Lambda Literary Award Finalists, Bookselling in the Pandemic, 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 finalists for this year’s Lambda Literary Awards have been revealed. Five books were selected for each of the twenty-four categories. Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier and Bestiary by K-Ming Chang are among the finalists for the lesbian fiction prize, while The Freezer Door by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore and Fairest by Meredith Talusan are up for transgender nonfiction. The winners will be announced on June 1.

Six independent booksellers talk to the Washington Post about weathering the pandemic. “I was already in debt, I couldn’t pay my debt, and I had to go in debt even further to put the store in a position where we could continue in the midst of this pandemic,” said Malik Muhammad of Malik Books.

Meanwhile, Publishers Weekly checked in with five New England independent publishers to find out how they survived the challenges of 2020.

“We become so fixated on getting the ‘yes’ that we lose sight of the big picture, the real point: finding a publisher that will be a good steward for the work we’ve poured our heart and soul into.” Lilly Dancyger on waiting for the right book deal. (Electric Literature)

“I didn’t want Syria to be known just for its war. I wanted to communicate the colors, smells, and complexion of my country and our customs.” Amineh Abou Kerech, a refugee from Syria, discusses transforming her memories into poetry. (United Nations News)

“Will Johnson had schooled me once again. Unlike me, he didn’t require any lessons, and he certainly didn’t need saving.” Novelist Don Lee recalls his creative exchanges with musician and writer Will Johnson. (Literary Hub)

The New York Times recommends six upcoming high-profile author events, including conversations with Viet Thanh Nguyen and Kazuo Ishiguro.

“I am mostly not patient. I am anxious for what I love. What I might mean is: I am urgent when I write.” Natalie Diaz describes writing as a physical activity. (Creative Independent)