Helen Macdonald Wins Costa Prize, the Jaipur Literature Festival, 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:

Helen Macdonald has won the 2014 Costa Book Award for her memoir H is for Hawk. The £30,000 prize is Macdonald’s second award this year, as she won the Samuel Johnson Prize for nonfiction in November. Formerly the Whitbread Literary Prize, the Costa is given annually to authors based in the UK and Ireland. (Guardian)

"Few of the big ideas and dramatic stories discussed by the writers it hosts are bigger or more dramatic than the emerging India parading around them.” India’s Jaipur Literature Festival, which was held last week, attracted over 20,000 people. (Economist)

Digital book publisher Readership launched a website yesterday that allows its community of readers to ultimately decide what books get published. (GalleyCat)

“Reading novels arguably asks for a kind of attention very different from the drifting, out-of-time submergence in music. But whatever mental effect it does have—and we can hardly say for sure—it may look oddly close to distraction.” Nicholas Dames examines the value of attentiveness in music and fiction at the New Yorker.

Diana Gabaldon, author of the bestselling book series Outlander, has partnered with the Poisoned Pen bookstore in Scottsdale, Arizona, to launch a writer-in-residence program. Gabaldon has chosen mystery writer Charles Finch as the first recipient of the weeklong residency. (Publishers Weekly)

This week at the New York Times Bookends blog, writers Benjamin Moser and Dana Stevens debate whether being a writer is a job or a calling.

“Roethke’s interested in the degree to which, through writing and language, we can go after God—or whatever you want to call it, the sublime, the ineffable.” At the Atlantic, Thomas Pierce discusses Theodore Roethke’s influence on his writing.