Arrest Made in Manuscript Thief Mystery, Politics & Prose Staff Secure Union, and More

by Staff
1.6.22

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—publishing reports, literary dispatches, academic announcements, and more—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

Twenty-nine-year-old Filippo Bernardini, a rights coordinator for Simon & Schuster U.K., is believed to be the manuscript thief who had become notorious in the publishing industry. Yesterday he was placed under arrest by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The motivation behind the scheme, which targeted manuscripts by both high-profile and emerging writers alike, remains unclear. (New York Times)

In the current issue of Poets & Writers Magazine, Kevin Larimer writes about other phishing schemes of which writers should be aware.

After resisting unionization efforts in December, the owners of Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C., have switched course and accepted the will of its employees. The newly established union will be a part of UFCW Local 400 and becomes the first bookstore union in the District. The organizing committee wrote in a statement, “We are proud to join the growing movement of booksellers and baristas across the country who have unionized their workplaces.” (Literary Hub)

In more independent bookselling news, the Raven Book Store in Lawrence, Kansas, has shifted its ownership model. Seven employees have now become co-owners alongside Danny Caine, after Caine sold 49 percent of the store’s shares to the group, evenly divided. “It’s a long-term agreement for them, but for me too. I’m staying on as general manager,” said Caine. “The duties aren’t changing, it’s just giving the core employees a literal stake in the business.” (Publishers Weekly)

A new anthology of essays by Norman Mailer became a flashpoint of debate after journalist Michael Wolff misreported that Mailer’s longtime publisher, Random House, had canceled the book; he alleged that among the causes was “a junior staffer’s objection to the title of Mailer’s 1957 essay, ‘The White Negro.’” In fact, Random House never made an offer on the book. It will be published by Skyhorse. (New York Times)

“The last thing I ate as a husband—and arguably, as a man—was a fried tilapia.” Novelist Torrey Peters recalls living in Uganda and describes a meal that marked a turning point in her relationship to her then-partner and to herself. (Bon Appétit)

The winners of the annual Costa Book Awards, which honor books by residents of the U.K. and Ireland, have been revealed. Among the honorees, Caleb Azumah Nelson took home the first novel prize for Open Water, while Hannah Lowe won the poetry prize for The Kids. (Guardian)

Interlude Press, an independent publisher of queer and trans books, has been acquired by Chicago Review Press, which will maintain it as an imprint. (Publishers Weekly)

The television rights to Jessamine Chan’s debut novel, The School for Good Mothers, have been optioned by Freckle Films, Jessica Chastain’s production company. (Deadline)