Authors Protest Texas Tent City, Critic Christopher Lehmann-Haupt Has Died, 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.

More than seventy authors, including Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Jhumpa Lahiri, Juan Gabriel Vásquez, and Paul Auster, have written an open letter in protest of an unregulated tent city in Tornillo, Texas, where over 1,600 migrant children who have been separated from their families are being held. (New York Review of Books)

Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, a longtime book critic for the New York Times, has died. The Scottish-born writer, who was also the author of two novels and a memoir, worked for the paper for forty-nine years, during which time he wrote upward of four thousand reviews and essays. He was eighty-four.

A Hong Kong arts center has canceled appearances by Chinese author and dissident Ma Jian amid increasing threats against free expression in the city. The U.K.–based writer, whose books are banned in Beijing, was scheduled to promote his latest book, a satirical critique of President Xi Jinping’s ideologies, at the annual Hong Kong International Literary Festival this weekend. (TIME)

Virginia Republican Denver Riggleman, author of the book The Mating Habits of Bigfoot and Why Women Want Him, was elected to the House of Representatives on Tuesday night. The book, which Riggleman self-published, drew fire during the campaign when Riggleman’s opponent, democrat Leslie Cockburn, accused Riggleman of being a “devotee of Bigfoot erotica.” (Los Angeles Times)

“I write in a pile of books and papers and children’s toys and I don’t stop to notice the chaos.” Novelist Katie Kitamura discusses her writing routine, the genesis of her latest book, and the importance of reading as a writer. (PBS NewsHour)

“Single-use” has been named Collins Dictionary’s 2018 word of the year. The term refers to products, often made of plastic, that are made to be used once and thrown away, and whose “unchecked proliferation are blamed for damaging the environment and affecting the food chain.” (Guardian)

“We know the broad outlines of our ruin all too well. And this makes writing fiction about the climate crisis easier: the moral of every story is known from the start.” Marian Womack discusses her latest story collection, Lost Objects. (Vol. 1 Brooklyn)

“It’s a writer that we met in L.A., but she’s Italian! There’s so many things that don’t jive, so we think it must be her.” At Vulture, Phoebe Reilly talks to the four young Italian actresses cast to portray Elena and Lila in HBO’s adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend, who speculate on the identity of the pseudonymous author.