Caine Prize for African Writing Shortlist, $80 Million in NEA Grants, and More


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 Caine Prize for African Writing has announced the shortlist for its 2019 award, which honors a short story by an African writer published in English. This year’s finalists are Lesley Nneka Arimah for “Skinned,” Meron Hadero for “The Wall,” Cherrie Kandie for “Sew My Mouth,” Ngwah-Mbo Nana Nkweti for “It Takes a Village Some Say,” and Tochukwu Emmanuel Okafor for “All Our Lives.” The winner of the £10,000 prize (approximately $12,732) will be announced at an award ceremony in London on July 8.

The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded more than $80 million dollars in funding to arts organizations across the United States in its second round of fiscal awards for 2019. Funded projects include the Madison Public Library Foundation’s Wisconsin Book Festival and the Pioneer School of Drama’s Voices Inside: The Northpoint Prison Writing and Performance Project.

The Amazon Literary Partnership, meanwhile, has awarded $1 million in support to sixty-six literary nonprofits around the country, as well as grants of $120,000 each to the Academy of American Poets and the Community of Literary Presses and Magazines. (Publishers Weekly)

“The female story, told with increasing skill, increasingly widespread and unapologetic, is what must now assume power.” At the New York Times, best-selling novelist Elena Ferrante describes how women are using the political might of storytelling to depart from cultural hierarchies.

In the United Kingdom, Raymond Antrobus has won the Rathbones Folio Prize for his debut poetry collection, The Perseverance. It is the first time the award, which honors “the best work of literature of the year, regardless of form” with a £30,000 prize (approximately $38,198), has been won by a poet. (Guardian)

In a weighty summer reading list, Bill Gates recommends books dealing with the idea of disruption—as in social upheaval, not tech disruption—including Paul Collier’s The Future of Capitalism and Amor Towles’s A Gentleman in Moscow. (Gates Notes)

“If Mississippi produces an unusual number of good writers, it can only be because Mississippi has so much about itself that requires explaining and reconciling to the rest of the world, and that’s hard to explain and make sense of.” Jackson, Mississippi–born novelist Richard Ford on winning the 2019 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. (Mississippi Today)

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America has announced the winners of the 2019 Nebula Awards, with Mary Robinette Kowal receiving the top honor for her novel The Calculating Stars. (Verge)

In Columbia, Maryland, the new Barnes & Noble concept store carries local publications, hosts local author signings, and fills its children’s section with Legos. (Book Riot)