British Independent Publishers Ride Out a Challenging Year, Celebrating Nikki Giovanni, 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.

The Guardian reports on how British independent publishers have fared during the pandemic. While the situation remains precarious, a number of publishers have reported unexpectedly strong sales, crediting both robust public support and creative marketing strategies. 

“I thought fifty years ago that I could make a big difference in the world. What I know now is that I will not allow the world to make a big difference in me. That’s what’s incredibly important. I’m not going to let the fact that I live in a nation with a bunch of fools make a fool out of me.” The New York Times profiles poet Nikki Giovanni

Marvin Bell, a poet and longtime instructor at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, died on Monday at age eighty-three. “Bell made certain to support the oddball originals and always strived to push poetry forward. I will miss his stories, his trivia, and his faithful friendship,” said Michael Wiegers, who served as Bell’s editor at Copper Canyon Press. 

“The individual’s capacity for creativity and the powers of art—these are the real ways that society’s problems, whether social, political or economic, solve themselves.” Kazim Ali on his most recent collection, The Voice of Sheila Chandra, and poetry as a pathway to the future. (Harriet)

“I’d like to see more narratives that are unabashedly queer, decked with queer characters of every stripe, who are seldom respectable and are ill-met by structures of power.” Hannah Abigail Clarke, the author of Scapegracers, on refusing assimilation. (Lambda Literary Review

“With the generation’s blisteringly open tales of sex, drugs, and devastating credit-card debt, the struggle has, quite literally, never been more real—or readable.” Entertainment Weekly recommends three novels of “millennial ethos.”

Earlier this month, One World publisher and editor in chief Chris Jackson received the Center for Fiction Medal for Editorial Excellence. Literary Hub has reprinted his acceptance speech. 

Lauren Oyler reflects on her year in reading, which included several passes through her own forthcoming novel, Fake Accounts. (Millions)