Kevin Powers (born July 11, 1980) is an American fiction writer, poet, and Iraq War veteran.
The Iraq War was a protracted armed conflict that began in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq by a United States-led coalition that overthrew the government of Saddam Hussein. The conflict continued for much of the next decade as an insurgency emerged to oppose the occupying forces and the post-invasion Iraqi government. An estimated 151,000 to 600,000 or more Iraqis were killed in the first three to four years of conflict. In 2009, official US troops were withdrawn, but American soldiers continued to remain on the ground fighting in Iraq, hired by defence contractors and private military companies. The U.S. became re-involved in 2014 at the head of a new coalition; the insurgency and many dimensions of the civil armed conflict continue. The invasion occurred as part of a declared war against international terrorism and its sponsors under the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush following the unrelated September 11 terrorist attacks.
|Born||July 11, 1980|
Richmond, Virginia, USA
|Occupation||Novelist, poet, soldier|
|Genre||Literary fiction, Iraq War|
Powers was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, the son of a factory worker and a postman, and enlisted in the U.S. Army at the age of seventeen. He attended James River High School.Six years later, in 2004, he served a one-year tour in Iraq as a machine gunner assigned to an engineer unit. Powers served in Mosul and Tal Afar, Iraq, from February 2004 to March 2005. After his honorable discharge, Powers enrolled in Virginia Commonwealth University, where he graduated in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in English. He holds an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin, where he was a Michener Fellow in Poetry.
Richmond is a city in the U.S. state of Virginia and its capital. It is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and the Greater Richmond Region. Richmond was incorporated in 1742 and has been an independent city since 1871.
Powers's first novel The Yellow Birds , which drew on his experiences in the Iraq War, garnered a lucrative advance from publisher Michael Pietsch at Little, Brown. It has been called 'a classic of contemporary war fiction' by the New York Times.Michiko Kakutani, book critic for The New York Times , subsequently named the novel one of her 10 favorite books of 2012. Wrote Kakutani: "At once a freshly imagined bildungsroman and a metaphysical parable about the loss of innocence and the uses of memory, it’s a novel that will stand with Tim O’Brien’s enduring Vietnam book, The Things They Carried , as a classic of contemporary war fiction."
The Yellow Birds is the debut novel from American writer, poet, and Iraq war veteran Kevin Powers. It was one of The New York Times's 100 Most Notable Books of 2012 and a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award. It was awarded the 2012 The Guardian First Book Award, and the 2013 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award.
Michiko Kakutani is an American literary critic and former chief book critic for The New York Times. Her awards include a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.
The New York Times is an American newspaper based in New York City with worldwide influence and readership. Founded in 1851, the paper has won 127 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper. The Times is ranked 17th in the world by circulation and 2nd in the U.S.
In an interview, Powers explained to The Guardian newspaper why he wrote the book: "One of the reasons that I wrote this book was the idea that people kept saying: 'What was it like over there?' It seemed that it was not an information-based problem. There was lots of information around. But what people really wanted was to know what it felt like; physically, emotionally and psychologically. So that's why I wrote it."
The Guardian is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian, and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers The Observer and The Guardian Weekly, the Guardian is part of the Guardian Media Group, owned by the Scott Trust. The trust was created in 1936 to "secure the financial and editorial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity and to safeguard the journalistic freedom and liberal values of the Guardian free from commercial or political interference". The trust was converted into a limited company in 2008, with a constitution written so as to maintain for The Guardian the same protections as were built into the structure of the Scott Trust by its creators. Profits are reinvested in journalism rather than distributed to owners or shareholders.
Asked about the best book of 2012, writer Dave Eggers said this to The Observer : "There are a bunch of books I could mention, but the book I find myself pushing on people more than any other is The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers. The author fought in Iraq with the US army, and then, many years later, this gorgeous novel emerged. Next to The Forever War by Dexter Filkins, it's the best thing I've read about the war in Iraq, and by far the best novel. Powers is a poet first, so the book is spare, incredibly precise, unimproveable. And it's easily the saddest book I've read in many years. But sad in an important way."
Dave Eggers is an American writer, editor, and publisher. He is the husband of writer Vendela Vida with whom he has two children. He wrote the best-selling memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Eggers is also the founder of McSweeney's, a literary journal, a co-founder of the literacy project 826 Valencia and the human rights nonprofit Voice of Witness, and the founder of ScholarMatch, a program that matches donors with students needing funds for college tuition. His writing has appeared in several magazines.
The Observer is a British newspaper published on Sundays. In the same place on the political spectrum as its sister papers The Guardian and The Guardian Weekly, whose parent company Guardian Media Group Limited acquired it in 1993, it takes a social liberal or social democratic line on most issues. First published in 1791, it is the world's oldest Sunday newspaper.
