2020 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellows, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on Grief, 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 Poetry Foundation has announced the five winners of the 2020 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships: Isabella Borgeson, Luther Hughes, Cyrée Jarelle Johnson, Darius Simpson, and Khaty Xiong. Each writer will receive $25,800 to enable “the further study and writing of poetry.” In keeping with the organization’s recent commitment to revise its internal structures and practices, this year’s winners were selected by a broader team of staff from across the foundation, in lieu of being selected exclusively by a small group from the Poetry editorial team. The foundation further notes that the selection process will be “thoroughly examined and discussed” before applications open for next year’s fellowships.  

“Grief is a cruel kind of education. You learn how ungentle mourning can be, how full of anger. You learn how glib condolences can feel. You learn how much grief is about language, the failure of language and the grasping for language.” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie mourns the death of her father, who passed away in June. (New Yorker

Parneshia Jones has been appointed director of Northwestern University Press (NUP), moving up from her current position as editorial director for trade and engagement and making her the press’s first Black director. A respected poet, editor, teacher, and publishing professional, Jones first entered the industry as a marketing assistant at NUP at age twenty-two. “I am so grateful to come full circle at Northwestern University Press,” Jones says. (Publishers Weekly)

“Marie is actually maybe more of a doppelgänger for me than she is me. I wanted to see what I could learn about my experiences by giving them to someone else.” Megan Cummins on experimenting with different registers of autobiographical fiction in her story collection, If the Body Allows It. (Rumpus)

“No matter what genre we write, we’re sharing such intimate parts of ourselves with not just the people in our lives, but the public.” Greg Mania, the author of Born to Be Public, reflects on humor, coming out, and vulnerability. (BOMB)

Amherst, Massachusetts–based literary magazine jubilat is set to close in spring 2021 after twenty years in print. (Harriet)

“I was writing about the places that I knew best.” Yaa Gyasi discusses drawing on memories from childhood to write her latest novel, Transcendent Kingdom. (NPR)

“I think this sense that I didn’t quite belong where I was prompted an early interest in exploring other cultures and places.” Alden Jones recalls her search for an authentic sense of self and the writing of her memoir, The Wanting Was a Wilderness. (Lambda Literary Review)

Jane Fonda features in the latest installment of the New York Times By the Book interview series.