Upcoming PEN Out Loud Events, Indigenous Language Activists Expand Online Programming, 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.

PEN America has scheduled the next four events in its year-round PEN Out Loud series, which has shifted to a new virtual format due to the pandemic. Yaa Gyasi will appear in conversation with Roxane Gay, Ayad Akhtar with Ben Rhodes, Claudia Rankine with Lauren Michele Jackson, and Marilynne Robinson with Alexander Chee. (Publishers Weekly)

Erica X Eisen speaks to Indigenous language activists from across the United States and Canada about how the pandemic has affected language revitalization efforts. In a number of communities, the pivot to virtual programming has allowed organizers to recruit more participants and make new connections with other language activists around the world. (Slate)

“It wasn’t even on my radar as a thing that was possible to happen for my book.” Brandon Taylor recalls hearing the news that his debut novel, Real Life, had been longlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize. (inews.co.uk)

A. O. Scott writes in praise of the novelist and short story writer Edward P. Jones. “His prose, even when it evokes natural mysteries and complex emotions, is always exacting in its observation and meticulous in its accounting.” (New York Times)

Southside Weekly talks with poet and editor Tara Betts about her recent work and plan to launch a new center for literary programming in Chicago. “There are a lot of beautiful things about this city that I still want to write about, that I still want to explore and celebrate,” she says. 

Shane McCrae reflects on death and hope in his latest book, Sometimes I Never Suffered, and in the world. “Activism toward justice gives me hope. Black Lives Matter gives me hope.” (Chicago Review of Books)

“I think the questions I wanted to explore in the novel felt endless to me. They felt like I was never going to find an answer.” Diane Cook discusses shifting gears from the short story to the novel and continuing to explore questions about humanity’s wildness. (Guernica)

The Millions highlights new releases out this week including Finna by Nate Marshall and The Unreality of Memory by Elisa Gabbert.