Bookstore Sales Down in October, Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, and More

by Staff
12.17.20

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.

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, bookstore sales were down 28.8 percent in October compared to sales in October 2019. Noting that the September decline was 27.7 percent, Publishers Weekly writes, “Bookstore sales appeared to have stabilized, albeit at a rate far below normal levels.”

David Constantine will receive the fifty-first annual Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry. British poet laureate Simon Armitage, who served as the chair of the poetry medal committee, stated: “Above all, David Constantine is a ‘humane’ poet—a word often used in connection with his work, as if in noticing and detailing the ways of the world he is doing so on behalf of all that is best in us.” (Bookseller)

“When I’m figuring out what sounds to use in a movie, the emotional resonance always comes first.” Essa Hansen shares how her work as a sound designer has informed her fiction writing. (Electric Literature)

Literary Hub reveals the best reviewed nonfiction books of the year. At the top of the ranking is Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson, which received twenty-one rave reviews. 

“Style is substance. I mean, you could tell me the story of the Napoleonic Wars and make it terrible or you could tell me the story of how your shoe came untied and it might be a great epic tale.” Michael Bible, the author of The Ancient Hours, muses on the purpose of art. (Believer

“War has its operators and so does art.” Salar Abdoh recalls his personal experiences with art and war that informed his new novel, Out of Mesopotamia. (BOMB

At the New York Times, booksellers recommend the titles that have buoyed them through a difficult year

The editors at O, the Oprah Magazine preview fifty-five books forthcoming in 2021