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Book workers declare solidarity with Amazon workers in Alabama; National Book Critics Circle Award winners announced

Dr. Nicole R. Fleetwood. Photo: Rutgers University

Workers from two dozen publishers including 7 Stories Press, Archipelago Books, and Haymarket, along with employees at multiple bookstores and literary agencies, have declared solidarity today with Amazon workers organizing a union drive in Bessemer, Alabama. “We in the book industry talk a lot about Amazon as a troublesome but insurmountable inconvenience while decrying its adverse effects on independent publishing and bookselling,” said Daley Farr, a publicist at Coffee House Press. “But to truly transform our work and our industry in the ways we say we want to, we have to confront Amazon, not just as competition, but as a dangerous monopoly built on the abuse of the workers.”

The National Book Critics Circle Awards were announced in a ceremony last night. Dr. Nicole R. Fleetwood won the criticism category for Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration, Maggie O’Farrell won in fiction for her novel Hamnet, and Raven Leilani was awarded the John Leonard Prize for Luster. Read about all the honorees from the New York Times’s Alexandra Alter.

From noon to 5 PM EST today, MoMA PS1 and Rutgers University Carceral Studies Working Group will host Abolitionist Imaginaries, a virtual symposium accompanying “Marking Time,” the exhibition that Fleetwood curated. Panelists and speakers will include Fleetwood, Mariame Kaba, Jackie Wang, and others.

At the Northwestern University Press blog, Mathias Nilges, author of How to Read a Moment: The American Novel and the Crisis of the Present, considers the rise of “presentism” in art and novels: “Does the term contemporary novel finally designate a specific moment in time for the novel, the moment when contemporaneity becomes the novel’s defining aesthetic problem as well as its ultimate point of exhaustion?”

At the Creative Independent, T. Cole Rachel interviews poet Ada Limón about switching genres, trusting an increasingly unpredictable writing process, and her experiences working with editors, including the one in her own head: “the rudest editor is the one that you encounter before a pen even touches the page, right? The one in your mind that says, ‘No, you can’t write about that.’”

Tonight at 7 PM EST, Joseph Lee, Emily Lee Luan, Sarah Mathews, and Emperatriz Ung—the 2020 Margins Fellows of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop—will read work with their mentors Susan Choi, Mitchell S. Jackson, Carmen Maria Machado, and Wendy Xu.