A New Bookstore Aims to Balance the Shelves, Unmasking Atticus, and More

by Staff

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:

Barnes & Noble founder and chairman Leonard Reggio is one of a number of parties expressing interest in making an offer to acquire the bookseller, Publishers Weekly reports. In response, the company has announced the creation of “a formal review process to evaluate the retailer’s strategic alternatives.”

Forty-seven writers were recently named to the longlist for the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence, including fiction writers Silas House, Tayari Jones, Barbara Kingsolver, R. O. Kwon, Rebecca Makkai, Tommy Orange, Richard Powers, and Gary Shteyngart, and nonfiction writers Alexander Chee, Gerald Casey, and Susan Orlean. The shortlist will be announced in October 24. Two winners will be announced on January 27, 2019; they will each receive $5,000. (American Library Association)

R. O. Kwon and Tommy Orange were among the five debut authors featured in “First Fiction 2018,” in the July/August 2018 issue; read excerpts from novels.

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the bestselling 2006 memoir Eat, Pray, Love, will release a new novel next year, Riverhead Books announced. City of Girls, “a unique love story set in the New York City theater world during the 1940s,” is slated to be published in June 2019. (Los Angeles Times)

“Atticus’ work and persona―like the work and personas of other popular Instagram poets ― are perfectly calibrated to attract fans: bland, generic, aesthetically pleasing, and therefore the perfect projection screen for readers’ desires.” Claire Fallon takes a close look at Instapoetry star Atticus and the plot to reveal his true identity. (HuffPost)

“The multifaceted project is not just about promoting female authors but driving gender equality in the literary canon, generating excitement around rare books, and rediscovering work by and about women.” Author and book dealer A. N. Devers is launching The Second Shelf, a project that includes a quarterly print journal, an online bookshop, and a brick-and-mortar bookstore in London that will regularly host readings and events―all focused on the work of women writers. (Vanity Fair)

In “The Personal Cost of Black Success,” Christopher J. Lebron takes a look at two new memoirs―There Will Be No Miracles Here by Casey Gerald and Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon―that “explore, in Gerald’s words, ‘the incredible price that must be paid to be free,’ generation after generation, in a nation whose success story is built on a bedrock of antiblackness that has been airbrushed out.” 

Casey Gerald is one of five debut authors featured in Melissa Faliveno’s “ The Genre of Resistance,” in the September/October 2018 issue.  

“Survival is such a central part of committing yourself to poetry. It’s not just about words trapped on a page for an audience. It’s not just a precious recital.” As part of the Back Draft series, poet Cedar Sigo talks to Ben Purkert about escaping the confines of academia, striving for imperfection, and moving back home.” (Guernica)