Literary Gift Guides, Inaugural Staunch Prize, 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.

NPR’s Book Concierge is back, with more than three hundred recommended reads hand-picked by NPR staff and critics. The free interactive guide features books published in 2018, among which you can search by over thirty genres and other categories, read reviews, and find titles at local bookstores and libraries.

Meanwhile, the Millions has released its 2018 Gift Guide for Readers and Writers, which features books and other literary gift ideas—from Mark Twain bobbleheads and writing snacks to ergonomic desk chairs to cabin getaways.

The inaugural Staunch Prize, given for a thriller without violence against women, has been awarded to Australian novelist Jock Serong’s On the Java Ridge. The prize was founded by author and screenwriter Bridget Lawless, who is funding the £2,000 award herself, in response to the prevalence of violence against women in the genre. It honors a book “in which no woman is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered.” (Guardian)

“People are standing at the theaters, saying, ‘Show us us.’” Filmmaker Barry Jenkins, whose forthcoming adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel, If Beale Street Could Talk, is the first English-language big-screen adaptation of Baldwin’s work, discusses the importance of the Black literary canon to the film industry and calls on Hollywood to adapt more Black literature. (Colorlines)

Abrams will cancel the planned 2019 publication of a graphic novel, A Suicide Bomber Sits in the Library, by Rotten Ralph creator Jack Gantos and illustrator Dave McKean. The decision follows criticism surrounding the publisher’s choice to release a book created by two white men about a Middle Eastern child that perpetuates negative stereotypes. (Publishers Weekly)

“My ability to write poems is really, really defined by money right now, so I don’t necessarily feel ‘let in.’” Erin Hoover, author of the poetry collection Barnburner, talks to Lynn Melnick about poetry, class, and capitalism. (Rumpus)

Ahead of an exhibition of Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographs at the Guggenheim Museum, Michael Cunningham, Elif Batuman, and Hilton Als compose short fictions based on some of the artist’s most iconic work. (T Magazine)

Meanwhile, an exhibition at the British Library, Cats on the Page, explores how cats have inspired—and frightened—writers across the centuries. (Smithsonian)