Thursday, August 13, 2009

Oregon Author a Finalist for Thurber Prize

Three essay collections and a novel have been selected as finalists for the Thurber Prize for American Humor, named for author-humorist James Thurber. The finalists are
  • Don Lee, for his novel Wrack and Ruin
  • Ian Frazier, for his book Lamentations of the Father
  • Sloan Crosley, for her book I Was Told There Would Be Cake (the opening riff on her collection of plastic horses is a hoot)
  • Laurie Notaro, for her book The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death.
Notaro, who was born in New York and spent most of her life in Arizona, moved to Eugene a few years ago, so I'm thrilled to report that an Oregonian has made the list! After majoring in journalism at ASU, Notaro and three friends started an alternative magazine, Planet Magazine. When the magazine folded, she became a columnist for a daily Phoenix newspaper. Meanwhile she was working on her own book. After about seventy rejections from publishers, she self-published her book. Shortly thereafter she was contacted by an agent who sold that book and a second one to a major publisher, and she's been writing ever since.

Notaro has written one novel (There's a Slight Chance I Might be Going to Hell) and six nonfiction humor collections: The Idiot Girls' Action Adventure Club, Autobiography of a Fat Bride, I Love Everybody (And Other Atrocious Lies), We Thought You Would Be Prettier, An Idiot Girl's Christmas: True Tales from the Top of the Naughty List, and her most recent, the nominated title. Currently she's at work on a second novel, Spooky Little Girl. My sister turned me on to this writer several years ago, while Notaro was still living in Arizona, and she is a hoot (both Notaro AND my sister, actually).

The winner of the Thurber Prize, who will collect $5000 in prize money, will be announced in October. The first Thurber Prize was awarded in 1997, to Ian Frazier for Coyote vs. Acme. Other winners have included David Sedaris, Jon Stewart, and the staff of The Onion. Congratulations to all of the nominees, but especially to Oregon's own nominee, Laurie Notaro.

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