Trump Calls to Close NEA, Tommy Orange Wins PEN/Hemingway Award, and More

by Staff
3.20.19

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.

Once again, Donald Trump’s budget calls for the elimination of the National Endowment of the Arts. The president’s initial budgets for fiscal 2018 and 2019 also called for cutting the NEA, but each time the House restored the funds. (Publishers Weekly)

Tommy Orange has won the PEN/Hemingway Award for his debut novel, There There. The award, which honors a distinguished new novel, is accompanied by a $25,000 prize and a monthlong fellowship at the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming. (Associated Press)

Meanwhile, Columbia Journalism School and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard have announced the recipients of the 2019 Lukas Prize Project Awards for nonfiction. The winners include Shane Bauer for American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey Into the Business of Punishment and Jeffrey C. Stewart for The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke. (Book Marks)

After leading the American Booksellers Association as CEO for ten years and working at the organization for thirty, Oren Teicher is set to retire. (Publishers Weekly)

At the Poetry Foundation, Naomi Cohn describes the slime mold–like composition of her poetic project “The Braille Encyclopedia.” “I tried to separate it back into individual single-celled pieces, but they linked themselves back together into a series of connected prose poems—or something more gelatinous: a book-length prose poem.”

From the “aimless bile” of Millie in Halle Butler’s The New Me to the “sour milk” laundry of Ottessa Moshfegh’s titular character Eileen, Vulture spots a “perversely refreshing” trend in literary realism: stinky heroines.

At the New Yorker, Kathryn Schulz remembers her father’s ravenous approach to books. “His always had a devoured look to them: scribbled on, folded over, cracked down the middle, liberally stained with coffee, Scotch, pistachio dust, and bits of the brightly colored shells of peanut M&M’s.”

Zinzi Clemmons considers the complex friendship of Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, and Yuval Taylor’s new book on the writers’ shared mission and pleasure in each other’s company. (New York Times)