Kirkus Prize Winners, Szczerban to Helm New Imprint, 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.

Last night at an awards ceremony in Austin, Kirkus Reviews announced the winners of the 2018 Kirkus Prize. Ling Ma won the award in fiction for her debut novel, Severance; Rebecca Solnit won in nonfiction for her essay collection Call Them By Their True Names; and Derrick Barnes won in young readers’ literature for Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut. Each winner receives $50,000.

Listen to Rebecca Solnit read an essay from the collection in a recent episode of Ampersand: The Poets & Writers Podcast.

In other award news, six finalists have been selected for the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, including Kiese Laymon for his memoir, Heavy, Esi Edugyan for her novel Washington Black, and Tommy Orange for his novel, There There. (American Library Association)

Read an excerpt and hear Orange read from his novel, included in our 2018 Debut Fiction feature.

Michael Szczerban has been named the vice president and editorial director of a new imprint at Little, Brown dedicated to illustrated books. The imprint, as yet unnamed, will launch next fall. (Publishers Weekly)

“I was reading bell hooks or Toni Cade Bambara or Audre Lorde or Pat Parker—all these women have helped shape my own sense of self-worth.” The New York Times profiles Glory Edim, founder of Well-Read Black Girl, a book club for black women writers. Edim’s new anthology of essays based on the book club, Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves, will be published next week.

A law school in Kolkata, India, is offering a course on the legal principles of the Harry Potter universe. Students enrolled in the class, titled “An Interface Between Fantasy Fiction Literature and Law: Special Focus on Rowling’s Potterverse,” are expected to have read the entire J. K. Rowling series at least twice. (Guardian)

“I like things that give me the creeps. That’s really where I start writing anything—when I have a reaction that is uneasy, squeamish in some way.” At the New Yorker, novelist Shelley Jackson talks to Hermione Hoby about her new novel, Riddance; or, The Sybil Joines Vocational School for Ghost Speakers & Hearing-Mouth Children.