Kirkus Prizewinners, Excerpts at the New York Times Book Review, and More


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 sixth annual Kirkus Prizes were announced in a ceremony in Austin, Texas, yesterday evening. The winning titles are The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones, and New Kid by Jerry Craft. Panels of writers, critics, and booksellers selected this year’s titles from the 1,264 works that received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews in the past year. Each winning author will receive $50,000. (Washington Post)

The New York Times Book Review has announced a new feature for online readers. Each month, three to four reviews will be accompanied by an excerpt from the reviewed title. Pamela Paul, editor of the Book Review looks forward to bringing a new experience to readers: “Offering these excerpts to readers of the Book Review will give them the opportunity to dip into the book and get a sense of the writer’s voice and style.” 

After forty-two years at Penguin Books, president and publisher Kathryn Court has announced she will retire. Brian Tart is set to replace Court beginning January 2020, in addition to continuing to serve as president and publisher of Viking Books. (Publishers Weekly)

Fiona Benson talks to the Guardian about representing sexual violence on the page in her Forward Prize–winning collection, Vertigo & Ghost, and the complex politics around discussing the book in public forums. “I’ve been on Radio 4 and they want me to talk about myth but they do not want to hear, or feel they cannot broadcast, some of the transformations because they are so bodily. It’s still taboo to talk about rape and women’s bodies that way.”

At the Rumpus, Leland Cheuk discusses his latest novel, No Good Very Bad Asian, and using humor to articulate the feeling of being caught between two cultures. 

In the latest installment of the Paris Review Daily series Feminize Your Canon, Lauren Kane considers Iris Origo, an Italian diarist whose writing offers a window into the experience of war and life under fascism in mid-twentieth century Italy

Liveright Publishing will publish a collection of Patricia Highsmith’s private papers in a 650-page volume in 2021. The book will include writings from both Highsmith’s professional notebooks and her personal diaries. (New York Times)

In more news from the archive, the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin has acquired the papers of American poet Frederick Seidel, which include unpublished poems and drafts of twelve of the poet’s major collections. (UT News)