From the appointment of the first African American woman to the position of Librarian of Congress, to the Long List for the 2016 First Novel Prize, here are last week’s biggest literary stories:
The Senate approved Dr. Carla Hayden as the next Librarian of Congress. The position, originally a lifetime appointment, will be held by Hayden for ten years. This is a milestone appointment: in addition to being the first female appointee, Hayden is also the first black appointee. She will be the fourteenth librarian to hold the office. Hayden is currently the chief executive of Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library, and was previously the president of the American Library Association.
The Center for Fiction announced the long list for the 2016 First Novel Prize. The list includes twenty-five novels. The award is given annually to a first-time US novelist. Last year’s winner was Viet Thanh Nguyen, a contributor to our Summer 2016 issue. This long list will be submitted to a committee of well-regraded American authors who will then select a short list. The winning author gets a prize of $10,000. An excerpt of one of the long-listed novels, Alaskan Laundry by Brendan Jones, was previously published as a Ploughshares Solo.
Since its release last week, the augmented reality game Pokémon Go has caused quite a stir. The game brings the beloved franchise into the “real” world, using real-life locations as points of interest in the game and taking advantage of GPS technology to lead players on their search to “catch” Pokémon. Certain independent bookstores have been seeing an increase in traffic due to the game, and, in certain cases, an increase in sales. Booksellers Wild Detectives, Book Garden, Pandemonium Books, Bookbound, and Main Street Books are among those who have noticed significantly more foot traffic. Currently, there are over one-hundred “Poké Stops” located at bookstores across the United States.