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Lemn Sissay wins PEN Pinter prize; Namwali Serpell on her new novel

Namwali Serpell. Photo: Peg Korpinski

This year’s PEN Pinter prize has been awarded to playwright and poet Lemn Sissay. “I met Harold Pinter when I was 36. We were on stage at the Royal Court,” Sissay said in the announcement. “I was too intimidated or self-conscious to speak to him. And so I will now. ‘Thank you.’” Sissay will receive the prize at a ceremony in October.

In a Twitter thread, the BuzzFeed News Union says that the company is dragging its feet on recognizing the union. “BuzzFeed’s management is proposing a bargaining unit that unfairly disenfranchises many of our colleagues and weakens our union,” they write. “We won’t stop fighting to create a strong union that reflects our newsroom.

“At the moment, I’m deeply frustrated with The Old Drift,” Namwali Serpell tells The Millions about her recently-published novel. “I’m on tour and when I give readings, I find myself editing as I speak, mostly to clear out unnecessary words or repetitions. But to be a bit more generous to myself, I’m often interested in threads that connect the younger Namwali (who started this novel in the year 2000) to the Namwali I am now. I am both surprised and taken by how instinctively feminist I am as a writer.”

Bustle has reading suggestions for anyone who has finished the second season of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag and is waiting for the writer’s next project.

On the ninety-fifth anniversary of Franz Kafka’s death, Literary Hub’s Emily Temple collects “a Kafkaesque list of things described as Kafkaesque,” including Comcast’s customer service, the New York City subway, and Ikea.