Writers on Anti-Black Racism, 2020 Lammys Announced, 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.

“Black Americans are constantly stepping into the toil and terror and trauma of other Black Americans. Black Americans are constantly stepping into the souls of the dead. Because they know: They could have been them; they are them. Because they know it is dangerous to be Black in America, because racist Americans see Blacks as dangerous.” Writer Ibram X. Kendi on what it means to be Black and conscious of anti-Black racism. (Atlantic)

Writer and poet Clint Smith reflects on the Movement for Black Lives, and shares how becoming a parent has informed his activism. “Our children have raised the stakes of this fight, while also shifting the calculus of how we move within it.” (Atlantic)

The winners of the thirty-second annual Lambda Literary Awards were announced online this morning. The winning titles include Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn, Lot by Bryan Washington, Exquisite Mariposa by Fiona Alison Duncan, Little Blue Encyclopedia (for Vivian) by Hazel Jane Plante, & more black by t’ai freedom ford, Slingshot by Cyrée Jarelle Johnson, Pet Sounds by Stephanie Young, and HULL by Xandria Phillips. In addition to announcing the winners of the juried categories, Lambda Literary celebrated this year’s special honor recipients: Jane Wagner, Jericho Brown, and Brian Lam. 

“The same patterns of certain whites acting to destroy Black lives with carte blanche endured even as the pandemic took an axe to the financial and bodily well-being of people of color around the country.” Aaron Robertson writes about Black pessimism and the enduring violence against Black people in America. (Literary Hub)

Three agents resigned from the Saint Paul-based boutique agency Red Sofa Literary after owner Dawn Frederick posted a tweet stating she would be calling the police on nearby rioters. Users quickly pointed out that alerting police would only further endanger protestors, especially Black protestors, who have been demonstrating against police brutality in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. Frederick has since issued an apology for her actions. (Publishers Weekly)

Uncle Hugo’s, an independent science fiction and fantasy bookstore founded in Minneapolis in 1974, burned down during the riots. The fire also destroyed Uncle Edgar’s, a mystery bookstore that was housed in the same building. (Locus)

Rebecca Solnit examines how toxic masculinity has exacerbated the damages of the pandemic. She calls out the men who refuse to wear masks and who continue to shift the responsibility of caregiving onto women. “This is a definition of masculinity as radical selfishness.” (Literary Hub)

“I think of ourselves right now as having been very fortunate.” Emily Powell, the owner of Powell’s Books, talks to the New York Times about weathering the pandemic

Electric Literature highlights twenty new and forthcoming books by Asian American writers

And the Daily Shout-Out goes to the Brooklyn Public Library for its upcoming event, The King Lear Project, which seeks to engage older adults and their caregivers. On June 11, a reading of the play will be followed by a discussion about “the challenges of aging, dementia, and caring for friends and loved ones.”