Daily News from Poets & Writers

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Daily News in the Writing Community from Poets & Writers

Toni Morrison on the Colbert Report, Scary Stories on the Big Screen, and More
Fri, 21 Nov 2014 16:31:46 +0000 -

Daniel Handler apologizes for racist remarks; Amazon signs Manhattan lease; a nationwide library fieldtrip; 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:

Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison recently appeared on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report. During her interview, Morrison discussed rereading her Pulitzer Prize-winning book Beloved for the first time since its publication, the complexities of identity writing, and the topic of race as a social construct. (Salon)

Yesterday, author Daniel Handler made a public apology over racially charged jokes he made while hosting the National Book Awards ceremony, which were directed towards NBA winner Jacqueline Woodson. This morning, Handler took his apology further: For the next twenty four hours, the author will match donations up to $100,000 to the nonprofit We Need Diverse Books. (Washington Post)

The 92nd Street Y’s Unterberg Poetry Center and the Paris Review have made their co-presented series of author recordings available online. Hear the newest additions to the collection­– recordings of Maya Angelou, Denise Levertov, and Gary Snyder– at the Paris Review.

Following the Wall Street Journal report last month that Amazon would open a retail store in New York City, Amazon has signed a seventeen-year lease for a 470,000 square-foot space in midtown Manhattan. The space, however, will not be (entirely) used for retail, as Amazon has stated that they have leased the building “primarily as corporate office space and…intend to sublease to other tenants the ground floor retail space.” (GeekWire)

Alvin Schwartz’s children’s series, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, is set to be adapted for the big screen. The book series, which has sold over 7 million copies worldwide since its publication in 1981, will be adapted by British Academy of Film and Television (BAFTA)–nominated screenwriter John August. August often collaborates with director Tim Burton, and wrote screenplays for Big Fish (2003), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Corpse Bride (2005), and Frankenweenie (2012). (Deadline)

In need of some weekend writing inspiration? Read novelist Lydia Millet’s advice for aspiring writers over at the Millions. “We give, at times, despite the knowledge that our gifts may not be needed, wanted, or enjoyed. For us — we must remind ourselves — the joy is in that selfless offering.”

Notes from a nationwide, literary fieldtrip: At the Atlantic, Deborah Fallows gives an account of her visits to libraries across America, and shares the various ways each facility serves its community.

In not-so-shocking news, rich and successful author Stephen King is having some trouble writing about the plight of the common man these days. In a post for the Guardian books blog, Charlotte Seager notes the challenges of writing about characters whose circumstances and personalities differ greatly from one’s own.

National Book Award Winners Announced, Manuscript Critiques for Charity, and More
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 17:22:11 +0000 -

Amazon protests heat up this season; Brooklyn writers group robbed at gunpoint; Gone Girl and Wild authors talk double standards; 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:

The winners of the National Book Awards were announced last night in New York City. Louise Glück took home the poetry award for her collection Faithful and Virtuous Night, Phil Klay won in the fiction category for his short story collection Redeployment, Evan Osnos won the nonfiction prize for Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China, and Jacqueline Woodson won the young people’s literature award for her memoir Brown Girl Dreaming. Read our exclusive interview with Louise Glück from the September/October issue of Poets & Writers Magazine, and watch this video clip of Glück discussing her writing process.

Get your manuscript reviewed for a great cause: On Tuesday, November 25, renowned writers including Rae Armantrout, Mary Jo Bang, Matt Bell, Janet Burroway, Billy Collins, and many others will offer exclusive manuscript critiques to benefit Caregifted, a charity that raises money for the caregivers of people living with severe disabilities. Critiques can be purchased on a first-come first-serve basis. The sale is spearheaded by poet Heather McHugh, MacArthur Genius Grant recipient and the executive director of Caregifted.

