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

Namwali Serpell. Photo: Peg Skorpinski

“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 received the lifetime achievement award. A ceremony will be held in Cleveland next October.

Fitzcarraldo Editions has won this year’s Republic of Consciousness Prize for Jean-Baptiste Del Amo’s Animalia, and will split the £10,000 award with the rest of the finalists, The Guardian reports.

On Rekindled, a web series that broadcasts conversations with authors whose book tours have been canceled, Roxanne Ortiz-Dunbar talks to Breanne Fahs about the false notion that anger is bad and her new anthology of feminist manifestos, Burn It Down. “At its root [anger] comes from a radical position of love, it comes from wanting something to be better, believing it could be better,” Fahs explained. “I think anyone who criticizes the US government for example, that doesn’t come from complacency that it can’t get better, it comes from knowing that it doesn’t have to be this way, and that infuriated feeling comes from outrage and knowing that it could be better. “

At Columbia Journalism Review, Maria Bustillos implores MSNBC and NBC to shut down 30 Rock and report remotely. By continuing to operate their studios normally, Bustillos argues that the company is confusing viewers about the importance of social distancing. “The lack of consistency at MSNBC is thus a failure of determination, of principle, of consistent and reliable service to the public interest,” she writes. “Broadcast undermines broadcast all day long, as the explicit message fails to conform to the implicit one. Six feet apart, or not? How are we to judge what we’re being shown?”

New York Times columnist Ben Smith argues that local newspapers, which were already struggling with declining ad revenue before the Covid-19 pandemic, need to follow the model of nonprofit newsrooms in order to survive. “The leaders trying to get the local news industry through this economic shock need to confront reality,” he writes. “Hundreds of devoted local journalists will be looking for jobs as soon as they can think about anything other than what the coronavirus is doing to local nursing homes and hospitals. We should be helping them, and paying for them, to build these new institutions, large and small.”