Shortlists for This Year’s National Book Awards, Betting on the Nobel, and More

by Staff
10.5.21

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 shortlists for this year’s National Book Awards were announced this morning. Hoa Nguyen’s A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure and Jackie Wang’s The Sunflower Cast a Spell to Save Us From the Void are among the poetry contenders. Meanwhile, the fiction finalists include Anthony Doerr’s Cloud Cuckoo Land and Lauren Groff’s Matrix, while the nonfiction finalists include Hanif Abdurraqib’s A Little Devil in America and Grace M. Cho’s Tastes Like War. The translated literature shortlist boasts works originally published in Arabic, Chinese, French, and Spanish. The awards ceremony will be held online on November 17.

The winner of this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature is due to be revealed on Thursday. The British betting company Ladbrokes has calculated odds for the prize, listing Annie Ernaux, with 8/1 odds, as the most likely recipient. Other top candidates include Anne Carson, Maryse Condé, and Jon Fosse. “Annie Ernaux and Jon Fosse have seen the largest amount of money wagered this year and both of their odds have been cut respectively,” said a representative from Ladbrokes. (Guardian)

“Because So is writing about very recent history, he’s telling stories about a history that has not completely come to an end. If anything, it’s just beginning.” Larissa Pham celebrates the late Anthony Veasna So’s rendering of the still-evolving history of the Cambodian American community in his story collection, Afterparties. (Nation)

“Even when something looks a mess and like it might not make it, you can come back from it.” Beth Gilstrap, the author of Deadheading, discusses searching for beauty and hope on and off the page. (Rumpus)

Applications are open for the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses’ inaugural Constellation Prize, which will offer $10,000 to an independent literary press “that is led by and/or champions the writing of people of color.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Why are there so few independent publishers of size? There is a dearth of what can be called midsize publishers that fall between the Big Five and the many independent publishers with sales of $20 million or less.” Jim Milliot of Publishers Weekly reports on the challenges of operating a midsize book publisher.

“As we shroud ourselves in woolen layers and await The Great Pumpkin, let us dive into this month’s most anticipated LGBTQIA+ books.” Lambda Literary has shared an extensive list of queer and trans books being released in October.

“Is here a made thing? A sentence is a locus; can it be a place?” Noah Warren turns to poets and writers whose words feels rooted in the world. (Harriet)

In his Shelf Life interview at Elle, Jonathan Franzen recalls shedding tears at a particularly poignant moment in My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante.