Creative Capital Awards, Finalists for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, 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.

Thirty-five projects by forty-one artists have been awarded 2020 Creative Capital Awards. Each award includes $50,000 in project funding and $50,000 in career development services. Selected from a pool of more than four thousand applications, the winning projects represent a wide array of creative pursuits, including performance art, fiction writing, nonfiction writing, documentary films, and community engagement initiatives. 

PEN America has announced five finalists for the 2020 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award: Anne Boyer for The Undying, Yiyun Li for Where Reasons End, Ilya Kaminsky for Deaf Republic, Rion Amilcar Scott for The World Doesn’t Require You, and Chris Ware for Rusty Brown. The $75,000 prize honors “a book-length work of any genre for its originality, merit, and impact.” The winner will be announced alongside other literary awards at a ceremony held on March 2 at the Town Hall in New York City. Seth Meyers will host the evening. 

The National Endowment for the Arts has announced the recipients of the 2020 Creative Writing Fellowships in prose and Literature Translation Fellowships. The sixty fellowships award $1.2 million in total to prose writers and translators. 

The New York Times analyzes the “Obama Bounce.” After appearing on Barack Obama’s list of favorite books from 2019 in December, Jenny Odell’s How to Do Nothing landed on the Times best-seller list for the first time, though it had been out already for eight months. “A rare feat for a book of its age,” notes Elisabeth Egan. 

Tracie D. Hall has been selected to serve as the next executive director of the American Library Association. Most recently, Hall directed the culture portfolio for the Joyce Foundation in Chicago. (Publishers Weekly)

Melissa Guida-Richards reflects on Nicole Chung’s All You Can Ever Know and the resonances she found with her own experience as an adopted child. She encourages people considering adoption, especially transracial adoption, to read Chung’s story closely: “Books like Chung’s can obviously be life-changing for adoptees who read them—but I think they can also be life-changing for the next generation of adoptees.” (Electric Literature)

Editor of Indelible in the Hippocampus Shelly Oria sits down with two of the anthology’s contributors, Mecca Jamilah Sullivan and Diana Spechler, to talk about their perspectives on the #MeToo movement. (Millions)

Oria also spoke with four of the anthology’s contributors—Elissa Schappell, Karissa Chen, Lynn Melnick, and Kaitlyn Greenidge—in a recent issue of Poets & Writers Magazine

Roger Robinson talks to the Guardian about becoming a parent, family history, and his T. S. Eliot prize-winning collection, A Portable Paradise