Penguin Random House Workforce Demographics, National Book Foundation to Honor Walter Mosley, 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.

Penguin Random House has completed an internal review of its workforce demographics, finding that 80 percent of its warehouse team is white, and 78 percent of its non-warehouse staff is white. “I don’t think any of us is likely to be surprised by the data, which show that our company, like our industry, is far too homogeneous,” says Penguin Random House U.S. CEO Madeline McIntosh. “But seeing what we generally know to be true documented this way is hard: The distance we have to travel to become a truly diverse company feels all the more daunting when you look at the numbers.” (Publishers Weekly)

The National Book Foundation will award its 2020 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters to Walter Mosley. At sixty-eight years old, Mosley has written more than sixty books across various genres. “Mosley is undeniably prolific, but what sets his work apart is his examination of both complex issues and intimate realities through the lens of characters in his fiction, as well as his accomplished historical narrative works and essays,” says executive director Lisa Lucas. The prize will be presented by Edwidge Danticat at the virtual National Book Awards ceremony on November 18. 

“People think there’s less at stake with friendship than with a family or a marriage or even a romance. But I think maybe there’s something in the culture that has changed, that that isn’t really true anymore.” Sigrid Nunez talks to Kirkus about her enduring interest in exploring friendship via fiction

Emma Cline discusses the value of withholding certain information from readers. “I find it interesting to leave these blanks for the reader to fill in, especially when you’re talking about things that are so horrible or violent. Leaving that space allows the reader to fill it in with whatever their version of horror is.” (Paris Review Daily)

Representatives from HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, and Scholastic took part in an online panel on Tuesday to discuss the new normal of virtual author events. (Publishers Weekly)

“For a long time, I was a pretty strict realist, but lately I seem to be relenting.” Caleb Crain on the recurring dream that inspired his latest short story, “Trajectory.” (Atlantic)

Aruni Kashyap recommends fifteen books by Indian authors who write in regional languages. (Electric Literature) 

Vox book critic Constance Grady offers another round of personalized reading recommendations