• Namwali Serpell. Photo: Peg Skorpinski
    March 31, 2020

    Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards winners announced; Breanne Fahs on anger and love

    “Bookstores are the kind of lifelines that often go unnoticed, are underestimated, are underutilized. We serve ideas and people. Ideas and people. We are so much more than just commerce,” writes Lucy Kogler. “And that is why once this crisis is contained, over, something… we will—with the help of the government—be able to rebound.”

    The winners of this year’s Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards were announced yesterday. Namwali Serpell’s The Old Drift won the fiction prize, Charles King’s Gods of the Upper Air won the nonfiction prize, Ilya Kaminsky’s Deaf Republic won the poetry prize, and Eric Foner

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  • Powell’s Books. Photo: Wikicommons / Cacophony
    March 30, 2020

    Powell’s Books rehires 100 employees; Ron Charles recommends new books for “life under lockdown”

    On Friday, Powell’s Books, which laid off most of its workers earlier this month, has rehired more than one hundred employees to help meet the demands created by an upsurge in online book sales.

    Meg LaBorde Kuehn, the CEO of Kirkus Media, has written an open letter announcing that digital subscriptions to Kirkus magazine are now free. “Our mandate, now and always, is simple: help our community of book lovers discover the best new reads and stay ahead of the curve.”

    As bookstores close, authors cancel book tours, conferences get delayed (Book Expo America), or canceled (the American Library

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  • Jordan Kisner. Photo: Ebru Yildiz
    March 27, 2020

    Jerry Saltz on channeling stress into creativity; Jordan Kisner’s reading list

    How to Be an Artist author Jerry Saltz explains how to channel stress into creativity. “Never, ever think about creating something good. Good is boring,” he told the New York Times’s Elisabeth Egan. “Ninety-five percent of what I write is crapola and I just cut it to find the 5 percent that might be worth putting out into the world. You have to open up and pursue that kind of radical vulnerability.”

    Thirty thousand people have joined Patreon as creators in the last three weeks.

    Jordan Kisner shares what she’s reading during quarantine. “My reading list is filled, for the moment, with books

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  • Emily St. John Mandel. Photo: Sarah Shatz
    March 26, 2020

    Whiting Award winners announced; Emily St. John Mandel on her new book

    The 2020 Whiting Award winners were announced yesterday. Andrea Lawlor, Ling Ma, and Genevieve Sly Crane won for fiction, while Jacquira Díaz and Jia Tolentino won for nonfiction.

    On the Reading Women podcast, Kendra Winchester talks to Emily St. John Mandel about ghost stories, crime fiction, and her new book, The Glass Hotel. Mandel originally set out to write a novel based on the crimes of Bernie Madoff, but the narrative shifted as she wrote. “When I sent an early draft of this novel to my agent a couple of years ago, one of the questions for her was, ‘Are there too many ghosts?’ Because

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  • Cameron Esposito. Photo: Robyn Von Swank
    March 25, 2020

    Slavoj Žižek announces new book; Cameron Esposito’s queer staycation reading list

    The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post have signed an open letter to the Chinese government asking them to reconsider their decision to remove American journalists. “This move — made in retaliation for recent expulsions by the United States government — is one that we would protest under any circumstances,” they wrote. “But it is uniquely damaging and reckless as the world continues the struggle to control this disease, a struggle that will require the free flow of reliable news and information.”

    The White House Correspondents’ Association has enacted strict social

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  • Valeria Luiselli. Photo: Diego Berruecos/Gatopardo
    March 24, 2020

    Valeria Luiselli wins Rathbones Folio Prize; Beowolf Sheehan starts “An Author a Day”

    Valeria Luiselli’s Lost Children Archive has won the Rathbones Folio Prize. The Guardian notes that Luiselli is the first women to win the prize in its seven-year history. The awards ceremony was canceled but the prize was presented online via Twitter.

    Bloomsbury has bought the rights to David Byrne and Maira Kalman’s American Utopia. Based on Byrne’s Broadway show of the same name, the book will be published next September.

