BookExpo Highlights, Elif Shafak on Author Suppression, and More


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.

“The art of storytelling should dare to talk about difficult subjects.” Novelist Elif Shafak calls for the international community to support the Turkish authors, journalists, and academics who face persecution and public abuse for their writing. (Guardian)

Publishers Weekly covers the highlights of last week’s BookExpo in New York City. Independent booksellers were particularly excited by a “rich season” of upcoming literary releases, such as Jeanine Cummins’s novel American Dirt and Ta-Nehisi Coates’s debut novel, The Water Dancer.

In the United Kingdom, poet and playwright Lemn Sissay has won the 2019 PEN Pinter Prize, which is awarded annually to an author who shows “a fierce intellectual determination… to define the real truth of our lives and our societies” and resides in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, or Commonwealth. Recent recipients of the award include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Michael Longley, and Margaret Atwood.

“What had been unimaginable is arriving faster than writers can keep up.” Bangkok Wakes to Rain author Pitchaya Sudbanthad recommends five other novels about climate change, including Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower and Richard Powers’s The Overstory. (PBS NewsHour)

At the Rumpus, Birute Putrius talks about her new novel, The Last Book Smuggler, and the history of reading as an act of defiance in Lithuania. “Those poor farmers that later learned to read and their children learned to read are the same ones that went for Lithuanian independence. It was a precursor to independence.”

After teasing plans to release a poetry collection earlier in the year, singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey has announced that a selection of her poems will be published in the June issue of Vogue Italia. (Billboard)

And Electric Literature presents the results of its battle of the book covers in which U.K. and U.S. editions of Helen Oyeyemi’s Gingerbread, Nafissa Thompson-Spires’s Heads of the Colored People, and other novels competed for the best jacket art.