Round-Up: Writers Address the Next President, J.K. Rowlng’s New eBooks, and the New PEN/Nabokov Award

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From PEN America’s new award to a new Harry Potter ebook series, here are last week’s biggest literary headlines:

  • J.K. Rowling plans to release a series of ebooks further expanding the Harry Potter Universe. The ebooks, entitled “Pottermore Presents,” will include stories about Hogwarts characters Dolores Umbridge and Minerva McGonagall. The ebooks will be largely composed of pieces Rowling previously published on Pottermore, the devoted Harry Potter site, and will be available on Pottermore and various digital booksellers starting September 6.

  • This past week, PEN America announced a new literary award celebrating international authors in conjunction with the Vladimir Nabokov Literary Foundation. The $50,000 PEN/Nabokov award will aim to recognize international writers with “an outstanding body of work over a sustained career.” The award will consider writers working in poetry, fiction, non-fiction, or drama, who “evoke to some measure Nabokov’s brilliant versatility and commitment to literature as a search for the deepest truth and the highest pleasure.” An iteration of the prize previously existed, with a smaller prize and less of a focus on international writers, but was discontinued in 2008.

  • Last week, Poets & Writers asked a group of writers to pen short messages addressed to the next president. The prompt was as follows: “Imagine you are face-to-face with the next president—whoever that may be—and, in a few sentences, write about what you hope to see addressed in the next four years.” The fifty writers who participated, including Junot Díaz and Ploughshares guest editor Rita Dove, touched on issues like the environment, immigration, gun control, and racism. Poets & Writers stated that, in creating the prompt, their aim was to generate “if not solutions, then at least some honest ideas that may inspire action of real, lasting value.”