2020 American Poets Prizes, Claudia Rankine on Difficult Conversations, and More

by Staff

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—publishing reports, literary dispatches, academic announcements, and more—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

The Academy of American Poets has announced the winners of the 2020 American Poets Prizes, which amount to a total of $1,290,250. Among the honorees, Nikky Finney received the Wallace Stevens Award for “outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry,” Carmen Giménez Smith received the Academy of American Poets Fellowship for “distinguished poetic achievement,” and Hanif Abdurraqib won the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize for “the most outstanding book of poetry published in the United States in the previous year” for A Fortune for Your Disaster

“It was a conscious decision to show up as fully as I could muster in these essays. I can’t ask other people to show up as readers if I’m not going to show up as the writer.” Claudia Rankine talks to the Los Angeles Review of Books about using personal conversations to structure her latest book, Just Us: An American Conversation.  

Literary Hub has compiled a “list-of-lists,” collecting data from fall book previews at twenty-nine different media outlets. Rumaan Alam’s Leave the World Behind tops the charts, appearing in a total of twenty listicles. 

“I sold the car and the house, packed up boxes, and moved to India. I hadn’t lived there for two decades.” Jenny Bhatt, author of Each of Us Killers, on upending her life to pursue writing full-time. (BOMB)

“A photo caption from a fashion magazine, a scrap of anonymous juvenilia—how could such a small detail matter? Except it did, or does, to Joan Didion.” Brian Dillon examines Joan Didion’s photo caption writing from her early stint at Vogue. (New Yorker)

“Of course we are doomed, but that doom should be thought of as a beginning rather than an end.” Interdisciplinary artist Johanna Hedva muses on how catharsis, ghosts, and Los Angeles appear in her latest book, Minerva the Miscarriage of the Brain. (Believer)

The longlists for the 2020 Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prizes have been announced. The selection committee seeks books that “push boundaries, bring light to unheralded stories, or give voice to the silenced.” 

New York Times editors explain the production process behind the paper’s famed weekly best-seller lists