Black Country, the debut book of poetry by Liz Berry, won this year’s Forward prize for best first collection. At The Guardian, Ben Wilkinson writes about the ways in which the book “digs deep into the poet’s West Midlands roots, enlivening and reimagining the heritage of that eponymous heartland of iron foundries, coal mines and steel mills, on both personal and public footings.”
Luke Epplin examines the life and legacy of Stan “The Man” Musial, who died last week. In particular Epplin takes issue with how well-intentioned biographers have, over the years, “effectively turned Musial into a cardboard cutout, a bygone era’s one-dimensional paragon of constancy, stability, community fealty, and humility, devoid of the temperamental shadings that humanize public figures.”
Lit-mag Meanjin Quarterly is taking a cue from The Millions and kicking off a new series, The Best Australian Fiction of the 21st Century (so far).
Why is it okay to say “I’m working on a novel” but not okay to say “I’m working on my novel”? The former is a normal, straightforward, expression, while the latter smacks of arrogance and self-absorption. At Bookforum, Jesse Barron writes about the oddity of Working on My Novel, a collection of retweets (you read that correctly) of writers telling the world about their labors. It might also be a good time to read Dominic Smith on the number of novelists at work in America. (h/t Arts and Letters Daily)