Man Booker International Prize Finalists, Rachel Cusk’s Archive, 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.

The shortlist for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize has been announced. The finalists for the £50,000 prize (approximately $65,316), which will be divided equally between author and translator, are Jokha Alharthi for Celestial Bodies (translated by Marilyn Booth), Annie Ernaux for The Years (translated by Alison L. Strayer), Marion Poschmann for The Pine Islands (translated by Jen Calleja), Olga Tokarczuk for Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead (translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones), Juan Gabriel Vásquez for The Shape of the Ruins (translated by Anne McLean), and Alia Trabucco Zerán for The Remainder (translated by Sophie Hughes). The winner will be announced on May 21.

The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas has acquired the archive of novelist Rachel Cusk, which includes notebooks, teaching notes, and diary entries—but no manuscript drafts. These, Cusk explains, are mostly used to light fires—or as drawing paper for her children. (Guardian)

The Poetry Bot has returned to the New Yorker and is now sending out a daily dose of poetry by Tracy K. Smith, C. P. Cavafy, Grace Paley, and many others.

“The Internet demands that we perform ourselves in writing constantly; there’s a certain semi-detached yet intimate voice we tend to use for that; that voice is now the speaker in poems pretty frequently.” Marie Buck on poetry’s shift in political mood. (Poetry Foundation)

At Guernica, novelist Sam Lipsyte discusses “mental archery,” growing up near a reservoir, and the interplay between writing and parenting. “My father was writing young adult books. I think he said once, ‘I’ll pay you fifty cents for a really good name, because sometimes I need names for my characters.’ So I would sit around thinking I was going to make all this money and make endless lists of names and run them by him.”

“His politics fell afoul of the culture in a way that wound up costing him everything, but he refused to compromise them; and that refusal makes his political bona fides, according to the current moment, impeccable.” Jonathan Dee considers why the once-celebrated novelist Nelson Algren fell into obscurity. (New Yorker)

The American Academy in Rome has announced the winners of the 2019–2020 Rome Prize and Italian Fellowships. Poets Samiya Bashir and Nicole Sealey are among thirty American and six Italian artists and scholars to receive five- to eleven-month residencies in Rome.

“Dictatorships regulate the flow of information. But so does an open-market economy, though under a different pretense.” Publisher Ilan Stavans speaks with editor and fellow translator Sara Khalili about the challenges of the U.S. publishing market, contemporary Persian poetry, and the passionate intentionality of small presses. (Michigan Quarterly Review)