Mohsin Hamid Wins Aspen Words Prize, Beverly Cleary Turns 102, 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:

Today is the 102nd birthday of famed children’s author Beverly Cleary. Vox celebrates the author’s enduring appeal.

Mohsin Hamid has won the inaugural Aspen Words Literary Prize for his novel Exit West. The $35,000 prize recognizes “an influential work of fiction that illuminates a vital contemporary issue and demonstrates the transformative power of literature on thought and culture.” (NPR)

To mark the twentieth anniversary of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, illustrator Brian Selznick has designed a set of seven new black and white covers for the novel. (Independent)

On her way to America to speak at next week’s PEN World Voices Festival in New York City, Australian author and Muslim activist Yassmin Abdel-Magi was deported after U.S. immigration officials claimed that she did not have the correct visa. (Publishers Weekly)

“Since I’d heard horror stories from colleagues, I thought I was prepared for the eventuality of a young white man yelling at me as he stormed out of class, ‘Why can’t I use the n-word like Patricia Smith does in ‘Skinhead?!’” For the Washington Post’s Grade Point series, which highlights stories about higher education, poet Jennifer L. Knox addresses slurs and censorship in her poetry workshop.

Courtney Hodell, director of writers’ programs at the Whiting Foundation, discusses the foundation’s Creative Nonfiction Grant program and why nonfiction writing is more important than ever. “Genres are blurring to thrilling effect; forms are loosening up, offering writers greater latitude to find the right shape to house their ideas; readers are hungry for fresh experiments in voice and point of view.” (Millions)

Wanda Brown, director of library services at the C. G. O’Kelly Library at Winston-Salem University in North Carolina, has been elected as the next president of the American Library Association. Brown will serve as the organization’s president in 2019 and 2020.