Daily News from Poets & Writers

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Daily News in the Writing Community from Poets & Writers

In Defense of Clichés, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Revisited, and More
Fri, 17 Oct 2014 15:48:28 +0000 -

Famous writers compose an Exquisite Corpse; a tourist is accidentally locked inside a London bookstore; an essay on taboos and creativity; 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:

Pittsburgh’s City of Asylum, an organization that provides literary programs and sanctuary for exiled and endangered writers, will celebrate its tenth anniversary tomorrow evening. The celebration will honor five exiled writers: Huang Xiang, Horacio Castellanos Moya, Khet Mar, Israel Centeno, and Yaghoub Yadali. Admission is free and open to the public.

Over at the Guardian, Orin Hargraves makes a case for clichés, noting their useful functions in language by “provid[ing] a stock of dependable formulas for conveying the ordinary.” Now isn’t that a fine kettle of fish!

Harry L. Katz, author of the new book Mark Twain’s America, lists his picks for the ten best Mark Twain books that reveal the writer’s singular character. (Publishers Weekly)

“The stories are gory, disgusting, psychologically complex, and frequently violent, with just enough humor to keep you turning the page.” Fiction writers Matt Bell and Anne Valente revisit Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, the famed 1981 book—and its two sequels—written by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated by Stephen Gammell. “All of these stories create a deeply unsettling mood and tone, and all of them push our understanding of the world further off kilter.” (Electric Literature)

Book jacket designer Peter Mendelsun discusses his process with NPR. Mendelsun has designed between six hundred and one thousand book covers. “I think of a book jacket as being sort of like a visual reminder of the book, but…it's also a souvenir of the reading experience. Reading takes place in this nebulous kind of realm, and in a way, the jacket is part of the thing that you bring back from that experience. It's the thing that you hold on to.”

Read an original “Exquisite Corpse” story composed by fifteen renowned authors at T Magazine. The Exquisite Corpse is a collaborative story creation technique invented by the French Surrealists around 1918.

“[T]aboos and censorship encourage creativity, of a kind. But what happens if the main obstacles to free and direct expression fall away?” Read Tim Parks’s essay on the current state of fiction and creativity in a society where nothing is hidden, and where taboos have all but disappeared. (New York Review of Books)

U.S. tourist David Willis was accidentally locked inside London’s Waterstones bookstore in Trafalger Sqaure last night. When Willis was unable to contact security personnel, he took to social media. Willis tweeted for help, and was finally released after two hours. There are worse places to be locked inside, right? (Guardian)

Elmore Leonard’s Archives Go South, McSweeney’s to Become a Nonprofit, and More
Thu, 16 Oct 2014 15:50:08 +0000 -

John Grisham’s controversial comments on child pornography; a new film based on the story that inspired Moby-Dick; “Yoga for Writers”; 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:

During an interview with the Telegraph about his new legal thriller, best-selling crime author John Grisham made controversial statements regarding the U.S. judicial system’s “too harsh” sentencing policies of those who view child pornography. The comments come on the heels of best-selling author Kirk Nesset’s recent arrest for possession of child pornography. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

San Francisco independent press McSweeney’s will become a nonprofit publishing house within a year. McSweeney’s was founded in 1998 by Dave Eggers, and publishes books, the monthly magazine the Believer, and the literary journal McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern. (SF Gate)

Adobe Digital Editions has come under scrutiny for recent data breaches. The widely-used reading app has been collecting reader information and sending it back to Adobe. The American Library Association has responded to the data breaches stating that they are working with Adobe to correct the issue by next week. (Melville House)

Late crime novelist Elmore Leonard, also known as the “Dickens of Detroit,” chose just before his death last year to house his archives at the University of South Carolina instead of the Motor City. The decision was made after Leonard visited the campus, which houses the manuscripts of writers such as Ernest Hemingway and George V. Higgins. Leonard’s collection, which is expected to be accessible within eighteen months, will include over four-hundred fifty manuscript drafts, along with typewriters, scrapbooks, and other ephemera from the writer’s career. (NPR)

John Keats, William Wordsworth, and Charles Lamb meet for dinner in poet Stanley Plumly’s new book, The Immortal Evening. Michael Dirda describes the book as “wide-ranging, digressive, lyrical, [and] meditative” in a review at the Washington Post.

Actor and Choose Your Own Autobiography author Neil Patrick Harris talks to the New York Times about Gone Girl, Steve Martin, and the books that make him laugh and cry.

Moby-Dick fans: The trailer is here for the new Ron Howard film, In the Heart of the Sea. The movie is based on the eponymous nonfiction book by Nathaniel Philbrick, which tells the real tale of the whaleship Essex—the vessel that inspired the Pequod and its voyage in Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. Philbrick’s work won the National Book Award in 2000. (Wall Street Journal)

“Pose before prose!” Electric Literature has created a fun infographic of yoga poses for writers. Now you can de-stress with poses like the “Plot Twist,” the “Extended Metaphor,” and the “Hiding From Student Emails—aka The Adjunct."

