Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grants Announced, Tom Hanks the Writer, 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:

The Whiting Foundation has announced the recipients of its 2017 Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grants, given annually to up to eight writers in the process of completing a book of creative nonfiction. The writers will each receive $40,000. (G&A: The Contest Blog)

Maureen Dowd interviews actor Tom Hanks about his new story collection, Uncommon Type, which comes out next week, as well as his reading habits and why he believes America will always course-correct in the face of political upheaval. (New York Times)

“In literature, we see the reflection of the soul of our society, which is based on freedom, and that freedom of expression goes hand-in-glove with political freedom.” German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron kicked off the Frankfurt Book Festival earlier this week. The leaders both emphasized the importance of literature in combating divisiveness and isolationism in Europe. (Publishers Weekly)

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Kindle, Amazon has released a new version of the Kindle Oasis that is waterproof: It can apparently withstand being immersed in freshwater for an hour. (Los Angeles Times)

“I like the irrational, I like ghosts. They help me to write.” British writer Philip Pullman talks with the New York Times about his writing habits, the influence of Greek epics and Milton on his work, and his new novel, La Belle Sauvage, which returns to the world of his best-selling His Dark Materials series.

Meanwhile, in the latest installment of By Heart, Carmen Maria Machado shares her fascination with Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, saying the book’s surrealism is “like that experience of walking home from a party a little bit drunk, when the world somehow seems sharper and clearer and weirder.” (Atlantic)

Seventy-two writers and members of the literary world have written a letter to the New York Times in defense of poet and Norton editor Jill Bialosky, who recently faced accusations of plagiarism in her memoir Poetry Will Save Your Life. The signers include Jennifer Egan, Louise Glück, and Robert Pinsky. (New York Times)