From PEN to No Paper Needed: the Latest Literary News & (Bonus Video!) by Laurel Dowswell

PEN Literary Awards Shortlist Announced

The shortlist for the 2016 PEN Literary awards was announced this week. Authors in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, biography, and essays will be awarded more than $200,000. Most of the winners will be announced March 1st, except for a few including the Debut Fiction category, which will be revealed on April 11th at an awards ceremony at the New School in New York City.

Renée Watson and Tracey Baptiste on the Importance of Diversity in Literature

In a recent release, authors Renée Watson and Tracey Baptiste discuss how it is necessary to be able to see yourself in literature. In this short, yet important conversation produced and recorded by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Renée and Tracey talk about their unique perspectives and experiences. They end with an empowering call and response that really brings their message home.

BookUp Launches After School Reading Program for LGBTQ Youth

In collaboration with the Hetrick-Martin Institute in New York City and Lambda Literary, BookUp is launching a program taught by Cave Canem fellow tai freedom ford that will focus on the many contributions of LGBTQ authors. Students in the after school program will select books from curated lists, as well as their own picks, and take trips to historic sites and bookstores throughout the five boroughs.

Editions at Play Produces Interactive Books That Can’t Be Printed

In collaboration with Google’s Creative Lab at Sydney, the London publisher Visual Editions has released two interactive titles you can experience, but not print, through its series Editions at Play. One book, Entrances and Exits by Reif Larson, uses Google Street View to guide you through the multiple settings of the story. The Truth About Cats and Dogs by Joe Dunthorne and Sam Riviere is divided into each author’s chapters, and switches between poetry, diary entries, and other writings that is described on the site as a compilation in which there is “no right way to read the story.”

Bonus Video!

What is Literature for?

So, this is not news. But it’s fun!  This video from The School of Life explains their view on the purpose of literature through humor, and quite a lot of English charm. Speaking on the many benefits of reading, it offers books as “prescriptions for ailments” and how “we’re weirder than we’re allowed to admit.” Books are friends, healers, and so much more.


Laurel Dowswell is the Features Editor at Change Seven. Her short story “I Am the Eggman” was nominated for the 2016 Pushcart Prize. She was a copy editor for an independent feminist newspaper in Santa Fe, NM, after being raised and educated in Florida. She lives and writes in Georgia, just outside of Atlanta with her son. She is currently working on a novel filled with oil paintings, family drama, and the spectrum of sexuality. Her twitter username is @laurels_idea.

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