Barnes & Noble Discover Awards, Daughters of Africa Sequel, 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.

Barnes & Noble has announced the winners of this year’s Discover Awards. First place in fiction went to Paul Howarth for the novel Only Killers and Thieves, while the prize in nonfiction was awarded to Kiese Laymon for Heavy: An American Memoir.

Hanif Abdurraqib on Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” and Amanda Hess on Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next”—twenty-five writers discuss the songs that matter right now. (New York Times Magazine)

Twenty-seven years after its publication, the Daughters of Africa anthology has inspired a new generation of writers and a sequel. More than two hundred authors from over fifty countries have contributed work to editor Margaret Busby’s New Daughters of Africa, including Margo Jefferson, Ayòbámi Adébáyò, and Yrsa Daley-Ward. (Guardian)

“I try not to withhold from my characters the level of insight that I feel I would be capable of in their circumstances. It’s important for me to feel that I wouldn’t do any better than them with the options they have available—otherwise I would be winking at the reader behind my own characters’ backs.” Sally Rooney on her story “Color and Light,” published in this week’s New Yorker.

“Shall we frankly declare that, after the most deliberate consideration of Mr. Darwin’s arguments, we remain unconvinced?” The New York Times looks back on its most scathing book reviews that may have missed the mark.

At the Atlantic, Nina Martyris defends the literary device of giving characters shared names—a technique favored by both Leo Tolstoy and Elizabeth Strout for its potential for moral queasiness.

“The tendency to lodge images in people’s imaginations is the main way you effect change.” John Lanchester talks to Vulture about his fifth novel, The Wall, and telling the truth in fiction.

And Michelle Obama’s book tour for Becoming will end this month in appearances with Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Rachael Ray, and Gayle King. (Los Angeles Times)