Daily News from Poets & Writers

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Daily News in the Writing Community from Poets & Writers

Wylie Asks Authors to Unite Against Amazon, Gaiman and Palmer Celebrate Indie Bookstores, and More
Mon, 29 Sep 2014 15:26:13 +0000 -

Amazon and Perseus strike a new deal; Paul Theroux on the short story; Thomas Pynchon rumored to make an onscreen appearance; and other news.

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Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories:

Literary agent Andrew Wylie, whose client list bears some of the most well known names in literature, is asking his writers to join the group Authors United in its battle against Amazon. Among those who have agreed are heavyweights Philip Roth, Orhan Pamuk, Salman Rushdie, V. S. Naipaul, and Milan Kundera. “It’s very clear to me, and to those I represent, that what Amazon is doing is very detrimental to the publishing industry and the interests of authors,” Wylie told the New York Times. “If Amazon is not stopped, we are facing the end of literary culture in America.” As reported last week, Authors United intends to bring complaints against Amazon and its tactics against Hachette throughout the companies’ ongoing e-book pricing impasse to the Department of Justice, as early as this week. 

Meanwhile, Publishers Weekly reports that Amazon has reached a new deal with Perseus Book Group over e-book prices. The agreement will affect not only all of Perseus’s imprints, but the more than four hundred independent presses that use Constellation, the publisher’s e-book distribution service.

The American Booksellers Association has recruited author Neil Gaiman and his wife, musician Amanda Palmer, to serve as spokespeople for this year’s Indies First campaign, an initiative launched last year by Sherman Alexie that celebrates independent bookstores. As part of the event, which takes place on Saturday, November 29, authors will serve as volunteer sellers at their favorite indie shops across the country. (GalleyCat)

“You know when a novel’s done, but not so much with short stories. In fact, short stories [are] a venerable form, but it’s diabolically hard to master.” Author Paul Theroux, whose latest story collection, Mr. Bones, is released this week, talks to NPR about the short form.

Thomas Pynchon, the legendary and elusive novelist who rarely makes public appearances (and whose photo hasn’t been published in more than fifty years) might soon appear on the big screen. In the first authorized film adaptation of Pynchon’s work—Paul Thomas Anderson’s forthcoming Inherent Vice—the Gravity’s Rainbow and Mason & Dixon author could be making a cameo. (New York Times)

Last night at KGB Bar in New York City, PEN American Center hosted a reading with the five finalists for this year’s PEN/Bingham Prize, given annually for works of debut fiction. The finalists, whose readings can be heard in their entirety on the PEN website, include Anthony Marra, Saïd Sayrafiezadeh, Ian Stansel, Shawn Vestal, and Hanya Yanagihara. The winner will be announced tonight at the 2014 PEN Literary Awards ceremony.

To fight the Monday doldrums with a little literary prowess, a new Buzzfeed quiz asks, How well do you know the first lines of classic books?

Authors United Heads to DOJ, Banned Books That Kids Should Read, and More
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 15:12:18 +0000 -

Three small presses to start indie bookstore and beer shop; Sheryl Sandberg stars in comic book; a sneak preview of Murakami's forthcoming novella; and other news.

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This is all the info relevant to page 1 of the article.

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories:

In its latest move against Amazon, the group Authors United—led by best-selling thriller writer Douglas Preston—confirmed on Wednesday that it intends to contact the Department of Justice requesting an antitrust inquiry into Amazon’s tactics against publishers. Amazon has been embroiled in a months-long battle with Hachette Book Group over e-book prices, throughout which the e-retailer has removed pre-order buttons on select titles and delayed deliveries to customers. (Publishers Weekly)

In celebration of the thirty-second annual Banned Books Week, the Huffington Post has asked educators which banned books they teach their students and why. Check out more of the conversation on Twitter under the hashtag #TeachBannedBooks.

Meanwhile, the blog What Do We Do All Day? has rounded up eight banned books that kids should read, including Lois Lowry’s The Giver and Shel Silvertein’s A Light in the Attic.

In the latest installment of By the Book, the New York Times talks to science writer and linguist Steven Pinker—author of The Language Instinct, The Blank Slate, and, most recently, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century—who says he’s never gotten in trouble for reading a book, only for writing them.

NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour gets giddy about detective stories and forthcoming fall books.

Three small presses—Civil Coping Mechanisms, Broken River Books, and Lazy Fascist Press—are teaming up to start an independent bookstore and beer shop in Astoria, Oregon. (Electric Literature)

The Guardian is offering an exclusive sneak preview of Haruki Murakami’s forthcoming book, The Strange Library. The ninety-six-page illustrated novella will be published in December by Knopf.

