Amazon and Hachette Battle Gets Orwellian, Ursula K. Le Guin and Michael Cunningham Talk Genre, 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:

In response to the open letter to Amazon signed by more than 900 members of the group Authors United, Amazon created a group of its own called Readers United, and wrote a letter to supporters over the weekend urging them to e-mail Hachette. In the letter, the Amazon Books team offered a number of suggested talking points including, “We have noted your illegal collusion” and “stop using your authors as leverage”; they also used a George Orwell quote out of context in an attempt to bolster their argument against publishers' perceived reservations about e-books. Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch responded to Amazon supporters with an e-mail saying, "This dispute started because Amazon is seeking a lot more profit and even more market share, at the expense of authors, bricks and mortar bookstores, and ourselves. Both Hachette and Amazon are big businesses and neither should claim a monopoly on enlightenment, but we do believe in a book industry where talent is respected and choice continues to be offered to the reading public." (New York Times, Digital Book World)

At the Atlantic, novelists and twin brothers Lev and Austin Grossman—whose parents were also writers—discuss family, influence, taste, and the paths that led them both to writing.

“When the characteristics of a genre are controlled, systematized, and insisted upon by publishers, or editors, or critics, they become limitations rather than possibilities.” At Electric Literature, Ursula K. Le Guin talks with Michael Cunningham about the "arbitrary division between 'literature' and 'genre.'"

Flavorwire’s Emily Temple rounds up fifty novels by women writers under fifty that everyone should read.

Meanwhile, the Millions offers up a reading list for the dog days of August.

In bookstore news, a new “nerd mecca” in New Orleans, specializing in science fiction, fantasy, crime, and mystery books, will open at the end of this month. Meanwhile, a new LGBTQ bookshop, Queer Books, is in the works in Philadelphia, in an effort to fill the space that recently defunct Giovanni’s Room left behind. (Publishers Weekly)

The new musical adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir Fun Home will head to Broadway next spring. (New York Times)