Big Prizes, a Bicycling Librarian, & More: Weekly Lit News Round-Up by Laurel Dowswell

Shortlist for 2016 Nigerian Prize for Literature Announced

The selection of the eleven novelists competing for the 2016 Nigerian Prize for Literature has been released. There is a strong presence of female writers on the list, including Chika Unigwe, the 2012 winner, and Ogochukwu Promise, a previous two-time nominee. Congrats and good luck to all of the contenders!

Bringing Books to the Street

Street Books, a program founded by Oregon professor Laura Moulton, is bringing literature via a bicycle-powered mobile library to the community in Portland. Serving people who live outside, the program has already served over 5,000 patrons since its inception. Watch the recently published video below for an overview of this valuable program.


Science and Literature Collide in Potsdam

Addressing climate change through literature, author Karen Duve presented her novel, Power, at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research for the pre-opening of this year’s LIT: Potsdam held July 7th-10th. The fourth annual festival highlighted the coupling of science and literature this year, along with subjects such as justice, migration, and violence.

Sharon Dodua Oto Wins Major German Lit Prize

Sharon Dodua Oto has won the €25,000 ($28,000) Ingeborg Bachmann prize for her short story, “Mr. Gröttrup Sits Down.” Oto, a self-described “Black British mother, activist, author, and editor,” won the prize with a surrealist story addressing identity that is centered on a famous German scientist, and is partially written from the perspective of an egg. Sounds fascinating, yes? She moved to the country in 2006 and has previously published two novellas. Congratulations, Sharon Dodua Oto!

Free Books for Kids Via Vending Machines

The airline JetBlue is offering free books to kids in book deserts in Chicago, and for the second year in the Anacostia community in Washington, D.C., with vending machines. Their program, part of the company’s Soar With Reading initiative, allows children to pick as many books as they like from the machines to help establish their own collection at home and seeks to help prevent summer learning loss when they’re out of school. Go JetBlue!

Follow-up to the Palestine Festival of Literature

As an addendum to our news highlight of the Palestine Festival of Literature back in May, writer Laila Lalami penned a recent article in The Nation about her experience and her thoughts on privilege. Read her moving story here.

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. Follow her on twitter @laurels_idea.

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