2021 Booker Prize Longlist, Smith and Griffin Join Mellon Foundation as Fellows in Residence, 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 thirteen longlisted titles for the 2021 Booker Prize have been revealed. This year’s “Booker Dozen” includes Second Place by Rachel Cusk, Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro, and Bewilderment by Richard Powers. Maya Jasanoff, the chair of the judges, commented: “Every book on this list sparked long discussions amongst ourselves that led in unexpected and enlightening directions.”

Farah Jasmine Griffin and Clint Smith have been selected to serve as fellows in residence at the Mellon Foundation through August 2022. “Farah Jasmine Griffin’s brilliant scholarship and academic leadership and Clint Smith’s remarkable poetry and nonfiction continue to transform the arts, culture, and humanities in our country,” said Elizabeth Alexander, the president of the foundation. Both writers will help shape foundation programming and pursue their own projects.

A profile of Smith by Destiny O. Birdsong appeared in the latest issue of Poets & Writers Magazine. Smith and Birdsong also featured in a Poets & Writers Live virtual event, a recording of which is available online.

“Queer time challenges normative history, bringing to light the fragmented narratives, asynchronous lifestyles, and suppressed voices of marginalized subjects.” Coeditors Ta-wei Chi and Ariel Chu introduce “Queer Time,” a collection of new queer Taiwanese literature in translation. (Margins)

Jonathan Kozol revisits letters and artworks from his friend Eric Carle, the celebrated children’s author and illustrator who died in May. He takes heart in the whimsy of Carle’s correspondence and published works. “Now he is gone, but the tiny seeds he planted will live on.” (New York Times)

“There’s a humanity that clings to the sheets and sometimes you can’t wash that away.” Begoña M. Rueda, who works in the laundry at a hospital in Spain, talks to the Guardian about sharing her perspective on the pandemic in her latest poetry collection, Laundry Service.

“I feel like the trans characters in Summer Fun are basically twenty-first century transsexuals transported backward in time.” Jeanne Thornton talks retelling history and rendering trans loneliness in her recent novel, Summer Fun. (BOMB)

“There’s always this moment when you’re writing where you feel the rudder of the essay steering you.” Larissa Pham, the author of Pop Song, discusses her writing process, social media, and next projects. (Creative Independent)

“I study the people around me and think, ‘Someone, somewhere, was once in love with you.’” Nora Zelevansky shares how a people-watching game has enriched her writing. (Literary Hub)