National Book Award Shortlists Announced, Amazon to Open Pop-Up Shops, and More
Wed, 15 Oct 2014 16:44:52 +0000 -

Politics & Prose replaces Barnes & Noble as official National Book Festival bookseller; new Berryman volume and reissues released; Carlos Lozada named nonfiction book critic at the Washington Post; 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:

Australian novelist Richard Flanagan received the 2014 Man Booker Prize for fiction yesterday. Chairman of the judges A. C. Grayling called Flanagan’s book, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, a “magnificent novel of love and war.” Flanagan is the third Australian to win the award. (Publishers Weekly)

In other award news, the finalists for the 2014 National Book Award were announced this morning on NPR’s Morning Edition. Read about each of the finalists in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people’s literature on the Grants & Awards Blog.

Washington D.C’s iconic independent bookstore, Politics and Prose, replaced Barnes & Noble as the official bookseller at the annual Library of Congress National Book Festival last weekend. At the Los Angeles Review of Books, Lauren Hodges explores the store’s thirty-year history.

To mark the centennial of poet John Berryman’s birth, Farrar, Straus and Giroux will reissue three of his books: 77 Dream Songs, Berryman’s Sonnets, and The Dream Songs. In addition to the reissues, the publisher has released a new volume titled The Heart Is Strange: New Selected Poems. (New York Times)

British author John Grindrod, whose book Concretopia tells the “story of the postwar rebuilding of Britain,” lists his top ten favorite books about Britain’s modernist architectural movement. (Guardian)

Amazon has confirmed plans to open two brick-and-mortar pop-up stores in San Francisco and Sacramento, as well as a large outlet in New York City, just in time for the holidays. (GalleyCat)

Carlos Lozada has been named the nonfiction book critic at the Washington Post. In his new role, Lozada—who currently serves as the editor of the newspaper’s “Outlook” section—will write weekly reviews, covering both nonfiction books and long-form nonfiction.

Man Booker Finalists on Inspiration, the Case for Nonfiction, and More
Tue, 14 Oct 2014 15:23:38 +0000 -

The books of eight writers banned in China; Diversity in Children's Books Week kicks off; a new movie explores the lives of Max Perkins and Thomas Wolfe; 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:

The winner of the 2014 Man Booker Prize will be announced today. This is first year that American writers are eligible for the prestigious British award for fiction, and U.S. authors Karen Joy Fowler and Joshua Ferris are among the six short-listed finalists. The announcement will be made this evening at 5:30 pm eastern time; tune in to the G&A Blog to find out who takes the prize—and in the meantime, the Guardian talks with all six finalists about the stories behind each of their short-listed books. 

With last week’s Nobel Prize in Literature announcement having come and gone, the New Yorker’s Philip Gourevitch makes a case for nonfiction, arguing that the historically overlooked genre deserves a Nobel.

In an effort to increase pressure on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters, Chinese authorities have detained one scholar and banned the books of eight writers. In addition to the poet Wang Zang, who was detained last week, the blacklist includes Taiwanese writer and film director Giddens Ko and Chinese-American historian Yu Ying-shih, among others. The Communist Party publication Global Times defended the ban in an op-ed yesterday: “If these advocators of political dissident culture define themselves as reformers, they should take responsibility for maintaining mainstream politics, not jeopardizing the country’s solidarity. If they insist on prioritizing opposing political ideas, they must prepare for pushback from society, which will be unpleasant in most cases.” (NPR)

Girls star and creator Lena Dunham’s highly anticipated essay collection, Not That Kind of Girl, released September 30, has sold roughly 38,000 print copies in its first week on sale, according to Nielson BookScan. The book has made news since 2012, when Dunham inked a $3.5 million advance from Random House for the collection. (Publishers Weekly)

The Guardian launched its “Diversity in Children’s Books Week” yesterday, starting with a list of the fifty best culturally diverse children’s books published from 1950 to the present day. Visit the Guardian website for the complete lineup of essays, interviews, readings, and excerpts that will be posted throughout the week.

The annual New York Comic Con, which packed Manhattan’s Javits Center over the weekend, was reportedly the largest U.S. Comic Con ever, bringing in over 150,000 people. (Publishers Weekly)

An upcoming film will explore the relationship between Thomas Wolfe and legendary Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins, a pair that “developed a tender, complex friendship that changed the lives of both men forever.” Genius, directed by British theater director Michael Grandage, will be based on A. Scott Berg’s biography of Perkins, Editor of Genius. Wolfe will be played by Jude Law, and Colin Firth will take on the role of Perkins. (Melville House)

The Politics of the Lyric Poem, the World’s Weirdest Bookshops, and More
Fri, 10 Oct 2014 16:12:48 +0000 -

Rushdie shares PEN Pinter Award with imprisoned Syrian activist; Nobel Prize winner Patrick Modiano and his work; little-known punctuation marks; 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:

“It always surprises me when people say that the realm of the lyric is the personal and the personal is not political. I just don’t know how we can get to 2014 and say that with a straight face. When you think of a poet like Yeats, how can you say politics is not in the poem? When you think of Milosz, how can you say politics is not in the poem?” At the Los Angeles Times, poet Claudia Rankine discusses her latest collection, Citizen, and her recent visit to Ferguson, Missouri.

