Lesley Nneka Arimah Wins Caine Prize, Helen Phillips on Writing and Motherhood, 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.

Nigerian author Lesley Nneka Arimah has won the Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story “Skinned.” The $12,500 prize is annually awarded to an African writer for a short story published in English. (BBC)

“Ultimately, what is scary about the book is the idea that when you bring life into the world, something can happen to that life that you’ve brought into the world.” Helen Phillips talks to Vulture about conjuring something more terrifying than motherhood in her novel The Need, out today from Simon & Schuster.

For more on Phillips’s writing process, read her Ten Questions interview at Poets & Writers.

Over the July 4 holiday weekend, fund-raising campaign #BookstoresAgainstBorders collected more than $48,000 to benefit the Refugee Center for Education and Legal Services in Texas. Approximately one hundred and fifty independent bookstores, small presses, and other literary organizations participated, with bookstores donating 5 to 20 percent of their sales to the cause. (Publishers Weekly)

Starting this month, Microsoft is closing its e-book library and erasing all content purchased through its e-bookstore from user devices. (NPR)

At Guernica, Ayesha Harruna Attah explains the relationship between the two women at the center of her latest novel, The Hundred Wells of Salaga. “The factors that unite Wurche and Aminah are the same issues that women across the world face: trying to survive and thrive, making our voices heard, having our dreams be held as valid, keeping our families together, and not being written out of history.”

“Nothing drives home the vacuousness of an art text like having to dissect its every hollow carapace of a sentence.” Lina Mounzer on the less-than-lofty work of translating bad writing. (Paris Review)

At the Rumpus, Peg Alford Pursell shares her approach to literary citizenship and describes assembling her new story collection, A Girl Goes Into the Forest, in the shadow of the current political landscape. “I rely on readers to co-create what can happen off the page with the prospects and chances these characters make and take. The darkness is there, a bewildered confusion. Shining a light on it is one thing to do.”

And Mental Floss considers the sales history of ten of the top-selling books of all time (excluding religious texts and IKEA catalogues), from Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong to Charlotte’s Web.