2020 National Book Awards, Joy Harjo to Serve Third Term as Poet Laureate, 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.

Best-selling children’s author Jason Reynolds hosted the all-virtual seventy-first annual National Book Awards yesterday evening. Charles Yu won the award in fiction for Interior Chinatown, Les Payne and Tamara Payne won the award in nonfiction for The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X, Don Mee Choi won the award in poetry for DMZ Colony, author Yu Miri and translator Morgan Giles won the award in translated literature for Tokyo Ueno Station, and Kacen Callender took home the award in young people’s literature for King and the Dragonflies. (New York Times)

The Library of Congress has appointed Joy Harjo to serve a third term as poet laureate of the United States. She will become the second laureate in the program’s history to serve for three consecutive terms. Reflecting on her reappointment in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, Harjo said, “Here we are at a time of tremendous transformation—and where do we go? And here we are with poetry. And I get to help during this huge, transformative event that we’re all part of.” Today Harjo also formally launches one of her laureate projects, “Living Nations, Living Words,” an interactive digital map that features readings and discussions from nearly fifty contemporary Native poets. (PBS NewsHour)

Gabriel Bump has won this year’s Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence for his debut novel, Everywhere You Don’t Belong. The $15,000 prize honors “rising African American fiction writers of excellence at a national level.” (Advocate)

Penguin Random House has promoted Annysa Polanco from associate director to director of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The company also announced it will create a new board-level position dedicated to DEI. (Publishers Weekly)

“Every reader has their own bookshops, their own collection, and their own memories.” Jorge Carrión celebrates the magic of bookshops around the world. (Literary Hub)

“One of the keys to understanding Adrienne Rich is to know how much she truly loved learning.” Biographer Hilary Holladay discusses chronicling the artistic, political, and emotional lives of Adrienne Rich. (Chicago Review of Books

Douglas Stuart, the author of Shuggie Bain, names his ten favorite books. (Vulture)

Indie booksellers from across the United States offer recommended reading. (Buzzfeed)