The 2017 Whiting Award winners were announced tonight at a ceremony in Manhattan, and this year’s list of ten honorees includes Francisco Cantú (The Line Becomes a River), Simone Wright (Of Being Dispersed), Phillip B. Williams (Thief in the Interior), Kaitlyn Greenidge (We Love You, Charlie Freeman), Tony Tulathimutte (Private Citizens), Jen Beagin (Pretend I’m Dead), and Lisa Halliday (Asymmetry) as well as playwrights Clarence Coo, James Ijames, and Clare Barron. The award, which recognizes early-career writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama, comes with a $50,000 prize. Excerpts from each writer’s work can be read at The Paris Review.
A white male poet recently revealed his controversial strategy of using an Asian pseudonym to place his poems, which were eventually selected for inclusion in the Best American Poetry anthology for 2015. Brian Spears writes for The Rumpus about the complications of diversity in publishing, Affirmative Action, and the ethics of poetry submission systems.
A high school music teacher is trying his damnedest to establish an official state song for New Jersey, which is apparently the only state in America without its own anthem. If you’re curious, here’s a list of the 49 other states and their official, state-sanctioned musical accompaniments.
“I am sitting at the open window (at four a.m.) and breathing the lovely air of a spring morning. Life is still good, and it is worth living on a May morning – I assert that life is beautiful in spite of everything! … In a word, there are many thorns, but the roses are there too.” These excerpts from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s letters are just gorgeous.
Daniel Hahn reminds us that translators are vastly under appreciated. To help combat this, he created the TA First Translation prize, an award that will go to a translator for a book’s English-language debut. “There are many prizes in the book world, perhaps too many. But some exist not merely to reward one individual per year, but also to make a statement about what should be valued, and what we need more of. “
Well-Read Black Girl, a Brooklyn-based book club and online community celebrating “the uniqueness of Black literature & sisterhood,” has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund its inaugural writers’ conference and festival. Past WRBG book club guests include Year in Reading alums Jacqueline Woodson and Angela Flournoy, whom we also interviewed about her debut novel The Turner House.