A group of writers that met last month at a café in the Ditmas Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, was robbed at gunpoint. This robbery marks one instance of a series of crimes in local businesses in the transitioning neighborhood. Business owners have speculated that the neighborhood’s new wealth is “creating crimes of opportunity or even hostility.” (New York Times)

It seems as the holidays approach, Amazon tensions intensify. The anti-Amazon group Amazon Anonymous has launched a campaign in protest of the company’s labor practices, asking people to pledge not to shop at the online retailer from December 1–25. Just one day after the group launched its drive, more than two thousand people have signed the pledge. (Guardian)

Meanwhile, Kivin Varghese, a former Amazon employee who was fired after filing an ethics complaint, will begin a hunger strike next week to protest the company’s labor practices. (Melville House)

The digital book-streaming and recommendation service Oyster recently launched an online literary publication called the Oyster Review. The publication features original essays, reviews, humor pieces, and comics written by Oyster’s editorial staff. 

Over at the New York Times, Gillian Flynn and Cheryl Strayed, authors of the bestselling-books-turned-movies Gone Girl and Wild, discuss commercial success, double standards in literature, and the need to address in books the ways in which females express anger and violence.

On a related note, this infographic displays the results of one study showing the percentage of books men read that were written by women. (GalleyCat)

Neil Gaiman and Lemony Snicket Give Away Books in NYC, National Book Awards Announced Tonight, and More
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:23:16 +0000 -

Habits of productive writers; the craft-versus-talent debate; difficulties in finding an agent; 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:

The winners of the 65th annual National Book Awards will be announced tonight at a New York City ceremony hosted by bestselling author Daniel Handler (also known as Lemony Snicket). Early this morning, Handler and Neil Gaiman braved the freezing temperatures in Manhattan’s Washington Square Park to participate in the Great Book Giveaway, an event that pitted the authors against one another to see who could hand out the most books. “You’re cold because you’re not reading Fanny Howe,” Handler told one shivering passerby.

In more National Book Award news, Michelle Dean notes the unexpected urgency of poet Claudia Rankine’s shortlisted book Citizen in an article for the Guardian, and Elizabeth Lund previews all five poetry finalists at the Washington Post. Stay tuned to the Grants & Awards Blog for full coverage of tonight’s awards ceremony.

During the final weeks of National Novel Writing Month, writing professor Rachel Toor lists certain practices of productive writers, including rejecting the notion of “writer’s block,” and having the awareness that there are no shortcuts to make the process easier. (Chronicle of Higher Education)

This past weekend marked the inaugural year of the Inspire! Toronto International Book Fair. The consumer-oriented event featured Canadian publishers and more than four hundred Canadian and international authors, including Margaret Atwood, Anne Rice, and Chris Hadfield. (Publishers Weekly)

“Writing isn’t a craft, like carpentry or knitting. It is an art form. No number of scouring MFA critiques, no profusion of summer writing conference sessions or visits to low-residency programs, ever could have turned Linda Updike into her son John. Only talent could make that happen.” In an essay for the Millions, author Michael Bourne takes on the debate of whether or not good writing can truly be taught.

Having trouble finding an agent for your book? If it’s not about vampires, Stephen Akey thinks you may be doomed. At the New Republic, Akey discusses the problems writers face in attempting to acquire literary representation for works that might not fall into marketable categories. “Almost all agencies…are looking for one of two things: bestseller potential or the possibility of media adaptations.”

