Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation to Honor Margaret Atwood, Feminist Press Founder Florence Howe Dies, 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 Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation has announced Margaret Atwood as the recipient of its 2020 Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award. Previous winners of the $10,000 lifetime achievement award include John Irving, Gloria Steinem, and Barbara Kingsolver. (Guardian)

Florence Howe, the founder of the Feminist Press and a trailblazing scholar in women’s studies, died on Saturday at age ninety-one. “Florence’s razor-sharp vision, passion for feminist education, and unmatched fortitude leave an indelible imprint upon our hearts and minds,” says Feminist Press executive director Jamia Wilson. “We owe her a tremendous debt.” 

“We’re still here, we’re still active. We have active, living cultures and we are human beings and we write poetry.” Joy Harjo reflects on editing When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through, a new anthology of poetry featuring writers from nearly one hundred Indigenous nations. (NPR)

“Those of us who are connected to Krug and her scholarship, and especially those of us who are people of color, are grappling with several layers of anger and hurt.” Gisela Fosado, the editorial director at Duke University Press, responds to Jessica A. Krug’s confession of her whiteness, after years of pretending to be Black in her life and scholarship. Krug published a book with Duke University Press in 2018. 

“Sometimes, suffering lets us see other suffering, and certainly, now, our bodies are suffering. I say ‘our’ bodies at Whitman’s insistence: We ‘interpenetrate’ each other.” Jesse Green revisits Walt Whitman’s poetry to help him think through the pandemic and the fight for racial justice. (T: The New York Times Style Magazine)

Publishers Weekly reports on how the unions at Elliott Bay Book Company and Powell’s Books have supported their members through a tumultuous year. 

“For this agnostic, a library has always been a hallowed place filled with sacred, cultural artifacts.” Jenny Bhatt writes in praise of public libraries. (Kenyon Review

“The science really came first.” Yaa Gyasi shares how a friend’s neuroscience research helped inspire her latest novel, Transcendent Kingdom. (Electric Literature)