Dexter Price Filkins is an American journalist known primarily for his coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for The New York Times. He was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for his dispatches from Afghanistan, and he won a Pulitzer in 2009 as part of a team of Times reporters for their dispatches from Pakistan and Afghanistan. He has been referred to as "the premier combat journalist of his generation". He currently writes for The New Yorker.
Not all critics were so laudatory of The Yellow Birds, however. Ron Charles of The Washington Post wrote that "frankly, the parts of The Yellow Birds are better than the whole. Some chapters lack sufficient power, others labor under the influence of classic war stories, rather than arising organically from the author’s unique vision." Michael Larson of Salon argues that the book is ruined by "boggy lyricism ... There’s never a sky not worthy of a few adjectives." And Theo Tait of the London Review of Books argued that the book "labours under the weight of a massive Hemingway crush ... a trainwreck, from the first inept and imprecise simile, to the tin-eared rhythms, to the final incoherent thought."
Ron Charles is a book critic at The Washington Post. His awards include the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award Nona Balakian Citation for book reviews, and 1st Place for A&E Coverage from the Society for Features Journalism in 2011. He was one of three jurors for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction.
The Washington Post is a major American daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C., with a particular emphasis on national politics and the federal government. It has the largest circulation in the Washington metropolitan area. Its slogan "Democracy Dies in Darkness" began appearing on its masthead in 2017. Daily broadsheet editions are printed for the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.
The book has been adapted on screen in 2017, The Yellow Birds was directed by Alexandre Moors and starred Jack Huston, Alden Ehrenreich, Tye Sheridan and Jennifer Aniston.
Louise Erdrich is an American author, writer of novels, poetry, and children's books featuring Native American characters and settings. She is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, a federally recognized tribe of the Anishinaabe.
Chang-rae Lee is a Korean-American novelist and a professor of creative writing at Stanford University. He was previously Professor of Creative Writing at Princeton and director of Princeton's Program in Creative Writing.
Sabbath's Theater is a novel by Philip Roth about the exploits of 64-year-old Mickey Sabbath. It won the 1995 U.S. National Book Award for Fiction. The cover is a detail of Sailor and Girl (1925) by German painter Otto Dix.
The PEN/Hemingway Award is awarded annually to a full-length novel or book of short stories by an American author who has not previously published a full-length book of fiction. The award is named after Ernest Hemingway and funded by the Hemingway family and the Ernest Hemingway Foundation/Society. It is administered by PEN America. Mary Hemingway, a member of PEN, founded the award in 1976 both to honor the memory of her husband and to recognize distinguished first books of fiction.
Junot Díaz is a Dominican-American writer, creative writing professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and fiction editor at Boston Review. He also serves on the board of advisers for Freedom University, a volunteer organization in Georgia that provides post-secondary instruction to undocumented immigrants. Central to Díaz's work is the immigrant experience, particularly the Latino immigrant experience.
Mohsin Hamid is a Pakistani novelist, writer and brand consultant. His novels are Moth Smoke (2000), The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007), How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (2013), and Exit West (2017).
John Turner Sargent Sr. was president and CEO of the Doubleday and Company publishing house from 1963 to 1978, taking over from the previous president, Douglas Black. He led the expansion of the company from "a modest, family-controlled business to an industry giant with interests extending into broadcasting and baseball." A socialite, he was active in New York's cultural circles.
Douglas Anthony Cooper is a Canadian writer.
Ben Fountain is an American fiction writer currently living in Dallas, Texas. He has won many awards including a PEN/Hemingway award for Brief Encounters with Che Guevara: Stories (2007) and the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction for his debut novel Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (2012).
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The Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize is an annual award presented by The Center for Fiction, a non-profit organization in New York City, for the best debut novel. From 2006 to 2011, it was called the John Sargent, Sr. First Novel Prize in honor of John Turner Sargent, Sr., and, from 2011 to 2014, the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, named after Center for Fiction board member Nancy Dunnan and her journalist father Ray W. Flaherty.
Matt Gallagher is an American author, former U.S. Army captain and veteran of the Iraq War. Gallagher has written on a variety of subjects, mainly contemporary war fiction and non-fiction. He first became known for his war memoir Kaboom (2010), which tells of his and his scout platoon's experiences during the Iraq War. He works as a writing instructor at Words After War, a literary nonprofit devoted to bringing veterans and civilians together to study conflict literature.
Kristopher Jansma is an American fiction writer and essayist. Born in the Lincroft section of Middletown Township, New Jersey, he attended Johns Hopkins University and Columbia University.
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