Rejoice and subscribe: Poetry isn’t dead! The Academy of American Poets announced last week that it now has 100,000 subscribers for its Poem-a-Day series, which provides both contemporary and classic poems to subscribers daily via e-mail. Academy director Jennifer Benka notes in the announcement that the rise and ease of mobile sharing has helped increase the number of poetry readers throughout the country. (Shelf Awareness)

The Second Biennial Moby-Dick Marathon, Dylan Thomas: Rock Star, and More
Tue, 18 Nov 2014 16:31:33 +0000 -

Transgender author and activist Leslie Fienberg dies; the critical reception of anti-heroines; classical foundations in The Hunger Games; 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:

Twenty-four hours, one hundred and fifty readers, three venues, and one long book. This past weekend marked the second biennial Moby-Dick Marathon in New York City. Poet David Shapiro’s account of the Marathon includes comical details, such as, “Horatio, a twelve-year-old wearing a madras blazer and protective eyeglasses, stopped horsing around for long enough to admit that he had only read the abridged version of Moby-Dick.” (New Yorker)

Leslie Feinberg, political activist and author, has died at age 65. Feinberg was best known for her 1994 semi-autobiographical novel Stone Butch Blues, and her LGBT and transgender political advocacy work. (Advocate)

The centenary of poet Dylan Thomas’s birth has launched various celebrations and tributes across the globe. At the Atlantic, James Parker discusses Thomas’s embodiment of the spirit of poetry, much like a rock star who lived hard and died young, despite that much of his poetry, to Parker, does not hold up well.

“There’s a reductiveness here, a critical meanness. We have a way to go before female characters can head out, undefined by gender, to seek the impossible meaning of it all.” Novelist Emma Jane Unsworth examines the reasons behind why the public tends to accept and even sympathize with male anti-heroes, yet dismiss the anti-heroine as simply “unlikeable.” (Guardian)

Speaking of heroes and anti-heroes, at the Wall Street Journal, historian and classics professor Barry Strauss explores the classical and mythical themes in the film and book franchise The Hunger Games. The heroine Katniss is likened to a modern-day (and female) version of the Greek hero Theseus, and the entertainment is reminiscent of ancient Roman gladiatorial games. “We still have rites of passage for young people today. If ours tend to test mental rather than physical stamina, they remain daunting and demanding in their own way—which perhaps explains why the life-or-death stakes of The Hunger Games strike such a deep chord among our decidedly nonclassical teens.”

Celeste Ng, author of the novel Everything I Never Told You, and winner of the Amazon Book of the Year prize, speaks with the Guardian about the reception of her novel, her conflicted feelings about Amazon, and the false suggestion that we live in a post-racial society.

On the eve of the National Book Awards, Mark Krotov argues for the need to bring back a prize that no longer exists: the National Book Award for Translation. (Melville House)

National Book Awards to be Announced Wednesday, Lena Dunham’s Girls Character Attends the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and More
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 17:08:28 +0000 -

The changing nature of author-musician collaborations; Choose Your Own Adventure series creator dies; Henry David Thoreau wants us to saunter more; 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:

Today marks the beginning of NBA week, and we’re not talking about basketball. The 65th annual National Book Awards will be announced this Wednesday, November 19, in a ceremony hosted by Daniel Handler (also known as Lemony Snicket). Head over to the National Book Foundation site for author interviews as well as a complete list of the finalists in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and stay tuned to the Grants & Awards Blog for coverage on awards day.

Musician Mark Ronson and novelist Michael Chabon are currently collaborating on Ronson’s forthcoming album. At the Guardian, John Dugdale discusses the writer-musician collaboration, and argues that the term “collaboration” has changed its meaning in this context over time. “A novelist, playwright or poet providing words for someone else to turn into music and perform, although it is a model inherited from opera and musicals in earlier eras, is now surprisingly rare.”

Publisher, author, and founder of the Choose Your Own Adventure book series R. A. Montgomery has died. Before his success with the young adult series beginning in 1977, Montgomery worked as a journalist at the Wall Street Journal, founded a summer school for children with learning challenges, and also cofounded the publishing company Vermont Crossroads Press. He was 78. (GalleyCat)

For a creative boost, take a walk! Or a saunter, if you will. Read Maria Popova’s introduction to Henry David Thoreau’s 1861 essay, Walking, in which Thoreau reminds us how the "primal act of mobility connects us with our essential wildness, that spring of spiritual vitality methodically dried up by our sedentary civilization.” Bonus: You can download the e-book for free. It’s the perfect sauntering companion. (BrainPickings)

