First novel nominated for a National Book Award

Ben Fountain is getting a lot of press for his debut novel, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, which was nominated for a National Book Award.

What I like about this story is that Fountain was 54 when the book came out and he talks openly   about the long slog it took to write this book.

Another novel I reviewed earlier this month, The Lifeboat, was written by a woman in her fifties. I am drawn to these stories of writers who need time to publish their first novels as they feel like a nice antidote to the Jack Kerouac myth of writing a book in three months. Some people may be able to sit down and write a great book in one draft, or in a couple of years. But many people can’t and I feel that the expectation that good writing comes easily has stopped many authors from making it to the end of their first books. Many people have a clever idea for a novel. Many writers write the first 60 pages of their book. But it takes time and work to revise and polish an idea. It is nice to hear stories about people who took the time to do so and are now getting props for their work.



1 Comment

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One response to “First novel nominated for a National Book Award

  1. Dock Oscar

    Nice blog. First books can be like first steps, or they can be like a bolt of lightning, one quick flash. As for someone who has never written a book, I commend you and all of the authors who have written and published their first book.

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