Finalists for the PEN America Literary Awards, Jamie Raab Moves Within Macmillan, 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 finalists for this year’s PEN America Literary Awards have been revealed. The awards program includes twelve prizes for writers and translators. The five contenders for the most valuable prize, the $75,000 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, are The President and the Frog by Carolina De Robertis, The Trees by Percival Everett, The Kissing Bug by Daisy Hernández, Milk Blood Heat by Dantiel W. Moniz, and Harrow by Joy Williams.

Jamie Raab, who launched the imprint Celadon Books alongside Deb Futter in 2017, is moving within the company. Appointed publisher-at-large for Macmillan, she has left her post as president of Celadon and will acquire books across imprints. Futter remains at Celadon and has been named president and publisher. (Publishers Weekly)

The new fiction anthology Anonymous Sex has an unusual conceit: The twenty-seven contributors are identified within the book, but the stories are not individually credited. Such notable authors as Rebecca Makkai, Helen Oyeyemi, and Edmund White are among the contributors. “Some of our authors shared that they were able to write more freely because their names were attached to the book, but not to their own stories,” said Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, who coedited the anthology with Hillary Jordan. (Los Angeles Times)

The American Booksellers Association is gearing up for its board elections, with ballots going out to members in March. Racquel Roque and Jeff Deutsch have been recommended to fill two vacancies, while Jenny Cohen, Cynthia Compton, and Michael Herrmann are up for reelection. (Shelf Awareness)

“One of the best things about being a writer is being able to slip into fantasy in the way that children do when they play pretend.” Kim Fu, the author of Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century, reflects on the rewards of writing. (Rumpus)

“I was in a space where I was trying to understand my own identities—my own gender, my own sexuality. I felt like I lacked language and models for identity on both of those axes.” Morgan Thomas describes their debut story collection as a “search for ancestry and lineage.” (Electric Literature)

Four books, including The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, have been banned by the Wentzville School Board in Missouri. Kris Kleindienst, the co-owner of Left Bank Books in Saint Louis, spoke out against the decision to censor Morrison’s work and its engagement with topics of race and sexual abuse: “To ban a book like that is to say, ‘Let’s sweep all this discussion under the rug.’” (Kirkus)

The New York Times spotlights twelve books forthcoming next month, including Recitatif by Toni Morrison and The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka.