Douglas Stuart Wins 2020 Booker Prize, Kiese Laymon on Unexpected Pleasures, 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.

Douglas Stuart has won the 2020 Booker Prize for his debut novel, Shuggie Bain. He is only the second Scottish winner in the history of the award. In his acceptance speech, Stuart reflected, “Young boys like me growing up in eighties Glasgow, this wasn’t ever anything I would have dreamed of.” The Booker carries a purse of £50,000. (Guardian)

“Like so many of my friends, my past eight months have been spent dodging death, mourning the dead, creating art, and loving Black people.” Writer Kiese Makeba Laymon reflects on the pockets of pleasure and hope that have sustained him during these uncertain times. (Vanity Fair)

Literary agent Mitch Douglas died on November 5 at age seventy-eight. Serving three decades at ICM before operating his own agency, Douglas represented such celebrated writers as Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, and Lanford Wilson. (Hollywood Reporter)

This year’s New York Times “100 Notable Books” list includes novels, nonfiction, memoirs, poetry collections, and one story collection.    

The Washington Post has named its top ten books of the year, highlighting five works of fiction and five works of nonfiction. 

Meanwhile, TIME has selected its top ten fiction books of the year, including two story collections: Laura van den Berg’s I Hold a Wolf by the Ears and Aoko Matsuda’s Where the Wild Ladies Are, translated by Polly Barton. 

Writer and critic Ismail Muhammad has been hired as a story editor for the New York Times Magazine. Most recently he served as the reviews editor for the Believer

An interview with Muhammad appeared in a recent issue of Poets & Writers Magazine

Joanna Scutts writes about the legacy of Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzad, and the “conflict between appearances and value, between the eyes of the world and the truth of the soul” that characterized her work and life. (Paris Review Daily)