2021 Whiting Award Winners, U.K. Literary Prizes Targeted by Scammers, 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 winners of this year’s Whiting Awards, which honor emerging writers working in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and drama, were revealed yesterday evening. The ten recipients are Joshua Bennett, Jordan E. Cooper, Steven Dunn, Tope Folarin, Donnetta Lavinia Grays, Marwa Helal, Sarah Stewart Johnson, Sylvia Khoury, Ladan Osman, and Xandria Phillips. Each writer will receive an unrestricted grant of $50,000. (NPR)

In the past year, several U.K. literary prizes have been targeted by scammers who posed as prizewinners seeking payment. While most attempts have been thwarted, the Rathbones Folio Prize lost £30,000 to cybercriminals who impersonated 2020 prizewinner Valeria Luiselli. The organization confirmed that Luiselli was still paid her winnings in full. (Guardian)

The National Coalition Against Censorship is calling attention to recent proposals in seven states to limit the teaching of “divisive concepts.” The nonprofit notes legislators are specifically targeting course material on social justice and systemic racism, including the 1619 Project published by the New York Times.

Zando, the independent press launched by industry veteran Molly Stern in October last year, has made its first acquisition. Slated for fall 2022, You Are Not Alone: The NAMI Guide to Mental Illness and Recovery by Ken Duckworth will be published in collaboration with the National Alliance on Mental Illness. (Publishers Weekly)

At the Washington Post, a group of romance writers and industry members discuss the history and evolution of the genre. “There used to be a time when you did not open a romance novel on an airplane,” says author Jayne Ann Krentz.

“The vision for this book came from telling bedtime stories to my kids.” Ethan Rutherford discusses exploring the “weird, spiky, and humbling palace of new parenthood” in his latest story collection, Farthest South. (BOMB)

“I once had a book sent to me that was disrupting my ability to write a novel because of a superficial similarity between the two. I took that book and dug a hole and buried it deep in the backyard.” Jeff VanderMeer talks superstition, “messed-up” narratives, and abandoning books. (New York Times)

A new novel by Hanya Yanagihara, the author of A Little Life, is forthcoming from Doubleday in January. Titled To Paradise, the novel will transport readers to America in three different years: 1893, 1993, and 2093. (Vulture)