Bhanu Kapil Wins T. S. Eliot Prize, National Book Critics Circle Awards Finalists, 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.

Bhanu Kapil has won the 2020 T. S. Eliot Prize for her collection How to Wash a Heart. “This is a unique work that exemplifies how poetry can be tested and remade to accommodate uncomfortable and unresolvable truths,” said Lavinia Greenlaw, chair of this year’s judging panel. Established in 1993, the annual £25,000 award is the most valuable poetry prize in the United Kingdom and Ireland. (Guardian)

The finalists for the annual National Book Critics Circle Awards have been announced. Five books were selected for each of the six genre categories—autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry—while seven books are up for the John Leonard Prize for Best First Book. The NBCC also announced Jo Livingstone as the recipient of this year’s Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing. The Feminist Press is due to receive the Ivan Sandrof Award for Lifetime Achievement. (Publishers Weekly)

The New York Times profiles Michelle Burford, who has helped write memoirs for numerous celebrities, including Cicely Tyson and Alicia Keys. “Readers just want the truth, particularly in a memoir. And they can really sense when they’re getting it,” says Burford. “I’m mostly hanging out, waiting for the truth to come out and reveal itself.”

A neighborhood association in South Bend, Illinois, has been distributing a biweekly poetry newsletter in order to connect with residents during the pandemic. “We just want to give people a chance to pause for a few minutes and reflect on a new idea that they may not have thought about,” says Mike Coman, president of the association. (South Bend Tribune)

“What I question is a genre that is so clearly gendered, with connotations that are so outdated.” Soledad Fox Maura recalls the surprise of discovering her first novel, Madrid Again, had been categorized as “domestic fiction.” (Literary Hub)

“There’s nothing I would like more for the story of women displaced by war to not be relevant anymore. But, you know, unfortunately, it remains extremely relevant to us today.” Natalie Haynes talks to NPR about reimagining the Trojan War from the perspectives of the female characters.

Jessica Yadegaran interviews six California poets, including Janice Sapigao and Kim Shuck, about their creative practice during the pandemic. (Mercury News)

Electric Literature highlights nineteen books that are being adapted for the screen in 2021.