Meanwhile, in response to Jordanian-British poet Amjad Nasser being denied entry into the United States, PEN American Center and Split This Rock have issued a public letter to Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security, entreating the department to review the case. On September 27, a homeland security agent at London Heathrow Airport detained Nasser—who was planning to give a reading at New York University—for two hours and then denied him entry into the country with no explanation. (Washington Post)

In more political news, author Salman Rushdie, winner of the 2014 PEN Pinter Award, awarded by English PEN for lifetime achievement, has chosen to share the prize with Syrian activist Mazen Darwish. Darwish, a journalist and lawyer, is currently imprisoned for “publicizing terrorist acts” through his organization that documents human rights abuses in Syria. Every year the winner of the PEN Pinter Prize selects a fellow writer “who is active in defense of freedom of expression often at great risk to their own safety” to share the prize. (Guardian)

Following the announcement yesterday of Patrick Modiano as the 2014 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, the Wall Street Journal speaks with the Swedish Academy’s Permanent Secretary Peter Englund about the award. Englund praises Modiano’s novels, which often grapple with French postwar identity, as subverting the conventions of both historical inquiry and the detective novel. Excerpts from three of Modiano’s novels can also be read at the Wall Street Journal.

In other French literature news, Antonin Baudry, the cultural counselor for the French embassy and a popular French cartoonist, has opened a new bookstore, Albertine, in the embassy’s townhouse in New York City. The bookstore offers over fourteen thousand titles in English and French. Baudry has also launched Festival Albertine, which will start next Tuesday and celebrate French and American thinkers in a variety of fields. (New York Times)

Speaking of bookstores, the Guardian rounds up photos of weird and wonderful bookshops, including a book barge in England, a nightclub in Beijing, and a van in Portugal.

In a talk at the Frankfurt Book Fair, author Paulo Coelho urged publishers to adapt to the changing book market and lower their e-book prices. (Publishers Weekly)

Mental Floss rounds up little-known punctuation marks like the “snark mark” and the “interrobang” with an infographic.

Lost Truman Capote Stories, Chinese Poet Wang Zang Detained by Police, and More
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 16:22:27 +0000 -

French novelist Patrick Modiano wins 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature; Billy Collins on poetry and leadership; Twin Cities–based bookstore to close; 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:

Sixty-nine-year-old French novelist Patrick Modiano has won the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature. Though critically acclaimed in France, Modiano is not widely published in the United States; David R. Godine, publisher of the eponymous independent press based in Boston, has published three of Modiano’s novels in translation. (Washington Post) ­Read more about today’s prize announcement on the Grants & Awards blog.

The German publication ZEITmagazin has published German translations of four lost stories by Truman Capote, written when the author was between the ages of eleven and nineteen. Swiss publisher Peter Haag and Capote’s German-language editor, Anuschka Roshani, discovered the stories, as well as several poems, in the Capote archive at the New York Public Library last summer. Some of the stories, written out in Capote’s tiny handwriting, had to be transcribed with the help of a magnifying glass. Random House will publish a collection of the work in English—featuring twenty stories and a dozen poems—in December 2015. (New York Times)

Chinese police have detained eight people, including poet Wang Zang, who were planning to participate in a Beijing poetry reading last Thursday in support of the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Wang Zang, who posted a photo on Twitter in support of the protests, has been detained for “provoking trouble,” an offense that carries a sentence of up to three years in prison. (Telegraph)

Meanwhile, former U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins speaks with the Washington Post about the interaction between poetry, leadership, and social responsibility. “I think if a poet wanted to lead, he or she would want the message to be unequivocally clear and free of ambiguity. Whereas poetry is actually the home of ambiguity, ambivalence, and uncertainty.”

The Bookcase, the oldest independent bookstore in the Twin Cities, will close later this month. Owner Charlie Leonard explained that both the changing shopping habits of readers and the constant disruption of construction projects in the Minneapolis–St. Paul area have contributed to his decision to shutter the store. (Star Tribune)

On a panel at the Frankfurt Book Fair, Olav Stokkmo, chief executive of the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations, urged publishers to lead the charge in educating the public about copyright. Stokkmo argued that with the growth of the Internet, the public has higher expectations for what content should be accessible and a limited, often incorrect, understanding of copyright. (Publishers Weekly)

Beat poet Diane Di Prima has published her first full-length poetry collection in over forty years with San Francisco's City Lights Books. The Poetry Deal, released this past Monday, chronicles forty years of San Francisco history from the golden years of the Beat poets to the present day. (City Lights)

Scarlett Johansson will star in Sony’s new miniseries adaptation of Edith Wharton’s novel The Custom of the Country; Johansson will play Undine Spragg, a young woman from the Midwest who struggles to navigate the New York City social world. (Los Angeles Times)

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:

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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.