Avid Reader Press, Elena Ferrante on Women Writers, 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.

Simon & Schuster will launch a new imprint, Avid Reader Press, in late 2019 or early 2020. Editors Jofie Ferrari-Adler and Ben Loehnen will leave their posts at the publisher’s flagship imprint to helm Avid Reader, which will specialize in adult fiction and nonfiction. Ferrari-Adler will serve as vice president and publisher, and Loehnen will be vice president and editor-in-chief. (Publishers Weekly)

In other publishing news, Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Random House, has just released its first batch of mini books, with a box set of four novels by best-selling young-adult author John Green. Inspired by “dwarsliggers,” the pocket-sized flipbacks popular in the Netherlands, the tiny books can be read with one hand—the text flows horizontally and readers can flip the pages upward with a thumb. (New York Times)

“No matter how hard I try, I can’t think of many male writers who have said that they were in any way indebted to the work of a woman writer.” At the Guardian, Italian novelist Elena Ferrante writes that, despite it being a good time for women writers, many male writers still refuse to give women the respect they deserve for their work.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and to celebrate the occasion fans throughout the world will be staging all-day marathon readings of the original text. Sponsored by the Keats-Shelley Association of America and the National Endowment for the Humanities, “Frankenreads” and other related events are set to take place at more than six hundred locations in over forty countries. (Washington Post)  

“My idea of a hero is not someone who comes and sweeps the woman off her feet and turns her into a princess, but a man who cares about what a woman has to say, who listens to her, who pays attention to her needs and wants.” At the Atlantic, romance author Jasmine Guillory discusses consent and empowerment in romance novels and the changing landscape of an often problematic genre.

Poet Natalie Diaz has been named the Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry at Arizona State University, a position given to “a major poet and rising star in the field of American poetry.” Diaz, who received a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” grant earlier this month, was previously an associate professor at the university. (ASU Now)

Google and Disney are teaming up to launch an interactive children’s storytelling feature for Google Home devices that combines Little Golden Books with voice recognition technology. As parents or children read a book aloud, Google Home will play relevant sounds and music to bring the story to life. (TechCrunch)

“These books make me optimistic about the world and help me understand the role of innovation in driving progress.” Bill Gates, an avid reader who has recommended hundreds of books on his personal blog, recommends four books that have shaped his view of the world. (CNBC)