Black Booksellers Criticize Tattered Cover Publicity, Knopf Random House Canada Restructures, and More

by Staff

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.

Numerous Black booksellers have criticized the recent publicity around the new ownership of Tattered Cover, and challenged the claim that the Denver company is now the largest Black-owned bookstore in the country. While the new CEO of Tattered Cover, Kwame Spearman, is Black, the store was purchased by an investment group comprised of thirteen members, the majority of whom are white. “Being a Black-owned bookstore is more than just whose name is on the ownership papers,” said Justin Moore of Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books in Philadelphia. Tattered Cover already drew criticism earlier this summer for its noncommittal statement on the Black Lives Matter movement. (Publishers Weekly)

After operating for eleven years as a unified publishing group, Knopf Random House Canada will split back into two distinct imprints: Knopf Canada and Random House Canada. Both imprints remain subsidiaries of Penguin Random House Canada. (Quill & Quire)

Anthony Veasna So has died at age twenty-eight. A beloved fiction writer, teacher, and community member, So’s debut story collection, Afterparties, is due to be published by Ecco in the new year. (Los Angeles Times)

Editor Daniel Halpern will be leaving Ecco at the end of the year. The announcement comes only a few months after Halpern was removed as president and publisher of the imprint and appointed an editor-at-large. Halpern founded Ecco in 1971 and is also known for establishing the National Poetry Series. (Publishers Lunch)

“The next time my neck seizes and my muscles contract with a shocking violence, I allow it. For once, I can see the beauty in having flesh that is as loud as my spirit.” Akwaeke Emezi writes on learning to live with disability. (Paris Review Daily)

“Many of us read to escape the pressures of our current realities, which I also do, but this year was one that I wanted to see reflected back to me.” Mateo Askaripour, the author of Black Buck, reflects on his year in reading. (Goodreads)

“The more challenging it is to get somewhere, the more I want to know.” Barbara Demick reflects on her life as a foreign correspondent and the writing of her most recent book, Eat the Buddha: Life and Death in a Tibetan Town. (Guernica)

After serving several months as the inaugural arts critic fellow at the New York Times, poet Maya Phillips has been hired as a critic-at-large