American Library Association Awards, Erica Jong on Writing the Body, and More


Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

The American Library Association has announced the winners of this year’s Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence. The medal for fiction was awarded to Rebecca Makkai for her novel The Great Believers, while Kiese Laymon received the nonfiction medal for his memoir Heavy. The medals are each accompanied by a $5,000 cash prize. (Washington Post)

“The body is where we live. If you don’t write honestly about the body, your writing is not honest.” At the Creative Independent, poet, novelist, and essayist Erica Jong talks about her work as a “woman of letters.”

Over at the New Yorker, Emma Cline discusses her short story “What Can You Do With a General,” published in this week’s issue of the magazine. “These kids are gathered around this fire that looks like a fire, and everyone’s talking about how warm the fire is, how good the fire feels, but the fire emits no heat. For these children, I think they believe that, if they stand in front of the flames long enough, eventually they must feel something.”

“It feels as if the world is free of consequence, as if it’s dark and freewheeling, with no safety and no certainty and no moral center. Do you know what I mean, Alted?” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and a fictionalized Delta representative unpack the ravages of global capitalism. (Paris Review)

“She was a facilitator of other writers (she once said of editing that ‘accurate writing means accurate thinking’), a precise and fluent adventurer into her own interiority, and the rare woman writer to invite her readers to join her in thinking through old age.” Josephine Livingstone remembers writer and editor Diana Athill, who died last week at the age of one hundred and one. (New Republic)

The U.K.’s poetry market has grown by 48 percent in the past five years. Young women aged thirteen to twenty-four are its largest consumer group, buying works by predominantly female poets and sending collections by Charly Cox and Rupi Kaur to the top of the sales charts. (Guardian)

Over the past few days, BuzzFeed has dismissed approximately two hundred journalists and staff members. The cuts, an attempt to reduce overhead, will mean that more of the viral media site’s content is generated by unpaid users. (New York Magazine)

“Once you recognize the myth you’re retelling, then you’re truly free to cleave unto it or to violate the myth. So many groups are calling for civil war, or self-segregating, it seemed like a new American civil war novel was needed.” Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk talks about character psychology and his latest novel, Adjustment Day. (Millions)