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Ninth annual Tournament of Books begins today

March 04, 2013|By Jenny Hendrix
  • The bracket for this year's Tournament of Books.
The bracket for this year's Tournament of Books. (Liz Meyer / )

Should you find yourself fired up by competition but left cold by college sports, the Morning News may have the answer: Today marks the start of the online magazine's ninth annual Tournament of Books.  The tournament brands itself as "the grand-daddy of high-brow bracketology," and is the literary world's answer to March Madness. 

Here's how it works: Every weekday, beginning today, two works of fiction from 2012 will face off, with judges deciding which one to advance to the next bracket.  Biases, preferences, connections to the author, and judging decision processes will all be revealed in elaborate explanations accompanying each judge's choice, along with play-by-play match commentary by writers Kevin Guilfoile and John Warner. 

At the end of the month, the last novel standing will be awarded the Rooster, a prize named, for whatever reason, after David Sedaris' brother.  Last year's winner was "The Sisters Brothers" by Patrick deWitt.

The Morning News has also announced the inclusion this year of "a Zombie Round, plenty of contests and prizes, [and] a visit from the Biblioracle."  Also new this year is today's pre-tournament playoff, in which novels compete for the 16th "wild card" spot in the starting bracket.  Contenders in the pre-ToB play-in are "The Yellow Birds" by Kevin Powers, "Bily Lynn's Long Halftime Walk," for which Ben Fountain just won the NBCC Award, and David Abrams's "Fobbit."

So, will it be "Gone Girl" or "Building Stories"? "Arcadia" or "How Should a Person Be?"? Print your bracket here.

The finalists for 2013 are:

  • "HHhH" by Laurent Binet
  • "The Round House" by Louise Erdrich
  • "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn
  • "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green
  • "Arcadia" by Lauren Groff
  • "How Should a Person Be?" by Sheila Heti
  • "May We Be Forgiven" by A.M. Homes
  • "The Orphan Master’s Son" by Adam Johnson
  • "Ivyland" by Miles Klee
  • "Bring Up the Bodies" by Hilary Mantel
  • "The Song of Achilles" by Madeline Miller
  • "Dear Life" by Alice Munro
  • "Where’d You Go Bernadette" by Maria Semple
  • "Beautiful Ruins" by Jess Walter
  • "Building Stories" by Chris Ware
  • [Winner of the Pre-Tournament Playoff Round]


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$100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award goes to Marianne Boruch

 Tom McCarthy, James Salter win $150,000 Windham-Campbell prizes

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