Bluewater Productions has created a comic book profiling Lean In author and Facebook COO and Sheryl Sandberg. The new project is part of a series called Female Force, which has featured the stories of women such as Mother Teresa, Hillary Clinton, Tina Fey, and more. (GalleyCat)

Amtrak Residents Announced, David Mitchell's Advice for Writers, and More
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 14:47:06 +0000 -

New research explores poetry and memory; Shacochis wins Dayton Peace Prize for fiction; the first authorized book about Nick Drake; and other news.

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This is all the info relevant to page 1 of the article.

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories:

Amtrak has announced the recipients of its inaugural writers residency program. Twenty-four writers—running the gamut from poets and novelists to bloggers, biographers, journalists, and sports writers—were chosen from roughly 16,000 applicants. Over the next year, the winners will take their work to the rails, writing aboard long-distance trains all across the country. (NPR)

In other award news, Bob Shacochis has been named the winner of the 2014 Dayton Literary Peace Prize in fiction for his novel The Woman Who Lost Her Soul (Grove/Atlantic). In an announcement yesterday, the judges remarked that Shacochis “creates an intricate portrait of the catastrophic events that have led to an endless cycle of vengeance and war between cultures.” The $10,000 award is given annually for a works of fiction and nonfiction that promote peace and understanding of other cultures, peoples, religions, and political points of view. (Washington Post)

“I’ve read more dirty books than any man in New England.” In its continuing coverage honoring Banned Books Week, the New Republic has republished a 1930 essay about the man who was once responsible for censoring books in all of New England.

In October, Cambridge University will distribute a survey in the United Kingdom to find out which poems people have committed to memory and why. The researchers say they hope to find out “what poetry resides in our collective memory” and “how [those poems] might act as an emotional resource, contribute to a sense of identity, assist in the development of an ear for language, engender a sense of community, play a role in memories of a personal or communal past.” (The Poetry and Memory Project)

“Neglect everything else.” David Mitchell, whose latest novel, The Bone Clocks, was published this month by Random House, offers his advice on writing—including how to focus and stay present in the ever-distracting digital age—and discusses his own process, which involves keeping a James Wright poem on hand as a reminder of how to live in the moment. (Atlantic)

New research shows that 73 percent of young readers between the ages of 16 and 24 prefer print books over digital formats. (The Bookseller)

Little, Brown has announced that it will publish the first and only authorized book about late musician Nick Drake’s life and work. Remembered For A While, a book six years in the making, will include an introduction by Drake’s sister—who compiled and edited the book alongside Cally Callomon, the executor of Drake's estate—along with contributions from fellow musicians, critics, and friends. The book will be released on December 9, a date that marks the fortieth anniversary of Drake’s death. (Publishers Weekly)

Dallas High School Bans Books, the Problem with Sentimentality, and More
Wed, 24 Sep 2014 14:38:38 +0000 -

John Green campaigns for clean water in Ethiopia; J. R. R. Tolkein’s poem that inspired The Lord of the Rings; the inaugural Slate/Whiting Second Novel List; and other news.

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This is all the info relevant to page 1 of the article.

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories:

Banned Books Week is well under way, but the Highland Park school district in Dallas has temporarily removed seven books from its approved list for high school students, citing the books’ sexually explicit content. Jeannette Walls, whose memoir The Glass Castle was on the list of removed books, responded, “My book has ugly elements to it, but it’s about hope and resilience, and I don’t know why that wouldn’t be an important message. Sometimes you have to walk through the muck to get to the message.” Other books on the list include Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha, and John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines. (Dallas Morning News)

Meanwhile, John Green, author most recently of the young adult novel The Fault in Our Stars, has launched a campaign to raise $100,000 to help bring clean water to Ethiopia. Bill Gates agreed to match the campaign if it reached $100,000; it has already surpassed $130,000. (Time)

“Sentimentality is simply emotion shying away from its own full implications. Behind every sentimental narrative there’s the possibility of another one—more richly realized, more faithful to the fine grain and contradictions of human experience.” In this week’s installment of the New York Times Bookend series, writer Leslie Jamison and novelist Zoë Heller explore the risks and implications of sentimentality in literature.

On the subject of feelings, at the Rumpus, Cynthia-Marie Marmo O’Brien interviews M. E. Thomas, the author of the 2013 memoir Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight, about cognitive versus emotional empathy and the trickiness of writing a memoir that does not feel overtly manipulative.

