Advice for Debut Authors, Tournament of Books Champion, 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:

The question of whether or not to go on a book tour is a big one for debut authors. At Catapult, fiction writer Tanwi Nandini Islam writes about what she learned from touring to promote her first novel, Bright Lines.

Meanwhile, at Electric Literature, poet Elisa Gabbert gives practical advice to a debut author about self-promotion activities to consider “without being annoying,” including building an audience before the book is released, and promoting other people’s work as well your own.

The Los Angeles Times has appointed ten new book-critics-at-large, including poet Rigoberto Gonzalez and fiction writers Alexander Chee, Laila Lalami, Viet Than Nguyen, and Man Booker Prize–winner Marlon James.

The judges for the Morning News’s Tournament of Books have voted on the championship round, which matched Angela Flournoy’s novel, The Turner House, against Paul Beatty’s The Sellout.

At PBS NewsHour, five teen poets from the Flint, Michigan–based youth arts organization Raise It Up! discuss how Flint’s water crisis and negative press overshadow the city’s many artists and activists, and how poetry is a positive outlet of expression that will “change [the] negative mindset that people have about the city.”

Kenyan author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s story “The Upright Revolution: Or Why Humans Walk Upright” has been translated into more than thirty languages, which makes it the “single most translated short story in the history of African writing.” The Pan-African writers’ collective Jalada Africa published the translations in its first Translation Issue, which it plans to release periodically. Jalada’s goal is to publish single stories in as many African languages as possible, in order to reverse the decline of indigenous-language publishing on the continent over the past five decades. (Guardian)

In Afghanistan, a national book drive that began last year has collected nearly twenty thousand books and helped establish seven libraries in the violence-ridden Panjwai district. (New York Times)