National Book Award for Nonfiction Longlist, Ann Patchett’s Latest Novel, 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.

The National Book Foundation continues to release the longlists for the 2019 National Book Awards this week. This morning the foundation announced the longlist for the award in nonfiction. All but one of the authors, Greg Grandin, are newcomers to the award. The list includes four memoirs, one essay collection, and five cultural or political histories. (New Yorker)

The New York Public Library has canceled an upcoming event sponsored by a foundation associated with the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. The decision comes after days of protest from activists who point to the crown prince’s involvement with the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. (Gothamist)

In a profile at the New York Times, Ann Patchett discusses her latest book, The Dutch House, her evolving understanding of autofiction, and the friends and writers who galvanize her work. 

At the Washington Post, Lucy Ellmann fields questions on her one-sentence, thousand-plus-page, Man Booker–shortlisted novel, Ducks, Newburyport. How might her second sentence begin? “The second sentence can perhaps be written after Bernie Sanders becomes president. It would go something like this: ‘Let’s all get together and fix this mess.’”

Katherine Rosman researches the growing field and sometimes inordinate costs of short-term writers’ workshops and seminars. (New York Times

The Stella Count, an annual survey in Australia, notes encouraging trends in reaching gender parity in book reviewing. In 2018, 49 percent of published book reviews were of works by female authors. (Guardian)

Janet Fitch talks to the Los Angeles Review of Books about her new novel, Chimes of a Lost Cathedral, how poetry seeps into her prose, and the complicated business of character development. 

In an extensive profile for Buzzfeed News, Scaachi Koul talks to Lauren Duca about her new book, How to Start a Revolution, and contextualizes the controversies surrounding the viral writer.