Adam Mansbach, author of the popular children’s book for adults Go the F**k to Sleep, will release a sequel, You Have to F**king Eat, with Akashic Books in November. (Akashic Books)

Slate and the Whiting Foundation have teamed up to promote and honor “neglected second novels lingering on the shelf.” Slate will compile a list of second novels published in the last five years, Whiting Award–winners will vote to select the finalists, and then a panel of judges—Dan Kois, Yiyun Li, Sarah McNally, Sasha Weiss, and Colson Whitehead—will choose the top five, who will be honored at a celebration in December in New York City.

Susan Klebold, the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the two Columbine High School shooters, has sold her memoir to Crown Publishers. The profits from the book will be donated to charities focused on mental health issues. (Publishers Weekly)

At the Guardian, scholar John Garth discusses the poem J. R. R. Tolkien wrote one hundred years ago today that inspired his famous fantasy series The Lord of the Rings.

Nabokov's Ode to America, Amazon's New Crowd-Sourced Publishing Platform, and More
Tue, 23 Sep 2014 15:18:07 +0000 -

Banned Books Week continues; George Bernard Shaw's garden spade unearthed; the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association takes aim at Amazon; and other news.

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This is all the info relevant to page 1 of the article.

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories:

With the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week in full swing, NPR looks at one of the most banned books of the past two decades.

Meanwhile, the Huffington Post has created a series of infographics on the state of challenged books today—including which authors tend to be the most frequent targets of criticism and censorship.

“It is an America where language and event make a seamless web of wonders, terrors, revelations, and portents.” In honor of Banned Books Week, the New Republic has republished a 1957 review of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, a constantly banned and expurgated book that the reviewer—who was forced to use a censored excerpt in his original review—declared a work of genius and “a love affair with the real America.”

A previously unpublished poem by the late Ray Bradbury about Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw's garden spade—which the Fahrenheit 451 author, who died in 2012, once received as a Christmas gift—has been unearthed, and will be auctioned in Los Angeles this week alongside the spade. (Guardian)

“Lack of empathy was Thatcher’s fatal defect. Without it there is no shared humanity. Without regret there can be no contrition, there can only be an agenda which is prepared to sacrifice people for ideology.” The Millions interviews Hilary Mantel about her controversial new book, The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher.

Amazon has confirmed that it is developing a new crowd-sourced publishing platform. A spokesperson for the retailer says that the "reader-powered" platform will offer authors the chance to have their work reviewed by readers, and those with the highest ratings will be published by Amazon. (Publishers Weekly)

Meanwhile, at a conference in Arlington, Virginia, over the weekend, the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association took aim against the Internet giant, calling upon independent bookstores to be the antidote to Amazon’s influence over readers. Andrew Keen, author of The Internet is Not the Answer, accused the retailer of creating the “cult of the consumer,” and charged indie stores with the task of fighting back. “You need to see your stores as not only places where you can have signings, you need to be creative,” Keen said. “No one trusts anyone online. Your opportunity is to be trusted. You need to build on that trust, not just by selling books.” (Publishers Weekly)

The Lack of Diversity in the Publishing Industry, Banned Books Week Begins, and More
Mon, 22 Sep 2014 16:05:55 +0000 -

Penguin launches Cartoon Network imprint; speed-reading a novel; the trouble with writing; and other news.

Page 1
This is all the info relevant to page 1 of the article.

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories:

Publishers Weekly has released the results of its annual publishing industry salary survey, which this year included questions about the industry’s racial diversity. The survey found that 11.3 percent of publishing employees identified as people of color, and that 72 percent of people of color—versus 47 percent of whites—believe that the lack of diversity in senior-level management affects the lack of diversity in titles published.

Banned Books Week starts this week. The American Library Association has released a list of the most challenged books of 2013; the list is led by Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants, followed by Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, and Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Throughout the week libraries and bookstores will celebrate books that have faced censorship. (Los Angeles Times)

On the subject of banned books, cartoonist Jeff Smith, whose comic Bone was the tenth most challenged book of 2013, discusses with the Guardian the censorship of comics and graphic novels, arguing that the visual nature of comics, as well as the assumption that they are meant for children, makes them easy targets.

Meanwhile, Penguin Books for Young Readers will launch a Cartoon Network imprint in summer 2015. Cartoon Network will publish books associated with existing television series, and also test out ideas and art for new shows. (Publishers Weekly)

At the Guardian, journalist Rob Boffard relates his experience of reading Joshua Ferris’s novel To Rise Again at a Decent Hour in four hours and thirteen minutes, with the help of the speed-reading app Spritz. “Reading a novel on Spritz is like riding a unicycle from Shepherd’s Bush to Brick Lane. You can do it, but there are far more pleasant and logical ways to get there.”

