Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, Literary Letters Through the Ages, 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 winners of the 2019 Los Angeles Times Book Prizes were announced on Friday. Among the honorees: Namwali Serpell’s The Old Drift won the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, Ilya Kaminsky’s Deaf Republic won the prize for poetry, and Ben Lerner’s The Topeka School won for fiction. 

“Letters are leaky in all sorts of ways—the baby wakes from the nap and cries; the air-raid siren sounds; the social mores and psychodynamics of other eras filter in.” At T Magazine, Megan O’Grady considers recent collected works of literary correspondence.  

“We must be willing and able to recognize that what we are called upon to do in our classrooms goes beyond polite discussions of craft.” Ru Freeman advocates for a reimagining of creative writing pedagogy, in which professors and students engage with the political and social stakes of their art. (Literary Hub)

Oakland’s Marcus Books—a beloved site for the Black literary community ever since it was founded in 1960—met its initial fundraising goal of $50,000 to stay afloat during the pandemic and has set a new goal of $200,000. Morgan Jerkins spoke to co-owner Blanche Richardson about the business plan going forward. (ZORA)  

The Authors Guild has released findings from a survey of its membership analyzing the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic on authors. More than half of the survey’s 940 respondents reported some loss of income due to the crisis

“When you find your ideal collaborator, you can really produce. It takes a very precise energy of synchronicity to make that happen.” Vi Khi Nao discusses collaborating with Ali Raz to write Human Tetris, a book composed of personal ads. (BOMB)

Robert Glück remembers his years with his partner, the painter Ed Aulerich-Sugai, who died of AIDS in 1994. He revisits Aulerich-Sugai’s dream journals. (Frieze)

Valerie Mejer Caso recalls a meal in Seoul with Kim Hyesoon, Joyelle McSweeney, and Helen Cho. (Harriet)

And the Daily Shout-Out goes to Yo-Yo Ma for his #SongsOfComfort, a series of Twitter cello performances. “In these days of anxiety, I wanted to find a way to continue to share some of the music that gives me comfort.”