Congress Increases Funding for Key Arts Agencies, PEN America Literary Awards Longlists, and More

by Staff
12.28.20

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.

Congress increased the annual budgets of three key arts agencies—the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities—in its latest omnibus bill, which outlined government spending for the new year, including COVID-19 relief measures. (Publishers Weekly)

PEN America has announced the longlists for the 2021 PEN America Literary Awards, which amount to over $380,000 in winnings. The top prizes include the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award and the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection. The shortlists will be revealed in February. 

Gabriel Bump has won the fourteenth annual Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence for his debut novel, Everywhere You Don’t Belong. Administered by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, the $15,000 prize honors “rising African American fiction writers of excellence at a national level.” (Associated Press)

New York Times reporters Elizabeth A. Harris and Nicole Perlroth investigate sophisticated phishing scams that have targeted both established and emerging writers to gain access to their unpublished manuscripts. 

Beloved author Barry Lopez died on Friday at age seventy-five. Lopez won the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 1986 for Arctic Dreams, which chronicled his five years in the northernmost reaches of the continent. (New York Times) He delivered the keynote lecture, about the origins of storytelling, at Poets & Writers Live in Portland, Oregon, in 2015.

“The premise that literary fiction has to be a drag—it’s just so silly.” Kiley Reid talks to the Guardian about employing comedy in her debut novel, Such a Fun Age

Claire Fallon of the Huffington Post names her ten favorite books of the year, including The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans and Parakeet by Marie-Helene Bertino. 

A24 is at work on a film adaptation of Ocean Vuong’s debut novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. (Variety)