Tag Archives: biography

Congratulations, Pulitzer Prize 2013 Winners!

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Congratulations, Pulitzer Prize 2013 Winners!


By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

While a number of categories are represented for Pulitzer Prizes such as:

  • Public Service in Journalism
  • Breaking News Reporting
  • Explanatory Reporting
  • Local Reporting
  • National Reporting
  • International Reporting
  • Feature Writing
  • Commentary
  • Criticism
  • Editorial Writing
  • Breaking News Photography
  • General Nonfiction
  • History
  • Drama
  • Music

I will be featuring the Pulitzer winners in the following categories:


“For distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life,…” the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction is:

Awarded to “The Orphan Master’s Son” by Adam Johnson (Random House), an exquisitely crafted novel that carries the reader on an adventuresome journey into the depths of totalitarian North Korea and into the most intimate spaces of the human heart.

– From The Pulitzer Prize 2013 Jury

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An epic novel and a thrilling literary discovery, The Orphan Master’s Son follows a young man’s journey through the icy waters, dark tunnels, and eerie spy chambers of the world’s most mysterious dictatorship, North Korea.

Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother-a singer “stolen” to Pyongyang-and an influential father who runs Long Tomorrows, a work camp for orphans. There the boy is given his first taste of power, picking which orphans eat first and which will be lent out for manual labor. Recognized for his loyalty and keen instincts, Jun Do comes to the attention of superiors in the state, rises in the ranks, and starts on a road from which there will be no return.

Considering himself “a humble citizen of the greatest nation in the world,” Jun Do becomes a professional kidnapper who must navigate the shifting rules, arbitrary violence, and baffling demands of his Korean overlords in order to stay alive. Driven to the absolute limit of what any human being could endure, he boldly takes on the treacherous role of rival to Kim Jong Il in an attempt to save the woman he loves, Sun Moon, a legendary actress “so pure, she didn’t know what starving people looked like.”

Part breathless thriller, part story of innocence lost, part story of romantic love, The Orphan Master’s Son is also a riveting portrait of a world heretofore hidden from view: a North Korea rife with hunger, corruption, and casual cruelty but also camaraderie, stolen moments of beauty, and love. A towering literary achievement, The Orphan Master’s Son ushers Adam Johnson into the small group of today’s greatest writers.

– From the publisher


Biography or Autobiography

“For a distinguished and appropriately documented biography or autobiography by an American author,…” the Pulitzer Prize winner for Biography or Autobiography is:

 Awarded to “The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo,” by Tom Reiss (Crown), a compelling story of a forgotten swashbuckling hero of mixed race whose bold  exploits were captured by his son, Alexander Dumas, in famous 19th century novels.

From the Pulitzer Prize 2013 Jury

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Here is the remarkable true story of the real Count of Monte Cristo – a stunning feat of historical sleuthing that brings to life the forgotten hero who inspired such classics as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.

The real-life protagonist of The Black Count, General Alex Dumas, is a man almost unknown today yet with a story that is strikingly familiar, because his son, the novelist Alexandre Dumas, used it to create some of the best-loved heroes of literature.

Yet, hidden behind these swashbuckling adventures was an even more incredible secret: the real hero was the son of a black slave — who rose higher in the white world than any man of his race would before our own time.

Born in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), Alex Dumas was briefly sold into bondage but made his way to Paris where he was schooled as a sword-fighting member of the French aristocracy. Enlisting as a private, he rose to command armies at the height of the Revolution, in an audacious campaign across Europe and the Middle East – until he met an implacable enemy he could not defeat.

The Black Count is simultaneously a riveting adventure story, a lushly textured evocation of 18th-century France, and a window into the modern world’s first multi-racial society. But it is also a heartbreaking story of the enduring bonds of love between a father and son.

– From the publisher



“For a distinguished volume of original verse by an American author,…” the Pulitzer Prize winner for Poetry is:

Awarded to “Stag’s Leap,” by Sharon Olds (Alfred A. Knopf), a book of unflinching poems on the author’s divorce that examine love, sorrow and the limits of self-knowledge.

– From the Pulitzer Prize 2013 Jury

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In this wise and intimate telling-which carries us through the seasons when her marriage was ending-Sharon Olds opens her heart to the reader, sharing the feeling of invisibility that comes when we are no longer standing in love’s sight; the surprising physical bond that still exists between a couple during parting; the loss of everything from her husband’s smile to the set of his hip. Olds is naked before us, curious and brave and even generous toward the man who was her mate for thirty years and who now loves another woman. As she writes in the remarkable “Stag’s Leap,” “When anyone escapes, my heart / leaps up.  Even when it’s I who am escaped from, / I am half on the side of the leaver.” Olds’s propulsive poetic line and the magic of her imagery are as lively as ever, and there is a new range to the music-sometimes headlong, sometimes contemplative and deep. Her unsparing approach to both pain and love makes this one of the finest, most powerful books of poetry Olds has yet given us.

