Seventy-Nine MacDowell Fellows, Becoming a Critic, 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.

The MacDowell Colony has awarded seventy-nine fellowships for its fall residency period. The fellowships, valued at more than $10,000 each, include a private studio and accommodations at the colony in New Hampshire for up to eight weeks. The new fellows count eight poets, twelve nonfiction writers, and seventeen fiction writers. 

For the New York Times Magazine Culture Issue, critic A. O. Scott writes a tribute to Susan Sontag. He considers her influence on both his criticism and the world, and explains why he didn’t want to meet her in real life. 

A Jane Austen letter will go up for auction next month. Most of the novelist’s correspondence was destroyed by her family, so this sale represents a rare opportunity for buyers. Addressed to Austen’s sister, Cassandra, the letter is expected to sell for at least £65,000. (Guardian)

Carmen Maria Machado discusses serving as guest editor for The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2019, previews some of the selected stories, and shares what she looks for as an editor. (Millions)

“Some have complained that Lerner only writes about one thing—himself—but this is imprecise: In these novels, introspection is a means, not an end.” Giles Harvey visits with Ben Lerner and his family, and analyzes the writer’s career to date. (New York Times Magazine)

Daniel Mendelsohn shares five books about criticism that have informed his own writing. Highlights include The Critic as Artist by Oscar Wilde and The Origin of Others by Toni Morrison. (Bookmarks)

At the Los Angeles Review of Books, Saidiya Hartman discusses her latest book, Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval, and the driving theoretical questions behind the project. 

Jonathan Franzen responds to his critics and clarifies the message he wanted to communicate in his New Yorker article “What If We Stopped Pretending.” (Guardian)