Marilyn Nelson Wins Ruth Lilly Prize, Orwell Prize for Political Fiction Longlist, 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 Poetry Foundation has named Marilyn Nelson the winner of the 2019 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. One of the most prestigious awards given to American poets, the $100,000 prize recognizes outstanding lifetime achievement. The foundation also named Terrance Hayes winner of the 2019 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism and Naomi Shihab Nye the 2019–2021 Young People’s Poet Laureate. (Poets & Writers)

The Orwell Foundation has announced the longlist for its inaugural prize for political fiction. The twelve international nominees for the £3,000 prize (approximately $3,925) include Nick Drnaso for Sabrina, Tayari Jones for An American Marriage, and Novuyo Rosa Tshuma for House of Stone. The shortlist will be released in early June; the winner and the foundation’s awardees in nonfiction and journalism will be announced on George Orwell’s birthday, June 25. (Bookseller)

“I would like the reader to feel a deepened sense of self-worth, a stronger sense of possibility and capability.” Barry Lopez speaks to the Guardian about nature writing and the planet’s environmental emergency.

A federal judge has ruled that Barnes & Noble’s counterclaim filed against former CEO Demos Parneros for alleged misconduct and “disloyal” behavior can proceed, but the retailer must pay Parneros’s legal costs for defending himself in the countersuit. (Publishers Weekly)

At the New York Times, Megan O’Grady considers the rise of historical fiction and why in tumultuous times we seek a reading experience that feels “a lot like putting one’s hand in a draw and slamming it over and over again.”

“When you’re writing a book, you are also hoping that there is some kind of fundamental order that you can find through writing it: as if every book is born with its own order in its cells, and it’s your work to find it and bring it out.” Novelist Sheila Heti talks to Guernica about art, Judaism, and writing as a leap of faith.

At Vulture, Open Letter publisher Chad Post calculates what it would take for translated literature to truly take off in the United States. “As a culture, we are missing out on at least a thousand really good works of fiction every single year.”

With twenty-eight books to his name, T. C. Boyle speaks to the San Francisco Chronicle about his “addiction” to writing.