Helen Macdonald’s H Is For Hawk Wins The 2014 Costa Book Award

Author: Sherry Helms


Helen Macdonald, the author of academic memoir, H is for Hawk, won the 2014 Costa Prize, UK’s second prestigious literary prize on Tuesday. The book chronicles Macdonald’s story of coping with grief after the death of her photojournalist father and decided to take on the task to instruct the bird of prey, goshawk.

Started in 1971 and known as the Whitbread Book Awards until 2006, The Costa Book Award is chiefly offered to writers who lives in Britain and Ireland. The Costa is different to other awards as it is the only award to recognize books across five different categories i.e. best biography, best poetry, best debut, best novel and best children’s book which is announced in London every January.

Claire Tomalin, the chair of judges offered the £20,000 prize to Ms Macdonald, the Cambridge historian, poet, illustrator and naturalist, at the Royal Institute of British Architects in central London.

Ms Tomalin said: “We were all very surprised, this book is so intense and magnificent it knocks you over. It has these amazing moments.”

After accepting the prize, the author acknowledged feeling wobbly. “My mum was hoping I’d win. I think she put some money on me. It is never expected and I’m really thrilled and a little bit all over the place.”

The 44-year old author- Macdonald said it had been an “extraordinary privilege” to have been shortlisted and expressed thanks to readers who had contributed their own stories of grief.

Other nominees included How to be both by Ali Smith,  Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders, My Family and Other Superheroes( debut poetry collection) by Jonathan Edwards and Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey.

Last year, Nathan Filer won Costa Book of the Year award  for his  debut novel The Shock of the Fall. The book is a memoir tells his experience as a mental health nurse.

Reading Improves Life in Many Ways

Books-Improve-Life-in-Many-Ways - Copy


1. enhances Memory  2. improves the language and Vocabulary 3. improves Writing Skills 

4. improves concentration 5. improves Reasoning and Analytical Skills 6. reduces Stress Levels

7. makes you ambitious  8. improves imagination 9. relaxes & calms the mind & body

10. increases confidence level 11. entertains inexpensively  12. exercises your brain 

13. A book is like a garden carried in the pocket. (Chinese proverb)     

The Prejudices We’re Taught Growing Up

Guest Author: A.B. Westrick

ABWestrickThe reaction to Brotherhood that has most intrigued me came from a 60-something-year-old German friend. He phoned to tell me that he identified with my young protagonist whose point of view reflects that of the defeated South after the American Civil War. My friend understood what it felt like to be a member of a defeated oppressor group, and he wanted to know how I’d managed to write from that perspective.

I told him I did a lot of listening! Twenty-five years ago when I moved to Virginia with my Northern accent, I picked up on a lingering sense of animosity toward Yankees. I began asking white Southerners why some were still mad at the North. And I got earfuls.

Many talked about the way Northerners had set

Brotherhood COVER ART

 out to humiliate Southerners after the war, about how the North levied heavy taxes on the South, demanding repayment for war debts. “But how could we pay? Sherman burned our farms and fields,” they told me with 150 year-old anger. They said the War of Northern Aggression wasn’t about slavery, but was for states’ rights and the enduring struggle to keep the United States government from growing too powerful.

While I tried to include as many of their comments as possible in the book, I also knew the muddy history of America’s struggle for civil rights. My parents came of age in the South during the Jim Crow era. They learned never to mention the name Abraham Lincoln in polite company. They learned that our Confederate ancestors “were good to their slaves.” They learned to duck discussions about the Civil War and talk about the Revolutionary War instead. As adults, they moved north and sought to leave the South behind.

All of it fascinated me—the sense of humiliation, the quest for honor, the unspoken shame. I put it all in the book.

In the year since the release of Brotherhood, readers from ten-year olds to adults have found the story compelling. A teacher in Chester, Virginia, now uses Brotherhood to help students understand the period of Reconstruction, and also to kick off conversations about the sorts of economic, political and social conditions that give rise to hate groups and gangs, and that start world wars.

I cringed while writing many of the scenes in Brotherhood, especially the racially hurtful ones, but I made them as honest as I could. If the book leads readers to question and discuss the prejudices they’ve been raised with, it’s all good. And the story, itself? I’m told it’s a page-turner. No apologies.

