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Straight Nominated for LA Times Book Prize


Susan Straight Nominated for Los Angeles Times Book Prize

"A Million Nightingales" one of five novels competing in fiction category

(March 9, 2007)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — (www.ucr.edu) -- Susan Straight, professor of creative writing at UC Riverside, has been nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize for fiction for her novel “A Million Nightingales.” The announcement was made Thursday in New York City.

“I am very excited about this nomination because I was a judge for the L.A. Times Book Prize in 1998,” said Straight, “so I know how many books get read so I am honored to be nominated.”

“A Million Nightingales” is the story of a black woman, Moinette, a slave in the early 1800s in Louisiana who has to buy her own son to keep him.

Straight said she enjoys the challenge of writing historical fiction because, “you try to get people to imagine history and what it was like to live in that time." A 2006 New York Times review called the book “a powerful and moving story, written in language so beautiful you can almost believe the words themselves are capable of salving history's wounds.”

Charles Whitney, chairman of UCR’s creative writing department, praised “A Million Nightingales and it’s author, “it is a magnificent book and Professor Straight deserves the award.”

The winners of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize will be announced on April 27 at UCLA's Royce Hall, as part of the paper's annual Festival of Books.

The book, published by Pantheon Books, is the first of a trilogy. Straight is currently working on the second book in the series which will follow two of the women from “A Million Nightingales” and their descendants through to Hurricane Katrina. “A Million Nightingales” is scheduled to come out in paperback in early May 2007.

Straight’s previous book, "Highwire Moon,” published in 2001, was a finalist for a National Book Award and won a gold medal in fiction from the Commonwealth Club of California.

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