92nd Street Y at Seventy-Five, Malcolm Lowry’s Lost Manuscript, and More


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:

“You sat there and you saw these icons standing in a blaze of brilliant spotlight, and you felt that you were at the crux of all civilization in the 92nd Street Y in the 1950s.” This Sunday will mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of the country’s most famous literary reading series at New York’s 92nd Street Y Unterberg Poetry Center. Poetry giants such as William Carlos Williams (the inaugural reader), W. H. Auden, and Dylan Thomas were among the early readers at the Y. The center has been celebrating the anniversary over the past year with various programs, including the “75 at 75” project, which pairs archived recordings from the series with contemporary author responses. Pairings including Brian Boyd on Vladimir Nabokov, Rick Moody on W. G. Sebald, and Helen Vendler on Wallace Stevens are now available for free online. (NPR)

In 1944, British poet and author Malcolm Lowry’s shack near Vancouver burned down—along with, it was believed, a draft of his novel In Ballast to the White Sea. Seventy years after the apparent destruction of the manuscript, the novel will be published. The salvaged copy belonged to the mother of Lowry’s first wife, and went undiscovered until her death in 2001. The Bluecoat art gallery in Liverpool will commemorate the publication this Saturday. (BBC News)

Currently, only 7 percent of books published are accessible to visually impaired readers in the United Kingdom. The Royal National Institute of Blind People has made a call to action to a range of book publishers across the U.K. to increase accessibility, volume, and timing of available content. (Melville House)

New York City independent bookseller Posman Books has been forced to close one of its locations in Grand Central Terminal because of new pedestrian circulation upgrades in the station. Posman will vacate after fifteen years in the station, but will remain in its current locations in Chelsea Market and Rockefeller Center. (Publishers Weekly)

Would you like to be immortalized in Margaret Atwood’s next novel? Seventeen top authors, including Atwood, Zadie Smith, and Ian McEwan, will soon auction off naming rights to characters in their upcoming works for a London charity. Proceeds from the “Immortality Auction” will be donated to Freedom from Torture, a charity providing support and therapy for torture survivors. Author Tracy Chevalier is auctioning off a landlady character in her upcoming novel: “I am holding open a place in my new novel for Mrs—ideally a Mrs—[your surname], tough-talking landlady of a boarding house in 1850s Gold Rush-era San Francisco,” she said. “The first thing she says to the hero is: ‘No sick on my stairs. You vomit on my floors, you’re out.’” (Guardian)

Many of today’s realistic novels set in the “near future” imagine bleak worlds post-civilization. Read Bill Morris’s essay on how these novels expose our era’s real anxieties over “pandemics, environmental catastrophes, energy shortages, terrorism, and civil unrest.” Michael McGhee’s Happiness Ltd., Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story, and Edan Lepucki’s dystopian debut California are among the works that speculate on society’s overdeveloped, overexposed, and fearsome future. (Millions)

Susan Sontag was a Teddy Bear. Truman Capote was a young Santa Claus. With Halloween just a few days away, get some last-minute inspiration from famous authors’ Halloween costumes. (Electric Literature)