Two Booker Prize Winners, the Possibilities of Translation, and More


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.

Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo have both been awarded the 2019 Booker Prize. After initial resistance from Booker Prize trustees, the judges persuaded the organization that both The Testaments and Girl, Woman, Other should share the honor. Atwood has won the Booker once before, while Evaristo is the first black woman to win the prize. (New York Times)

Johannes Göransson discusses the problematic “emphasis on mastery” in the translation community. His new book, Transgressive Circulation: Essays on Translation imagines alternative methods and encourages those who worry about their “mastery” of a foreign language to attempt translations anyway. “A key counterargument in my book is that you often will have strong connections to foreign poets, connections that compel you to translate their work. If you’re thus compelled, you will find ways of making the translation happen.” (Bomb)

“I feel like it’s my last novel, but what do I know.” At Literary Hub, Ben Lerner discusses his new novel, The Topeka School, with former student Ocean Vuong. The pair discuss whiteness, violence, love, and the ever-expanding scope of Lerner’s creative work.  

David Means talks to the New Yorker about his new story, “Are you Experienced?” and the ways in which music seeps into society and our identities. 

In an interview at the Rumpus, Jaquira Díaz discusses her research process and the many different drafts for her memoir, Ordinary Girls. “I almost always begin with place when I’m writing a piece—either fiction or nonfiction.”

Jung Chang, bestselling author of the biography Mao: The Unknown Story, discusses her new book, Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister: Three Women at the Heart of Twentieth-Century China, and the personal and political implications of her writing. “I had always wanted to be a writer as a child but couldn’t spell out this dream to myself because during the Cultural Revolution all writers were condemned.” (Guardian)

At the New Yorker, James Wood writes in praise of an “unbearably powerful” and overlooked Danish novel from the early twentieth century: Lucky Per by Henrik Pontoppidan.

Esteemed literary critic Harold Bloom has died at age eighty-nine. (New York Times)