Write Your Memoir to Win a Book Contract

Calling all writers: Could you be the next Frank McCourt, Elizabeth Gilbert or Jeanette Walls – all authors of bestselling memoirs? Here’s your chance to share your life story, win $5,000 and get a book contract.  AARP, The Huffington Post and publisher Simon & Schuster have teamed up to hold a national memoir contest.  “We’re searching for the next great memoir,” said Myrna Blyth, Editorial Director for AARP Media.  “We want to find a gifted writer who can tell a …

Tom Clancy: Insurance Man Turned Mega-Novelist

Toiling by day at an insurance agency in the 1970s, Tom Clancy dreamed of writing bestselling action thrillers. Unlike most would-be novelists, Clancy, who died on Oct. 1 at age 66 in Baltimore, had two things going for him. First, he had a great idea for a story (inspired by a newspaper article about Soviet sailors who’d tried to defect), in which a Red submarine captain stages a clever ploy to switch sides, with the help of an intrepid CIA agent named …

The Next ‘Hunger Games’ Is Worth a Read

Looking for a juicy fall read? Then you’ve may already have heard about The Bone Season, the debut novel that’s being called the next Hunger Games. Written by 21-year-old English author Samantha Shannon, The Bone Season is the inaugural pick of the Today Show’s new book club.Does the novel – the first in a series projected to total seven – merit the hype? Elizabeth Word Gutting in The Washington Post thought mainly yes (though she carped that the novel’s back story …

‘Thursdays in the Park’: Don’t Call It ‘Gran Lit’

Novelist Hilary Boyd is a grandmother. But don’t let her catch you uttering the term “gran lit.” That’s the genre name that U.K. Observer columnist Robert McCrumb coined on reading Boyd’s first published novel, Thursdays in the Park, in which middle-aged wife Jeanie begins an extra-marital flirtation at- surprise! – the local park’s playground. As far as I can tell, “gran lit” designates literature by older women. It thus manages to commit a double whammy – ageism and sexism – …

‘Big Brother’ Is One Fat, Juicy Novel

You haven’t seen your beloved older brother in years. Then he shows up at the airport, weighing hundreds of pounds more than the last time you saw him. That’s the premise of Lionel Shriver’s new novel, Big Brother. A touchy topic for our ever-widening times? Oh yeah – and meant to be. “We’ve lost our innocence about food,” the fit-looking Shriver told me over tea and biscotti at Washington’s Dupont Circle Hotel on June 11. “What we use food for …