National Book Critics Circle Awards Finalists, the Most Popular Library Books in New York, and More

by Staff

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 finalists for the 2019 National Book Critics Circle Awards were announced on Saturday. Five titles were selected in each of the following categories: autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The board of the organization also announced the recipients of the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, the Ivan Sandrof Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the John Leonard Award for Best First Book. 

After consulting 125 years of circulation data, the New York Public Library has shared its ten most checked-out books. The top three titles: The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss, and 1984 by George Orwell. (Washington Post

Rapper and poet Noname appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition to discuss her recent books-based community engagement initiatives. Last year, she founded a book club to highlight works by authors of color; two books are featured each month and in-person meetups are supported across the country. More recently, she launched a Twitter campaign encouraging the public to register for library cards. 

“I really care about writing and the way it feels in the mouth, but I think I care most about the book being rigorous.” Emma Copley Eisenberg talks to the Rumpus about her debut essay collection, The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia, and the complex responsibilities of writing true crime.  

Electric Literature highlights ten collections by Latinx poets that published in 2019, including Why I Am Like Tequila by Lupe Mendez.

Mendez is a literary outreach coordinator for the Poets & Writers United States of Writing initiative. Read his latest dispatches from Houston.  

Jennifer Prokop researches the design process behind Harlequin romance covers. “Outsiders to the genre might not appreciate the power of a romance cover, but readers do.” (Kirkus)

Valerie Stivers prepares a dinner inspired by the life and work Elizabeth Jane Howard, an English writer best known for her family drama novels, the Cazalet Chronicles. On the menu: foolproof sunchoke soup, rissoles, and a rabbit-and-gammon pie. (Paris Review Daily)

Every month, Literary Hub offers reading recommendations based on zodiac signs. Two picks for January: Scarlett Thomas’s Oligarchy for Leos and Tanen Jone’s The Better Liar for Geminis.