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On Books

Laurie Hertzel is senior editor for books at the Star Tribune, where she has worked since 1996.

Two of six Man Booker Prize finalists published by Minneapolis' Graywolf Press

Minneapolis publisher Graywolf Press is having a spectacular awards season. Two Graywolf poets were finalists for the prestigious Forward Prize, and this week, one of them--Danez Smith--won.  Poet Jenny Xie is on the National Book Award long-list for poetry for “Eye Level," and fiction writer Jamel Brinkley is on the National Book Award fiction list for his collection of stories, "A Lucky Man."

And this morning word comes of the Man Booker Short list--a list dominated by women writers. Two of them are published by Graywolf.

Daisy Johnson is on the list for her novel, "Everything Under." At 26, she is the youngest writer ever to be shortlisted for the prize. (Just as Danez Smith at 29 was the youngest writer ever to win the Forward Prize.)

Graywolf will move up publication of Johnson's novel from 2019 to next month.

"Milkman," by Anna Burns--to be published in fall 2019 by Graywolf--is also on the list.

Both Graywolf titles were originally published in the United Kingdom--"Everything Under" by Jonathan Cape, and "Milkman" by Faber & Faber.

The four other titles are: "The Mars Room," by Rachel Kushner; "Washington Black," by Esi Edugyan; "The Overstory," by Richard Powers; and "The Long Take," by Robin Robertson.

The winner will be announced in October in London.

Minneapolis poet Danez Smith wins prestigious Forward Prize in London


Danez Smith. Star Tribune file photo.

Danez Smith. Star Tribune file photo.


Twin Cities poet Danez Smith has won the prestigious Forward Prize for Best Collection, becoming at 29 the youngest poet ever to win. Smith, who is published by Minneapolis' Graywolf Press, was up against U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, also a Graywolf poet, and three others.

Smith's prize carries a 10,000 pound ($13,000) award.

Smith's book, "Don't Call Us Dead," was also a finalist for last year's National Book Award for poetry. And earlier this year, Smith won the inaugural Four Quartets Prize from the Poetry Society of America and the T.S. Eliot Foundation. That award, for "summer, somewhere," a sequence of poems from "Don't Call Us Dead," comes with a $20,000 prize. It is given annually for award is given annually for a unified and complete sequence of poems. 

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