– From the publisher


Feature Photography

“For a distinguished example of feature photography in black and white or color, which may consist of a photograph or photographs,…” the Pulitzer Prize winner for Feature Photography is:

Awarded to Javier Manzano, a free-lance photographer, for his extraordinary picture, distributed by Agence France-Presse, of two Syrian rebel soldiers tensely guarding their position as beams of light stream through bullet holes in a nearby metal wall.

– From the Pulitzer Prize 2013 Jury

To view Javier Manzano’s award-winning photo, please click here.


Have you had the privilege of reading any of the Pulitzer Prize winning books for 2013?

Congratulations to all the finalists and winners! The prestigious Pulitzer Prize has been honouring excellence in journalism and the arts since 1917 and is well-deserved.


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Wish List Wednesday: For the Gamer in Me. 04.25.2012

Wish List Wednesday:

For the Gamer in Me

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez

Okay, so I’m not really a gamer. I’m more like the prehistoric equivalent of one. “In my day,” (as the older generations seem to reminisce more and more about) I had the pleasure of witnessing the “dawn” of machines transform into home computer technology through such icons as Vic 20 and the Commodore 64. This was an exciting time for us who could now move our play of Pacman and Donkey Kong from the pinball arcade houses to the privacy of own homes.

Vic 20. The way it was.
Pacman from 1973.


The kids, now, with their technological savvy may laugh with the huff and puff of GB superiority, but the creative power of their tech toys and games had to originate from somewhere even if its humble beginnings were first the DOS-style games such as The Juggler!

The Juggler game on the Vic 20, one of the first. Its medium was on a cassette.


Needless, to say, I’m not a techie. My Dad, however, is a retired LAN Administrator, AKA computer specialist and tech-savvy troubleshooter, so the mainframe of computers were always a part of our jargon and our home.

If my Dad wasn’t tinkering with hardware, he was programming software. If he wasn’t solving network problems or saving the corporation he worked for from losing millions of dollars, he was showing us the love of computers and its games–whichever one it was, of course.

I’m not an expert, but I have a secret passion for the game—and don’t laugh please—Tetris. More specifically, Tetris Attack!


And so, for this Wish List Wednesday feature, I must confess the following are high on my wish list:

Tetris Heat Changing Mug


When cold, the Tetris Heat Changing Mug shows a game of Tetris in its early stages. But pour in some hot or boiling water and it’ll reveal a game in full swing – level number, current score and all. I’m an avid mug collector and this mug is a sure favourite that I hope Santa will be kind enough to remember come Christmas time (yes, that means you, husband dear!) Available from firebox.com.

Tetris Tote Bag


Who can say no to a tote bag? Especially a Tetris one? All the more to store my books in for Tote Bag Tuesdays at the Bibliotaphe’s Closet.

Tetris Magnets


Because your game should always be on (the fridge)! Or at the very least, your tips and tricks at leading the championship. Available on etsy via Argopiffs.

Tetris Pendant


I’m into jewellery. Wearing this is surely to mark me as a hardcore Tetris Warrior! Available from etsy via marikesh.

Tetris Pillow


Need to recuperate from dropping tiles? Best to “drop” your head on this Tetris pillow. You know…for a short nap before your next game! Available from etsy via Nancy from Paris, France.

Tetris Dress


I’m an avid vintage buyer and this little Tetris-inspired baby doll dress in green is perfect for me! Available from etsy via Tortoises Treasure.

Tetris Soap


For the sweet-smelling man in my life—and to make sure he stays that way! And so he can also forgive me for always beating him at Tetris, this form of bribery always works best!

Tetris Link


Tetris Link is great for the days at the cottage or when there’s a power outage in your area. Because now you don’t have to depend on Tetris online to give you your fix.



iPad 3. Call me a sellout. It’s okay. I want one. All the better to blog with, My Love. And also to carry and read 1000’s of ebooks, which I can’t do right now because I don’t own an e-reader device—yet.

Steve Jobs: A Biography

STEVE JOBS: A BIOGRAPHY by Walter Isaacson.


 I’m fascinated with anyone who’s highly intelligent, driven, and creative. All words synonymous with the late Steve Jobs, the apple of my eye. I still have yet to own and read his biography written by Walter Isaacson. But, I will. I will, so help me, Apple!


 That’s it for my Wish List this week! It’s been such a busy time I actually haven’t had the chance to even play Tetris. When I take a break today, I’ll sneak in a few rounds! To you Tetris Warriors on Tetris Attack, all I need to say is:

Anywhere. Any time. Any place.

Let’s play!


If you had to choose one game you could play ABOVE any others, what game would it be and why?