilan repeats a friend's idea that people would be better at raising children if they could somehow be grandparents before becoming parents. She doesn't seem to see the obvious corollary, that we are often far more forgiving of our grandparents' perceived faults than of our parents'. "A Thousand Years of Good Prayers" waits patiently for her to piece it together.

A THOUSAND YEARS OF GOOD PRAYERS

No Distributor

North by Northwest

Credits:

Director: Wayne Wang

Writer: Yiyun Li

Based on the short story by Yiyun Li

Producers: Yukie Kito, Rich Cowan, Wayne Wang

Executive producers: Yasushi Kotani, Taizo Son, Jooick Lee

Director of photography: Patrick Lindenmaier

Production designer: Vincent De Felice

Music: Lesley Barber

Co-producer:

Costume designer: Lisa Caryl

Editor: Deirdre Slevin

Cast:

Yilan: Faye Yu

Mr. Shi: Henry O

Madam: Vida Ghahremani

Boris: Pasha Lychnikoff

Running time -- 83 minutes

No MPAA rating

See also

Credited With | External Sites