Winners of the 2021 National Book Awards, David Treuer Joins Pantheon, 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.

Yesterday evening, the National Book Foundation hosted a virtual ceremony to announce and celebrate the winners of the seventy-second annual National Book Awards. The fiction, nonfiction, and poetry prizes were respectively awarded to Hell of a Book by Jason Mott, All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake by Tiya Miles, and Floaters by Martín Espada. Meanwhile, author Elisa Shua Dusapin and translator Aneesa Abbas Higgins earned the translation prize for Winter in Sokcho and Malinda Lo received the young people’s literature prize for Last Night at the Telegraph Club. (New York Times)

Pantheon has hired lauded author David Treuer to serve as an editor-at-large. Treuer is Ojibwe and will concentrate on acquiring books by Indigenous authors. “I’m proud to become one of the few Native American editors at a major imprint,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier to begin the work of nurturing and supporting a new generation of Native writers with the Pantheon team.” (Shelf Awareness)

Michele Kirichanskaya theorizes that Maurice Sendak’s queerness and Jewishness informed his children’s book Where the Wild Things Are. “Rather than patronizing his young readers, painting an illusion of childhood ‘innocence,’ he respected them by acknowledging the terrifying reality of what it meant to be a child.” (Electric Literature)

“I wanted all the lyric essays that I admired, all the ones I teach, to be in one place. I couldn’t find an anthology dedicated to lyric essays, so I decided to make one.” Randon Billings Noble discusses the process of editing A Harp in the Stars: An Anthology of Lyric Essays. (Millions)

“The average reader may not know the name Fiona McCrae, but within the publishing world she is a living legend and I want to tell you why.” John Warner of the Chicago Tribune writes in praise of Fiona McCrae, the director and publisher of Graywolf Press, who will retire next year.

The winners of Canada’s prestigious Governor General’s Literary Awards, which honor both English and French-language books, have been revealed. Among the English-language honorees: Norma Dunning’s Tainna earned the fiction prize and Tolu Oloruntoba’s The Junta of Happenstance won the poetry prize. Each award comes with a purse of $25,000 CAD (appromixately $19,783). (CBC)

“We look at nature as if every species and every single living creature is a servant to us, which is not true.” Peter Wohlleben, the author of The Hidden Life of Trees, reflects on how to reorient the relationship between humans and trees. (Creative Independent)

In the latest installment of the Shelf Life interview series at Elle, Lily King praises the opening line of The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and names Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas as a book that made her cry.