The Novels of #MeToo, Michael David Lukas Wins Sami Rohr 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.

Michael David Lukas has won the 2019 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature for his novel The Last Watchman of Old Cairo. Bestowed by the Jewish Book Council, the $100,000 prize is given in alternating years for a book of fiction or nonfiction by an emerging writer who explores the Jewish experience.

At the New York Times, Parul Sehgal argues that novels offer an understanding of the #MeToo Movement that essays cannot. “They occupy the backwaters where the writer need not pander or persuade, and can instead seek to understand, or merely complicate, something for herself.”

“When people ask how I wrote this book, the answer is, one word at a time.” Laila Lalami on overcoming the blank page to write about border crossing, internal migration, and identity formation in her new novel, The Other Americans. (Guernica)

Martin Kilson, the author and scholar who became the first African American professor to receive tenure at Harvard, has died. He was eighty-eight. (New York Times)

McGraw-Hill and Cengage, two of the country’s largest educational publishers, have announced an all-stock merger. In a deal expected to close by early 2020, the combined company will be named McGraw-Hill and will be led by Michael Hansen, Cengage’s current CEO. (Publishers Weekly)

“In fiction, I propose, even if only to myself, a world I’m more excited about living in.” Lynne Tillman speaks with the Los Angeles Review of Books about her latest novel, Men and Apparitions, and her friendship with the late critic Craig Owens.

In Philadelphia, the literary community is reeling from the revelation that the city’s former poet laureate Frank Sherlock was once a skinhead in a white nationalist rock band. (Inquirer)

At the Rumpus, Kendra Allen talks about her debut essay collection, When You Learn the Alphabet, and finding revelation and rebellion in the genre’s form. “I want essays to be as daring as poems.”