The National Book Critics Circle Rebuilds, Colson Whitehead Announces Next Novel, and More

by Staff

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 National Book Critics Circle has appointed fifteen board members, in an attempt to rebuild after issues of racism led to a wave of resignations in June. Five members who resigned in June—Charles Finch, Megan Labrise, Ismail Muhammad, Elizabeth Taylor, and David Varno—chose to rejoin the board, while three other former members—Stephanie Burt, Rigoberto González, and Oscar Villalon—were recruited to return to the board. The remaining seven appointees are new to their positions. (Publishers Weekly)

Entertainment Weekly checked in with Colson Whitehead after his second Pulitzer win for The Nickel Boys. “To have both those books that are very different be appreciated by peers and critics and all sorts of folks was very delightful,” says Whitehead. The author also recently announced via Twitter that his next book, Harlem Shuffle, will be published in fall 2021. 

“There are many ways to describe Varavara Rao. He’s a teacher, a poet, an activist, known to many simply as VV. To the Indian government, he’s a rebel and a threat.” Varsha Gandikota-Nellutla writes about her uncle, the esteemed poet Varavara Rao, and the movement to free him from prison. Aged eighty, Rao is in frail health and at high risk for COVID-19 if he is not released. (Boston Review)

“Fantasy is a broad and various category that on the one hand can feature fire-breathing dragons and on the other can be as quiet as a man encountering a strange plant.” Ann and Jeff VanderMeer chart the evolution of modern fantasy writing. (Electric Literature)

“I’m driving a character at the outset, but once she comes alive to me, once I hear her voice and know how she moves and what she would say or do in given situations, the character takes over.” Marisa Silver offers a window into her writing process. (Atlantic)

Dick Donahue, a former features editor at Publishers Weekly, died on July 5 at age seventy-nine. “Dick was an iconoclast, possessed of great flair, flourish, and friendship,” recalls Donahue’s close friend Bridget Kinsella. 

Brittany Rogers and Raena Shirali have been named coeditors in chief of Muzzle Magazine. They succeed founding editor Stevie Edwards who is stepping aside after leading the publication for ten years.  

Silvia Moreno-Garcia has created a downloadable book club kit—featuring a Spotify playlist, a paper-doll set, and more—to help promote her latest novel, Mexican Gothic. (New York Times