A Busy Week in Book News, Poets House Suspends Operations Indefinitely, 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.

New York Times editors Pamela Paul and Andrew LaVallee discuss preparing for a “Super Bowl” week in literary news. Barack Obama’s highly anticipated memoir released today, the National Book Awards will be announced on Wednesday, the Booker Prize ceremony is on Thursday, and the Times will release its “100 Notable Books of 2020” list on Friday. 

Poets House, a beloved literary center and poetry library in New York City, has announced it will suspend operations “indefinitely” due to budgetary issues brought on by the pandemic, with the hope that it might be able to reopen in late 2021. “This is an unprecedented moment in Poets House history and, indeed, the world,” said board chair Robert Kissane. “The board took these measures in order to withstand what we all are facing and ensure that the organization and its collections survive.” The organization also announced that longtime executive director Lee Briccetti will retire in the new year. 

The New York Times reports on the ongoing bidding over Simon & Schuster, which was put up for sale by its parent company, ViacomCBS, early this year. Penguin Random House and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, which owns HarperCollins, are considered leading bidders.

The American Library Association has announced the shortlists for the 2021 Andrew Carnegie Medals. The three fiction finalists are A Burning by Megha Majumdar, Deacon King Kong by James McBride, and Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar. The nonfiction finalists are Fathoms: The World in the Whale by Rebecca Giggs, Just Us: An American Conversation by Claudia Rankine, and Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir by Natasha Trethewey. 

Kima Jones, the founder of Jack Jones Literary Arts, has announced she will step away from publicity work to focus on her own writing. Her debut memoir, Butch, has sold to Knopf and is slated for publication in 2023. (Los Angeles Times)

Writer and editor David Ebershoff will return to Random House as a vice president and executive editor after leaving the imprint in 2015. (Publishers Weekly)

Marie Claire recommends twenty-nine books forthcoming in 2021, including Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters and My Year Abroad by Chang-Rae Lee. 

The editors at Kirkus have curated a list of the one hundred best fiction books of the year.