2021 Booker Prize Shortlist, Prizewinners at the Poetry Foundation, 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 shortlist for this year’s Booker Prize, which comes with a purse of £50,000, has been revealed. The six finalists are A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam, The Promise by Damon Galgut, No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood, The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed, Bewilderment by Richard Powers, and Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead. The prize ceremony, where the winner will be announced, is slated for November 3. (New York Times)

The Poetry Foundation also shared several prize announcements yesterday: Patricia Smith has earned the $100,000 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, which honors lifetime achievement. Susan Briante has won the Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism, which comes with a prize of $7,500, for her book Defacing the Monument. Meanwhile, this year’s Ruth Lilly & Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships, which provide support to young, early-career poets, have been awarded to Bryan Byrdlong, Steven Espada Dawson, Noor Hindi, Natasha Rao, and Simon Shieh, who each receive $25,800. The awards will be presented next month, October 21, in a public virtual ceremony.

Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong has been named to this year’s TIME100, the magazine’s list of the world’s one hundred most influential people. Comedian Ali Wong wrote a citation: “When I read Cathy Park Hong’s Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, it felt like I was being shaken awake to something I had convinced myself wasn’t real.”

In a Twitter thread, New Yorker archives editor Erin Overbey shared data that reveals the overwhelming whiteness of the magazine’s editorial past and present. Among the revelations, she reports that “less than 0.01% of print feature & critics pieces have ever been edited by a Black editor” in the past fifteen years. (Literary Hub)

The first National Book Award longlist of the season is here. The ten titles contending for the prize for young people’s literature include Home Is Not a Country by Safia Elhillo and From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial that Galvanized the Asian American Movement by Paula Yoo. The longlist for the prize for translated literature is expected to be released later today. (New Yorker)

Elizabeth A. Harris interviews various publishing professionals about the increase in demand for books about racism and the experiences of Black Americans in the wake of the most recent resurgence of the racial justice movement. “If there is one thing I hope would have been addressed during the racial reckoning, it is for people to realize that Blackness is not one thing,” said Tracy Sherrod of Amistad. (New York Times)

“What right do we have to memorialize and remember, and what obligations do we have to memorialize and remember?” Jacques Rancourt outlines the tensions that underly his latest poetry collection, Brocken Spectre. (Rumpus)

“I’ll often read a newspaper article about, say, the hidden dangers of escalator inspectors, and think, ‘That’s a weird job. Maybe there’s a story there.’” Colson Whitehead talks inspiration, writer’s block, and more with Entertainment Weekly.