In October, Vintage Books will release nine of Gabriel García Márquez’s translated works as e-books for the first time. Márquez, who passed away six months ago, had resisted giving up the e-book rights for his books. (New York Times)

The Atlantic reports that the number of kids reading a particular book spikes after it has been adapted into a movie.

“The trouble with writing is that it’s awfully like having baby after baby all by yourself.” At the Millions, Michelle Huneven talks about the trouble with writing, and how writers must constantly balance concentration with interruption and grandiosity with despair.

Provided courtesy of:
Poets & Writers, Inc.

Multimedia Items from Poets & Writers

If At First You Don't Succeed...
Thu, 06 Feb 2014 17:49:57 +0000 -

Miranda Beverly-Whittemore is one of three novelists, profiled by Emily Raboteau in "If At First You Don't Succeed" (March/April 2014), who persevered despite the commercial "failure" of early books. From the profile:

read more

How Food Writing Fed My Fiction
Mon, 20 May 2013 14:15:23 +0000 -
Associated Content

Join fiction writer, dessert blogger, and baker Aaron Hamburger at Whole Foods Market in New York City as he prepares his delicious limoncello cupcakes and talks about what the art of food writing has taught him about fiction writing. Watch via YouTube.

Junot Díaz Records Audio of His New Book, This Is How You Lose Her
Thu, 02 Aug 2012 04:00:00 +0000 -
Associated Content

Ever wonder how an audio book is created? Watch this exclusive video of Junot Díaz recording the opening lines of his short story collection, This Is How You Lose Her (Riverhead Books, 2012), which is featured in the Page One section of our September/October 2012 issue.

The Bard Behind the Bar
Sun, 01 Jan 2012 18:54:13 +0000 -
Associated Content

Join contributor Robert Hershon for a pint at McSorley's Old Ale House, where poet and head bartender Geoffrey Bartholomew has sold more than five thousand copies of his self-published collection, The McSorley's Poems, without the aid of a high-powered marketing department or special advertising and promotions. Watch via YouTube.

The Corner Library
Tue, 01 Nov 2011 14:12:13 +0000 -

Poets & Writers Magazine takes a look inside the Corner Library, a tiny book depository serving the community in Brooklyn, New York's Williamsburg neighborhood.

Behind the Scenes at a Poets & Writers Cover Shoot
Fri, 01 Jul 2011 13:15:49 +0000 -

Go behind the scenes at the photo shoot with the literary agents featured on the cover of our July/August issue to see how much time and energy goes into capturing the images published in Poets & Writers Magazine. Join the photographer, the art director, the managing editor, and the editor of the magazine in a SoHo loft as they work toward the perfect cover.

Writing Contest Advice
Sun, 01 May 2011 19:44:51 +0000 -

Watch Stephanie G'Schwind, Camille Rankine, Michael Collier, and Beth Harrison offer their advice for poets and writers interested in submitting their work to writing contests. G'Schwind, director of the Center for Literary Publishing; Collier, director of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference; Rankine, communications coordinator at Cave Canem Foundation; and Harrison, associate director of the Academy of American Poets, talked with editor Kevin Larimer as part of a roundtable interview published in the May/June 2011 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

The Future of Family-Friendly Residencies
Tue, 01 Mar 2011 14:28:07 +0000 -

Watch contributor Thomas Israel Hopkins—along with this wife, novelist Emily Barton, and their son, Tobias—discuss the impetus for writing "The Future of Family-Friendly Residencies." In the article, which appears in the March/April 2011 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine, Hopkins takes a look at the relatively small number of colonies that allow writers to bring children for their full stay and offers some suggestions for ways in which parent-writers and residency directors can work together to facilitate more programs that accommodate families.

Behind the Design of This Issue's Inspiring Cover
Sat, 01 Jan 2011 05:00:00 +0000 -
Associated Content

Watch editor Kevin Larimer's interview with illustrator Jim Tierney, who reveals his initial sketches and revisions of this issue's cover.

DIY: How to Coptic Bind a Chapbook
Mon, 01 Nov 2010 14:18:59 +0000 -
Associated Content

As a companion to Indie Innovators, a special section on groundbreaking presses and magazines, we demonstrate how to Coptic bind a chapbook. View the accompanying slideshow for information on formatting your book in Microsoft Word.