HarperCollins Folds in Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Trade, Two More National Book Award Longlists, 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.

Publishers Weekly reports on HarperCollins’s approach to folding the trade division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) into its existing operation. HarperCollins will preserve and expand HMH’s Mariner Books imprint. Most of the HMH backlist will now fall under the purview of Mariner, and HarperCollins’s Custom House will also be merged into the imprint. The publisher first announced it had agreed to buy Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books & Media in March. The merger has led to some layoffs, but the company has not specified how many.

Nine of the ten poets whose books have made the longlist for this year’s National Book Award for Poetry are first-time honorees. Announced this morning by the New Yorker, the list includes The Wild Fox of Yemen by Threa Almontaser, The Vault by Andrés Cerpa, and A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure by Hoa Nguyen.

Meanwhile, the longlist for the National Book Award for Translated Literature was revealed yesterday afternoon and features ten books that first appeared in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Korean, Russian, and Spanish. Three publishers—World Editions, New York Review Books, and New Directions—each boast two titles on the list. (New Yorker)

“Surrealism gets a bad reputation perhaps because readers worry that wild premise will flatten character and emotional resonance. The surrealist writer is still charged with developing complex, contoured characters who contain vulnerabilities and contradiction.” Marie-Helene Bertino shares notes on the art of writing the uncanny or impossible. (Electric Literature)

Gal Beckerman goes for a hike with Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Anthony Doerr in Idaho. Doerr muses on the rewards of paying close attention to the world: “I believe in awe, and I’m trying to put awe occasionally into my paragraphs, but particularly just in my life.” (New York Times)

Helen Shaw profiles novelist Ruth Ozeki for Vulture. She praises Ozeki’s latest work, The Book of Form and Emptiness, as well as her backlist: “Her books are not didactic, but they are useful; they’re not mission-driven, but they are richly moral.”

“For the book clubs I host, we are still leaving the online option open for those who prefer it, because if there is one thing the pandemic has taught us, it is that some things are never going to be the same again—and in this instance, it is hopefully for the better.” Carina Pereira writes about how the pandemic has changed the possibilities for book clubs. (Book Riot)

The inaugural Kenyon Review Developmental Editing Fellowships for Emerging Writers have been awarded to Jane Walton for fiction, Emily Stoddard for nonfiction, and Allison Albino for poetry. The fellowship, which was conceived “to nurture and develop new voices,” includes four months of one-on-one mentorship with an experienced author-editor.