Round-Up: NEW YORKER Poem Controversy, PEN/Faulkner Award, and Rare Shakespeare First Folio

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From a New Yorker poem sparking widespread criticism to a newly discovered First Folio, here’s what went on last week in literary news:

  • Controversy arose last week around a poem by Calvin Trillin published in The New Yorker. The poem, titled “Have They Run Out of Provinces Yet?”, sparked criticism from several Asian American writers “who decried its seeming embrace of orientalist tropes (and prosodic shortcomings).” Trillin defended the poem to The Guardian claiming it “was simply a way of making fun of food-obsessed bourgeoisie.”
  • James Hannaham has been awarded the $15,000 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for his novel Delicious Foods. Ron Charles, forThe Washington Post, described the novel, which is Hannaham’s second book, as the story of an “African American boy who, despite losing his hands, tries to rescue his mother from a Southern produce farm where she’s kept in virtual slavery.” The ceremony for the PEN/Faulkner Award will take place next month.
  • A rare and previously unknown Shakespeare First Folio was discovered on a small Scottish island. The book, published posthumously in 1623, features thirty six plays, some of which were never published during his lifetime. The discovery of this book brings the number of known First Folios up to 234. The text has been examined by scholars who have determined it’s authenticity. 2016 marks the four-hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, making the timing of this discovery even more meaningful.