Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards Nominees, New Literary Prize Honors New York City Writing, 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.

The Hurston/Wright Foundation has announced the nominees for its 2020 Legacy Awards, which honor “literary excellence by Black writers from the United States and around the world.” Given in four categories—debut fiction, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry—this year’s nominees include works by Nicole Dennis-Benn, Saidiya Hartman, and Eve L. Ewing, among others. 

Business executives Howard Wolfson and Bradley Tusk have established a new annual $50,000 literary award, the Gotham Book Prize, to celebrate fiction and nonfiction about New York City. Submissions for books published in 2020 are open now through November 1. After submissions close, a jury of established New York City writers will nominate a shortlist and vote on a winner in spring 2021. In a statement, Wolfson and Tusk cited the pandemic as a motivation for creating the award: “As New York begins a difficult recovery from COVID-19 we want to do our part to honor our city’s writers and support their work.” (PR Newswire)

The National Book Critics Circle has scheduled a meeting for August 24 to vote on the removal of board member and vice president of grants Carlin Romano. In June, Romano was called out for anti-Blackness and racism by former board member Hope Wabuke. The conflict spurred a series of resignations—though five of those board members recently reclaimed their seats—and a reckoning with issues of racism within the broader organization. (Publishers Weekly)

“To be anti-racist is to believe in the word now. Patience is a dirty word to those incarcerated by inequity.” Ibram X. Kendi writes in praise of John Lewis and revolutionary politics over gradualism. (Atlantic

At the Guardian, Viet Thanh Nguyen and Pankaj Mishra discuss the Black Lives Matter movement and the possibility of real transformation. “The moment feels different from anything I’ve seen in my lifetime. Quantitatively different, too, with the scale of the protests in the U.S. and outside. I’m guardedly optimistic that there has been a shift in thinking about race in the U.S.,” says Nguyen. 

After adapting Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me for a 2018 stage production at the Apollo Theater in New York City, Kamilah Forbes will direct and executive produce the show as a special for HBO. (Vulture)

“The weight of politics in our country had coalesced and summoned a response out of me.” Ayad Akhtar on implicating America—and himself—in his new novel, Homeland Elegies. (Millions)

Seven writers offer advice on how to cope with rejection. “Rejection is something that, in some ways, you have to work with as much as you work with language as a writer,” says Alexander Chee. (Cut)