Bob Woodward Wins PEN Literary Service Award, the Hunt for Books Stolen by Nazis, and More

by Staff
1.15.19

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.

PEN America has named Bob Woodward the recipient of its 2019 Literary Service Award. The award will be presented to Woodward, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and author of nineteen books, including the recent bestseller Fear: Trump in the White House, at the PEN America Literary Gala on May 21.

Meanwhile, the T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry was awarded to Hannah Sullivan of London for her debut collection, Three Poems. The prize carries a £25,000 (approximately $28,020) purse. (Guardian)

“People have looked away for so long, but I don’t think they can anymore.” The New York Times follows the ongoing recovery of millions of books stolen by the Nazis during World War II.

At the New Yorker, D. T. Max observes cartoonist Nick Drnaso at work. “He expected that he would fold in some betrayals as he went along, but for the moment he was pleased that, in the early pages, the characters seemed to be making real connections with one another.”

Last year Drnaso’s Sabrina became the first graphic novel to be nominated for the Man Booker Prize. Read more about the project in the Written Image. (Poets & Writers Magazine

“Courtship used to be at the core of the history of the novel, and also adultery, and in a way neither of those things are quite as interesting as they used to be.” In Late in the Day, novelist Tessa Hadley chose to write about long marriages instead. (Rumpus)

“If you keep going verse by verse, looking at the commentary and wrestling with difficult words and so forth, you can get a little batty.” After twenty-four years, literary scholar Robert Alter has completed a new translation of the Hebrew Bible. (NPR)

“Poets can reshape the world.” Vulture celebrates the transformative power of four collections published this month: Mothers Over Nangarhar by Pamela Hart; Only as the Day Is Long: New and Selected Poems by Dorianne Laux; Oculus by Sally Wen Mao; and The Twenty-Ninth Year by Hala Alyan.

Over at the Los Angeles Review of Books, Oyinkan Braithwaite talks about leaping from spoken word and short stories to her debut novel, My Sister, the Serial Killer. “A novel requires stamina and grit. You need a certain kind of faith in yourself and in what you are doing to bang out 40,000-plus words.”