Byron’s Modern Vampire, Postmodernism for Children, 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:

Today marks the centennial of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas’s birth. In Wales, Thomas’s reputation as a heavy drinker and his writing in English rather than Welsh has contributed to the country’s academics denying his “deserved recognition.” Centenary events such as the “Dylathon”—which features performances from Prince Charles, actor Ian McKellen, and Welsh president Michael D. Higgins—the Dylan Thomas Birthday Walk, which “guides literary pilgrims through the poem and its landmarks on a series of placards,” and praise from Gillian Clarke, the national poet of Wales, aim to refocus public attention on Thomas’s work. (New York Times, RTE News)

Amy Mason of Oxford, England, has won the Dundee International Book Prize for her debut novel, The Other Ida. The prize of ten thousand pounds and a publishing deal was awarded to Mason at the Dundee Literary Festival in Scotland last week. Judges for the prize included author Neil Gaiman and broadcaster Kirsty Lang. (BBC News)

Over at the Atlantic, Lenika Cruz considers A Series of Unfortunate Events, the popular children’s book series by Lemony Snicket which began fifteen years ago and is often considered a work of postmodern literature. Cruz refers to the series’s self-conscious and experimental style, and its heavy reliance on intertextuality, as reasons for the “postmodern” label.

In the spirit of Halloween week, revisit Romantic poet Lord Byron and physician John Polidori’s 1819 text, “The Vampyre,” in which the modern vampire was reimagined as an “elegant and magnetic” figure, instead of the feral creature of southeastern European folklore. (Public Domain Review)

“Just about the creepiest thing a writer can do is put you in the mind of somebody whose view of the world is very narrow, very skewed and very persuasive.” In more spooky news, four New York Times book reviewers recall their most memorable frightening reading experiences.

The Curious Iguana bookstore in Frederick, Maryland, has donated over ten thousand dollars to international charities since opening in September of last year. The bookstore, which was founded as a benefit corporation, aims to donate a portion of its net sales to global nonprofit organizations each month. (American Booksellers Association)

“Updike was a realist, and this genre discrepancy served as a sort of important buffer to literary bitterness and jealousy, especially as time went on.” At the Millions, Nathan Scott McNamara examines the decades-long literary relationship between two bestselling novelists: John Barth and John Updike.