Michael Chabon to Step Down at MacDowell, 5 Under 35 Honorees Announced, and More


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.

Michael Chabon, who will step down as chairman of the MacDowell Colony board in spring 2020, reflects on political and ecological catastrophe and the purpose of art in such times. (Paris Review Daily)

The National Book Foundation has announced its 5 Under 35 honorees for 2019: Anelise Chen, Isabella Hammad, Johannes Lichtman, Bryan Washington, and Ashley Wurzbacher. The annual awards are given to five writers under the age of 35 who have published their first novel or story collection in the past five years. 

Samantha Hunt was awarded the 2019 St. Francis College Literary Prize for her story collection, The Dark Dark, at the Brooklyn Book Festival’s annual gala on Saturday evening. The biennial $50,000 prize honors a midcareer writer for their third, fourth, or fifth work of fiction. 

In the wake of the City of Dortmund’s decision to rescind the Nelly Sachs Award for Literature from novelist Kamila Shamsie after discovering her support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, more than 250 writers have signed an open letter to defend Shamsie and the “right to advocate for human rights.” (London Review of Books)

“The bookseller in North Dakota knows what the customer wants better than someone in New York.” The new CEO of Barnes & Noble, James Daunt, talks to Publishers Weekly about his strategies and vision for the company. 

At the Guardian, Zadie Smith shares her earliest reading memory, the last book to make her cry, and the books she couldn’t finish. 

Jonathan Beecher Field considers the popular trend to lament “the decline of English departments,” the criticism that professors aren’t teaching enough Shakespeare, and why such claims could not be farther from the truth. (Boston Review)

Fact-checking is not common practice in the book publishing industry, but some companies are beginning to reevaluate the norm. (New York Times)