Man Booker International Longlist, Science Fiction Foretells the Future, and More

by Staff

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.

The longlist for this year’s Man Booker International Prize for translation has been announced, with all but two of the thirteen nominated books published by independent presses. The list includes Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi (translated from Arabic by Marilyn Booth), and Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk (translated from Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones). (Guardian)

HarperCollins has launched HarperVia, a new translation imprint that will predominantly publish fiction, beginning in September with Lost in the Spanish Quarter by Heddi Goodrich, translated from the Italian by the author. (Bookseller)

“Writers don’t just see into the future or possess special insight into the present; we also construct a kind of machine for virtual hindsight.” Namwali Serpell, author of the forthcoming novel The Old Drift, surveys the ability of science fiction authors to foretell, and even influence, the dystopian present. (New York Times)

“But I keep on joking that the paper we were given as toilet paper was not the soft kind we find on television. So it was a bit hard, a bit rough, so to speak, but a very good writing material.” Kenyan author Ngugi Wa Thiong’o talks to NPR about writing his first novel in Gikuyu—his mother tongue—in prison, and receiving the “Nobel of the heart.”

“As a writer I tend to do best if I’m enjoying the work, and if I am enjoying it, the readers are going to enjoy it also. The more I sort of added the humor to it, the quicker the book went.” Maurice Carlos Ruffin on satire, racism, and the choices that parents make. (Rumpus)

At the Millions, Shane McCrae talks about his new poetry collection, The Gilded Auction Block¸ the ascendance of Trump, and writing something worthwhile about the world. “I think noise requires poetry, because I think poetry requires a retreat from noise.”

“You can’t separate the politics of this novel from its spirituality. People are constantly grappling with big questions about what makes a group of people into a nation, and the meaning of patriotism, alongside discussions of the balance of light and darkness.” Charlie Jane Anders evaluates Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness fifty years after the novel was first published. (Paris Review)

Bridge to Terabithia author Katherine Paterson has won the E. B. White Award, a biennial honor bestowed by the American Academy of Art and Letters in recognition of lifetime achievement in children’s literature. (Burlington Free Press)