Center for Fiction First Novel Prize Longlist, Systemic Racism in Bookselling, 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 Center for Fiction has announced a longlist of twenty-seven books for its 2020 First Novel Prize. Established in 2006, the award honors “the best debut fiction” published during the calendar year. This year the prize purse has been increased from $10,000 to $15,000. The shortlist will be announced in the fall and the winner in December. 

“As bookstores across the country field an unprecedented number of orders for anti-racism books, it’s time for the bookstore industry to face its own reckoning with white supremacy.” Angela Maria Spring, the owner of Duende District, reflects on how to combat performative allyship and systemic racism in the bookselling industry. (Literary Hub)

While many bookstores across the country were forced to close to public browsing due to the pandemic, essential big-box stores such as Walmart and Target reported a marked increase in book sales. (New York Times)

“For as long as our modern notions of copyright have existed, publishers have attempted to slay the multi-headed beast of leaks and outlaw translations, which can be financially disastrous for highly-anticipated new releases.” Trask Roberts examines the history of unauthorized translations. (Electric Literature)

Lily Meyer reviews new writing about the pandemic. “The coronavirus literature that works best admits certain truths about life mid-disaster: The news is terrible and relentless. Nobody knows what will happen.” (Atlantic)

“There is no linear arc of the book, only mirrors and returns, transformations.” Sam Bovard celebrates the queer structure of T. Fleischmann’s book-length essay, Time Is the Thing a Body Moves Through. (Lambda Literary Review

O, the Oprah Magazine recommends twenty-five books about immigration, including both fiction and nonfiction titles.  

Nine writers, including Alexander Chee, Brit Bennett, and Emma Straub, offer writing advice. (Cut)