Firecracker Award Finalists, Tobi Haslett Writes on the Aftershocks of Uprising, and More

by Staff
5.10.21

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 Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) has revealed the finalists for this year’s Firecracker Awards. The annual awards program honors books from independent publishers in three categories: fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Literary magazines are also shortlisted for debut and general excellence prizes. Winning publishers, magazines, and writers receive special benefits from CLMP and are included in a national publicity campaign. The winners will be announced in a virtual ceremony on June 23.

“Last year something massive came hurtling into view and exploded against the surface of daily life in the U.S. Many are still struggling to grasp what that thing was: its shape and implications, its sudden scale and bitter limits.” Tobi Haslett writes about the aftershocks of last year’s uprising in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. (n+1)

At the Guardian, six poets share new work and reflect on artmaking during the past year. “From a creative point of view, everything has just become a little bit overfamiliar. I’ve written three poems about my Velux window,” writes Simon Armitage.

Manzoor Ahtesham, a celebrated voice in Hindi literature, died on April 26 at age seventy-three due to COVID-19. His wife and older brother also recently died from the virus; India is currently reporting an overwhelming number of cases and deaths. (New York Times)

“Write a series of eleven fragments—one for each level of the pain scale—which discuss an illness or experience of pain you’ve had in your life.” Madeleine Watts, author of The Inland Sea, shares a writing exercise based on the pain scale used in health care. (Don’t Write Alone)

“The home that Leslie and I made together was both a refuge from violence and anti-queer attacks, and it was also a very creative place.” Minnie Bruce Pratt on loving, grieving, and writing for her partner, Leslie Feinberg, who died in 2014. (Lambda Literary Review)

“The loneliness of a fiction writer isn’t any more profound than the loneliness of a construction worker. The writer probably just harps on about it more.” Chris Power explains why he chose two writers as the lead characters for his debut novel, A Lonely Man. (Chicago Review of Books)

Ed Nawotka of Publishers Weekly reports on one silver lining of the pandemic: It has become easier for authors from overseas to participate in literary events and tours.