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5 Award-Winning Authors with New Books on the Way

July 26 2022
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Here’s a non–news flash: there are (and have been) millions of authors publishing great works at any given time in human history. That roughly equates to about a billion books. So, the question is: where do you start? For me, in an ever-expanding sea of titles, I am not ashamed to admit I monitor the award circuits. Say what you will about any institution that undertakes such a task, but it’s a foolproof way of finding a manageable number of books that at least some group of book lovers recognize as a must-read.

In addition to discovering highly anticipated upcoming books, you’ll also be introduced to the award-winning authors who wrote them. And, buyer beware (in the best way): you may just form a lifelong connection with these writers, clamoring for every book that they follow up with. So how about a list of such award-winning authors with new books right around the corner? Say no more . . .

Properties of Thirst
by Marianne Wiggins

Winner of the Whiting Award in 1989 in recognition of an emerging writer of talent, Marianne Wiggins would go on to reward that faith placed in her abilities when her 2003 book, EVIDENCE OF THINGS UNSEEN, was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Nearly twenty years later, Marianne is back with a new work, PROPERTIES OF THIRST, a sweeping novel about one of America’s darkest chapters and our nation’s ever-changing landscapes, beautifully depicted and hauntingly accurate. The novel follows “Rocky” Rhodes as he seeks to provide a better life for his children in the wake of their mother’s death as he passionately protects his California ranch from the Los Angeles Water Corporation. But, as the country dives headfirst into war after the attack on Pearl Harbor, it isn’t long before municipal priorities change and a Japanese-American internment camp is erected next to his ranch. The family quickly becomes intertwined in the events, with Rocky’s son joining the war effort and his daughter becoming the love interest for the man who created the camp without understanding its full cruelty. An epic saga of an American family, PROPERTIES OF THIRST is sure to be headed to the award podium before long.

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Properties of Thirst
Marianne Wiggins

Fifteen years after the publication of Evidence of Things Unseen, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist Marianne Wiggins returns with a novel destined to be an American classic: a sweeping masterwork set during World War II about the meaning of family and the limitations of the American Dream.

Rockwell “Rocky” Rhodes has spent years fiercely protecting his California ranch from the LA Water Corporation. It is here where he and his beloved wife Lou raised their twins, Sunny and Stryker, and it is here where Rocky has mourned Lou in the years since her death.

As Sunny and Stryker reach the cusp of adulthood, the country teeters on the brink of war. Stryker decides to join the fight, deploying to Pearl Harbor not long before the bombs strike. Soon, Rocky and his family find themselves facing yet another incomprehensible tragedy.

Rocky is determined to protect his remaining family and the land where they’ve loved and lost so much. But when the government decides to build a Japanese-American internment camp next to the ranch, Rocky realizes that the land faces even bigger threats than the LA watermen he’s battled for years. Complicating matters is the fact that the idealistic Department of the Interior man assigned to build the camp, who only begins to understand the horror of his task after it may be too late, becomes infatuated with Sunny and entangled with the Rhodes family.

Properties of Thirst is a novel that is both universal and intimate. It is the story of a changing American landscape and an examination of one of the darkest periods in this country’s past, told through the stories of the individual loves and losses that weave together to form the fabric of our shared history. Ultimately, it is an unflinching distillation of our nation’s essence—and a celebration of the bonds of love and family that persist against all odds.

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The Song of the Cell
by Siddhartha Mukherjee

An Indian-born American physician and oncologist, Siddhartha Mukherjee is best known for his revelatory work THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES, which won the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction in 2011. He followed up that work with THE GENE, an instant #1 New York Times bestseller, but his latest promises to be his best yet. THE SONG OF THE CELL is an exploration of medicine and the “new human.” Beginning with the monumental scientific discovery of cells in the late seventeenth century, this work depicts how such a finding has revolutionized science and modern medicine through the therapeutic manipulation of cells. Even more than the treatment of major diseases, the science of cells is opening avenues to creating new types of humans. With vivid and easily understandable writing, THE SONG OF THE CELL is an accessible and thrilling account of scientific advancement enlivened with real-life accounts from a leading expert in the field.

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The Song of the Cell
Siddhartha Mukherjee

From the author of The Emperor of All Maladies, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and The Gene, a #1 New York Times bestseller, comes his most spectacular book yet, an exploration of medicine and our radical new ability to manipulate cells. Rich with Mukherjee’s revelatory and exhilarating stories of scientists, doctors, and the patients whose lives may be saved by their work, The Song of the Cell is the third book in this extraordinary writer’s exploration of what it means to be human.

Mukherjee begins this magnificent story in the late 1600s, when a distinguished English polymath, Robert Hooke, and an eccentric Dutch cloth-merchant, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek looked down their handmade microscopes. What they saw introduced a radical concept that swept through biology and medicine, touching virtually every aspect of the two sciences, and altering both forever. It was the fact that complex living organisms are assemblages of tiny, self-contained, self-regulating units. Our organs, our physiology, our selves—hearts, blood, brains—are built from these compartments. Hooke christened them “cells”.

The discovery of cells—and the reframing of the human body as a cellular ecosystem—announced the birth of a new kind of medicine based on the therapeutic manipulations of cells. A hip fracture, a cardiac arrest, Alzheimer’s dementia, AIDS, pneumonia, lung cancer, kidney failure, arthritis, COVID pneumonia—all could be reconceived as the results of cells, or systems of cells, functioning abnormally. And all could be perceived as loci of cellular therapies.

In The Song of the Cell, Mukherjee tells the story of how scientists discovered cells, began to understand them, and are now using that knowledge to create new humans. He seduces you with writing so vivid, lucid, and suspenseful that complex science becomes thrilling. Told in six parts, laced with Mukherjee’s own experience as a researcher, a doctor, and a prolific reader, The Song of the Cell is both panoramic and intimate—a masterpiece.

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The Last Chairlift
by John Irving

A world-renowned novelist and screenwriter, John Irving won the 1980 National Book Award for his masterpiece THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP. In addition to his work in the literary world, Irving won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the film script of his book THE CIDER HOUSE RULES. After a seven-year hiatus, he’s back with THE LAST CHAIRLIFT, a ghost story unlike any other. Rachel “Little Ray” Brewster was at the 1941 National Downhill and Slalom Championships in the hope of walking away with a medal—instead she leaves Aspen, Colorado, pregnant and is forced to return home to New England and settle for a job as a ski instructor. Her son, Adam, is born into an untraditional family and seeks to find the answers to the many questions he has about his family’s past, which Rachel has kept secret all these years. When Adam eventually makes his way to Aspen, to the hotel where he was allegedly conceived, he’s greeted by ghosts. In THE LAST CHAIRLIFT, Irving returns with a tale of love, lust, and sexual politics—a novel that’s a worthy addition to his impressive backlist.

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The Last Chairlift
John Irving

John Irving, one of the world’s greatest novelists, returns with his first novel in seven years—a ghost story, a love story, and a lifetime of sexual politics.

In Aspen, Colorado, in 1941, Rachel Brewster is a slalom skier at the National Downhill and Slalom Championships. Little Ray, as she is called, finishes nowhere near the podium, but she manages to get pregnant. Back home, in New England, Little Ray becomes a ski instructor.

Her son, Adam, grows up in a family that defies conventions and evades questions concerning the eventful past. Years later, looking for answers, Adam will go to Aspen. In the Hotel Jerome, where he was conceived, Adam will meet some ghosts; in The Last Chairlift, they aren’t the first or the last ghosts he sees.

John Irving has written some of the most acclaimed books of our time—among them, The World According to Garp and The Cider House Rules. A visionary voice on the subject of sexual tolerance, Irving is a bard of alternative families. In The Last Chairlift, readers will once more be in his thrall.

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Afterlives
by Abdulrazak Gurnah

Winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature, Abdulrazak Gurnah has written a collection of exceptional works that largely take place in East Africa and address a broader international context. His latest novel, AFTERLIVES, again takes place in an unnamed East African coastal town, this time focusing on the lives of three townspeople in the early twentieth century. There’s Ilyas, kidnapped as a child by the German colonial army and forced to fight against his native people; Afiya, his sister, who, without her brother and recently deceased parents, is forced into slavery by a band of African mercenaries; and Hamza, a fellow townsman who joins the Germans and becomes embattled in a territorial war among the European colonial powers. As Afiya and Hamza meet and fall in love, they set out to find Ilyas, who has gone missing amid the ongoing violence. Through Gurnah’s brutal, honest prose, the three characters shine a light on the impact of colonialism and the physical and emotional pain that is doled out upon the native Africans as they seek to defend their home.

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Afterlives
Abdulrazak Gurnah

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Tread of Angels
by Rebecca Roanhorse

Rebecca Roanhorse’s previous works have earned her Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards. Her latest, TREAD OF ANGELS, is certain to deliver another mesmerizing work of science fiction—this time of the dark fantasy variety. In this novel, set in 1883 in the mining town of Goetia, we find the town overrun with prospectors seeking to mine the new element known as Divinity. In the Colorado mountaintops, the miners are mostly made up of a group called the Fallen, societal pariahs descended from a demon kind and now living among the Virtues—winners of an ancient war. The Elect, a subset of the Virtues, outsource the mining to the Fallen because they seem to be immune to Divinity’s toxicity, which has the power to distort the mind. But when an Elect man is seemingly murdered by a member of the Fallen, a thrilling mystery ensues, culminating in a type of fantasy courtroom drama. Filled with breathtaking detail and extraordinary imagination, TREAD OF ANGELS is sure to prove that Rebecca Roanhorse remains a master of the genre.

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Tread of Angels
Rebecca Roanhorse

Celeste, a card sharp with a need for justice, takes on the role of advocatus diaboli, to defend her sister Mariel, accused of murdering a Virtue, a member of the ruling class of this mining town, in a new world of dark fantasy from the New York Times bestselling author of Black Sun, Rebecca Roanhorse.

The year is 1883 and the mining town of Goetia is booming as prospectors from near and far come to mine the powerful new element Divinity from the high mountains of Colorado with the help of the pariahs of society known as the Fallen. The Fallen are the descendants of demonkind living amongst the Virtues, the winners in an ancient war, with the descendants of both sides choosing to live alongside Abaddon’s mountain in this tale of the mythological West from the bestselling mastermind Rebecca Roanhorse.

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Photo credit: iStock / Charl Folscher

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