Conversations With This Year’s Pulitzer Winners, the Library Card’s Fate, and More


Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today's stories:

Just before he was announced the winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in fiction, Viet Thanh Nguyen talked to John Freeman at Literary Hub about his writing life and his prize-winning debut novel, The Sympathizer.  

Meanwhile, Washington Post book critic Ron Charles profiles Peter Balakian, the 2016 winner of Pulitzer Prize in poetry for his collection Ozone Journal. In addition to publishing seven collections of poetry, the Armenian-American writer has published acclaimed nonfiction works, including his 2004 book on the Armenian genocide, The Burning Tigris, and his memoir, Black Dog of Fate.

With changing technologies, the fate of the tangible library card is uncertain. At the Atlantic, writer Sara Polsky takes a look at the card’s centuries-long history.

Last month, sisters Bea and Leah Koch opened the Ripped Bodice bookstore in Los Angeles—the first bookstore in the United States that sells only romantic fiction. The niche store makes perfect business sense for the young sisters: “The fact that up until now the best-selling genre in America didn’t have its own bookstore honestly didn’t seem fair to us.” (BBC News)

A new exhibition at the British Library in London features a display of medieval manuscripts written by two of the earliest women writers in English—Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe—together for the first time. The manuscripts include The Book of Margery Kempe, written between 1436 and 1438, which is widely known as the first written English autobiography, and Revelations of Divine Love, written by Julian of Norwich in 1373 after she experienced “a series of mystical visions.” The works will be on display together until the July 31. (Guardian)

At the Los Angeles Review of Books, award-winning poet Li-Young Lee talks about poetic consciousness and how art participates in a double life of scarcity and abundance. “It seems to me the more we practice it, the more art gives us. That’s abundance…. You never stop discovering…. But I’m this mortal, temporal human being bound in a body. How is it I’m surrounded by all these things that I recognize as infinite and eternal?”

In heartwarming news, a high school English teacher in Massachusetts has set out to return a possible first edition of Jane Austen’s final novel, Persuasion, to its original owner. The rare book landed in Eleanor Capasso’s possession in March, as it was anonymously sent to the school’s English department and addressed to “anyone who cares.” “For an English teacher, this is like the Holy Grail,” Capasso said. (Boston Globe)