Gabriel Okara Has Died, Supporting Disability Justice, and More


Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

Nigerian author Gabriel Imomotimi Gbaingbain Okara has died. The renowned poet, novelist, and playwright was just four weeks shy of his ninety-eighth birthday.

The 2019 AWP Conference and Bookfair opened in Portland, Oregon, last night. Sonya Huber shares how the literary community can support disability justice by offering accessible and inclusive programming at such events. (PEN America)

Audible has announced plans to record the Mueller Report and release it as a free audiobook download, joining a growing list of companies who hope to publish the investigation. (Publishers Weekly)

“Readers who had no idea the world had been on fire for some time are finding that they need the utterance of shock and awe that only poetry can supply.” Jericho Brown talks about his new collection, The Tradition, forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press on April 2. (Barren Magazine)

In the United Kingdom, poet Raymond Antrobus has won the Ted Hughes Award for his debut collection, The Perseverance. One of the poems featured in the book is an erasure of Hughes’s own text, “Deaf School,” in which deaf children are described as “alert and simple.” Antrobus, who is deaf, described the process of redacting Hughes’s lines as “cathartic.” (Guardian)

In yesterday’s Tournament of Books “zombie round,” Tommy Orange’s debut novel There There went head-to-head with Michael Ondaatje’s seventh, Warlight. “What moves me in the end, with most books, is a combination of the beauty of sentence-level prose, and how well the narrative engine is crafted,” said judge SJ Sindu, naming Warlight the winner.

“Every day I have to reset people’s expectations of what they will allow a brown woman to dream possible for herself as an artist. Every. Damn. Day.” Mira Jacob on her new book, the graphic memoir Good Talk. (BOMB)

And Mental Floss surveys the best bookstores in each of the fifty states, naming Alabama Booksmith in Homewood the state’s “hidden gem” and Sidekicks Bookbar in Rock Springs the coziest bibliophile enclave in Wyoming.