The Elusive Gerald Murnane, Jacqueline Woodson Wins World’s Largest Children’s Lit Prize, 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:

Is the next Nobel laureate in literature living in a town of two hundred in southeastern Australia? The New York Times Magazine visits Australian writer Gerald Murnane in Goroke, Victoria, where he tends bar, eschews the literary establishment, and writes his “strange and wonderful and nearly impossible to describe” books on typewriters using just one index finger. Farrar, Straus and Giroux will release two of Murnane’s books this month in the United States.

Today Jacqueline Woodson was announced the winner of the world’s largest children’s literature prize, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, awarded by the Swedish Arts Council. Woodson will receive five million Swedish Kroner, approximately $607,000. (Deutsche Welle)

“Humor is almost always an accident or a desire to be kind and jolly and one can discover it all around—in the world of one’s fiction and outside of it as well.” Lorrie Moore discusses humor, writing fiction versus nonfiction, and her new essay collection, See What Can Be Done. (Washington Post)

Penguin Random House reports that its 2017 sales were stable, dropping only 0.1 percent from 2016 to 2017. The bestselling title of the year was Raquel Jaramillo’s 2012 young adult novel, Wonder, which was adapted into a film last year. (Publishers Weekly)

To prevent a buyer outside the United Kingdom from purchasing a collection of Ben Jonson plays, the University of Edinburgh has raised enough money to acquire the collection, which includes the only known copy of a play annotated by Jonson himself. (Guardian)

Forbes offers a sneak peek into PBS’s forthcoming series Poetry in America, which will focus on twelve poets in twelve episodes, starting with Emily Dickinson. The series will air in April.

After the success of comedian John Oliver’s parody book Last Week Tonight With John Oliver Presents a Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, independent booksellers are calling out publisher Chronicle Books for initially making the book only available through Amazon. (Publishers Weekly)

Music and Poetry of the Kesh, a “strange and enchanting” collaboration between electronic musician Todd Barton and the late Ursula K Le Guin, has been reissued. The record was created to accompany Le Guin’s 1985 novel, Always Coming Home. (Guardian)