AWP’s New Executive Director, Tayari Jones Wins Aspen Words Prize, and More

by Staff

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 Association of Writers & Writing Programs has appointed Dr. Chloe Schwenke its new executive director. Schwenke served as intermin executive director over the last year, in the wake of former executive director David Fenza’s firing, and oversaw the largest AWP conference to date last month.

Tayari Jones has won the Aspen Words Literary Prize for her novel An American Marriage. The annual award, which includes a $35,000 cash prize, was announced in New York City last night.

Meanwhile, the New York Public Library announced the shortlist for its 2019 Young Lions Fiction Award, which honors a novel or short fiction collection by an American writer aged thirty-five or younger. The finalists for this year’s $10,000 prize are Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah for his story collection, Friday Black; Nick Drnaso for his graphic novel Sabrina; Akwaeke Emezi for their novel, Freshwater; Ling Ma for her novel, Severance; and Laura van den Berg for her novel The Third Hotel.

“I think I am an absurdist. I think politics are ridiculous.” Novelist Bret Easton Ellis speaks to the New Yorker about his new essay collection, White, in an interview the A.V. Club describes as “a protracted tug-of-war.”

Despite shackled wrists, Julian Assange carried a copy of Gore Vidal’s History of the National Security State during the WikiLeaks founder’s arrest in London yesterday. The Washington Post ponders the message Assange might be trying to convey.

The inaugural Anna Rabinowitz Prize, which honors poets and their collaborators for an interdisciplinary work, has been awarded to Darcie Dennigan for The Happy End, an athletic performance piece. Dennigan’s performance is an adaptation of Mónica de la Torre’s 2017 poetry collection, The Happy End / All Welcome. (Poetry Society of America)

The semifinalists for the 2019 Best Translated Book Awards in poetry and fiction have been announced, in a longlist representing sixteen languages and twenty-four countries. The finalists will be announced May 15, and the winning authors and translators will each receive $5,000. (Millions)

And in San Diego, the city library system has forgiven over two million dollars in overdue fees, finding that not only do the fees contradict the public library’s mission, but they bring in less money than the city spends collecting them. (NPR)