Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist, 2019 Best American Guest Editors, 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.

For the first time in the award’s history, the Women’s Prize for Fiction has named a non-binary transgender author in its longlist, nominating Brooklyn-based Nigerian writer Akwaeke Emezi for their first novel, Freshwater. Other nominees for the £30,000 prize (approximately $39,575) include Oyinkan Braithwaite, Tayari Jones, Lillian Li, and Valeria Luiselli. Finalists will be announced on April 29, and the winner on June 5. (Guardian)

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has announced this year’s guest editors of the Best American Series. Rebecca Solnit will edit the Best American Essays, Anthony Doerr will take on Short Stories, and Jonathan Lethem will edit Mystery Stories.

Jonathan Lethem is also on the list of authors from whom Sabra Embury has collected an autograph—and a drawing of a rabbit. “When I think of Lethem’s writing style, complexity and control both come to mind. A laid-back professionalism. Having said that, his rabbit with its perfect posture looks to me as though it would never suffer fools.” (New York Times)

Despite the National Book Foundation’s new translation prize and several translated titles making last year’s “best of” lists, data from Publishers Weekly suggests that 2018 was the second year in a row that saw a decline in the number new translations published in the U.S.

Tucked in the courtyard of a narrow London alley, the brick-and-mortar shop of the Internet-famous bookstore Second Shelf offers a shrine to rare books by women—and a place to pay the right price for them. (Vulture)  

“It took me a long time to overcome those fears and realize that in order for me to speak on behalf of women who are abused and oppressed, and to tell their stories—especially those women who are afraid to tell their own stories, because they’re ashamed, and because they feel like someone will come and retaliate, that I had to overcome that fear and tell this very authentic story.” Author Etaf Rum speaks to NPR about breaking a code of silence in her new novel, A Woman Is No Man.

Valentino designer Pierpaolo Piccioli has enlisted poets Greta Bellamacina, Yrsa Daley-Ward, Mustafa the Poet, and Robert Montgomery to interpret his ready-to-wear collection in a booklet of poems, On Love. (Vogue)

And Hemingway enthusiasts have decoded a three-page pictogram the writer received from his ambulance-driving buddies while hospitalized in 1918. The analysis includes bedbugs, a waxed mustache, and unfortunate experiments with mixed drinks. (Open Culture)