The Iowa Writers' Workshop gets the Girls treatment. The trailer for the new season of HBO’s Girls—written and directed by Lena Dunham—features the main character Hannah (played by Dunham) attending the MFA program at the University of Iowa. In the trailer, Hannah does “what many MFA students do: Marvels at her new surroundings, embarrasses herself in a workshop, drinks to excess.” (Los Angeles Times)

The French government recently declared books an “essential good.” At the New York Times, writers Daniel Mendelsohn and Mohsin Hamid debate whether or not it would be wise for the United States government to declare the same.

“For a work titled The 50 Year Argument, the film is wrapped in a thick wadding of consensus about the brilliance of the NYRB and its two (and remarkably, only two) editors, Robert Silvers and the late Barbara Epstein, with no real arguments adduced about that or the political, literary or cultural positions it has taken over the past half-century.” Read Gerald Howard’s review of Martin Scorsese’s documentary about the New York Review of Books over at n+1.

Against Age-Based Writer Lists, Two Hundred Years of Jane Austen Covers, and More
Fri, 14 Nov 2014 17:10:18 +0000 -

Authors react to Amazon-Hachette agreement; library love letters; Sotheby’s to auction off Sylvia Plath archive; 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:

“In our long-lived, serial-career age, these lists say something about how we’re beginning to think of writing—as a young person’s game.” Read Joanna Walsh’s argument against the concept of age-based “best-of” lists at the Guardian.

Jane Austen’s Emma character has certainly changed over the last two hundred years—her image on book cover art, that is. Margaret Sullivan’s new book, Jane Austen Cover to Cover, examines a collection of covers from different publishers and eras from Austen’s six major novels. At the Paris Review, Dan Piepenbring features examples of diverse cover designs from Austen’s novel Emma, and states that the variance of covers “provides a fascinating glimpse into a variety of publishing cultures, and…reminds that even our classics are mutable, pitched to appeal to any number of sensibilities, their literary status in constant flux per the dictates of the market.”

Publishers Weekly has released a number of initial reactions to the Amazon-Hachette deal reached Thursday, after a months-long negotiation stalemate between the retailer and publisher. Responses from the president of the Authors Guild and others express some relief but also concern about what the agreement might mean for authors in the future. For example, Douglas Preston, who founded Authors United (a platform for authors to voice their concerns about Amazon’s tactics) was “relieved” to hear about the deal, but will still move forward with Authors United’s plan to ask the Department of Justice to investigate Amazon for antitrust issues.

Perhaps you share a similar sentiment with Jorge Luis Borges, who said, “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” If so, send your library love letters to the Guardian! Book Week Scotland has launched a campaign for readers to write love letters to their favorite libraries, and the Guardian will publish a selection of reader letters, alongside letters from famous authors, during Book Week Scotland (beginning November 24).

On December 2, Sotheby’s will auction off an archive of Sylvia Plath’s early manuscripts, lecture notes, letters, self-portraits, and other ephemera from the famed poet’s life. According to the auction catalogue, “This is the most significant collection of important Sylvia Plath material to appear on the market in many years.”

In 2015, the United Kingdom’s World Book Day festival will travel to ten cities, as opposed to five in 2014. World Book Day will host literary events for children of all ages during what the charity is calling the “Biggest Book Tour On Earth.” Over forty authors and illustrators will visit the ten cities in hopes of reaching 14,000 children. Director Kristen Grant states that World Book Day’s “ultimate mission is to encourage a love of reading in all children, and by doubling our tour stops we’ve made a major step forwards achieving this ambition.” (Bookseller)

In an essay for the Poetry Foundation, Jaswinder Bolina discusses the expectations and realities of pursuing an MFA, how the academy affects writers and class structure, and the persistent question of poetry’s importance in society.

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.