The 2019 Booker Prize Finalists, Stephen King on Telling the Truth, and More

by
Staff
9.3.19

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 shortlist for the 2019 Booker Prize has been announced. The six novels in the running for this year’s award are The Testaments by Margaret Atwood; Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann; Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo; An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma; Quichotte by Salman Rushdie; and 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak. The winner will be announced on October 14.

“We’re each on our own island, and at the same time sometimes we can yell to each other and get together, and there is that sense of community and empathy. I love that. I love that in stories.” Stephen King talks to the New York Times about writing in the Trump era and his sixty-first novel, The Institute, which comes out next week.

At the New Yorker, Dan Piepenbring remembers collaborating with Prince on what would have been the late musician and songwriter’s autobiography. “‘Write this thing like you want to win the Pulitzer and then—’ He raised his arms, hoisting an invisible statuette, and pretended to smash it against the desk.”

“Poetry is a made thing. If you can understand something that’s made, you can understand poetry. In that sense, hash browns are a made thing. You can mix it up in different ways: scattered, smothered, covered, chunked.” Georgia Tech poetry professor Karen Head on being the first official Waffle House Poet Laureate. (Atlanta)

Trade publishers have reported mixed financial results for the first six months of this year. Penguin Random House led the pack with revenue up 11.3 percent from 2018, while Simon & Schuster gained 4.1 percent and HarperCollins dropped by 5.4 percent. (Publishers Weekly)

Poet and anthropologist Renato Rosaldo chats with NPR about growing up Chicano in Tucson and telling the story of his high-school group of friends in his new poetry collection, The Chasers. “I think what we were getting was a kind of survival toolkit from the joking, from the banter, from the hard-assing.”

At the Rumpus, the winners of the 2019 PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize recommend the books that inspired their journeys as writers, from Jesmyn Ward’s novel Sing, Unburied, Sing to Bhanu Kapil’s poetry collection Incubation: A Space for Monsters.

Barbara Probst Solomon, the novelist, essayist, and cultural critic known for her work documenting opposition to Franco’s dictatorship in Spain, has died. She was ninety years old. (Washington Post