PEN America Awards Longlists, Literary Writers Go Late-Night, 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.

PEN America has announced the longlists for its 2019 PEN America Literary Awards. Listen to readings from some of the semi-finalists, including Jamel Brinkley, Nafissa Thompson-Spires, and Jenny Xie

Michelle Obama has added more dates to her book tour as sales of her memoir, Becoming—published just under a month ago—top 3 million. (Washington Post)

“As much as I love having Stephen King or Jonathan Franzen or George Saunders, we also saw it as an opportunity to have diverse writers and writers who are publishing their first or second novel, because this will probably mean more for them than people who are already established.” Late-night television hosts Seth Meyers and Trevor Noah are spotlighting more diverse and emerging literary writers on their shows. (New York Times)

Fire and Fury author Michael Wolff is one of 2018’s highest paid authors, joining a list that includes perennial best-sellers James Patterson, J. K. Rowling, Stephen King, and John Grisham. (Forbes)

“The cascade effect of this crisis is still incalculable, but already frightening.” Luiz Schwarcz, CEO of Penguin Random House–owned Companhia das Letras in Brazil, pleads with people to buy and give books this holiday season. Brazil’s book industry is facing an especially difficult moment, with book sales having fallen roughly 40 percent in recent years and two of the country’s most prominent bookstore chains having recently filed for bankruptcy protection. (Publishers Weekly)

“My experience has often been to encounter a certain level of discouragement when it comes to publishing my work, and yet to press forward. So far, it has worked out. It has not been easy, though, and I’m hardly alone in this experience.” Bookforum talks with author, translator, poet, and MacArthur “Genius” John Keene.

Entertainment Weekly joins the year-end book-list party with its best (and worst) books of 2018.

Meanwhile, at the Chicago Tribune, poet Michael Robbins offers his picks for the best poetry collections published this year; the Wall Street Journal lets us in on who read what in 2018; and NPR’s Code Switch offers up its 2018 Book Guide.