    T Kira Madden’s Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls is being adapted into a movie, Deadline reports. “T Kira’s story is a lesson in radical self-acceptance, an

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  • Barbara Ehrenreich. Photo: Stephen Voss
    March 23, 2020

    Jia Tolentino Talks with Barbara Ehrenreich About Class, the Environment, and Hope

    At the New Yorker, author Jia Tolentino (Trick Mirror) talks with Barbara Ehrenreich (Nickel and Dimed) about class inequality in the US, the New York Times’ reporting of the 2008 financial crisis, good versus bad solidarity, the coronavirus, environmental collapse, and the author’s (guarded) hope for the future.

    James Fallows, a longtime contributor to The Atlantic and the author of Our Towns and China Airborne, has started a list of writers and people in the media who have called on news outlets to “please stop live coverage” of Trump’s “briefings,” which are “49% misinformation and evasion

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  • Namwali Serpell. Photo: Peg Skorpinski
    March 20, 2020

    Windham Campbell Prize recipients announced; How coronavirus is affecting alt-weeklies

    The recipients of this year’s Windham Campbell Prizes were announced yesterday. Winners include Yiyun Li, Namwali Serpell, and Anne Boyer.

    Lucie Elven has sold a new book to Soft Skull. The Weak Spot “follows an unnamed narrator’s arrival in a remote European town to apprentice under the enigmatic man who runs the town’s pharmacy, and examines ideas about narrative, language, power, prescriptions, cures, and women’s bodies.”

    For The Ringer, Jane Hu explains why Ling Ma’s 2018 novel Severance speaks to our current moment.

    NiemanLab looks at how coronavirus and social distancing is affecting

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  • Merve Emre. Photo: Christian Nakarado
    March 19, 2020

    Merve Emre sells new book; How debut authors and independent booksellers are coping with coronavirus

    The Personality Brokers author Merve Emre has sold a new book. Doubleday has bought the rights to Woman: The History of an Idea, which details “a history of womanhood as it’s been defined by literature, philosophy, science, and culture across the ages.”

    Min Jin Lee, Kiley Reid, Victor LaValle and more discuss the books they turn to for comfort.

    Hilary Leichter, Celia Laskey, Emily Nemens, and other debut authors are exploring new ways to promote their books at a time when book tours and in-person interviews are impossible.

    Independent bookstore owners talk to the New York Times about the

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  • Sloane Crosley. Photo: Laurel Golio
    March 18, 2020

    Rick Atkinson wins New-York Historical Society prize; Sloane Crosley on writing during an emergency

    Rick Atkinson’s The British Are Coming has won the New-York Historical Society’s Barbara and David Zalaznick Book Prize.

    New York’s McNally Jackson bookstores have temporarily laid off almost eighty employees. Staff will be paid through the week and receive health care for the rest of the month.

    Literary Hub has published its first list of ways to support independent publishers and booksellers.

    At the Washington Post, Paul Farhi and Sarah Ellison examine Fox News’s changing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Sloane Crosley reflects on the impulse to write during emergencies and tragedy.

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  • Trisha Low. Photo: Kari Orvik
    March 17, 2020

    Believer Book Award winners announced; PEN World Voices Festival cancelled

    “These stories we make, these books we read… What do they amount to in the presence of suffering?” asks Literary Hub editor in chief Johnny Diamond. “The answer has always been the same, in good times and in bad: books are how we bear witness to life, even as they divert us from its darkest days.” The website plans to point readers to ways to support independent bookstores and authors, and is also offering personalized book recommendations.

    PEN America has cancelled this year’s World Voices Festival due to COVID-19, which was supposed to take place in early May. The organization plans to

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  • Carlos Lozada. Photo: Bill O’Leary
    March 16, 2020

    Carlos Lozada makes book recommendations for ‘Trying Times’

    Mark Sarvas, author of the novel Memento Park, is launching the Decameron Reading Series, a website that will feature video and audio recordings of authors reading their work. He’s starting it for “friends whose bookstore events have been canceled,” but if the site is successful, he says he will “gladly do the same for any writers who have canceled tours.” Sarvas adds: “It’s a safe way to help get the word out for these worthy titles, and gives us all something literary and fun to do while we are cooped up at home. If you have a book and a canceled tour or appearance, please feel free to message

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