Winners of the PEN America Literary Awards, Guggenheim Fellows Announced, 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.

In a virtual ceremony last night, PEN America announced the winners of its 2021 Literary Awards. Ross Gay took home the biggest prize of the night, the $75,000 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, for Be Holding: A Poem. Michael X. Wang won the $25,000 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for his story collection, Further News of Defeat, and Saidiya Hartman secured the $10,000 PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction for Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals.  

Yesterday the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation announced the recipients of its 2021 fellowships, including fellows in poetry, fiction, and general nonfiction.

In other award news, the New York Public Library has announced the five finalists for its 2021 Young Lions Fiction Award: Meng Jin, Catherine Lacey, Hilary Leichter, Brandon Taylor, and C Pam Zhang. The annual $10,000 award is given to a writer under the age of thirty-five who has published a book of fiction during the previous year.

The New York Times features more than twenty Asian and Asian American photographers sharing what “love looks like in a time of hate” through prose, photos, and self-portraits, alongside an essay by novelist Celeste Ng. 

Poet Sumita Chakraborty talks with the Los Angeles Review of Books about writing her debut poetry collection, Arrow, and what it means to be “imbricated in the war games of language.”

James Daunt, the CEO of Barnes & Noble, gives an update on the changes the book retailer is implementing, including focusing more on selling books rather than non-book products and giving booksellers greater autonomy to select the merchandise that appears in their stores. (Publishers Weekly)

Lilly Dancyger on becoming a “reluctant memoirist” while writing her book Negative Space. (Rumpus)

Fiction writer Emma Cline shares the books that have influenced her writing, that she gives as a gift, and that she reads for comfort. (Guardian)