Franny Choi and Danez Smith Depart VS Podcast, Douglas Stuart Announces Next Novel, and More

by Staff
7.21.21

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 Poetry Foundation has posted an open call to search for the next hosts of the VS podcast, which features long-form interviews and centers poets of marginalized identities. Franny Choi and Danez Smith, who served as cohosts for the show’s first five seasons and interviewed more than eighty poets, are leaving the program. “As much as I love what we’ve made over the last five years, I also can’t wait to see how VS grows in the care of new hosts,” Choi says. Applications are due on August 20.

A new novel from Douglas Stuart—whose debut, Shuggie Bain, won this year’s Booker Prize—will be published by Grove Press in April next year. Titled Young Mungo, the book tells the story of “the dangerous first love of two young men.” (Literary Hub)

Entertainment Weekly has revealed the cover of Ocean Vuong’s next poetry collection, Time Is a Mother, which is due out from Penguin Press on April 5, 2022. “I feel absurdly happy, content, utterly empty and full all at once,” Vuong says, reflecting on the completion of the manuscript. “For whatever strange and ungodly reason, I don’t doubt this book’s place in the world the same way I have doubted my own selfhood in it.”

The Associated Press reports on how bookstores and writers are responding to new discriminatory legislation in Hungary that includes a prohibition on making queer and trans narratives accessible to children. Novelist Mark Mezei voiced concerns about how the law will affect young writers: “If they find that they are facing huge resistance to their early work, it can certainly set them back in the creative process or even push them away from their calling.”

“I have a voyeuristic interest in studying the acknowledgments as paratext of a book, to look in on the intimacies writers choose to share with readers.” Ayden Leroux unpacks the pleasures of reading a book’s acknowledgments. (Electric Literature)

“I have faith in the capacity of writing, as a devotional technology, to illuminate the next right thing for me in my living. How I might learn to better pass through the world without harming it.” Kaveh Akbar muses on the spiritual power of poetry and the concerns of his forthcoming collection, Pilgrim Bell. (Millions)

Kim Stanley Robinson writes about the evolution and characteristics of the utopian novel. “We need it like never before, and as the need has become acute, the bar has in effect been lowered: If we manage to dodge a mass extinction event, then we can call that utopia.” (Nation)

“I think of myself primarily as a fiction writer, but now I’m willing to acknowledge I’m also an essay writer. The book establishes that for me.” Rachel Kushner discusses contending with her childhood and San Francisco in her essay collection, The Hard Crowd. (SFGATE)