Subway Library, Griffin Poetry Prizes Announced, 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:

The New York City subway and public library system have teamed up to create a subway library. For the next six weeks, straphangers will be able to read hundreds of free e-books and excerpts on their phones, including titles such as Zadie Smith’s Swing Time and Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West. A handful of subway cars have been wallpapered to look like the Rose Main Reading Room in the main branch of the New York Public Library. (NYPL Blog, New York Post)

Alice Oswald and Jordan Abel have won the 2017 Griffin Poetry Prizes. They each receive $65,000 Canadian (approximately $48,000). Oswald won the international prize for her poetry collection Falling Awake; Abel won the Canadian prize for his collection Injun.

In other award news, Polish poet and writer Adam Zagajewski has won the 2017 Princess of Asturias Award for Literature, a €50,000 (approximately $56,000) award given by the philanthropic foundation of the Princess of Asturias, the heir to the Spanish monarchy.

“In an exchange, the more you take, the more you have to give back—the better the work has to be.” In the latest installment of the New York Times Bookends, novelist Rivka Galchen talks with editor Anna Holmes about the difference between cultural exchange and cultural appropriation.

“I had to negotiate what I would and would not write about. You can’t give the reader everything—you have to hold something back for yourself…. I don’t think you have to cannibalize yourself to tell an important story or to write about yourself.” Roxane Gay talks with VICE about Hunger, her new memoir about fatness, the body, and trauma.

The Guardian takes a look at the success of self-published writers in the United Kingdom, many of whom have made hundreds of thousands of dollars by publishing on platforms like the Amazon Kindle.

Speaking of Amazon: By the end of 2017, Amazon Books will be the fifth largest bookstore chain in the United States based on its number of outlets. Amazon plans to be operating thirteen bookstores by the end of 2017; Barnes & Noble, the largest U.S. bookstore chain, has 634 outlets. (Publishers Weekly)

“It seems like there is a great wave of hatred now. I don’t know how this happened. But as a writer, my weapon is my pen. I want to create more awareness about the people in Syria.” Syrian writer Osama Alomar discusses writing about the Syrian war from afar, working as a Chicago taxi driver, and the importance of freedom to create art. (Guernica)