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Whatever happened to last year's breakout stars?
LONDON (AP) — Pulitzer Prize-winner Jhumpa Lahiri and Irish novelist Colm Toibin are among six finalists for the prestigious Booker Prize for fiction – a diverse shortlist that includes a strong American contingent, a first-time novelist and a Buddhist priest.
Lahiri’s Indian-American family saga “The Lowland” and Toibin’s Bible-inspired “The Testament of Mary” are on the shortlist announced Tuesday for the 50,000-pound ($78,000) prize.
The other finalists are shantytown-set story “We Need New Names” by Zimbabwe’s NoViolet Bulawayo; gold rush tale “The Luminaries” by New Zealand-based Eleanor Catton; rural requiem “Harvest” by Britain’s Jim Crace; and Pacific-crossing story “A Tale for the Time Being” by Canada’s Ruth Ozeki.
The head of the judging panel, writer Robert Macfarlane, said the six novels were “world-spanning in their concerns, and ambitious in their techniques.”
“It is a shortlist that shows the English language novel to be a form of world literature. It crosses continents, joins countries and spans centuries,” he said.
The Booker, which brings a huge publicity and sales boost for winners, is closely followed by readers, booksellers and literary gamblers, and the diversity of the list makes this year’s contest especially unpredictable. Crace and Toibin are both previous Booker finalists. The other four writers – all women – are first-time nominees.
Bookmaker William Hill installed Catton – at 28 the youngest writer on the list – as favorite to win, followed by 67-year-old Crace.
Jonathan Ruppin, Web editor at the Foyles bookstore chain, agreed that “the judges’ debate will ultimately be between Jim Crace and Eleanor Catton.”
“Either book would be a thoroughly deserving winner, but Crace is probably the marginal favorite, if only because it’s easier to imagine five people concurring about `Harvest’ than `The Luminaries,’” he said. “It would also be overdue recognition for a writer appreciated far more overseas than by British readers, while there’s absolutely no doubt that Catton has a career full of major awards ahead of her.’”
Bulawayo, a fellow at Stanford University in California, is the first writer from Zimbabwe to be a Booker finalist and the only debut novelist on the list.
She is one of three writers giving an unusually pronounced American accent to the prize, which is only open to writers from Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth. Ozeki was born in Connecticut, while the British-born Lahiri is U.S.-based and is a member of President Barack Obama’s President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.
Ozeki, who lives in Canada and New York, is also an ordained Zen Buddhist priest.
The winner of the prize will be announced at a ceremony in London on Oct. 15.
Founded in 1969, the award is officially known as the Man Booker Prize after its sponsor, financial services firm Man Group PLC. Last year’s winner was Hilary Mantel for her Tudor political saga “Bring Up the Bodies.”
The star of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” charmed practically everyone at the Oscars, where she was the youngest best actress nominee ever; she went on to film a remake of “Annie” opposite Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz.
Carly Rae Jepsen
Jepsen, who had 2012’s song of the summer with “Call Me Maybe,” released the fifth and final single from her debut album in January 2013. She toured the U.S. in mid-2013 -- just as Daft Punk and Robin Thicke battled to succeed her as icons of the summer.
Honey Boo Boo
2012’s biggest reality star, the young pageant contestant Alana Thompson, had a quieter time this year, with a second season whose ratings were strong but whose buzz was a bit muted. America was, by now, accustomed to young Thompson, and outraged or scandalized reactions were reserved for other TLC programming, like “The Man With the 132-Pound Scrotum.”
Ocean missed out on the top Grammys for which he was nominated in early 2013; he bounced back quickly with featured appearances on albums by Kanye West, Jay Z and Beyoncé, and is at work on a new album. Things are looking up!
The “21 Jump Street” and “Magic Mike” star had a marginally less charmed 2013, with “White House Down” failing to connect with moviegoers and “Foxcatcher” delayed until next year. It may get worse before it gets better: His big 2014 sci-fi flick, “Jupiter Ascending,” looks … well, a little weird!
With their third album in 21 months hitting No. 1 immediately upon its fall 2013 release, the boy band that broke into America in 2012 would seem to be here to stay for a while. Still, they looked a bit nervous in their reaction shots during the Video Music Awards’ ‘N Sync reunion; maybe not this year, maybe not next, but eventually, the Justin of One Direction is going to break out. For now, though, things look good!
Lana Del Rey
The famously uncomfortable “Saturday Night Live” musical guest overcame endless mockery from 2012 to land her first top-10 hit in the summer of 2013 -- a remix of a year-old song, “Summertime Sadness.” As the co-writer of “Young and Beautiful,” the love theme from “The Great Gatsby,” Del Rey is such a front-runner for the best original song Oscar (last won by Adele) that there has been a direct-mail campaign to academy voters against her. The song was also played at the most romantic event of the year: Kanye West’s stadium marriage proposal to Kim Kardashian.
Wilson, who charmed fans of 2012’s “Pitch Perfect,” had a rockier 2013, with her sitcom “Super Fun Night” struggling creatively and in the ratings. Her next planned movies are both sequels, to “Kung Fu Panda” and -- hoping lightning will strike twice -- to “Pitch Perfect.”
Another 2012 music icon, Gotye won the record of the year trophy at the 2013 Grammys for “Somebody That I Used to Know.” He released no new singles in 2013, and has told the press he has been struggling to complete new material. Good luck, Gotye!
The golden boy of the 2012 Olympics, without feats of aquatic derring-do to distract the public this year, saw his always-tenuous persona completely shift from “amiable jock” into “utter dolt” with his E! reality series. Worst of all, the series was canceled.
In 2012, the young actress -- best known for her role in the indie “Winter’s Bone” and a supporting part in the “X-Men” franchise -- had marquee roles in the first “Hunger Games” film and in David O. Russell’s comedy “Silver Linings Playbook.” In 2013, she played to her strengths: After winning an Oscar, she starred in the second “Hunger Games” movie, on whose publicity tour she managed to charm everyone in America, and had another role in a David O. Russell comedy, “American Hustle,” for which she might just win ANOTHER Oscar. By 2014, she may end up running a major studio, or serving as president.
The breakout bikini model of 2012 made a repeat appearance on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue -- and got to do high-fashion spreads in Elle, Vogue and Vanity Fair. She was cast in a Cameron Diaz comedy, too. Some types of appeal are eternal!
E. L. James
The “50 Shades” novelist now gets to help share some input into a movie adaptation set for release in 2015. She probably never needs to work again! Isn’t that great? Isn’t that … just … great?
The “Gangnam Style” phenom performed at New Year’s 2013, but will spend New Year’s 2014 flipping channels to find his pistachio ad, his goofy antics having been outdone in the past year by “The Fox” singers Ylvis. Nothing meme can stay.
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