Literary Prizewinners From Africa and the Diaspora, New York Times Names Notable Books, 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.

Writers from Africa and the African diaspora have earned many of this year’s top literary prizes, including the Nobel Prize in Literature, the Booker Prize, the International Booker Prize, and the Prix Goncourt. Alex Clark of the Guardian writes about the big wins, while cautioning against generalizations: “Any discussion of a ‘phenomenon’ must encompass the variousness of literary cultures with African heritage.”

The editors of the New York Times Book Review have revealed this year’s “100 Notable Books.” The list primarily features fiction and nonfiction, along with two poetry collections, Playlist for the Apocalypse by Rita Dove and Winter Recipes From the Collective by Louise Glück.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post has shared its picks for the top ten books of the year. The paper’s selections include Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford, Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen, and The Love Songs of W E. B. Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers.

A new design has been revealed for the Paris Review “inspired by the minimalism of older issues of the Review.” The team behind the new look includes designer Matt Willey and art director Na Kim. The cover of the first redesigned issue features art by Rose Wylie.

Roxane Gay and Elizabeth Uviebinené addressed the problems of gatekeeping in publishing during a conversation at the Bookseller’s publishing conference, FutureBook. “So many publishers will say ‘I don’t know how to market this book,’ and that’s not a problem with the book, that’s a failure of imagination on behalf of the publisher,” said Gay.

“If the purpose of a literary biography is to unpack the whys and whens and hows that animate a writer’s work, Unstuck in Time is a brilliant success.” Jonny Diamond of Literary Hub reviews Robert Weide’s latest documentary, Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time.

“I was twenty the first time I saw wildfire reduce a forest to moonscape.” Writer and former wildland firefighter Clare Boerigter writes about the necessity of fire to forest survival. (Guernica)

Publishers Weekly reports on the state of the Twin Cities bookselling community, observing how it has been transformed by the pandemic and the movement for Black lives in the wake of the murder of George Floyd.