Kidlit Rally for Black Lives, African Writers Voice Solidarity, 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.

Over one hundred African writers have signed a letter to condemn anti-Black violence in the United States, and express solidarity with the protestors fighting against police brutality. “We assert that Black Lives Matter. As writers, we raise our fists in solidarity with those who refuse to be silenced. To our brothers and sisters in the United States, we stand with you.” (Al Jazeera

Kwame Alexander, Jason Reynolds, and Jacqueline Woodson have organized the Kidlit Rally for Black Lives, which will be hosted by the Brown Bookshelf on Facebook Live tonight at 7 EDT. More than twenty-five authors, publishers, and artists will gather to “unite in support of Black lives, speak to children about this moment, answer their questions, and offer ideas about steps we can all take going forward.”

Three writers have been named to the shortlist for the 2020 Desmond Elliott Prize. Administered by the National Centre for Writing, the £10,000 award honors a debut novel written in English and published in the United Kingdom. The three titles are The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Daré, That Reminds Me by Derek Owusu, and The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney by Okechukwu Nzelu. In the shortlist announcement at the Guardian, chair of the judges Preti Taneja wrote, “In what might be a first for UK mainstream prizes—our shortlisted books are all by black writers.” 

Danez Smith, Emerson Whitney, and Ocean Vuong have been named to the them Now List, a group of queer artists “pushing the boundaries of queer culture right now.” The three honorees participated in a roundtable on queer artmaking and rebellion, moderated by Brontez Purnell.  

As several high-profile books on anti-racism sell out, Black booksellers offer further reading recommendations and remind allies that the work doesn’t end after reaching the last page. (TIME

“I will not evoke any adages of wisdom or recount the overwhelming narratives of police violence because the hour calls for imagination, not nostalgia.” Venita Blackburn calls for envisioning a future for America. (Paris Review Daily)

“I wanted to see how somebody could try to do everything right but could still be defeated. It's such a profound form of injustice.” Megha Majumdar discusses her debut novel, A Burning, and the realities of oppression.  (Entertainment Weekly)

Hugh Ryan celebrates the twentieth anniversary edition of Douglas A. Martin’s Outline of My Lover. “It was genre-queer before we knew the term.” (Literary Hub)

Publishers Weekly has compiled a list of Black-owned bookstores, as well as social justice resources for the book business.

And the Daily Shout-Out goes to Wendy’s Subway, which has been hosting virtual Wednesday writing nights throughout the pandemic. The organizers started yesterday’s session with a prompt to imagine an end to anti-Black violence and a world free of the prison-industrial complex.