Ali Smith on the Novel, Amy Tan’s Memoir, 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 novel is a form that takes time, flips time, gives us time, renews old matter, reminds you what life is and how layered and dimensional it and language and thought and being are...” The New Statesman has published writer Ali Smith’s lecture on the novel upon receiving the Goldsmiths Prize in September.

Alexandra Alter profiles writer Amy Tan on the release of her new memoir, Where the Past Begins, and tells the story of how Tan’s editor, Daniel Halpern, nudged and pushed her to write such a personal book. (New York Times)

Read Alison Singh Gee’s interview with Amy Tan, published at Poets & Writers, for more about the author, her new book, and her writing process. “This was one of the things I learned about creativity,” says Tan. “You have to let go of self-consciousness.”

For T Magazine’s Greats Issue, Dave Eggers profiles novelist and public intellectual Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

The Biloxi, Mississippi, school district has pulled Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird from its curriculum, saying it “makes people uncomfortable.” (Los Angeles Times)

At the New Yorker, Hannah Aizenman remembers poet Richard Wilbur, who died on Saturday, and his “proclivity for aesthetic order and pleasure in contrast to the twentieth century’s chaos and uncertainty.”

Tennessee Ernie Ford, Elliott Smith, Arthur Russell, and Howlin’ Wolf—Eileen Myles shares the songs and musical artists most important to them. (Pitchfork)

“I believe that young people and children are actually the shapers of the American canon… I think that their tastes and what is interesting to them, whether we admit it or not, drive so much of the American literary imagination, because they grow up.” At Guernica, poet Eve L. Ewing talks with fiction writer Kiese Laymon.

Julia Felsenthal takes the bus and walks the streets of New York City with New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast to discuss her hobbies, her adoration of the city, and her latest book, Going Into Town. (Vogue)