Louise Glück, Gayl Jones, and recordings from KyWomenWriters2020

October 30, 2020
Do not let the news avalanche of our time overshadow the thrilling fact that Louise Glück has won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature! Author of 13 collections of poetry and U.S. Poet Laureate in 2003–4, Glück is the first American woman writer to win the Nobel Prize since Toni Morrison in 1993. This is news that keeps on giving, as I make my way through these collections. In “October” Glück writes,
This is the light of autumn; it has turned on us.
Surely it is a privilege to approach the end
still believing in something.
Canadian Alice Munro won the Nobel in 2013, and I remember writing here that we would never feature Munro at our event because she doesn’t do writers conferences. Of Louise Glück I am proud to report that she was our keynote speaker in 2005 when I was president of our Board of Directors. She read with a young poet, Dana Levin, whose manuscript she had chosen for a literary prize. Here is a marvelous appreciation of Glück by Levin, who talks about “joyscrolling” in the days after the award was announced and how Glück taught her never to be complacent in her work.
Another astounding piece of news that you may have missed is that legendary Lexington author Gayl Jones has written a new novel, Palmares, after not publishing anything since Mosquito in 1999. Palmares was apparently slated for September 2020, prompting Atlantic Magazine to publish this fascinating preview and career retrospective. Set in the 17th century:
Palmares centers on the reenslavement of the last settlement of free Blacks in Brazil—and is told from the point of view of Almeyda, a young girl who has learned to read with the help of a local Catholic priest named Father Tollinare, though he tries to limit the books available to her. The novel has a García Márquezean pace . . . [b]ut where García Márquez writes of generals and doctors, Jones tells of slaves and whores.
After the Atlantic piece appeared, Jones’s publisher announced that the book had been postponed until September 2021. Such intrigue!
In an era when so many writers have their own podcasts, I’d like to call attention to one by 2015 past presenter Meghan Daum. Sharing a title with her most recent essay collection, The Unspeakable, the podcast picks up where that contrarian collection left off, a card-carrying Liberal questioning the pieties of the Left amid so-called cancel culture.
Finally, to round out these offerings, we are ready to share recordings from two of KyWomenWriters2020's public events:

Whereas the Evie Shockley reading that we previously shared expired on October 1 according to her wishes, since it included works in progress, these links do not expire. As the days get shorter and the pandemic gets stronger, our spirits are in peril. I know I am feeling it. I hope these resources will provide you with a lift!