Another Chinese Writer Imprisoned, Literary Hoaxes, 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 a two-hour trial in which he was not permitted a full defense, Chinese freelance writer Liu Xianbin was handed a ten-year prison sentence for "inciting subversion of state power" through his writings, the longest sentence for the charge since Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo received an eleven-year sentence. The verdict, according to the PEN American Center, "was reportedly based on forced testimony of Liu’s 13-year-old daughter and a number of lines from several of his articles published on overseas online Chinese language journals and news web sites." 

The Poetry Foundation's Harriet blog is offering a month of posts on the state of the art to celebrate National Poetry Month, featuring an all-star group of guest bloggers that includes Anselm Berrigan, Kwame Dawes, Major Jackson, Ada Limón, and Amber Tamblyn.

A new biography of Mahatma Ghandi has been banned in one state in India and may yet be banned in the entire country over claims that the book suggests "that the father of modern India was bisexual," though the author, Joseph Lelyveld, draws no such conclusion in the book. A great-grandson of the civil rights icon, Tushar Ghandi, is considering legal options to challenge the ban. "I deplore the culture of bans and burning of books,” Mr. Ghandi said. “The story of his friendship with Hermann Kallenbach was very well documented.” (New York Times)

After protests and pressure from PEN, the ACLU, and the American Association of University Professors, Afghani author Malalai Joya has been granted a visa to enter the United States for a book tour to discuss her celebrated memoir, A Woman Among Warlords.

James Franco has optioned the novel Zeroville by Steve Erickson, adding to a growing list of literary properties currently controlled by the Oscar host. (Jacket Copy)

Arts Council England has released a new budget that increases funding for literature a solid 10 percent while cutting back funding for all other arts. (Guardian)

According to the Telegraph, the BBC has been criticized for airing an impassioned commentary from author Zadie Smith that railed against the wide-spread closures of British libraries during a news program on Radio 4. 

For April Fool's Day, the Huffington Post rounded up a slideshow of the best literary hoaxes of all time.