Brooklyn Book Festival Moves Online, Rejecting the White Gaze, 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 organizers of the fifteenth annual Brooklyn Book Festival have announced that all programming will take place online this year due to the pandemic. Scheduled for the week of September 28 to October 5, the festival will feature events with over one hundred and fifty authors, including Cathy Park Hong, Tayari Jones, and Sigrid Nunez. The organizers also announced that Lynn Nottage will receive this year’s Best of Brooklyn Award, which goes to a writer whose work “exemplifies or speaks to the spirit of Brooklyn.” 

Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts writes in praise of Toni Morrison, Kiese Laymon, and other writers who have refused to capitulate to the white gaze, despite the odds. “The white gaze looms for Black writers who want to be published in the mainstream, because overwhelmingly, white people still hold the keys to the kingdom.” (Electric Literature)

Black Women Radicals and the Asian American Feminist Collective are at work on a new two-year collaborative project: “Black and Asian Feminist Solidarities.” To launch the project, leaders from both organizations shared recommended reading on solidarity. (Margins)   

“While literature is eager to celebrate the author as activist, its rarefied realm is never opened up to the activist/fighter as author.” Meena Kandasamy reflects on poems by female resistance fighters and militants. (Guernica)

“When I was radioactive, I found that the present was too overwhelming to ignore. My efforts to take my mind off my anxiety only made my anxiety leap out more.” Natalie Adler recalls failed attempts to read when undergoing cancer treatment. (Catapult)

“To desire clarity is human: it’s human to seek, to need, clarity in times of great confusion and lies.” Lawrence Joseph on seeking truth through poetry. (FSG Work in Progress)

Michael Dirda of the Washington Post writes about attempting to downsize his personal library.  

Literary Hub highlights its twelve favorite book covers from July.