Hunter S. Thompson’s Weed, Booker Prize Turmoil, and Other Literary News

hunter-thompson_gonzo_foundationIn an interview with Hunter S. Thompson’s widow, Anita Thompson, The Aspen Times reveals that Thompson will launch a line of “Gonzo” branded cannabis, based on strains that the writer actually used. Anita Thompson recently regained legal control of the “Gonzo” trademark and the hard-partying writer’s likeness, as well as ownership of his Owl Farm property, both of which had been held by a legal trust.


The winners of the 67th annual National Book Awards were announced in mid-November. The two big winners were Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad for fiction and Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped From the Beginning for nonfiction, while Daniel Borzutzky took the poetry prize for The Performance of Becoming Human. You can find a full list of nominees at Electric Literature.


Meanwhile, a major controversy continues to brew across the pond. In October, Paul Beatty became the first American writer to win the traditionally British Commonwealth-only Man Booker Prize. That has led a series of British authors, including A. S. Byatt, to condemn the opening of the prize to Americans.


The Guardian is putting out a series of comprehensive “Best of 2016” lists. Its Best Fiction list (that is, literary fiction) highlights Zadie Smith’s Swing Time and Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed. There’s also a Crime and Thriller list and a Science Fiction list– all excellent places to catch up with anything you might have missed in your favorite genre.


There’s another notable award set to round out the year. The Literary Review’s Bad Sex in Fiction Award has become a strangely beloved institution, and this year’s nominees include Ethan Canin’s A Doubter’s Almanac and Gayle Forman’s Leave Me. The winner is set to be announced this week.