Raven Leilani Wins Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, Namwali Serpell on Black Nonchalance, 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.

Raven Leilani has won the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize for Luster. The $15,000 prize honors “the year’s best debut novel as selected by a panel of distinguished American writers.” Accepting the award in a virtual ceremony, Leilani reflected, “Thank you to everyone who came to this book with generosity: It has really meant everything.”

“Black nonchalance is a form of grace, which is to say, a way of seeing the long view, a way of surviving the eternal return of white supremacy, a way of making something out of that vast and terrible nothing.” Writer Namwali Serpell writes on the power of Black nonchalance. (Yale Review)  

To celebrate its 125th anniversary, the New York Public Library has curated a list of 125 books that reflect the “diversity, energy, and life” of New York City. Librarians have also written accompanying blog posts to help readers discover which titles are available in accessible formats and multiple languages

The family of Roald Dahl and the Roald Dahl Story Company have issued an apology for the writer’s anti-Semitism. “We hope that, just as he did at his best, at his absolute worst, Roald Dahl can help remind us of the lasting impact of words.” (New York Times

Entertainment Weekly has named Brit Bennett, the author of The Vanishing Half, among its 2020 Entertainers of the Year. She appears alongside rapper Megan Thee Stallion, actress Kerry Washington, and other stars. (Literary Hub)

To celebrate the publication of the single-volume hardcover of Jeff VanderMeer’s Ambergris trilogy, Farrar, Straus and Giroux is holding a fan art contest. Readers are invited to submit an artwork inspired by the series by December 18. (FSG Work in Progress)

“Editing has also made me a sharper and more rigorous reader, capable of understanding the velocity of a book, and I’m able to turn that eye to my own writing.” Megha Majumdar talks to Publishers Weekly about working as both a writer and an editor

Kristen Arnett reveals the cover of her sophomore novel, With Teeth, and previews the concerns at the heart of the book. “When it comes to families, everyone in a household is essentially an unreliable narrator.” (Entertainment Weekly)