Celebrating Toni Morrison, Sarah M. Broom Pays Tribute to her Mother, 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.

Yesterday evening a crowd of more than 3,000 people arrived at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine to celebrate and remember Toni Morrison. Oprah Winfrey, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and several other figures spoke to the writer’s legacy. “She took the canon and broke it open,” said Winfrey. Morrison died in August at age eighty-eight. (New York Times)

Vulture revisits Sarah M. Broom’s acceptance speech for this year’s National Book Award in nonfiction. Broom paid tribute to her mother: “She was always wolfing down words, insatiable—which is how I learned the ways in which words were a kind of sustenance.”

My mother was my first champion.” Saeed Jones talks to the Millions about his memoir, How We Fight For Our Lives, and how his mother—his love and grief for her—informs his language. 

Alyssa Hull introduces readers to new writing movements that embrace optimism over despair. Solarpunk, for instance, is speculative fiction that imagines an eco-friendly future, providing an alternative or complement to climate apocalypse fiction. 

In a conversation at BOMB, Annette Weisser discusses resisting expected storylines about cancer and how her experience of illness changes her relationship to her country and surroundings. 

At the Paris Review Daily, Brian Ransom recalls sifting through the quarterly’s archive and falling in love with the surreal folktale “The Woe Shirt” by Paulé Bartón, translated from the Haitian Creole by Etienne Joseph. 

The New York Times has announced its ten best books of 2019. The list includes novels such as Julia Phillips’s Disappearing Earth and works of nonfiction such as Rachel Louise Snyder’s No Visible Bruises.

The Washington Post has also selected its ten best books of 2019, featuring Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous and Marlon James’s Black Leopard, Red Wolf

Electric Literature recommends fourteen literary podcasts, including The Slowdown with Tracy K. Smith and the New York Public Library’s The Librarian Is In.