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Dylan Thomas Prize shortlist announced; Annie Ernaux on being alone

Annie Ernaux

The shortlist for the 2020 Dylan Thomas Prize was announced yesterday. Nominees include Bryan Washington’s Lot, Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, and Téa Obreht’s Inland. The winner will be announced in May.

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded $22 million in grants. Funded projects include a dictionary of Choctaw dialects, a documentary about public libraries, and a study of responses to the 1918 influenza epidemic in Europe.

The Pulitzer Prize Board has postponed the announcement of this year’s winners. Administrator Dana Canedy explained the decision in a press release. “The Pulitzer board includes many high-level journalists who are on the frontlines of informing the public on the quickly evolving Coronavirus pandemic. As they focus on this critical mission, this postponement will provide additional time to thoroughly evaluate the 2020 Pulitzer finalists.” The awards will now be announced in early May.

At Literary Hub, Emily Temple reflects on how the coronavirus pandemic will affect novels.

For the New York Times, Laura Cappelle profiles French writer Annie Ernaux, whose memoir A Girl’s Story was published by Seven Stories Press yesterday. Ernaux wrote her first book Cleaned Out in secret while pretending to work on a Ph.D. thesis. After the book was published, her husband—who had teased her for trying to write—was upset. “He told me: If you’re capable of writing a book in secret, then you’re capable of cheating on me,” she remembered. The couple later divorced, and Ernaux chose to never marry again. “I lived with men for periods of time, but very quickly, I would get tired of it. I’m picturing being on lockdown with someone right now — what a nightmare.”