Watch this wonderful  video on Brotherhood

Book Review: Brotherhood by A.B. Westrick

Book Review: Brotherhood by A.B. Westrick

About Author:

A.B. Westrick is the author of Brotherhood (Viking/Penguin Young Readers 2013), winner of the 2014 Jefferson Cup Award and an ALA-YALSA 2014 Best Book for Young Adults. Brotherhood also won the Jane Addams honor award, the Housatonic Book Award for Writing for Middle Grades and YA, and the NCSS Notable Trade Book Award. A graduate of Stanford University and Yale Divinity School, Westrick received an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2011. She and her family live near Richmond, VA, USA. To know more about her, visit her website http://abwestrick.com/

Top 10 Confessions Of A Book Nerd

Author: Sherry Helms

We all love reading but some people get much deeply absorbed than many other readers. They eat, sleep, think and dream books. Presenting here confessions from top such book nerds. Hope you will enjoy this post and share it in your social circle as much as you can. 

Book Confession #1


                 Book Confession #2

book nerd 7


Book Confession #3book nerd 9


Book Confession #4

book nerd 13

Book Confession #5

book nerd 10

Book Confession #6

book nerd 5

Book Confession #7

book nerd 14

Book Confession #8

book nerd

Book Confession #9

book nerd 3

Book Confession #10

book nerd 6


 What is your bookish confession? Let us know in the comments.

Guest Author: Marek Krajewski On His Breslau Crime Novel series

Guest Author: Marek Krajewski 

marek newI decided to write crime fiction, because since I’ve been a child I’ve found great pleasure in reading traditionally narrated stories – novels with a beginning, development, suspense and an apogee which intensifies the suspense. I don’t really like experimental novels, with a complicated narration, multilayered, which demand concentration and attention (the only exceptions are early novels by Vargas Llosa and works by Günter Grass). And that is why I’ve chosen this kind of writing – Crime Story is (in a formal sense) the most traditional form of writing. It tells a whole story and contains surprises. In brief – my debut novel, “Death in Breslau” was exactly like a book I would like to read myself, as a reader.

When I prepare to write a novel, as well as during the process, I try to keep to the proven model of work. Firstly, I gather all the materials; I read books, articles, make notes, shoot photos and visit many interesting places. Then I’m working out my whole plan, point by point. Sometimes I change it afterwards but these changes are never radical ones, just some things that come out unintentionally while I’m writing.

I consider writing historical books after retirement– my main interests are, forPahntoms example, the year 1610, when we, Poles, victoriously set our foot in Kreml, or the year 1920-1921, the times of Polish-Soviet war. This second period is what concerns me even more and what I find more attractive. Someday, I would also like to write a campus novel, set in academic environment, where I had been working for fifteen years and that I much admire and like. Yet these are the things I’m going to concentrate on when I retire. For now, I’m not going to change my literary genre. I am by nature a rather solicitous man, I live out of writing, it’s my job, so I have to reassure my readers who got used to reading crime stories.

My third novel, ‘Phantoms in Breslau‘ centers around Eberhard Mock-protagonist of the story. It’s the beginning of September 1919. Grammar school students from Wrocław reveal a horrific discovery on a small river island in Odra’s flood waters. Police Presidium workers, who are being called in, find four crippled, dead bodies in the thickets. The corpses are wearing navy hats. The eccentric way in which they were murdered and the weird positions in which they were left after death, suggest an encoded message. Yet the oddest thing is a note, left beside the bodies, addressed to a young criminal assistant, Eberhard Mock. Stubborn, impetuous Mock, put in a rather awkward situation, begins the game with an unscrupulous murderer – who is not willing to confine himself to one murder. Traces lead him to pimps who organize debauched parties for jaded aristocrats, members of secretive occult gatherings and – to Mocks amazement – to his own, not so distant past, and to his nightmares, which haunt him every night.

About Author:

Marek Krajewski (04.09. 1966) – writer, classicist. For many years he was giving lectures at the University of Wrocław, yet he resigned, to devote himself only to writing books. He is the author of bestselling crime novels about Eberhard Mock and Edward Popielski, which were translated into twenty languages. He has also won many awards and honors. He received the title of the Ambassador of Wrocław. 

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