Paule Marshall Has Died, Olivia Laing Splits Prize Money, 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.

Fiction writer Paule Marshall died last Monday at age ninety. The author of the novels Daughters and Brown Girl, Brownstones, Marshall was “virtually the only major black woman fiction writer in the United States” in the fifties. (AP)      

At the New Yorker, Edwidge Danticat remembers both Marshall and Toni Morrison, who showed that “our ancestors [are] always with us, no longer in body but always in spirit.”

Upon winning the £10,000 James Tait Black Award for her debut novel, Crudo, author Olivia Laing announced she would split her prize money with the other shortlisted writers. “I said in Crudo that competition has no place in art and I meant it,” she said at the ceremony. “Crudo was written against a kind of selfishness that’s everywhere in the world right now, against an era of walls and borders, winners and losers. Art doesn’t thrive like that and I don’t think people do either.” (Guardian)

Animal Farm: A Fairy Story. Homepage to Catalonia. Animals Farm: A Fairy Story. David Streitfeld takes a closer look at the many fake and illegitimate George Orwell books sold on Amazon. (New York Times)

Vanessa Hua interviews her mentor Susan Straight about literary community, the writing life, and motherhood. (Rumpus)

“For a couple of years now, I’ve been troubling my art with the question: If I were truly what they claim to imagine I am, what would happen to them? What would I actually be?” Poet Justin Phillip Reed in the third installment of his notes on “black poetic grotesqueries, composite humanity, and freedoms of the horrific.” (Poetry Foundation)

Poet Shane McCrae talks with BOMB about dreams, formal rigor, his resistance to autobiographical poems, and his interest in narrative, “an obsolete mode in poetry.”

“If the Trump supporter’s just some old farmer constantly sitting in the cafe drinking that never-ending cup of coffee, then you’re missing something. It is easy to jump into a place and just treat everybody like zoo animals and be like, ‘Oh look at how weird it is here.’” Lyz Lenz talks about trying to avoid stereotypes in reporting and writing her new book, God Land: A Story of Faith, Loss, and Renewal in Middle America. (New York)