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Footnotes: Items from and about the book world
Amy Sackville, winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys prize for her first novel, The Still Point

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National Book Awards
Three of four winners of the 2010 National Book Awards, announced in November, were women writers: Jaimy Gordon for her novel, Lord of Misrule, Patti Smith for her memoir Just Kids, and Kathryn Erskine for her children's book, Mockingbird.

This marks a pronounced, and welcome, change from the pattern of the decade, in which only 15 of the 40 writers honored were women (about half of whom were in the children's literature category; during the decade there were three years in which all recipients of National Book Awards were men.

The gift of giving
Although it's basically unknown in the U.S., the UNESCO-designated World Book Day is observed every spring by most of the rest of the world. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, it focuses on children, with each schoolchild receiving a £1 book token.

This year, organizers have added World Book Night, March 5, when 1 million books will be given away by 20,000 volunteers. Each volunteer will choose a title from a list of 25 titles, selected by a committee of booksellers, librarians, authors and broadcasters, and will receive 50 copies of the book to give away.

People interested in being chosen as givers were asked to say why they wanted to give a book chosen from the list and the sort of people they would like to give it to.

The list of 25 titles includes just eight by women, but the feminist press Virago is happy with the list. "Wonderfully for us, two of them are Virago titles"—Margaret Atwood's Blind Assassin and Sarah Waters' Fingersmith.

Breathless First-time novelist Amy Sackville has received the John Llewellyn Rhys prize for her novel The Still Point. Saying her writing "took our breath away," judges hailed her as "a writer of seemingly limitless promise."

The Rhys prize rewards the best work of literature by a United Kingdom or Commonwealth writer aged 35 or under.

Predicting a bright future for Sackville, judges added that, "In the decades to come, when she has won dozens of other awards internationally, we want people to say, 'You know the John Llewellyn Rhys people spotted her first.'"

Another first
A Kansas writer's first book has won the prestigious Newbery Medal. Moon Over Manifest, by Clare Vanderpool, is the story of a girl in Depression-era Kansas who investigates a hidden past. .

Describing herself as "stunned," Vanderpool wrote on her blog, "As I said at the book launch in October, it's no fun to jump up and down and say 'My book's getting published!' if there's no one there to jump up and down with me. The great joy of this all is sharing it with family and friends. Thank you, and let the jumping begin!" .

Grand Master Mystery writer Sara Paretsky is 2011 recipient of one of the genre's highest honors, being named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America. The MWA said that the genre "took a seven-league stride" thanks to Paretsky and her "gutsy and dauntless protagonist," V. I. Warshawsky, who Paretsky introduced in 1982. Since then Paretsky's written 13 more books featuring the Chicago-based private eye. In 1986 she created Sisters in Crime, a worldwide organization that supports women crime writers. .

Women on best-books lists for 2010
The New York Times list of the 10 best books of 2010 included six books by women:
New Yorker Stories, Ann Beattie
Room, Emma Donoghue
A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Eagan
Apollo's Angels: A History of Ballet, Jennifer Homans
Cleopatra: A Life, Stacy Schiff
The Warmth of Other Suns, Isabel Wilkerson

After including no women in their top-10 list a year ago, Publisher's Weekly editors found five books by women to recognize in 2010:
Vist from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Eagan
Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
Just Kids, Patti Smith
The Warmth of Other Suns, Isabel Wilkerson

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