Believer Book Awards, Strand Bookstore Layoffs, 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 Believer announced the winners of the 2019 Believer Book Awards, which honor “the best written and most underappreciated” works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry of the year. The winning titles are Hot Comb by Ebony Flowers, Socialist Realism by Trisha Low, and Soft Targets by Deborah Landau. 

As business in New York City grinds to a halt, the Strand Bookstore has laid off 188 employees in an effort to limit costs. Major independent bookstores across the country—including McNally Jackson, Busboys and Poets, Powell’s, Tattered Cover, and Posman’s—have seen similar mass layoffs during the past week. (Publishers Weekly)

Literary Hub has launched the Virtual Book Channel, a home for original online programming to celebrate new and forthcoming books. The channel will feature one-time specials as well as several regular shows, including Maris Kreizman interviewing authors for Shelter in Place, writers conducting five-minute “self-interviews” for Playback, and Brian Gresko hosting a weekly reading and Q&A for Decameron Reading Series.

The Academy of American Poets seeks the public’s participation for its “Shelter in Poems” initiative. Readers are invited to select a poem from the collection and then use #ShelterinPoems to share a sentence or two—or a video—on why the poem inspires them. The academy will gather the poems and responses in a special newsletter each week. 

Boston Review has announced a new online project, “Arts in the Time of Quarantine,” which will feature short stories, poetry, and essays; some will embrace “the theme of disease, social isolation, and sorrow,” while others will offer “a momentary escape through imagination.” 

Torrey House Press has also started up an online series, “That Thing With Feathers: Hope & Literature in a Time of Pandemic,” with posts from press authors.  

As more and more schools close down across the country, many authors for young readers are offering online readings and drawing tutorials. (New York Times)

Emily St. John Mandel talks to NPR about The Glass Hotel, alternate universes, and how she became a writer. 

And the Daily Shout-Out goes to Rebecca Solnit for her daily fairy tale readings via Facebook Live