Atlantic Sells Kindle Fiction, “Twitter” is Top Word of 2009, and More

Adrian Versteegh

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:

Starting today, the Atlantic will release two short stories every month (inaugural offerings are by Christopher Buckley and Edna O’Brien) for sale exclusively through Amazon’s Kindle store (New York Times).

Lambda Rising—the oldest LGBT bookstore in Washington, D.C., and the progenitor of the nonprofit Lambda Literary Foundation—will close its two remaining locations by January.

A handwritten poem by Edgar Allan Poe, the manual typewriter used since 1963 by Cormac McCarty, and a letter written by George Washington—which fetched over three million dollars—were among the record-setting literary sales chalked up by Christie’s last week (Associated Press). The auction house had harder luck with the manuscript of Vladimir Nabokov’s The Original of Laura, which was withdrawn from sale after bidding failed to approach the half-million-dollar expectation (Straits Times).

An Amazon spokesperson has denied rumors—reported yesterday by the Times of London—that the retailer is conducting a “secret search” for bricks-and-mortar locations (Press Association).

Online literary community Protagonize—which lets authors network and share writing—has passed the ten-thousand-member milestone.

The Ahmed Baba Institute—a library dedicated to preserving the often-neglected literary heritage of sub-Saharan Africa—has moved into a new, state-of-the-art facility in Timbuktu, Mali (BBC).

Plans for a joint digital venture are expected to be announced this week by News Corp., Time Inc., Conde Nast, Hearst, and Meredith (Financial Times).

It isn’t listed in the OED, but “Twitter” has beaten out “Obama,” “stimulus,” and “vampire” as the most popular word of 2009, according to the Austin-based Global Language Monitor (Guardian).