2020 Kirkus Prize Finalists, Carolyn Reidy to Receive Literarian Award, 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 finalists for the 2020 Kirkus Prizes have been announced. Six titles were selected in each of the three categories—fiction, nonfiction, and young readers’ literature. Fiction finalists include Raven Leilani’s Luster and James McBride’s Deacon King Kong; nonfiction picks include Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s World of Wonders and Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste. Now in its seventh cycle, the Kirkus Prize awards $50,000 to the winning title in each category. (New York Times)

The National Book Foundation will honor Carolyn Reidy, the late president and CEO of Simon & Schuster, with its 2020 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community. “Carolyn Reidy was a singular force in the world of books, and we are forever grateful for her passion and advocacy not just for the foundation, but also for authors and readers everywhere,” said executive director Lisa Lucas. Reidy died in May this year at age seventy-one.

Viet Thanh Nguyen has been elected to the Pulitzer Prize Board, becoming the organization’s first Vietnamese American and first Asian American board member. A distinguished writer and editor, Nguyen won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Sympathizer. “I know the impact that the prize has on a writer’s career and on the perceptions of readers. I’m delighted to join in the board’s crucial work,” said Nguyen.  

Doubleday has announced several promotions and one external executive hire: Previously a senior editor at the Atlantic, Thomas Gebremedhin will join the press as vice president and editorial director of nonfiction. (Publishers Weekly)

In more personnel news, Peter Blackstock has been named publisher of Atlantic Books, an imprint of Grove Press UK. While assuming this new title, Blackstock will also remain in New York City as a senior editor for Grove Atlantic. (Bookseller)

The Frankfurt Book Fair has announced it will not move forward with in-person events due to pandemic travel restrictions. The festival will now take place exclusively online from October 12 to October 18. (Publishers Weekly)

“She resists patriarchal objectifications and simplifications of women, and also resists settling into a single point of view.” Alexandra Teague writes in praise of Eavan Boland’s attention to psychological and physical perspective. (Harriet)

James Traub revisits Hugh Lofting’s The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle, analyzing the book’s enduring lessons while also addressing its racist legacy. (New York Times)